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Old 01-10-2012, 01:33 AM   #16
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Fluorescent lights don't seem to last


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Originally Posted by preciouschristy View Post
The fixtures are Lithonia $20 wrap-around 2-bulb fixtures
The bulbs are Philips 32w T8 4-ft bulbs



Thanks
The issue is the cheap luminaires they will come with crappy ballast as well I have ran into like this many time I end up replace my customer cheap stuff and put in good qualinty one which I used all the time and all the issue went away due I use high qualunity I know they cost more on the luminaire itself but very little call back on them.

Merci,
Marc

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Old 01-10-2012, 03:12 AM   #17
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Fluorescent lights don't seem to last


Well, it sounds like the consensus is that I need better fixtures- which is what I was afraid of. I'll look for better- does anyone have a recommendation? Since it's just the garage, I didn't really want to spend extra money for decorative fixtures, and Home Depot and Lowes both have about the same type stuff. Not sure where else to look- but if anyone can recommend a better brand than Lithonia, it would be appreciated.

Thanks for all your input-
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Old 01-10-2012, 06:25 AM   #18
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Fluorescent lights don't seem to last


This is a long shot, but if the OP lives in a cold climate, it's possible that the problem is not having cold start ballasts in the fixtures. I say this because the OP didn't say the tubes were dead, just that they were "dim".

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Old 01-10-2012, 08:17 AM   #19
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Fluorescent lights don't seem to last


Quote:
Originally Posted by preciouschristy View Post
Well, it sounds like the consensus is that I need better fixtures- which is what I was afraid of. I'll look for better- does anyone have a recommendation? Since it's just the garage, I didn't really want to spend extra money for decorative fixtures, and Home Depot and Lowes both have about the same type stuff. Not sure where else to look- but if anyone can recommend a better brand than Lithonia, it would be appreciated.

Thanks for all your input-
That is the thing. IT is for the garage, and you want the best fixtures in there, so that you are not climbing up on scaffolding or a ladder to change bulbs every six months or so. The ones we have in our basement, we got from Lowe's about 8 years ago, and have never had to replace ballasts in them, just bulbs maybe twice in the last eight years.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:19 AM   #20
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Fluorescent lights don't seem to last


Get a fixture that says it will work in cold temperatures; usually indicates an electronic ballast not a magnetic one. Usually a bit more reliable IMO. I think Lowes has them for <$30.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:47 AM   #21
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Fluorescent lights don't seem to last


He already has cold-start electronic ballasts because his lamps are T8 and he bought them less than a year ago.

It is possible that your cycling of the bulbs is shortening their life, but I would say it's unlikely that the full cause of your situation unless you are literally turning them on for five minutes a time, a couple of times a day. The rated lifespan for T8 bulbs is based on testing with an operating cycle of 3 hours on and 20 minutes off. That falls off pretty steeply as the "on" period of the operating cycle diminishes. Here is a chart of the impact of operating cycle on lifespan:



So potentially, if you are turning the lights on for 5 minutes at a time, it could possibly be the cause. As a result the first thing I would do is install a timer switch for the lights, so that when you turn them on they stay on for an hour at a time. If that significantly increases the bulb lifespan, then you've found a cheap fix and just need to compute electricity cost against bulb replacement cost to optimize how you operate your lights.

If that does not give you any joy then I would replace one of the ballasts and see what happens. It's not really that hard. It's a straight swap...just pop open the box, unscrew the ballast and change out two connections. A good quality ballast is going to run you @ $35. Grainger sells them. I have bought a few replacement ballasts from HD and a couple of them were DOA so I would not start there.

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