fluorescent garage lighting

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Old 02-19-18, 08:45 PM
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fluorescent garage lighting

I have replaced bulbs in my three 8 foot long twin bulb light fixtures (center post bulbs). On one fixture a bulb lights while the other bulb doesn't and the fixture makes a humming noise. the other fixture both bulbs light but flicker slightly when on and the third fixture doesn't light at all. I am assuming the ballasts are at fault. Before spending money on replacing them I would like to know if this solution sounds correct. eg. Would a bad ballast light one bulb and not the other? Or would it light both bulbs but flicker as if the bulbs were old and needed to be replaced? ( I have had other fluorescent fixtures in the past that replacing ballasts didn't help as it was the bulb connectors at fault). The Ballast are Advanced Transformer SM2E75-S3 T-12. Will any T-12 Ballast work as a replacement?
 
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Old 02-20-18, 03:04 AM
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If your at the point in time that you are having potential ballast issues just convert them over to LED and be done with all that old krappy florescent lighting. With LED's you remove the ballasts, get better lighting and save money.

You will not regret the change.
 
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Old 02-20-18, 03:36 AM
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I agree with Marq; it's time to convert them to LED. T12 bulbs are increasingly difficult to come by, so no sense investing more into your fixtures. I am in the process of converting 9 T12 fixtures in my shop to LED, and very glad that I am going this route. The light is every bit as good as fluorescent, and actually better as there is no sow start when it's cold, no flickering, etc. You can buy a kit for each fixture that includes new tombstones, and will use 4 T8 LED bulbs in place of two fluorescent T12 bulbs. You can run LED bulbs through existing ballasts, but, since you need to replace the ballasts, buy LED bulbs with internal drivers and you can skip the ballasts.
 
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Old 02-20-18, 05:33 AM
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My warehouse has 8 ft. T12 fluorescent lights. As either the bulbs or ballasts die I don't bother repairing them. Instead I replace the bulbs with 8' LED's. It's very easy. I purchased the type of bulbs that run on 120v so they do not need a ballast. I just open up the fixture and re-route the wiring according to the instructions with the LED bulb (make sure you turn off the power first). My bulbs came with new tombstone ends but I just used the ones that were already in the fixture.
 
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Old 02-20-18, 06:00 AM
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Dane, are you running 8' LED's, and do they have T12 ends? The ones I am using are only 4', so I had to add tombstones in the middle, and replace the ones on the end because the bulbs have T8 ends. I know there are a lot of choices, and there is a lot of information as well as misinformation on the web, so when I was ready to make the change I went to my local commercial electrical supply house, and this is what they recommended. Either way, Greg, yes, it's real easy. Mine are between 12' and 14' high, and I'd guess maybe an hour a piece to convert the fixtures, but at least half of that time is making room for and setting up a 12' ladder at each end, so, realistically, with an 8' or so ceiling you're probably in the range of a half hour each. But the sweet part is that when you're done, you're done. No wondering "is that the bulb or the ballast", "should I just swap one bulb", etc. Like Dane, I am using 120 volt bulbs, so if a bulb ever acts up I know that all I have to do is change that one bulb.
 
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Old 02-20-18, 06:48 PM
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Dont remember seeing any 8' LED bulbs in lowes. . Checked home depots site its showing 8' LED bulbs at $40 + a piece, with 6 bulbs to replace thats pricey. Already bought the fluorescent bulbs so I'll probably stick with the florescent for now.So if I replace my ballasts can I use any T 12 ballast or do I need one specific to my fixtures? What do I need to check to get the right ones?
 
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Old 02-20-18, 10:08 PM
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I assume you have single pin (Slimline fluorescent lamps) if so any T12 ballast that is rated to run the F9612 single pin lamps should work. Make sure the sockets are in good shape


If you want to go LED I found This
 
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Old 02-21-18, 06:05 AM
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My local Lowes has a terrible selection of LED bulbs. I had to order 8' ones online but it was well worth waiting a couple days for delivery as they installed very easy.
 
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Old 02-21-18, 07:11 AM
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As far as matching ballasts to bulbs and vice versa, I would not even try it at a big box. If your research skills are good, my suggestion is to look at Grainger's site. You could easily be overwhelmed by the choices if you're not careful, but I used their catalogs as a reference guide for years, for lighting, tools, various equipment, etc., and have transitioned to their website for the same purpose in recent years. They have done away with some of the handy dandy reference and cross reference tables and like that they used to have, but I still think they are tops as far having some of the most complete and comprehensive listing of pertinent specifications. Or, if you have one nearby, you could visit a local electrical supply house. They're a little harder to find sometimes because they typically don't deal with retail, but a few of the ones I am familiar with are connected with retail lighting shops or will refer you to one. Once you know which ballasts you want for which tubes, or which tubes for which ballasts, then you can check out the big boxes or online for the best pricing. Locally anyway, I do not believe any of our big boxes carry 8' LED tubes, although I can't say for certain because I went through a supply house once I had done my research and verified with them that I was on the right track. One thing I did find though is that some of the big boxes do advertise 8' LED fixtures, but you have to watch because I believe they are what I would call a sealed unit, actually comprised of 4' tubes, end to end, and the bulbs are not sold individually, so if a tube goes you replace the entire fixture. Probably not relevant to what you're doing, but mentioning in case you start wondering like I did at some point early in the process why they had 8' fixtures but no replacement bulbs.
 
