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The Site => General discussion => Topic started by: NiMo on November 20, 2010, 04:28:18 pm

Title: GE Cobraheads
Post by: NiMo on November 20, 2010, 04:28:18 pm
Folks, with the number of lighting enthusiasts around here, there has been times where models are incorrectly labeled.  I'm not placing blame on anyone at all.  But I think a history of the GE cobraheads is in order.

Introduced in 1959, the M-400 (along with the original M-250 and M-1000) were GE's answer to Westinghouse's breakthrough OV-25.  Orange socket and reflector gaskets, along with a tabless door latch, silver color, and deep bowl refractor carried over from the Form-400 were the hallmarks of the earliest M-400s. The M-1000 basically held the same form as later models with a couple of exceptions.  There were no vent holes on the door and it sported a capacitor tank (for multiple circuit ballasts).  In addition, in 1962, a smaller luminaire replaced the M-250 which was basically the M-400 housing usually with the GE polycarbonate refractor.  This luminaire, the M250R, was smaller and took lamps from 100 watt to 250 watt mercury. Later on, as the luminaires evolved, the gaskets were grey and a thumb tab was added to the door latch, apparently due to complaints from utility companies at the time. Then, in 1965, the series was facelifted with a new light grey finish and eventually had new refractors equipped. The M-1000 also lost the capacitor tank as newer ballasts with smaller and multiple capacitors took their place and vent holes were on the doors. In addition, a companion model, the M-400A Powr/Door was introduced.  This model was different in that instead of a single lower housing door, the unit had two separate compartments.  One for the optics and one for the ballast, which was typically mounted on the door. (to be continued)
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: Form109 on November 22, 2010, 04:00:21 am
i Thought the M-1000 Evolved from the Form 402?.....was there really such a thing as a GE Form 402?
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: NiMo on November 24, 2010, 05:03:52 pm
We're dealing with the cobraheads, not the clamshells, but you are correct.  The M-400 uses the same glassware as the Form-400 and the M-1000 uses the same glassware as the later Form-402.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: Silverliner14B on November 29, 2010, 04:19:25 am
Didn't the M250R come out a bit earlier than '62? Weren't the GE line updated in '64 with thumb latches? I once dated someone's M250R with thumb latch to be from late '64. The '70-'85 small GE was also called simply the M250R.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: NiMo on November 30, 2010, 06:48:24 pm
Didn't the M250R come out a bit earlier than '62? Weren't the GE line updated in '64 with thumb latches? I once dated someone's M250R with thumb latch to be from late '64. The '70-'85 small GE was also called simply the M250R.
The original M-250 was a medium housing with a polycarbonate refractor.  I think the thumb latches came around '63, but definately before the grey finish was introduced in '65.  As far as the M250R1, that was the model designation in the 1985-1986 catalogs.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: NiMo on July 06, 2011, 09:26:10 pm
Part II:  In 1970, the venerable "torpedo" shape of the GE "M-series" luminaires, except for the M-1000 went by the wayside as GE introduced the M-400 "split door", which was a virtual clone to the M-400A1 except for a simple thumb latch and solid door as the ballast was mounted on the housing, and to address heat dissipation issues with the M-400A1, vent holes were introduced on the ballast door of the M-400A1.  At the same time, the M-250A1 and the M250R1 were introduced.  The M250A1 was the "Little brother" to the M-400A1, and the M-250R1 was the first GE luminaire to incorprrate a bail-type latch we would see in different incarnations in the newer series.  Most notably, the slipfitter for the entire M-series luminares consisted of a single two-bolt clamp with the main bolt heads on the exterior of the luminaire.  Found only in the Powr/Door versions were internal hex heads permanently welded to the bolts.  You had to go in the reverse directions to tighten or loosen the slipfitter.  Also in the slipfitter design was a rocker assembly that consisted of a cast piece for the pipe that was rounded on the backside and "teeth" on both the casting and the housing so that you can essentially angle the luminaire with one hand while tightening the bolts with the other.  In 1976, per new Federal NEMA regulations, all new Luminaires were required to display a decal consisting of black alpha-numeric characters on a colored background (how Westinghouse got away with not displaying the decals still amazes me).  And with the advent of High Pressure Sodium lamps, new full cutoff optics were made available for both the M-250A1 and M-400A1 luminaires in 1975.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: Jace the Gull on July 06, 2011, 09:47:40 pm
The GE M-250A1 FCO are VERY rare! I have never seen one in person but I saw one picture of it which was found in California...
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: NiMo on July 06, 2011, 09:59:16 pm
I think that the M250R1 as a FCO made a better fit anyways.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: NiMo on July 06, 2011, 10:14:43 pm
Moving right along...

