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Author Topic: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement  (Read 16401 times)

bkenobi

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Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« on: April 16, 2016, 01:26:44 PM »

I have 4' fluorescent tubes all over my house and shop.  As everyone knows, the older tubes aren't available any more (at least they aren't being produced).  I have a stash of 2' and 4' bulbs that should last quite a few years, but I have a couple ballasts in my kitchen and laundry room that sometimes don't turn on or only partially turn on.  I'm curious if anyone could make a recommendation for sourcing replacements?

The on in the kitchen has finally stopped working altogether so I pulled it out to take it to a few local stores.  I doubt they will have anything, so I'm curious if anyone here could post a link or two.  This one is a Universal Therm-O-Matic Rapid Start Ballast (413-C-TC-P) rated at 0.65A.  It runs a single 4' T12 bulb.  I have 6 in my kitchen (I haven't pulled the others, so they could be different ballasts), so I'd rather replace it with a T12 ballast so I can use my stash up at least.  I don't think mixing/matching would look good even though there is a diffuser sheet blocking direct view of the lights.

I know there was mention of electric vs magnetic ballasts, but I don't know if that matters.  Currently I have no issue with noise related to any fluorescent fixtures and I'd like to keep it that way.

EDIT:  If there were a way to test this and possibly fix it, I'd be ok with that as well.  I was under the impression that these were pretty much a replace when failed type of component.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 01:28:17 PM by bkenobi »
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Brian H

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2016, 06:43:50 PM »

I did a web search. There are a few hits for your Universal 413-C-TC-P.
One of the sites had a cross reference chart to others it was comparable to.
I am not an expert on the older magnetic ballasts. I believe they only did one or two particular bulbs.

The electronic ones usually have many bulb sizes they can do.
I switched some of mine to LED replacements and they had electronic ballasts. That I removed. As my LED bulbs are driven by 120VAC directly.
The Keystone KTEB-132-1-TP-EMI could do one of the following:
F32T8, F25T8, F17T8, F30T12, F40T12, F34T12..
I did not check them for X10 noise or Signal Sucking. I suspect if anything. They may signal suck as they where rated for low EMI.

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bkenobi

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2016, 06:53:30 PM »

So should I be looking for electric or magnetic ballast?  And what would I be seeing on the part number/spec sheet that would indicate one or the other?  I don't want to create a new problem while simply trying to fix this one.  I am considering purchasing a couple extras just to make sure I have a spare or two in case one of my others fails.

The alternative is to use on of the 4' T12 ballasts that is currently installed in a new (not installed) unit designed to run 2 bulbs.  I have a couple extras that haven't been installed yet (no plans to use them, just as spares).  Since they have 2 bulb connectors, would that be an issue?

dhouston

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2016, 07:42:34 PM »

I'm surprised to hear fluorescent tubes are hard to find. They were always the most efficient - at least until LEDs became so widespread. I guess the manufacturers would prefer to sell tubular LEDs for the same reason that they earlier pushed CFLs while lobbying to ban incandescents. $$$$

I have old style fluorescents in the bathroom & kitchen and both have needed ballasts in the past year or two.
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Brian H

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2016, 08:37:07 PM »

The older magnetic ballasts are getting harder to find. They also where designed for each setup. So I doubt the two tube ballast would work in your single tube setup. The two tube ballast should have information on it. Showing what bulb size and how many it can be used with. You may want to look at one for information.

I have no idea on this vendor.
They claim to still have 12 of the 413-C-TC-P ballasts in their Clearance Corner.
Sale price of $14.00.
http://www.bulbtown.com/Universal_Magnetek_413_C_TC_P_Ballast_p/413-c-tc-p.htm

Most of the ballasts I saw in my search where marked Electronic or Magnetic.
You would want one for a single tube F40T12, 120 volt Rapid Start fixture.

I believe florescent tubes are still fairly easy to find. They have a different construction to make them more Ecologically Friendly.
I know my GE ones have less mercury in them and still function OK for me.


« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 08:51:34 PM by Brian H »
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HA Dave

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2016, 11:16:48 PM »

...... I have a couple ballasts in my kitchen and laundry room that sometimes don't turn on or only partially turn on.  I'm curious if anyone could make a recommendation for sourcing replacements?