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Old 02-21-18, 09:36 AM
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you have to watch because I believe they are what I would call a sealed unit, actually comprised of 4' tubes, end to end
Actually a lot of stores sell 4' fixtures with the LED's glued to the inside of the fixture, no bulbs at all!

At first I was a little hesitant but after looking into it some it would be very easy to buy strip LED's and replace if the day ever came that they burned up.

But most of the 4' lights I have purchased were only $20.
 
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Old 02-21-18, 04:36 PM
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whats the difference between an electronic vs a magnetic ballast?
 
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Old 02-21-18, 07:32 PM
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Magnetic ballasts are the older technology and are larger and quite heavy. It's sort-of a wire wound transformer sealed in with a blob of tar. They waste a fair bit of energy as heat. Electronic ballasts are more modern and use electronics to convert your house's 120 volt AC to what the bulb needs and are physically smaller in size and more energy efficient
 
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Old 02-22-18, 07:22 AM
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Before going the LED route, I had replaced the original magnetic ballasts in 3 of my 8' T12 fluorescent fixtures with electronic ones, and it is my opinion that the electronic ones are a lot quieter and work better in colder temperatures, although my comparison is not apples to apples as I was replacing ones that had failed or were failing and even the ones that were still working were fairly old. And don't arbitrarily use what I did without checking the spec's because there are a lot of options, including the bulbs that you are using, but the electronic ballasts I used, again, 8' double T12, were Grainger's # 4VMY6, which I believe are Phillip's # ICN-2P60-N. Check them out yourself before buying, but even if these numbers don't do what you want I thought they might at least give you something to start with, and get you looking in the right direction.
 
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Old 02-23-18, 11:18 AM
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The Ballasts usually would not cause just one bulb lighting up. That is probably a bad bulb or a bad connection to that bulb not lighting up. The LED's also do not need to be warm to work. In my garage the Florescent don't like to work when it is cold. All the info you need should be off the old ballasts. Thats how I have always replaced them.
 
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Old 02-23-18, 02:10 PM
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Don't mean to hijack, but if one wants LED lighting in a fluorescent style housing, is the consensus to go with a T8 style fluorescent fixture, bypass the ballast, and install T8 LED tubes? I too do not like the LED strip fixtures with non-replaceable LEDs. I need to put lighting in my garage and would like to go with two 4' dual-tube T8 style housings with reflectors but use LED tubes. Something like such: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Lithonia...hoCCd8QAvD_BwE

If I go with these, is it as simple as replacing the bulbs with 120V LED and bypassing the ballast?
 
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Old 02-24-18, 08:56 AM
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is it as simple as replacing the bulbs with 120V LED and bypassing the ballast?
It is that simple. There are LED bulbs that have internal reflectors so you could use fluorescent strips without reflectors, if you want. LED tubes are plastic so do not need the protection from breakage that the fluorescent reflector would provide.
 
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Old 02-24-18, 09:52 AM
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is it as simple as replacing the bulbs with 120V LED and bypassing the ballast?
Almost. You may have to replace the sockets (normally included with the kit) if the new led lamps are fed only one side. Most existing T8 sockets have shunted sockets which would be a direct short.
 
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Old 02-24-18, 11:15 AM
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I would check this out if I were you, but if you're referring to buying and converting new fixtures I believe that you can buy 4' LED fixtures off the shelf, which should cost less than fluorescent fixtures, conversion kits, and LED bulbs, and you wouldn't have to do anything other than plug them in. The reason I went with conversion kits was that I already had 9 8' fluorescent fixtures hanging in the shop, so the conversion kits and new LED bulbs was the way to go, it saved me the cost of the sheet metal basically, even though it took a little extra time.
 
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Old 02-24-18, 12:08 PM
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I've looked in the big box stores and most of the 4' LED fixtures are the integrated type, which I dont want. There is a better selection of fluorescent fixtures, at least in my locale. May need to order something online, but need rand recommendations because there arw so many. The lights will be mounted 10' high on a sloped ceiling so I'm not concerned about breakage. The reflector seemed like a good idea to get as much light as possible down to the floor.
 
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Old 02-24-18, 01:19 PM
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I am not an expert (at anything as a matter of fact), but based on what I have read and been told, you do not need anything to reflect the light down with LED's, because unlike fluorescent tubes, which emit light 360 degrees, the LED's in an LED tube are positioned such that they have a top and bottom (layman's term), so, by design, all of the light is directed downward.
 
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