Part III (the 1980s):
The 1980s saw many transitions take place in the M-series luminaires.  When the M400A1FCO was first introduced, the optics were unique in that the socket was actually mounted on the reflector and the reflector was attatched to the door.  Also, the flat glass was "stippled" rather than transparent.  This changed when the  FCO optics were redesigned with a house side mounted socket and clear flat glass lens.  Also, the M-1000 underwent some changes in the ballast mounting necessitating a resdesign of the lower housing with the "step" door.  In 1983, the M-1000's refractor was changed for good from the deep bowl to a shallow bowl refractor.  Then the glass for the M-400s was replaced with the original Form-400 deep bowl glass for good.
1983 also saw the introduction of the (then) M-150A as a successor to the M-250A1.  This luminaire was different in that it incorperated many of the components that would become the standard for all GE Lighting System outdoor products, such as the bail latch, tool-less P-cell receptacle, and for HPS lighting, a no-tool plug-in ignitor.  Eventually, the M-150 increased its wattage capacity and was renamed the M-250A2. 
These design features, as well as a new four-bolt slipfitter became the standard for all of the M-series luminaires except for the M-1000 which continued to use the existing components right down to the original push latch from the original M-series design.
In 1985, the M250R2 and M400R2, as well as the M400A2 and a redesigned M250A2 were introduced to replace the dated and obsolete designs.  All of these luminaires were equipped with the features first introduced in the M150A (Original M250A2) and with the redesign of the M250A2, a critical component was upgraded.  When  the M250A2 was first rolled out, it had a black plastic socket rather than the conventional porcelain socket. This presented problems with relamping as the socket was prone to melting.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: Mike on August 08, 2011, 09:36:52 am
The 80's M-250R2 had a black plastic socket too. See Antstar85's gallery.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: ranger_x_80000 on November 17, 2011, 11:08:35 am
Hi there,

I was wondering if anybody can Identify this style of the Truss Armed Cobra Head Light Poles from the New Jersey Turnpike in this picture from Flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildmann59/2785613250/

I was needing to know information such as the name of the Manufacturer.

Thanks a million in advance. :-)
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: Jace the Gull on November 17, 2011, 03:16:57 pm
Yep I have seen them myself...they are the older GE M-250R from 1970-1985...most likely they are 1985 since I saw the reflector design when I drove through......
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: ranger_x_80000 on November 17, 2011, 04:10:24 pm
And was also wondering about the steel/aluminum "Truss Arm" style pole itself that holds the GE M-250R Cobra-Head. Was it Millerbernd or Pfaff & Kendal that manufactured the Light poles with that style of Truss Arms? This was one of the few style Light Poles & that I've admired so much from all the way back from when I was a toddler--- from all the times we took the NJTP to and/or through New Jersey. The other style of lamp posts I've also admired were the ones the routes 202 & 303 near Allentown, Pennsylvania and what they used to have on the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: Jace the Gull on November 17, 2011, 04:39:01 pm
And was also wondering about the steel/aluminum "Truss Arm" style pole itself that holds the GE M-250R Cobra-Head. Was it Millerbernd or Pfaff & Kendal that manufactured the Light poles with that style of Truss Arms? This was one of the few style Light Poles & that I've admired so much from all the way back from when I was a toddler--- from all the times we took the NJTP to and/or through New Jersey. The other style of lamp posts I've also admired were the ones the routes 202 & 303 near Allentown, Pennsylvania and what they used to have on the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

I am not too sure, but I will see if I can find out.....I have the same memory too....I was actually on the Delaware Bridge when they were changing them over....one bridge had all the cobraheads while the other one had the new Holophane Mongoose fixtures mounted on top of the ordinal poles...I know orginally there was TWICE as many poles in Delaware Bridge holding Silverliners! But in the 80s or so they removed every other poles and replaced the fixtures with HPS GE M-250R1 FCOs....and NOW arms are removed and Mongoose are slapped onto the top...

