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Old 04-27-2009, 09:59 PM   #1
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Default T12 to T8 conversion

I did a small T12 to T8 conversion job the other day. As I was taking out the old ballasts I was checking the date stamp on them - 1975, 1977, 1981, 1996, etc.

I felt kind of bad taking out ballasts that have been in continuous operation for over 30 years and replacing them with ballasts that might last a dozen years on the high end of the bell curve.

As it is, this property already had most of their T12 lights converted to T8 about 10 years ago, and those ballasts are starting to fail. I already replaced a half dozen or so.

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Old 04-27-2009, 10:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter D View Post
....I felt kind of bad taking out ballasts that have been in continuous operation for over 30 years and replacing them with ballasts that might last a dozen years on the high end of the bell curve....
You're lucky if you get that much out of them. In my experience, about half the new T-8 ballasts fail within the first 5 years. JUNK if you ask me!

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Old 04-27-2009, 10:07 PM   #3
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I know what you mean. It makes me sick having to replace so many new ballasts in year one and year two, when I have replaced magnetic ballasts that have been in since the 50's and 60's before they failed. I think this is a topic that is seldom spoken about, since I'm not sure what to do about it. I already believe that I'm using the finest ballasts I can buy, but they still suck by comparison to the old stuff. I'd have a real hard time providing any sort of retrofit guarantee beyond one year. Even with a one year guarantee, I know I'll be back replacing a few on any size of job.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:14 PM   #4
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One thing I do these days is mark on the ballast label with a Sharpie pen, the date of installation. That way, when I take it back to the supply house in a couple of years, I have the exact date on hand when it was placed in service.

They claim a 5 year guarantee on the electronic ballasts, and hold them to the fire! Maybe if enough of us keep sending back the bad ones, the manufacturers will take notice and improve their product to last a bit longer?

Nah .....
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:14 PM   #5
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Dam really, I thought electronic ballasts were the way to go. They're quieter and more efficient but they just don't last, is that it in a nutshell?
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:14 PM   #6
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J-U-N-K !!!!
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:16 PM   #7
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You're lucky if you get that much out of them. In my experience, about half the new T-8 ballasts fail within the first 5 years. JUNK if you ask me!
I don't do much of this kind of work but I do know I have replaced far more dead T8 ballasts than I have T12 ballasts over the years.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:20 PM   #8
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Dam really, I thought electronic ballasts were the way to go. They're quieter and more efficient but they just don't last, is that it in a nutshell?
Yes, that's it in a nutshell. Energy savings seems to be traded for increased maintenance costs. Of course, I'd never go out of my way to point that out to a customer that I was trying to pitch on a retrofit or changeout job. This information is starting to show up in building engineering type magazines lately anyhow, so many maintenance managers are becoming aware of the issue. I have yet to find any electronic T8 ballasts that hold up for decades like the T12 magnetic ballasts did. Heck, I'd like ot actually install 50 and still have the original 50 in service in year 2. Just going from my gut and memory, if you install 50 T8 ballasts, you'll replace at least 10 in the first 5 years. I've put in Motorola, Sylvania, Advance, and Magnetek. I like Advance the best, but I'm not sure why. They all suck about the same. I'm not sure I've seen any real cream rise to the top of the T8 ballasts.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:23 PM   #9
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I think this is a topic that is seldom spoken about, since I'm not sure what to do about it.
Yeah, I don't think it's talked about much either, but it is a pretty significant problem.

Another thing...there seems to be several generations of electronic ballasts - the "original" kind that was potted just like the magnetic ones, and the modern non-potted ones. It seems the modern ones fail more frequently than the first generation ones.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:29 PM   #10
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If I'm not mistaken, regular magnetic T12 ballasts are no longer manufactured. They are all electronic now.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:47 PM   #11
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Default Cheek your bulb life

20,000 hours its time to change. Electronic ballasts will fail when the tubes are left in untill they burn.Found this cut the bad ballast rate way down.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:34 PM   #12
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I found the rapid start electronic ballast (series wired) have a much higher failure rate. Instant starts, (parallel wired) are rock solid. Except the universal voltages.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:59 PM   #13
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9 years ago I installed (1) 8' 2 lamp t-12 and (3) 4' 2-lamp t-12s in my garage. About 4 years ago I had a couple of t-8 ballasts and some t-8 lamps left over from a job and decided to upgrade 2 of the fixtures to t-8. In the past 4 years I have replaced 3 ballasts in the 2 t-8s and installed around a dozen lamps. The 4' and 8' t-12s I haven't done a thing to. Original lamps and ballasts.

Going "green" has nothing to do with saving the earth. The "green" is all about spending money.
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:32 AM   #14
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Along with the ballasts, these are going to turn into an enviromental nightmare.


I put 3 in my shed last Fall when it started to get darker earlier. Good ones from a local supply house. 2 are dead...

Some good investment advice is: Stock up on incandescents they're about to outlaw completely... once the public becomes aware of this farce, that NONE of these bulbs will last anywhere near advertized, there WILL be a run on lightbulbs!
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:26 PM   #15
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Lightbulb

L.E.D. t-8 and t-5's need no ballast. Problem is they're $$$$. But they last almost a lifetime.
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:26 PM   #16
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Wow, you all think T-8's are bad...try the T-5's. Sales depts were way ahead of research on putting these out.
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Wow, you all think T-8's are bad...try the T-5's.
Actually I love both, as long as I wasn't the original installer. Changing ballasts is easy money.
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knowshorts View Post
Actually I love both, as long as I wasn't the original installer. Changing ballasts is easy money.
Good Point
Unfortunately, we are usually the original installers.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:09 PM   #19
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My f14 t5 X2 requires a ballast..
Has a little electronic "PONY" brand ballast..
They seem to work well other than the lamps not lasting long due to the motion detector I am using with them. Motion Detectors for electronic ballasts are hard to find and cost at least 4X as much as the older ones.
BTW a single f14 t5 lamps cost just over $10.00 CND each. And so far I have only found them in wholesalers.
Funny thing is a f13 t5 is available from any big store for $5.95.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:35 PM   #20
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If bulbs are outlawed,only outlaws will have bulbs!

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