Bench Testing G24D-1, 2 Pin, 13W CFL Bulbs

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Old 03-06-19, 08:19 PM
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Bench Testing G24D-1, 2 Pin, 13W CFL Bulbs

Hi all. This might be bordering on a super geeky issue and for that I apologize, but I'm in search of an answer. BTW, I don't recommend anyone attempting what I'm doing unless you have a good knowledge of electrical hazards and safety. - Thanks.

I just exchanged about 25 G24D-1 base CFL bulbs at my church. These were all in outdoor fixtures. 80% of the bulbs were burned out, but the remaining had some life left. I didn't mark which were good and which were bad, thinking I'd just buy an inexpensive magnetic ballast and bench test them. Well, I purchased the ballast GE recommended for their bulbs (bulb = F13DBX/835/ECO), connected the bulb to the ballast per their guidance, applied power and couldn't get a single bulb to light. OK I thought, maybe these bulbs were in delicate condition after being outside for so many years and I damaged the internal starters. Well, I've since received a batch of new bulbs to use as spares and just tried testing one of these. It didn't light either. The ballast shows conductivity and my wiring is good. One of the dead bulbs did show a slight purple glow near the base, similar to what you'd see on a dead 40W fluorescent bulb, so that gives me some indication of things being wired correctly.

The only thing I can come up with is that the ballast needs to be electrically grounded and connected to sheet metal, where the sheet metal is within some magic distance from the bulb tubes. Old 40W fluorescent tubes apparently were supposed to be near a common grounded plate to run properly.

These specific CFL bulbs are now somewhat uncommon so it's difficult to find a new fixture that will accommodate them for testing. Also, the light fixtures at church are controlled by a light sensor and I don't want to test them with power applied, or wait 24 hours for each test :-). Why not just recycle them? I'm sure some will burn out prematurely and I really don't mind replacing these with older bulbs, even if they fail within a few months. I'm a volunteer!

Any thoughts?

Thanks for your help - Tom
 
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Old 03-09-19, 07:19 PM
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So these are the older 2-Pin lamps with built-in starters, and it's 13W G24d-1, not 13W GX23-2, correct? You are located in the United States, is that right? I do know the 13W GX23/GX23-2 lamps were designed to be operated on 120V with a simple choke ballast (no autotransformer required). The 13W G24d-1 I'm less sure about, but I'm thinking it requires a step-up transformer to operate, though over in Europe it could be used without a transformer. If that's the case, maybe it's not working in your test setup because you have a GX23-2 ballast. I'd double-check the spec sheet. Pre-heat lamps like these should start without a ground. Rapid-start on the other hand, can have difficulty in that regard.

Are your outside lights on a 277V circuit? That could be a reason to use G24d-1. The European-spec PL lamps were not commonly used on 120V, given that the need for a step-up transformer negated the benefits of a slightly more efficient, higher-voltage lamp.
 
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Old 03-14-19, 06:19 PM
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Thanks for your reply, pjcpc1. Sorry about the delay here. Yes indeed, the bulb is the two pin with the built in starter. It's interesting how they integrated the starter into the base. I was driven to take one of the burned out bulbs apart to see how the bulb was internally wired - very neat.

Yes I am in the U.S. The ballast I purchased, recommended in the GE bulb spec sheet, is a GEM1CF13PH120. According to the literature it's supposed to be used with just 1 bulb, where the companion GEM1CF13PH277 is rated for 2 bulbs. GE also has a spec sheet posted for the ballast, and it shows a simple series connection to the bulb. The drawing shows a starter on two of the lamp terminals, as you would with a 4 pin lamp, but those connections are internal within the G24D-1 base.

Ok about the ground - thanks! I didn't realize what the ground was actually doing there with a rapid-start set-up.

The lamps that these bulbs came from were on an outdoor circuit. The source was indeed 120V.

I've since tried my bench set-up again with no luck. An ohm meter shows there is conductivity with the ballast. Voltage is getting through to the bulb. I wonder if there is some electrical component or perhaps a metal shield around the starter extension in a G24D-1 receptacle? I'm not using a receptacle for my testing. I'm just connecting a couple of clip leads to the bulb pins.

Very strange. Guess I'll have to keep watch for an old G24D-1 light fixture in the recycle stores. If it works, I'll take out it's ballast and install mine to figure out what's happening with the bench test.
 
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Old 03-23-19, 11:01 PM
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I looked up the GEM1CF13PH120 and the spec sheet I found only indicates GX23. I'm curious what your outside lights use, because I personally cannot find a 120V ballast for the G24d-1 lamp. This would be a good question for lighting-gallery.net if you want to get to the bottom of it. I did find one quote to support this hypothesis. "Europe have a 13W PL-C that have higher arc voltage and lower current than the 13W PL-S."
 
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