Do you know which side the New Jersey or Delaware actually owns those poles?  In Delaware parts of the turnpike had gotten FCO GEs too but the poles are different from NJ, the trusses in Delaware was more tapered in both masts....But now those poles are gone replacing with high masts!!!!

I have video of northern NJ turnpike with one side of the highway has the older setup with the older GE M-250Rs while the other side has the newer ones....if you would like, I will upload that video just for you!

By the way Welcome to GalleryofLights.org!!!!!
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: slz on November 13, 2014, 03:36:34 pm
I remember growing up in Worcester MA, noticing Mass Electric starting to install the new HPS M250R2's as early as mid/late 1984. MV and some HPS M150A "Boxy" being installed as early as 1982/83. The M400R2 starting coming around late 1987, early 1988. Worcester had some HPS fixtures downtown and in a few neighborhoods by the mid 80's but was predominately MV (with some incandescents remaining until the city wide HPS conversion of 1989-94). Mass Electric was even installing original M400's up until 1988!
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: slz on November 13, 2014, 03:39:08 pm
I also started noticing the "redesigned" M250A2 without the boxy shape anymore around 1986. So that means the Boxy M150A had a very short original life before the redesign.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: Mike on November 13, 2014, 08:27:13 pm
I've seen a few of the boxy M-150A/M-250A2 HPS lights but almost all that I see are the 100/175W MV 240V versions. Not a big fan of the late-80s through mid-90s version with the curved top and squared door. I'm even less of a fan of the current round top and round door M-250A2. I love the boxy profile of the M-250A2 FCO. A very oddball light though, since all of GE's cobraheads other than the M-150A/M-250A2 have a round profile. It seems to fit better with the McGraw-Edison Unidors and the 1980s Westinghouse fixtures that had a boxier profile.
Title: Re: GE Cobrahead
Post by: slz on November 13, 2014, 08:45:36 pm
Worcester had a bunch of boxys back between 1982-85 but most were the same 100/175mv and the 50/100/150 HPS versions were and are pretty rare here. I never noticed the newest m250a2 redesign with round doors. When was that redesign. I know 2007 was a redesign for the m250r2. I have seen those 1990's m250a2 versions in ri sporting 400 watt HPS. Very unusual for here.
Title: Re: GE Cobraheads
Post by: Mike on November 13, 2014, 10:20:17 pm
There aren't any current design A2s here but they're all over northern NH.  Here's a 250W HPS one on I-93 In NH.  (https://www.google.com/maps/@43.8138044,-71.6682098,3a,15y,30.48h,108.33t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sRosFa76AceUcnEqS8S5D4g!2e0?hl=en) The housing is still a little squarish (comparable to an OVZ I guess) but the door is round instead of flat. The powr/modules are compatable among the three versions as far as I know.

I don't know when the new design came out but it was probably around 2000. It was definitely before 2007. What did they change on the R2 in 2007? I thought the fixture had remained the same since the mid-90s (besides the meatball logo on the door being absent on the mid-90s to ~2000 models).

Yeah RIDOT has some of those 400W HPS drop lens M-250A2s from the mid-90s. There aren't a whole lot left though since they've been replacing them with new M-400s lately. Half the time they'll relamp, other times they replace the A2s.

The few HPS M-150A/M-250A2 FCOs here I've seen have been  70W HPS  (https://www.google.com/maps/@41.6575272,-71.4574972,3a,15y,357.29h,141.21t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sE00T5_3Fh0wRezdSN1_RfA!2e0?hl=en) which is weird since 50W HPS came out in 1980 and NECo used 50W HPS after the 80s but during the 80s they used 70W HPS. I prefer 70W anyway though since 50W HPS is virtually useless IMO.