View Full Version : Enlarger transformer blown
11-15-2006, 11:00 PM
A while ago I got a Vivitar VI Enlarger at a pretty reasonable price, $120AUS including shipping. However, after a power surge the transformer blew rather dramatically, which has basically rendered it useless. I took the transformer unit to get repaired, and on calling them today I've found out it'd cost them roughly $700 to rewire the transformer. $600 more than their original quote, so I don't really have much option but to look for a replacement. The problem is the voltage is apparently rather odd, 18 volts from what I can remember, not having it here in front of me to read off of.
Does anyone have any ideas of where I could hope to find a replacement, has anyone else used this particular enlarger? Would it be viable to get a different voltage transformer and changed the bulb to match?
Basically I'm kinda screwed without it, really. It's quite a nice enlarger otherwise.
11-15-2006, 11:04 PM
Have you looked on ebay, quite often, I have seen transformers on there, might be able to purchase a new one for it..
11-15-2006, 11:27 PM
You probably have a good options. I'm not familiar with the specific enlarger, but since it uses a transformer and you are mentioning 18v, I am assuming the head uses a quartz halogen projector lamp. You need a replacement transformer to go from your mains AC voltage to the 18v of the bulb that will handle, at least, specified amperage. As long as the transformer will physically fit in the power supply box it should work well. It does have to be a branded identical replacement part, just the physically and electrical equivalent.
Typically enlargers using quartz halogen bulbs run at a more common 24 volts. Therefore, perhaps a 24v transformer will be easier to obtain. Matching the current bulb wattage in a 24v QH bulb should be fairly easy. Just watch the bulb's color temperature to not screw up your filtering.
The repair cost quoted must have come with a kiss and a cigarette at the end!
11-15-2006, 11:29 PM
I've had a look around and there hasn't been anything suitable on eBay Australia or eBay.com that I could find, sadly. The transformer was manufactured by Vivitar themselves, or at least has their branding on it from what I can remember.
EDIT: Ah! Thank you very much...It doesnt seem so hopeless now. It is indeed a quartz halogen bulb. I was warned the 18v globe I had may be hard to come by if I needed a replacement, so if I could have it fixed and use more common globes I'd actually be a better position than how I started. I'll certainly look into it, my biggest concern was somehow ruining the whole thing by overloading the wiring.
11-15-2006, 11:53 PM
Just another thought. Perhaps, or actually most likely, the enlarger was made by another manufacturer and branded Vivitar, You might research this. I'd start with LPL as a likely candidate!
11-16-2006, 03:37 AM
It happened to me two wekks ago and what did I do.. (mine is 12 Volt), I bought a cheap set of halogen lamps that come together with a transformer for 20 Euros. The transormer specs are the same 12V/100W. I connected it to the enlarger and it works. The only differernce is that the original transformer had some kind of delay built in. I don't know if this is of some importance, but till now I can live without it.
Maybe you can find something similar.
11-16-2006, 04:12 AM
How many watts is the halogen lamp? You need a transformer that can handle the current as well as be the correct voltage. Another consideration is whether the transformer actually supplies 18V or a higher voltage that is then regulated down to 18V by the circuitry in the stabilizer. Without knowing this, getting a 3rd party transformer is a bit hit and miss.
Better to either replace the lamp (if it will fit) with another one as suggested (lack of stabilisation is not really an issue if you only do B&W printing) or either go for a new enlarger or find a whole enlarger of the same type - given the price some enlargers go for these days, that can be a reasonable option, financially.
Good luck, Bob.
11-16-2006, 04:57 AM
It's 80watts according to what I have written down for the lamp - I think I'll talk to the electronics guy again and find out what it'd cost to get it rewired at 24v Rather than 18, and pick up some new lamps. Depends if it's a reasonable price, I think. At this stage I'm just doing 35mm black and white, If I need anything larger or in colour I'll invest in a new enlarger.
11-16-2006, 08:02 AM
I've seen variable power supplies a number of times in the electronics shops around here that allow you to dial in the settings you need for any given hookup so you can get whatever odd voltages you need. If you got one of these it would certainly cheaper than what you listed for the replacement cost for your transformer and it would allow you to select whatever voltage you need. You might also check the online science project sites if you can't find one locally.
11-16-2006, 08:15 AM
When I needed a replacement for my Durst I found one, used for halogen lamps, for about $20 at a lighting shop, just sodered it in line, has worked just fine.
11-16-2006, 08:16 AM
I don't know what voltage Australia uses as it's common voltage but if it is 120 volt, there are any number of options available. Jefferson Transformer (USA) among others can provide you with a replacement. A machine tool transformer with suitable VA rating is adequate to your needs.
For that matter, if it were me, I would not even transform the main voltage down...I would seek to buy a lamp that is of the proper wattage at the main voltage.
11-16-2006, 10:21 AM
Don's Bulbs (a usefull bookmark!) says this (http://www.donsbulbs.com/cgi-bin/r/b.pl/ekg%7c19v%7c80w~ansi.html (http://www.donsbulbs.com/cgi-bin/r/b.pl/ekg%7c19v%7c80w%7Eansi.html)) is your current lamp. Good news is that it should be easy to find another lamp that will fit your enlarger as MR16 is a common size (my Durst L1200 uses the same size lamp, but 250W @ 24V). Find a lamp first, then worry about getting a transformer to match (if you need one - some run at mains voltages as already suggested - but in that case, check the voltage rating of any switches). The cost of a new 12V or 24V transformer will be a fraction of having your existing one re-wound.
Probably best not to go above 100W in case a higher wattage causes overheating and also check that the new lamp is a dichroic type as this allows a lot of the heat to leave via the back of the glass envelope; too much heat coming out the front may be a problem for the enlarger if it is designed for a dichroic lamp (which, according to the link, your existing lamp should be).
Of course, if anyone has a Vivitar Colour Head service manual floating about and can tell you the secondary voltage(s) of the transformer...
11-16-2006, 02:30 PM
If you want to change the lamp socket and have 120 volt main voltage in Australia than this link will get you lamps that will be of the appropriate wattage and get around the transformer requirement
11-16-2006, 07:17 PM
If you want to buy a transformer, check out Digikey for prices. They have a good search tool for different types of transformers at:
Shipping might be a little pricy cause transformers are heavy. But it's worth a look...