Problems with 4-light Fluorescent

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  #1  
Old 08-27-08, 09:43 AM
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Problems with 4-light Fluorescent

Howdy folks,

I'm writing this from work so I'm telling you some stuff from memory, which may be bad...

I'm a first time home owner and bought a house built in 1957/58. In my basement I've got a 4-light 2-ballast Fluorescent fixture (I'm not claiming its that old mind you). Recently, only one of the two bulbs/lamps were working and eventually that stopped working too. I'd flip the light switch on, sometimes it would light up, sometimes it wouldn't. Eventually it just never came on again...

Okay, so, I opened up the fixture only to realize it took four lamps, yet only two were in there! I went out and bought 4 brand new lamps of the appropriate wattage (which if I recall correctly was 32 watts, 48" long, sized T12). I put them ALL of them in place and only one of the lights *barely* lit up at all.

Hrmph. I noticed that the holders (the correct term escapes me) were all looking pretty rough. Like they had been burned almost. They were not actually burned, but certainly had some blackish/grayish streaks. I imagine it was just heavy usage for years and year from the previous homeowner. The ballasts for this particular fixture were fairly inexpensive so I bought new holders and two new ballasts.

I took the whole thing apart, diagrammed it all, and put it all back together the way I diagrammed. Put the 4 bulbs back in, hit the power and guess what? Only one of the four bulbs lights up! No amount of trickery will get any of the other lights to turn on. Further adding to my problem is that the bulb that does come on... will only stay on for 5 - 10 minutes and then it just goes dark. I need to give it time to cool down or something before it will work again.

This is highly frustrating and my first attempt at electrical work. I don't know if the wiring was incorrect to begin with (hence the reason only 2 bulbs originally and not 4) or if the power to that fixture is bad? I thought I'd come around and ask in here to see if anyone had any thoughts.

I'll gladly answer any questions asked to the best of my abilities, and of course get anything specific once I get home. I just don't know how to fix it w/o calling an electrician and I'd rather not do that because of $ (hence why I'm hanging around a DIY site I'm kind of hoping someone has seen this before, but I only saw a couple of seemingly related posts.

So here's my trying my luck! Thanks for reading, and thanks for any feedback!

Regards,
[mrzer0]
 
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Old 08-27-08, 07:03 PM
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Wow, you've already replaced everything except the sheet metal and the plastic lens cover. Not much else to go wrong (unless this is a very old fixture with starters).

You've probably already spent almost as much as a new fixture would have cost. Maybe it is time for the new fixture.

Anyway, I can't think of anything new to try, unless the wires inside the fixture are bad and you haven't replaced them.
 
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Old 08-27-08, 10:23 PM
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The typical 4 lamp 2 ballast luminaire set up useally have one ballast to work with outboard lamps while second ballast will work with inboard lamps.

The 32 watt bulb you mention it is a T-8 bulb { one inch diam size }

double check the ballast label to verify the correct bulb useage most resdentail ballast { rapid start } typically take 40 watter and some case 34 watts if they are listed as well

But if you have electronic balllast let me know I have few tricks up in the sleeve to deal with stubborns one

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 08-28-08, 05:27 PM
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First, a heads-up. I left out some information from my previous post that may or may not be important. On the ballasts I bought new (the only choice I had)... the wires were too short for a 48" fixture. So I cut the wiring off of the old ballasts and connected it all together with WireGard wire-connectors. It was my impression that this should work, but maybe that's the problem all along (although it doesn't explain why it didn't work previously, unless of course it was faulty wiring on the originals).

Next up...

I just disassembled some of the fixture and here is some more of the information I have about it.

I was wrong about the types of lamps. I'll just copy some info from Sylvania's website/product catalog:

40W, 48" MOL, T12, rapid start fluorescent lamp, Designer Choice Premium Cool White phosphor, 4100K color temperature, 80 CRI, 2 lamps packed in dual end caps.
Order Abbreviation: F40/DCWP/2/30

Now, the ballasts according to Sylvania's website:
2-lamp 120V rapid start magnetic ballast for 40W T12 lamp with installation instructions
Order Abbreviation: MB2X40/120RS/CVP

I am certainly not an expert at drawing up schematics so I'll try and wing it in the event this helps:

=============================================


Well... Scratch that, I just spent a whole bunch of time (the better part of an hour) drawing this up and when I hit preview post it looked HORRIBLE and completely unreadable.

C'est la vie

Thanks!
[mrzer0]
 
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Old 08-28-08, 06:54 PM
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Just wanted to add a note here. I was putting the fixture back together, and now suddenly two of the bulb light up.


If I'm in front of the fixture and looking up, we'll call the bulb furthest away from me #1

This is how it was working before
1 - nothing
2 - light
BALLASTS IN BETWEN 2 and 3
3 - nothing
4 - nothing


Since I just put it back together
1 - nothing
2 - light
BALLASTS
3 - nothing
4 - light


The bulbs getting the light are the ones with blue wires connecting to the lamp holders. Interesting... Oh! I guess I forgot the yellow wires connecting on the opposite side of each one. Lets see if I can diagram this!

Yellow ===== LAMP 1 ===== Red
Blue ===== LAMP 2 ===== Yellow
     ##### BALLASTS #####
Red ===== LAMP 3 ===== Yellow
Yellow ===== LAMP 4 ===== Blue

The yellows have additional yellow wires connecting them together on their respective sides of the fixture as well. I hope this makes sense.

Naturally, the white wires run off to the main white supply of power and the black wires run off to the main black supply of power.

Also, for all I know, the next time I turn these suckers on only one will light up! Or none! Hmmm...... Don't know if that provides any more insight into the problem, but thought I'd mention it.
 
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Old 08-29-08, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mrzer0 View Post


Since I just put it back together
1 - nothing
2 - light
BALLASTS
3 - nothing
4 - light



Yellow ===== LAMP 1 ===== Red
Blue ===== LAMP 2 ===== Yellow
     ##### BALLASTS #####
Red ===== LAMP 3 ===== Yellow
Yellow ===== LAMP 4 ===== Blue
Typically with two ballast luminaires the lamp 1 and 4 is used with ballast A while lamp 2 and 3 is used with ballast B

Make sure all the wires are secured in the tombstone { flourscent bulb holder }connectors { from time to time they will can give you some greif on it.

For me I useally go with electronic ballast set up and have it run in parallel connection so that way I never have issue with it { yeah they cost somehow more than magantic ballast }

And a quick hint here anytime you hook up new ballast make sure you scrap the paint a little near mounting nuts so that way you have good ground bonding and it useally help to get the bulb started up.

Merci,Marc
 
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