Increasing Florescent Bulb Wattage - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
Advertisement


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Like Tree2Likes
  • 1 Post By Oso954
  • 1 Post By user_12345a
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes
Old 03-25-2020, 09:39 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 2
Rewards Points: 4
Default

Increasing florescent bulb wattage


Hi - Need some guidance: I have a few florescent fixtures that take 30W T8 bulbs, but my application requires higher wattage HO T8 bulbs. If I'm running these fixtures for short periods at a time (10-15mins) to not let the the bulbs get overheated, is there any negative impact to the bulbs or ballast?


I'd like to avoid getting new ballasts.


Thanks
copper000 is online now   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-25-2020, 10:26 PM   #2
Member
 
Oso954's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Northern Calif.
Posts: 8,673
Rewards Points: 1,242
Default

Re: Increasing florescent bulb wattage


High-output lamps are brighter and are driven at a higher electric current, and have different ends on the pins so they cannot be used in the wrong fixture.
Bud9051 likes this.
Oso954 is online now   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-25-2020, 11:05 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Maine
Posts: 9,199
Rewards Points: 8,522
Default

Re: Increasing florescent bulb wattage


T8 bulbs are also available in different color ratings. I used 5,000 K in a high ceiling garage application and the lighting was very good.

It's a possibility, check to see what rating the current bulbs are.

Bud
__________________
I volunteer my help and opinions, but you are responsible for what YOU choose to do with that information.
Bud9051 is online now   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old Yesterday, 01:57 AM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 11,209
Rewards Points: 1,170
Default

Re: Increasing florescent bulb wattage


You have to check the ballast ratings to see what it supports.

It's not just a question of overheating.

The role of the ballast is to initially supply very high voltage to strike a arc and ionize the gas inside so current can flow. Once the lamp gets going, it limits current flow.

If the ballast is a poor match, it won't drive the lamps properly. Light output may not meet published specs, can have problems starting, ballast and or lamp life can be shortened.

Some electronic ballasts are rated to drive more than one type/wattage of lamp.

It's always possible to replace the ballast and sockets so you can use the tubes of your choice without buying new fixtures.
__________________
I am not in the business of any trade I give advice on. I have non-professional hvac experience + good knowledge of theory. Attempt repairs at your own risk. Never jump out safeties - especially pressure switches - on a furnace for testing with fuel supply on; use a meter. Do not troubleshoot with live line voltage present unless there's no alternative.

Last edited by user_12345a; Yesterday at 02:05 AM.
user_12345a is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 05:40 AM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 723
Rewards Points: 58
Default


Why are you thinking about fluorescent anyway? LED please. Time to move on to better things.
Wiredindallas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 12:00 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 11,209
Rewards Points: 1,170
Default

Re: Increasing florescent bulb wattage


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiredindallas View Post
Why are you thinking about fluorescent anyway? LED please. Time to move on to better things.
A lot of led tubes actually put out less light than the fluorescent ones they replace.

T8 or T5 fluorescent is actually quite nice when it comes to quality of light, not as good as led. For energy savings to justify the cost of led, the fixtures have to be one like 8+ hours per day. The savings aren't that high fluorescent is already quite efficient.
taylorjm likes this.
__________________
I am not in the business of any trade I give advice on. I have non-professional hvac experience + good knowledge of theory. Attempt repairs at your own risk. Never jump out safeties - especially pressure switches - on a furnace for testing with fuel supply on; use a meter. Do not troubleshoot with live line voltage present unless there's no alternative.
user_12345a is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 01:27 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 64
Rewards Points: 128
Default

Re: Increasing florescent bulb wattage


Random big-box store fluorescent tubes give better light than random big-box store LED "fluorescent tube replacements". That's because of recent technology leaps in real fluorescent.

Brightening up your real fluorescents

But I don't see a way to do this without changing the ballast. Perhaps you could check your ballast and see if it can support more tubes than you have, and hork in another pair of tombstones.


Ballast Factor.

Your first and least powerful option is increasing Ballast Factor. Ballast factor is how hard it drives the tubes, and ranges from 70-130% typically, most being 0.9 through 1.0. This is chosen as an aesthetic choice by the lighting designer. An 80% ballast factor drives an F32T8 at 80% (25.6W instead of 32W).

So check your ballasts for their BF (it'll be stated on the label or the spec sheet). If you don't like the number, you can swap ballasts for one with a higher BF.

I would point out that since ballast factors exist as high as 130% or more, obviously driving the tubes that hard is viable.

T5 tubes.

If cost is no object, the expensive T5 tube offers somewhat higher brightness. Normally it takes a different fixture because tube lengths are different, but for a few lengths, you can get offset tombstones that make up the inch or so difference. Or should I say 25 mm or so; T5 is metric.

High-output tubes.

Many sizes offer "High-Output" tubes. But they use a different ballast, and also a different socket, so you must change the tombstones to "HO" types. Some HO sockets won't fit in space-confined fixtures like a 4' troffer, but you can handle that with T5.

LED replacement "tubes".

The market is flooded with cheap LED replacement "tubes". Most of them output fewer total lumens than a real fluorescent. (though in fairness, if they're better aimed, that may be a net win; none wasted heating up a reflector). If you shop carefully you might find LEDs that give significantly more practical lumens than Normal Output tubes.

However, don't be fooled by apparent brightness caused by the blinding tiny-spot light sources, bluish color temperature or disturbing, weird color mix (CRI) of many. Don't look at the tubes, look at the floor the tubes are lighting up.

DC LED strips + power supply.

At least one company (GE) makes a 12V and 24V DC power supply for LEDs that fits in the standard form-factor of a fluorescent ballast. I have used that to convert troffers to LED strips. Cut the LED strips down to whatever length works, and install as many as you please to whatever brightness you want. It works best in fixtures which have a diffuser, because direct LED strips can be pretty glaring.

These can even be put *in between* the fluorescent tubes. Most 4-lamp fixtures have space for 2 ballasts; make one of them a 4-lamp fluorescent ballast, and the other the LED power supply.

Last edited by seharper; Yesterday at 01:45 PM.
seharper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 01:41 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 650
Rewards Points: 1,300
Default

Re: Increasing florescent bulb wattage


A new fluorescent fixture is cheap. I know because I replaced a dozen with the new lamps as stores stopped stocking the old type. A bonus is that the new ones work much better in cold weather and they last a lot longer.
__________________
“In a world of climate change, the rich will find the world to be more polluted, more uncomfortable, colorless, and a bleaker world. The poor will die”. Kirk R. Smith
Calson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 02:29 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Saginaw, Michigan
Posts: 654
Rewards Points: 640
Default

Re: Increasing florescent bulb wattage


You need to look at the lumens that the light puts out. That's the measure of light being put out and ranges by brand and model of lights. I had some cheap bulbs that only put out 2300 lumens per bulb and they drove me nuts. I shopped around and found some that put out almost 3000 lm per bulb and it makes a huge difference in a double lamp fixture. They were actually cheaper too. I've looked at led and none of them put out the lumens that the fluorescent do so it wasn't feasible or economical to change out 30 fixtures.
taylorjm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Today, 11:20 AM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 2
Rewards Points: 4
Default

Re: Increasing florescent bulb wattage


Thank you all for the responses, particularly @seharper for taking the time with very helpful info.
copper000 is online now   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Top of Page | View New Posts