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Old 02-01-2011, 02:32 PM   #1
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Changing Kitchen Light - Fluorescent Ballast


Hello! The light in my kitchen has been out for some time. I didn't have the money call a repairman so have been cooking dinner in the dark for some time. Well that time is over, lol.

So the issue is my kitchen light uses a ballast and is fluorescent. We got the ballast changed a few years ago because it went bad. But now I'm not sure if the bulbs or bad, or it's the ballast again. Let me give you examples of what I experience.

When we turn the lights on, one side of each light glows orange a little, and the light sometimes flickers. When we shut the lights off, they glow brightly for a split second before shutting off. Also, sometimes both lights will turn on very, very, lightly. If I let it stay like that for awhile, sometimes the lights will come back on! But if I then turn them off, they won't come back on.

Finally, there are black rings on the bulbs, which I hear are signs of bad bulbs. I would MUCH rather it be bad bulbs than a ballast, but really don't know. Can anyone give me some advice? here are some pics.

http://i54.tinypic.com/28tcm6f.jpg
http://i54.tinypic.com/2yo6g3m.jpg
http://i54.tinypic.com/jt1gf9.jpg

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Old 02-01-2011, 02:39 PM   #2
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Changing Kitchen Light - Fluorescent Ballast


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Finally, there are black rings on the bulbs, which I hear are signs of bad bulbs. I would MUCH rather it be bad bulbs than a ballast, but really don't know. Can anyone give me some advice? here are some pics.
Ayuh,... Those bulbs are most definitely Dying...
I'd replace 'em....

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Old 02-01-2011, 03:12 PM   #3
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Changing Kitchen Light - Fluorescent Ballast


Changing the bulbs is the first and the cheapest thing to try to fix this problem. Replace the bulbs in pairs. Do not just change one.
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:06 PM   #4
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Changing Kitchen Light - Fluorescent Ballast


Change the tubes. If they still don't light then change the ballast. You need to change the tubes anyway if you change the ballast. You don't want old tubes on a new ballast.
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:15 PM   #5
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Changing Kitchen Light - Fluorescent Ballast


Got it. Judging by my symptoms can you make a guess which part is faulty?

If it is the ballast, how much do they run? It's just snipping a connecting a few wires right? I have no prior electrical experience so even something like this may be a challenge =(
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:31 PM   #6
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Judging by my symptoms can you make a guess which part is faulty?
The Bulbs...
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:38 PM   #7
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I sincerely hope you're right =)

thanks for the help!
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:41 PM   #8
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If it is the ballast, how much do they run? It's just snipping a connecting a few wires right? I have no prior electrical experience so even something like this may be a challenge =(
You need to match the ballast to the bulbs in the fixture, so it's hard to say how much a new ballast for your particular application may cost. If it is an old unit, it may also have a starter unit. What you are describing is worn-out bulbs, though, so start with the simplest solution.

Personally, if I were dealing with an old FL fixture that failed (and new bulbs didn't solve the problem), I'd probably just replace the entire fixture with a newer unit based on an electronic (not magentic) ballast. These fixtures don't require starters, run more quietly and don't flicker as noticably. Additionally, it's actually simpler to replace the entire fixture than to troubleshoot and repair an old one.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:26 AM   #9
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Changing Kitchen Light - Fluorescent Ballast


I'm going to home depot on Saturday. If they don't have the F40KB do I just ask for a kitchen and bath fluorescent 40w 48 inch tube t-12?


http://i56.tinypic.com/1zg8e83.jpg


thanks!
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:29 AM   #10
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T-12's are being phased out for the more energy efficient T-8s.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:49 AM   #11
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Changing Kitchen Light - Fluorescent Ballast


http://www.lowes.com/pd_165446-371-9...s%3FNtt%3Dt-12

Do these look good? I don't know if I have an electric ballast. Don't you need one for t-8's? And aren't they more expensive?
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by llmercll View Post
http://www.lowes.com/pd_165446-371-9...s%3FNtt%3Dt-12

Do these look good? I don't know if I have an electric ballast. Don't you need one for t-8's? And aren't they more expensive?

Those should work in your fixture. The only difference is the color temperature... your original bulbs are 3000K, while the link you posted is 3500K. The new bulbs may have a slightly "warmer" color to them, but I doubt the difference would be objectionable, if you even notice.

Unless you are replacing the ballast, start by replacing the T12 bulbs. If you really want to go to the T8 bulbs, you will need a new ballast for your fixture, and it might even be cheaper to replace the entire fixture instead of trying to retrofit it.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:01 PM   #13
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Changing Kitchen Light - Fluorescent Ballast


Sounds good, I'm probably only going to be staying here for another year or so, so cheaper is better =)

If it's the ballast I may just rip the fixture out of the ceiling and use the wires to power a single lightbulb, lol (if thats even possible)
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:06 PM   #14
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Sounds good, I'm probably only going to be staying here for another year or so, so cheaper is better =)

If it's the ballast I may just rip the fixture out of the ceiling and use the wires to power a single lightbulb, lol (if thats even possible)
That's always an option to replace the FL fixture with an incandescant fixture. You won't get nearly the same amount of illumination from a single bulb as an FL tube, though. You'd need eight 60-watt incandescant bulbs to equal the light output of two T12 tubes, and you'd use roughly six times more electricity. A kitchen area is a workspace that needs a lot of light...
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:31 AM   #15
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Changing Kitchen Light - Fluorescent Ballast


Got it, thanks!

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