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07-10-2011, 10:06 PM #1
OT -- Replacement for fluorescent light fixture
I have finally had it with the 8-foot fluorescent light fixture in my garage. Over the past 13 years I have bought ballasts and bulbs and the thing still works intermittently, at best, and pretty much never in the winter. Can someone suggest a good replacement? (The garage has a 12-foot ceiling and is 25’x25’.)
07-10-2011, 10:31 PM #2
The latest and greatest is T-5, those skinny 5/8 inch bulbs. Very bright, very efficient.
You didn't say what sort of end on those 8 foot bulbs, but I will assume the single pin on each end.
The T-12 1 1/2 inch diameter bulbs are going away, code no longer permits them for commercial use, which is why those fixtures at the home stores are marked "workshop".
T-8 is a good choice, but if you can afford it, find yourself a couple of four foot T-5 units.
T-5 units (on motion sensors) are being used in commercial warehousing; since you don't need to leave them on all the time, energy costs are reduced.
If you are expecting to turn on any flourescent when temps are 50 degrees or less, make sure the ballast is rated for cold temps.
07-10-2011, 11:52 PM #3
I want to replace my overhead T8 lights with some LED lights.
I've replaced all my flashlights with LED type flash lights and I've bought 2 LED light bulbs (8W) and I like the light and the electric savings (in the winter they don't save that much because the old bulbs heated the place while they gave off light also).
Has anybody else bought and installed the longer LED 96" tubes and used them in the same fixtures of the T8's? Pricing for the 4' long ones looks to be just under $50 each, but I haven't seen what the pricing for the 8' are? It's not cheap, but I would like to do a test in one room first and see how they work out.
07-10-2011, 11:58 PM #4
I'm not sure if you are looking to replace the entire fixture, but I have been using a 6-bulb T8 fixture from the orange store and 5400K (?) bulbs (the higher the temp the "brighter" they will feel). The fixtures are cheap and evenly more cheaply made, but they seem to work. I have 17 of those in three 15Amp circuits. It is almost as bright as high noon. They are placed so that there are no shadows in any of the work areas or machines.
EDIT: they are 6500 Kelvin
Last edited by Phase; 07-11-2011 at 11:12 AM.
07-11-2011, 12:34 AM #5
If your garage gets cold in the winter you will continue to replace ballasts and bulbs unless you get a fixture designed for cold starting. Even then, the bulb life will suffer under cold starting conditions. Since your ceilings are high, you could use metal halide fixtures, but they are pretty expensive. If it were me, I would use fluorescent fixtures designed for cold start and just suffer the bulb problem. As suggested above, use T5's.
07-11-2011, 12:56 AM #6
If the fixture is not grounded then ground it, don't laugh, try it and let us know if it helps.
07-11-2011, 12:59 AM #7
07-11-2011, 02:03 AM #8
Uh guys, he is in Florida, does he really need ballasts rated for cold weather use? I would expect it never gets below freezing in the shop.
07-11-2011, 03:57 AM #9
It does not have to get down to freezing to cause ballast problems. The issue is the partial pressure of mercury in the tube. Optimum operating temperature from that perspective is 40 degrees Celsius.
07-12-2011, 03:00 PM #10
I have a dozen or so 8 buck, 30 year old, with tubes, flourescents in my garage. I think in all that time, the only tube I ever had to replace was when my second daughter tried to show me how she spun a wooden rifle for majorettes. Hit a tube, broke it.
I hit Zero F, here. They take a while to brighten up in the middle of Winter, but NEVER fail to light. Case of 12 in the garage attic, and I have given away more than I have ever had to replace of my own. Hell, I am running out of them, and they are the OLD 40 watt, rather than the "green" 35 or so watt.
Once upon a time, I did have a ballast go out on one, went to an electrical supplier to buy a new one, price was 20 or more. "Hell, I only paid 8 bucks for the whole thing, WITH tubes." "Well, you probably have a made in Japan(the bogey man, then) product." No, it was made in the US of A. I replaced that fixture. That one was in the basement, in the laundry room, warm, so cold did not kill it. I bought another 8 buck fixture, with tubes, to replace it.
I don't know if you want to upgrade to 2 or 300 watt CFLs, but you CAN buy them, with Mogul base. 20 some bucks, each.
I take with a whole shaker of salt the advertised lifespan of CFL's. I have replaced probably a dozen of them in the past few years, and I don't think I have had to replace meny more incandescents in the same applications. End table lamps burn out about as often, base down. Bulkhead lights burn out about as quick as incandescents, base up.
Flourescent tubes last about forever.I gotta go buy a whole buncha incandescents before they outlaw them.
I gotta check my settings. Posted at 12:04 AM, Wednesday, post time is 4:00 PM, yesterday.
07-24-2011, 05:00 AM #11
Status update. Got back into town last week so I can play with the light fixture again. Of course, this time it did not fail at lighting up each time I flipped the switch! (I hate intermittent problems! When I wrote the original posting, it pretty much didn't work at all -- go figure.)
After establishing this new baseline that this fixture somehow fixed itself after sitting for ten days, I know it will fail again. I will save Don Fielding's suggestion to add a ground to the housing for that time. (When I replaced the ballast a couple years back, I think there was already a ground wire to the frame, but I'll double up just to make sure.)
As for cold weather temperature, this garage never gets under 40 degrees F.
07-26-2011, 10:16 AM #12
I have a similar problem -- the current ECO crap bulbs from the big box stores don't seem to play well with my old 8' T12 fixtures. I have 6 dual tube 8' fixtures 2 with 25 year old tubes that work fine, two fixtures with replacement balasts that work OK with the low mercury ECO tubes but not as bright and two that cycle on an off when the balasts overheat then the thermal cutout turns them off. If I put in the old working tubes in the cycling balasts they work fine, its just the new tubes are crap.
Would love to go to LED's -- was thinking of buying a bag of 1000 white LEDs from China on Ebay just to experiment with numbers and spacing pattern to get the equivalent light to the old T12's. I can really tell on the electric bill if I forget to turn off the shop lights at night. Don't think it would take long to pay for the LEDs in energy savings as my current setup is about 1kw.
07-26-2011, 11:00 PM #13
I hate to say this, but try Walmart.
They sell a simple 4' (buy 2 to replace the 8') fixture with a pull chain switch for $15.
$10 if you don't need the pull chain switch.
They are made in U.S.A. (I actually called the company) have
an electronic ballast, and start up in my -20 f weather.
Everywhere else I looked, I found imported junk.
07-26-2011, 11:11 PM #14
Mine start having trouble starting under 60 degrees. Thank god it rarely gets that could in my shop. Flipping the switch on and off a few times usually does the trick.
07-26-2011, 11:23 PM #15
I finally bit the bullet and rebuilt/replaced all of my 8' and 4' fixtures with electronic ballasts and T8 tubes. Much better light, meter says less power. Regards, Clark