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Old 06-20-2012, 06:36 PM   #1
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


In the garage built in the early 80's there are (3) light ballasts accross. Half of the bulbs lit but then some died so I bought some new ones and they didn't light so it had to be something else. Long story short this is what I got when I tested each ballast with new bulbs.

Ballast #(1) Lights both and ballast looks modern/smaller and guess from the 90's

Ballast #(2) Old universal ballast stating 120v, 60hz but only lights one bulb and the box looks like it has gotten hot and metled some rubber coating. Also box looks really old like from the 70's or 80's

Ballast #(3) These bulbs do not light and this is the one I really want working since its over my work area. It has an identical box as #(2) but it has gotten way hotter and melted a ton of rubber off.

I already bought (4) new bulbs at homedepot for total of $20 and found some in the garage attic after buying them but really don't want to change the fixtures so I can use the bulbs I have now. I stopped by home depot and got one ballast for the f96t12 bulbs and since it was about $40 with tax I just got one. Thinking of just pulling #(2) ballast out and leave it empty and then wire up the end #(3) ballast. That would be enough light for the size garage it is.

But how do I wire it up? The diagram shows this:

2 sockets have 2 wires comming out and the other just has one and I want to wire it up correctly.

The attached picture show how it is currently wired up and the dots on the wires are just wire nuts. The 2 big dots are the large wire nuts with 6 wires in them with the power input!
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Help replacing T12 Ballast-current-ballast-wiring.jpg  


Last edited by hugocraft; 06-20-2012 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:42 PM   #2
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


wire it like the diagram...

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Old 06-20-2012, 06:44 PM   #3
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


IMO, return what you bought and buy new 4 foot T-8 fixtures. You will save money and have more efficient fixtures.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


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Originally Posted by stickboy1375 View Post
wire it like the diagram...
2 sockets on the left have 2 wires comming out and the other 2 sockets on the right just have one wire comming out.

The diagram show 2 wires comming out of each socket
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:53 PM   #5
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


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IMO, return what you bought and buy new 4 foot T-8 fixtures. You will save money and have more efficient fixtures.
OUTSTANDING advice.......

And in case you didn't get the hint....stop what your doing and take back the ballast and get new T8 fixtures.

One important thing to remember.....the T12 stuff has already been phased out....what you bought is pretty much what is left....

3-5 years from now, there will be no T12 ballasts to buy.....

When you consider the difference in performance....the price difference between that ballast and a couple of new T8 fixtures will be paid for in a couple of years.....
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:56 PM   #6
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


I could take back the ballast and 2 bulbs since they are unopened and get $50 back out of the $60 invested. But it still sounds simple to just get this ballast installed then change over to T8 later like years later when the bulbs die.

How much would it cost per T8 fixture?!?!?! Decent good ones.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:07 PM   #7
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A decent T-8 4 lamp fixture (8') can be bought for under $50..and very likely under $40. I recently bought 2 at Home Depot...and a 10 pack of lamps for $12. Forget the T-12, just not worth any investment.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
IMO, return what you bought and buy new 4 foot T-8 fixtures. You will save money and have more efficient fixtures.

Not so fast. He can change to 8' T8. That would be fine if the lights are turned on and left on for long periods. They will chew up the tubes fast with frequent switching, however. If lots of switching is anticipated, get new 4' T8 fixtures or go to a lighting supply shop and get some "belly pans" and socket kits for about 25 bucks a fixture. Ballasts will be extra.

OP, I believe that you can not use those ballasts with your fixtures. Your lamps have one pin on each end, now two on each end, right? If so, you can not use the ballast you bought.

No matter what you do, you should probably switch to T8. You don't have to do anything with the fixtures except change the ballast and lamps. If you turn them on and off a lot, you might consider more extensive changes. The single-pin slimline lamps (six to 8 foot) must be used with instant-start ballasts (T12 or T8). They are very energy efficient, but use lamps fast if switched a lot. If you switch them frequently, get program start T8 ballasts, change to 4' lamps with conversion kits or new fixtures.

You can stick with instant-start T12 if you wish.

Give more detail and let us know what you want to do and I can probably steer you towards less expensive ballasts on Ebay if you are patient. You've got 3, single-lamp, 8' strips or reflectors? At my residence, I have 14, two-lamp, 1 four-lamp and one single lamp. Conversion is in progress. My 4' luminaires are already converted. Ballasts cost me about $10 each in case quantity.

Last edited by ionized; 06-20-2012 at 07:25 PM. Reason: "In my" to "At"
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:24 PM   #9
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


The Home Despot fixtures are likely to have lousy, cheap ballasts. They are likely to be instant-start which is OK if you are working under them continuously for several hours.
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:07 PM   #10
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


I'm going to take the ballast and unopened pair of bulbs back to home depot.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:16 PM   #11
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


Take back the opened lamps too. they might take them back. Give it a try.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:56 AM   #12
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


Buy a new fixture. Seriously, it will probably be cheaper than the cost of the parts.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:35 AM   #13
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Buy a new fixture. Seriously, it will probably be cheaper than the cost of the parts.
There is more to it than the price. $45-50 for new T8 luminaire maybe of poor or maybe of higher quality. You'd have to look. You also have to put up with their choice of ballasts which might not be of the best type for the application and are probably not be the best quality. (I bet they don't say GE, Phillips, Sylvania, Advance, Universal, Keystone, on them. In addition to brand, a good thing to look for is the text, "NEMA Premium". It is an indicator of efficiency.

If you are going to change to 8' T8 it might only cost $10 for a ballast in each luminaire if you stick with instant-start lamps. I believe that your luminaires already have the right tombstones. Again, instant start is good for applications where the lamps are turned on and left on for hours. Not so good for frequent switching.

If you want to change to 4' lamps it will be $35-45 for retrofit ($10-20 for a new ballast and $25 for a belly pan kit.

An additional question. I am assuming that you have luminaires that are attached to your ceiling directly and connected with cable or conduit, not hung by chains and plugged in to an outlet. Is that the case?
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:26 AM   #14
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


More information about T12 phase-out. Manufacture and importation of new, full power T12 luminaires is already banned. After July 14 this year, MAGNETIC T12 ballasts will no longer be imported or manufactured in the USA for replacement use. Electronic T12 ballasts for replacement use will still be available. Some specialized T12 are exempted. T12 lamp manufacture is ending next month.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:33 AM   #15
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Help replacing T12 Ballast


I need to add that the simplest conversion to 8' T8 might not be that advisable even though it is cheap right now. There have been lots of retrofits done to T12, 8' luminaries in industrial and commercial establishments. Most of them are to convert each T12 to 2 x 4' T8. The reasons are not clear to me, but the lamps are easier to ship and store for one thing. Perhaps as a consequence, the shorter lamps and ballasts that drive them are less expensive due to supply and manufacturing factors.

In addition to that, my impression is that 8' T8s are more vulnerable to future phase-out because they are less efficient than the 4' systems. I am not sure of that, however. I am finding the information difficult to digest.

T5 is more efficient than T8, but it is more difficult to retrofit without changing luminaires.

Note that T8 and T5 technology has been around almost as long as T12, but was not developed until relatively recently.

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