Very recently I’ve been servicing quite a lot of showtec phantom 50 LED spot fixtures and after a couple of months I can say that I know them quite well. I tough it would be interesting to do a short review from a technical point of view of the Showtec Phantom 50 LED spots so that people interested can have a better insight of the inner design and common problems that might encounter if they decide to work with them.
Showtec Phantom 50 LED spot Review:
As a first impression, the Showtec Phantom 50 LED spots are a very small units delivering quite a powerful light output for a low price and low energy consumption. We are talking about around 600€ per unit, the question is what can I expect for this low price?
Check basic characterisitcs in this youtube video of the Spots.
The first thing to notice is the noise of the FANs. This units have a very low quality FANs that will produce a lot of noise and will be prone to fail after a certain amount of hours. After 3 years of heavy use i could say ALL FANs of around 40 units have failed and have been replaced. When FANs fail the Showtec Phantom will heat up and eventually switch off due to overheating with the added stress on the LED and other electronics and mechanical components. And there is nothing that tells you that the FANs fail other than not hearing the annoying noise.
Electronics are simple and efficient but you can also see the low quality in there. I’ve seen several failures due to cold solder joints and some bad cap in the power supply, nothing that you can’t repair but could be a bit better. I have only encountered one unit with a non repairable part (the microcontroller) that had one of the PWM pins controlling the LED broken. Mechanics are very good. I’ve only seen a couple of broken stepper motros but for the rest haven’t seen any other moving part fail. The gobos and color wheels are very robust and unlike other brands I don’t see them failing in the showtec phantom 50 spots. (picture below is from a Showtec Phantom wash, but very similar from the one found in the spots)
Plastics are probably the weakest point. When opening the showtec phantom the plastic will break just looking at it. Also the lenses and the focus system will break if not handled with care. So be prepared with some glue at hand when opening them up.
Over all and taking into consideration all the factors, the Showtec Phantom 50 LED spots are a good choice if you are looking for a cheap but decent light fixtures. They will require a fair amount of maintenance after 2 or 3 years of daily use. It is difficult to find spare parts and there is no documentation. There are no official showtec technical services that offer repair and if you do it yourself you will have to do some of research and deal with the usually slow official dealers. Here in Holland the main distributor for the showtec phantom is Highlite. Fixtures are light, powerful and do their job. Price/quality is not bad. If I had to rate them i would say 6,5 out of 10
Coming next: Common problems and how to fix them. Stay tuned.
Since a lot of people is asking for a solution with the problem of the fans I’m posting here some findings from Michael (read this post long ago) who investigated the subject and found out a good FAN replacements for it:
FYI: I have taken these fans as replacements for the original fans of my Showtec Phantom 50 moving heads:
- Scythe Mini Kaze 50x50x10mm 4500 U/min 26 dB(A) http://bit.ly/1QkIBuC
- Papst 712F/2L 70x70x15mm 3300 U/min 26 dB(A) – http://bit.ly/1QkIAqq
Both fans are much less noisy than the original, but not super silent because I tried to find a compromise between sufficient airflow and noise. I have checked temperature after 3h of continuous operation – almost the same as with the old fans. My Eurolite TSL scanners with Noiseblocker silent fans show a much higher temperature difference, when compared to the original fans.
Thanks Michael for your input
Hope it helps.