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Old 07-19-2012, 09:30 AM   #1
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Fluorescent light question


We have a 4-bulb fluorescent light in our pantry. I just changed two of the bulbs, but still have a problem with the light fixture hesitating to turn on. I have to flip the switch several times to get the light to come on fully. Is this a ballast problem?

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Old 07-19-2012, 09:33 AM   #2
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Fluorescent light question


Probably.

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Old 07-19-2012, 09:55 AM   #3
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Could also be a grounding issue, high humidity or dirty bulbs or a failing switch.
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:06 AM   #4
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Try giving the other bulbs a twist.

Is it an older T12 fixture? If so....and if it looks like you ballast is bad....you would be better off going to T8.

Also...nothing wrong with exploring other lighting options.....Personally, I'm a fan of recessed lights....nothing is sticking out to get broken....and you have a lot of bulb options....
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:51 PM   #5
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Fluorescent light question


I don't think humidity is an issue as it is in an interior room and there is an A/C vent there. Also, we do not have a problem with humidity in the house.

Grounding should also not be an issue as it has worked fine for years. The fixture is at least 10 years old.

How do I know if it is T12? ALso, which swithch are we talking about. We use a wall plate switch to turn off and on and I doubt that is the problem, but since I know nothing about electrics, I am sure I could be wrong. We have no issue with any other switch that was installed at the time.
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Old 07-19-2012, 02:01 PM   #6
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You can tell if it's a T12 by looking at the bulb....it will be written on the end.

In most cases, if it was just the lamp....all the other lights would come on...just not the bad lamp.

I really doubt it is the switch....you can usually tell by switching it slowly....compare how it feels with another switch...

Also...instead of switching it on and off a few times....just switch it on and wait....if after a few seconds the lights start to flicker and then come on....switch is fine....ballast is going.

T12's are being phased out. You 'might' be able to find a t12 ballast...but your other issue is that you may have trouble finding lamps a year or two from now.

If your going to spend money...spend it on the newer stuff....besides, they use about 20% less juice.
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Old 07-19-2012, 02:04 PM   #7
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Fluorescent light question


Can I just replace the ballast with the newer type or do I need a whole new fixture?
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Old 07-19-2012, 02:11 PM   #8
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You have to use T8 bulbs with the T8 ballast...pins are different..so, you need a new fixture....

Look at it as an oppertunity to improve....
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:08 PM   #9
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Geez! Thanks.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:15 PM   #10
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You don't need a new fixture. You can easily tell the difference between T8 and t12 by looking at them. T12 are 1" (12/12) diameter while T8 are 8/12. How long are the tubes?

Check the wiring diagram on the current ballasts and make sure the new ones, T8, match. There are two wiring schemes. The one you probably don't have (instant start) is with the connections to both pins in each socket are essentially identical either tied together or one wire. The one you probably do have (rapid start) is with two different wires going to each of two pins on each tube end. Other than that, changing the ballasts is child's play. You may be able to easily change the type of ballast required by changing the wiring, but that will be a little more complicated. There are lots of resources on the web with good pictures and diagrams.

Since this is in a pantry and you will be switching the lights a lot, rather than leaving them on, you should get a programmed-start ballast. It dramatically increases the tube (lamp) life. Good T8 lamps are costly. Good ballasts can extend their life 10-20 x in frequently-switched applications. Note that instant start is for the places where you turn on a light and leave it on for hours or never turn it off.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:07 PM   #11
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Could be a bad starter if you have one.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger1227 View Post
How do I know if it is T12?

T-12's measure 1 1/2" in diameter.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:06 PM   #13
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The pins on t8's and t12's are exactly the same.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:09 PM   #14
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[quote=ddawg16;969561]You have to use T8 bulbs with the T8 ballast...pins are different./quote]



No, they are not different. The tube size is different, not the pin size or spacing.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ionized View Post
.... You can easily tell the difference between T8 and t12 by looking at them. T12 are 1" (12/12) diameter while T8 are 8/12. .....

Not quite. T-12 bulbs are 1" in diameter. T-8 bulbs are 1"

The "T" stands for "tube" type of bulb. The number designates the number of eights of an inch. Other examples:

A19 = standard type bulb, 19/8 (2-3/8)" diameter
R30 = reflector type bulb, 30/8 (3-3/4)" diameter
PAR38 = Parabolic Aluminized Reflector bulb, 38/8 (4-3/4)"diameter
G40 = Globe type bulb, 40/8 (5)" diameter

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