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electrifier
electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1626
Experience:  Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
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I have a 4 tube fluorescent fixture with 2 ballasts. It was

Customer Question

I have a 4 tube fluorescent fixture with 2 ballasts. It was slow lighting up and I replaced all 4 bulbs, which were bad. Lights better now, but will occasional be slow coming on. I assume I have a bad ballast. How do I tell which one?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Paul replied 4 years ago.
All four lamps are slow ro only two?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Infrequently, all 4. Occasionally outside 2. Most commonly, inside pair.
Expert:  Paul replied 4 years ago.

I would say it is the type of ballast rather than a bad ballast. Each ballast runs two lamps, two inside are on one ballast and the two outside are the other.

 

What I would do is replace both ballasts with one new 4 lamp electronic ballast and 4 new T-8 lamps. This is more energy efficient and the lamps will start faster. If you go this route watch the wiring diagram on the new ballast carefully as they do wire slightly different.

 

If you need more help please ask here.

 

Paul

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I do not understand what you mean by type of ballast causing the problem. The fixture has worked fine for years and just recently started with the problem. It appears top me that wrong type of ballast would have caused problem from the beginning?
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

Hello, let me see if I can help you out here.
What is the ambient temperature when you have the slow lighting bulbs problem?
Is there any type of pattern with these lights that could lead to this problem? Are any conditions always present when they are slow to light?
Is this light fixture in your home or in an out building some distance away wired to a sub panel?
Do you have a volt meter available to measure the voltage at the fixture?

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  • 100% customer satisfaction is my goal
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, the fixture is in air conditioned laundry room in the house. No pattern - light turned off and on with normal usuage. I do have volt meter. How hot should ballasts get under normal operating conditions. The fixture has been on for 45 minutes and both ballasts are too hot to keep finger on them.









Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

Can you get to the ballasts wiring where the black and white wires connect with wirenuts?
Check the voltage there just to be sure we have good voltage to the ballasts.
Are your ballasts currently installed magnetic ballasts or electronic ballasts?
On the label does it say for T12 bulbs or what does it say?
Are you using T12 bulbs in the fixture or smaller bulbs?
Are the bulbs 4' long?
Does it look like anything black has leaked out of either ballast?

  • If you need further clarification on anything I posted, please don't hesitate to ask
  • 100% customer satisfaction is my goal
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Voltage is 128 volts.
Magnetic
Cat # XXXXX in T-TP. Says for 2- 40W bulbs
T12
Yes, 4' long
No evidence of leakage
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I just replaced bulbs after reconnecting the wires. Inside pair burning normally, outside dimly burning. The wires were reconnected as they were. Flipping switch on & off made no difference.
Expert:  electrifier replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

When the ballasts are warm they will light faster. It's when they are cold that they are slow. When they are getting bad, which they do slowley near the end of their lifespan, they become eratic.

Above you said the inside was more common with the problem but today it is the outside pair. You have 2 sets of fixture wires, black and white, from the ballasts that connect to the power wires coming to the fixture. If you disconnect one of the ballast black wires you will have one pair not light. This is how you tell which ballast is which set of bulbs. I would replace with a more efficient electronic ballast and maybe switch to the T8 bulbs while you are at it. This will save you engergy and give you more light. You have the option of staying with T12 bulbs or going to T8. T12 are being phased out if that is any help to you. Always be extremely careful of the wiring when you replace a ballast. Look at the diagrams on the old vs the new ballast and make sure you are going to be OK. The color coding should show you what you need to know. If you want to replace both ballasts and change all the bulbs to T8 you can do that as well or try one and see the difference. You should be able to find everything you need at a Home Depot or Lowe's or Menard's store if you have one close to you.
If you have any other concerns please come back to ask them here.

  • If you need further clarification on anything I posted, please don't hesitate to ask
  • 100% customer satisfaction is my goal
electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1626
Experience: Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
electrifier and 4 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you

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