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"Certified" Brand Fluorescent Starters

pegasuspinto

Registered
Florescent lighting is changing VERY fast. T12's are done, others are following fast. Things are going to be disappearing off the market. If you're really stuck on that brand of starter, you might start haunting Ebay and flea markets. If you just like the fixture but you can live without the flash-flash start, I think you can get a compatible electronic ballast that would be instant start.

Good luck!
 

Odin

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/13/2019
T12 lights were obsoleted back in 2010, around here at least the local utility provided a subsidy to upgrade to T8 or better.

Now they are coming around wanting to replace the T8 lights as well with LEDs.

Might be able to find LED tubes to put in the fixture and rewire it to support them. Then the starters won't be necessary anymore, but you'll still have an instant-start fixture as well as much lower energy consumption.

Local hardware stores might still sell the starters if you don't want to upgrade yet. I know I have seen a few places around here that have them on the shelves.
 

DustyBar

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/14/2020
...Might be able to find LED tubes to put in the fixture and rewire it to support them...
Rewiring isn't required. There are LED tubes that directly replace the 4' florescent bulb without any change to the fixture or ballast. Some of the LEDs replace T8 only and some other replace T8 and T12. I believe they only work in fixtures that already have the electronic ballast. I bought the T8/T12 replacements at Menards for about $10 each. I bought the T8 only replacement at the same place as cheap as $6 each. I really like them.
 

Odin

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/13/2019
The efficiency is poor if you don't rewire. Results in a double conversion penalty, making the LEDs take very nearly as much energy as the Fluorescents they replace and the only advantages remaining being instant cold start and longer bulb life.

Better to at least remove the ballast and use lamps that are directly line powered in order to have only one conversion loss, or replace the entire fixture with one purpose-built for LED service in order to have the best possible efficiency.

Few weeks ago I did the quotes for such a project at work. Purpose-built LED fixtures, while a bit higher up front cost, ended up cutting the power cost in half compared to bulb + ballast retrofits, and 1/3rd of what the T8 Fluorescents consume. I'm now partway through installing these new fixtures, and wondering if maybe they are a bit brighter than they needed to be. Could have saved even more money by going one size smaller. Oh well, they all have dimmer support if I want it.
 

Vanman

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
If this is a classic fixture old enough to have a starter I overwhelmingly like to keep them as original as possible!

Unless you are lighting up a wearhouse full of them, the difference in cost of operation is trivial.
 

Dwayne Oxford

Registered
Frank, the link wont work for me.
These are for 15" 50W black light U-tubes in bug zapper. You'd think the 32" "Circline" starters would work, but wont.
Wish I knew where they get the bare bulb starters they put in them.
 

NDmeterman

Registered
T12 lights were obsoleted back in 2010...
Well, no wonder. The (leased) building I work in has a 20x80 room with 15 8' fluorescent fixtures, and the only fully operational ones are the two that were recently retrofitted for T8! It's mainly a hallway between several sections of the building, as well as housing two machines we now seldom use. Of the remaining ones, there are only 2-3 others that light up when they feel like it. Is there any danger in letting them run in that condition for extended periods of time?
 

Odin

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/13/2019
If this is a classic fixture old enough to have a starter I overwhelmingly like to keep them as original as possible!

Unless you are lighting up a wearhouse full of them, the difference in cost of operation is trivial.
True, the way it is used matters a lot. Something that is in good shape as an original fixture and has sentimental or historic value, absolutely keep it original if possible.

But a practical working fixture with no particular attachments or value to it, the money savings are not to be underestimated.

I'm finding that current generation LED fixtures consume roughly 1/4th the energy of a T12, and 1/3rd the energy of a T8 to achieve comparable light outputs in addition to much greater lamp lifetimes, to the tune of 30 years or more assuming the driver circuit lasts that long. While a 4x F40T12 office light might only consume a few dollars a month in electrical costs, it does add up in addition to bulb replacements every 3-5 years for the use cases I've examined.

Well, no wonder. The (leased) building I work in has a 20x80 room with 15 8' fluorescent fixtures, and the only fully operational ones are the two that were recently retrofitted for T8! It's mainly a hallway between several sections of the building, as well as housing two machines we now seldom use. Of the remaining ones, there are only 2-3 others that light up when they feel like it. Is there any danger in letting them run in that condition for extended periods of time?
Actually, there is an elevated risk of electrical fire. A lot of people don't realize this, but Fluorescent lights will often continue to glow well past their rated end of life. People see them glowing and assume they are still good, when they aren't. It stresses the ballasts, causing both magnetic and electronic types to run excessively hot. Eventually the ballast fails, which in my encounters with it has ranged from merely spewing smoke to bursting into flames with a shower of sparks on everything beneath.

Barring cold weather conditions, the tubes should ignite fairly quickly and smoothly. If they don't they are likely end of life and should be replaced to prevent the ballasts from catching fire. And around here at least, T12 bulbs especially the 8 foot F96T12 ones are becoming difficult to obtain.

Some of the costs to upgrade from T12 or T8 Fluorescents to LEDs are covered by energy conservation subsidies, electrical supply wholesalers would know the details of what programs are available to you and how to benefit from them. They will often contribute part of the hardware and installation costs. Just make sure you aren't getting dodgy chinese quality fixtures installed by a contractor that shouldn't be allowed in your building. I have had that happen, the result was so much RF coming from the lights that the radio in the machine shop no longer worked. Had to redo a fair amount of it with better quality hardware.
 
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len k

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/12/2018
If fixtures are real old the ballasts may not be thermally protected ( P type). Then as balast runs if it starts to overheat the tar melts and starts to run out. Had some that started smoking and dripping tar after running all day, guessing it was summer.

So now when I mount up fixtures in cellar I mount them with a 2x4 wood spacer between them and wood rafters . And I put that spacer far from the ballast , so ballast heat won't heat combustionable wood rafters they are mounted to. I likely should use drywall spacers , but I had wood spacers.
 

DustyBar

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/14/2020
...or replace the entire fixture with one purpose-built for LED service in order to have the best possible efficiency...
I despise the way purpose-built LEDs are sold at Menards, Lowes and Home Depot. Put up a couple dozen of their lights and one of them is sure to fail. These stores only stock that style of fixture or color for two weeks and then on to another brand. You are stuck buying another fixture to replace the failed one that will never match the rest of them. If they last 20 years as advertised you will have to look at that reminder for that many years too.
 

Graycenphil

Registered
Last Subscription Date
02/16/2012
Few weeks ago I did the quotes for such a project at work. Purpose-built LED fixtures, while a bit higher up front cost, ended up cutting the power cost in half compared to bulb + ballast retrofits, and 1/3rd of what the T8 Fluorescents consume.
Are you saying the energy cost is lower with purpose built LEDs than if you just replace flourescents with LEDs and remove the ballast? It seems to me this would be the same thing.

I have replaced my flourescents this way and am very happy, so far. Brighter, no buzzing and hopefully they will last a long, long time.
 

Odin

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/13/2019
Are you saying the energy cost is lower with purpose built LEDs than if you just replace flourescents with LEDs and remove the ballast? It seems to me this would be the same thing.
It can be quite a bit lower. Fixtures designed for LED use will take into account the optical properties of those LEDs and design the reflector accordingly to distribute the light in a useful pattern.

Removing the ballast and inserting LED sticks into the lampholders you'll find that the original reflector and lens doesn't work that well with the optical properties of LED lights. Less of the light being produced will make it out of the fixture into the room.

Plus purpose-built fixtures have more space for the power supply, giving it better cooling properties and the physical space needed to include features like power factor correction and high efficiency SMPS converters.
 
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