220V light switch?

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  #1  
Old 07-19-05, 10:36 PM
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220V light switch?

Have some flourescent light fixtures that seem to operate on 220V. I'd like to use them but don't know where to find a 220v on-off light switch. The 18 year old electrical "expert" at Home Depot didn't know what I was talking about. Is there such a thing?
 
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Old 07-19-05, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cimmaronjim
Have some flourescent light fixtures that seem to operate on 220V. I'd like to use them but don't know where to find a 220v on-off light switch. The 18 year old electrical "expert" at Home Depot didn't know what I was talking about. Is there such a thing?
Unless your light fixtures came from Europe, they probably do not run on 220 volts. 99% of American fixtures run on either 120 volts or 277 volts. The ballast should be marked for the voltage.

If they're 277 volt fixtures, they won't run on household current. 277 is a commercial/industrial voltage, and it's a rare house that has it. You would know if you did - there would be a big transformer in the basement... You could change the ballasts to 120 volt units, but to do so sometimes costs more than buying new fixtures.

The ballasts are marked for 220 volts? European or some sort of "special? All you would need then is a two pole light switch and appropriate wiring back to the panel. Home Depot stocks the switches.
 

Last edited by Cheyenps; 07-20-05 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 07-20-05, 02:14 PM
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Right you are. I checked the ballast it's 277. My dad hooked them up to 220 and they seemed to work fine.
How bad an idea is that?
 
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Old 07-20-05, 02:28 PM
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I don't like it. There's just too many ways this could be really bad, but I don't know enough of the details of your installation to point them out.
 
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Old 07-20-05, 03:34 PM
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These light fixtures came with some dissassembled metal buildings we purchased. The buildings had been used as classrooms at the community college. Each fixture has 2 thin florescent tubes.

We have about a dozen of these fixtures.

My Dad was checking them out and either noticed that they were ganged together in sets of two, or did that himself. The first one that originally had a conduit "pigtail" had a ballast. The second one simply wired to the first had no ballast.
Experimenting, he wired a power cord to the first and plugged it into a 220V dryer outlet and both fixtures came on.

I hadn't looked at the ballast when I first posted, and thought they were 220V.

I had thought I might be able to use two sets of these (4 fixtures) in my workshop wired to a 220V circuit.
 
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Old 07-20-05, 06:22 PM
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Did a little more research.

They are 4 foot T-8 lamps. The ballasts are four lamp ballasts and since each fixture has two lamps, each ballast runs two fixtures.
I found some 4 lamp 120V T-8 ballasts for $18.85 each. I figure I can do it the same way and slave one of the fixtures to the one with a ballast and it will cost me about 40 bucks for four fixtures. I already have extra breakers and all the stuff I need for 120V and can do this for less than half the cost of new fixtures.



I understand 120V better anyway.

Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 07-20-05, 08:30 PM
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Good plan. The fact they are "master/slave" T-8 fixtures makes changing the ballasts an attractive option.

They might have run for a little while on the 240 volt supply in your house, but the ballasts probably wouldn't have lasted very long.
 
 

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