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Old 01-29-2013, 09:08 AM   #1
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replace flourescent ballast


Hi,
Curiously both outside tubes don't work, while the two middle ones do and the bulbs are all good. So I either replace this fixture, $200+...possibly needing to repaint the ceiling as well...ugh.

I thought maybe I could replace the ballast, but the cover seems on there pretty good, held on by metal tabs

...plus, once I get the cover off is there any way to tell which ballast is bad (trace the wires?)

Thanks
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:17 AM   #2
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Ayuh,... The center cover comes off by squeezin' it abit, 'n pullin' it off/ out...

It's probably a single ballast for 4 tubes...

If there's 2 ballasts, the 1 wired to the outside tubes will be the Bad 1...

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Old 01-29-2013, 09:24 AM   #3
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replace flourescent ballast


Just trace the wires from the tombstone to the ballast. Those look like T-12 bulbs. If they are you should consider replacing the ballasts and bulbs with T-8.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:55 AM   #4
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replace flourescent ballast


Feel the ballast, the bad one may be colder to the touch.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:00 PM   #5
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Squeeze the center cover on one side and slip it out from under the tabs. The other side will then fall out.
The only way to be sure which ballast if there are two is to follow the wires to the tombstones.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:57 PM   #6
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The big issue in changing the ballats now is, this lamp likely has the older ballasts, the "dangerous" PCB ones, not only are these no longer made apparantly, but the new ones are all going to electronic ones made in China just like the CFL bulbs are replacing the incandescents made here, the CFL's are all made in China.
The electronic ballast take the narrower tubs, and furthermore, the ones we bought to replace all the ballasts in the place where I work had a different wiring method than the old ones.
It used to be it was a simple black and white in, and I seem to remember 3 wires out, maybe 2 blue and 1 red. The electronic ones have more wires and I had to cut and splice wiring to rewire every one of the 99 fixtures according to the different wiring diagram on the new ballasts.
It was a big headache, but a fixture like this should never cost $200
The ballast however can run around $50, and well, made in China now you know what THEIR track run of reliability is.
We've had about 6 of the electronic ballasts fail, I just replaced one last week even.

There will be a number and brand and wiring diagram on the ballast itself, you can match up a replacement for that by the number.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:30 PM   #7
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"The big issue in changing the ballats now is, this lamp likely has the older ballasts, the "dangerous" PCB ones"

PCB's were banned in 1979. If that light is 1979 or prior, there is concern.
But it doesn't even look close to that age to me.
Magnetic ballasts 1980 or later, should be PCB free, in the US.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:28 PM   #8
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replace flourescent ballast


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso954 View Post
"The big issue in changing the ballats now is, this lamp likely has the older ballasts, the "dangerous" PCB ones"

PCB's were banned in 1979. If that light is 1979 or prior, there is concern.
But it doesn't even look close to that age to me.
Magnetic ballasts 1980 or later, should be PCB free, in the US.
My building had 15 hanging fluorescent lamps in it, several ballasts had the date of mfr stamped on them of 1953. They were working when removed- service of 60 years unlike the electronic ones from China that will probably be dead and landfill bait in 5.

I had to replace the ballast in my 4 bulb kitchen troffer lamp, it was only about 3-4 years old. I was sitting here at the computer and saw a flickering and then the output of light went way down.
The stuff made today is garbage, you'll never see lamps like these last 60 years again, were all on a 5 year total replacement cycle on just about everything electronic now.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:07 PM   #9
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replace flourescent ballast


Quote:
Originally Posted by RWolff View Post
...The stuff made today is garbage, you'll never see lamps like these last 60 years again, were all on a 5 year total replacement cycle on just about everything electronic now.
Got that right!

We take a Sharpie pen, and mark the installation date right on the ballast label in large easy-to-read numbers every time we change out a ballast.

It's surprising how quick some of `em fail.

Anytime there is less than 5 years' worth of service on a bad one, we always take it back to the supply house and demand a warranty replacement. Gotta make those manufacturers stand behind their junk, ya know ...
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:52 AM   #10
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replace flourescent ballast


the power line in probably has two smaller black wires going to each ballast. i unscrew the wire nut and remove one. does the inside bulbs still work? then the wire that is disconnected leads to the bad ballast.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:49 PM   #11
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replace flourescent ballast


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso954 View Post
"The big issue in changing the ballats now is, this lamp likely has the older ballasts, the "dangerous" PCB ones"

PCB's were banned in 1979. If that light is 1979 or prior, there is concern.
But it doesn't even look close to that age to me.
Magnetic ballasts 1980 or later, should be PCB free, in the US.
No, it's newer like my kitchen troffer- same squeeze to open ballast cover.
I didn't check, but are even the magnetic ballasts still manufactured any more too? I remember the local electician Ive worked along side at work before said somethng about the old style tubes being phased out and the ballasts, and that the new standard was the electronic ballasts and the thinner tubes that apparantly only work with the electronic ballasts.

I had to change out 99 of them at work a few years back and it was a pain, it was done at the time to shave the electrical costs, as I recall the savings in reductions of wattage used would pay for the costs in something like 6-7 years. Wonder if they factored in the cost for the disposal fee for the 99 old perfectly working ballasts and all those tubes because the new ballasts worked with the new slimmer tubes.

The difference in savings per lamp was only a few watts, and then it took me several days to replace all those damn things. I doubt it was worth it, especially since the ballasts were all in fine working condition.

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