The older magnetic ballasts are getting harder to find.............

Remove the ballast altogether and rewire the lamps to take the LED replacements. Read here
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 11:22:06 PM by HA Dave »
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bkenobi

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2016, 01:23:10 AM »

Remove the ballast altogether and rewire the lamps to take the LED replacements. Read here
I may do that in the future, but the LED replacements are far more expensive an investement and since I don't put that many hours on the bulbs it would take years to break even.  In addition, I have a supply of replacement bulbs that I want to use prior to even considering a transition.

bkenobi

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2016, 01:36:14 AM »

It looks like the ballasts are not available anymore at bulbtown.com.  I found a couple other sources for a bit more, but none have the connector installed on the end.  The connectors on my current ballast don't appear to be intended to be reused, so I'm curious if I should be sourcing the connector as well?  Without any other knowledge, I'd assume I just clip the wires and wire nut the new ballast to the old connectors.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 01:40:55 AM by bkenobi »
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Brian H

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2016, 07:10:13 AM »

The bulbtown sales page says it has 12.
As you found out. Try and add one or more to the order and you get an out of stock message.
Seems their sales page does not have a accurate count tied to the actual inventory available.
Glad you did find some.

When I converted mine to LED direct AC driven tubes. I cut the old wires a few inches from the sockets and used inline crimps to connect the wires.
Note there are two types of Tombstones {what the sockets are frequently referred to}. One type called Shunt Style has both contacts shorted together inside the socket. I believe that is for Instant Start type ballasts. They also come in different heights and mounting method. Though many are more universal. I bought a few tombstones with my LED bulbs. As a precaution but didn't need them them. Mine had two wire grips for solid #18 wires most present ballasts use for each contact. So if I needed a shunt type. A small jumper between the contacts would have worked.

« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 01:50:32 PM by Brian H »
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bkenobi

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2016, 12:54:39 PM »

I stopped by my local hardware (non-box) store yesterday and was surprised that they had a decent selection of ballasts.  I picked on up but may return it.  It's designed for 2 lights but they claimed it would work with 1.  It's also a different size though it looks like there's a knockout that would make it fit.  But, it's about 2x the price of the ones I've seen online.  I'll check the box store on the way home as they generally bring the cost down close to online and I can take it home with me to know it works.

Brian H

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2016, 04:14:09 PM »

Some may work with one tube.
The connection sheet should show all ways to connect it and what size bulbs it will work with.
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bkenobi

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2016, 11:15:04 AM »

Turns out HD has a few options in store for T12 still.  They don't show anything online which is why I never checked the shelves.   B:(

The one they stock is the Philips AmbiStar RELB-2S40-N rapid start electronic ballast.  I contacted tech support and they sent me a 1-bulb wiring diagram so I can get it up and running.  The only question will be whether it causes noise when operating.  I guess I'll have to get my XTBM out and see what the noise level is with/without it turned on before I put everything back together.

Brian H

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2016, 12:31:43 PM »

Also see if the XTBM shows a signal sucker action. As it would probably has an internal AC Input filter to keeps its electronics noise off of the power lines.
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bkenobi

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2016, 11:57:33 PM »

Bad news.  Although the new ballast works great functionally, it doesn't play nice with X10.  I didn't notice any issues with any commands not working when I fired some commands via RF, I could not see the XTB-IIR signal on the XTBM when the light was on.  With it off, I saw a strong signal.  I removed the hot from the new ballast and tested again and the light on/off made no difference.  So, it appears that these Philips ballasts don't work well.

I have several fixtures that are still boxed that use a BenchLite ballast model number RL-240-1-TP (rapid start, class P, Type 1 outdoor).  I tested with the XTBM on my bench which has one of these but apparently something else was already killing the signal at my bench as I saw 0.0 under both on/off conditions.  I may just order the original so I know it will work assuming I can source one.  Too bad since HD carries these Philips ballasts for $18 in store.

Brian H

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Re: Fluorescent tube ballast replacement
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2016, 07:13:04 AM »

The F40T12 fixtures I converted to LED. Had the RL-140-TP ballasts in them.
I don't remember them effecting X10 but never did any tests for problems.
Specifications sheet attached for the RL-140-TP.
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