Replace Residential Fluorescent Ceiling Troffer

Old 03-26-13, 10:13 AM
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Replace Residential Fluorescent Ceiling Troffer

The magnetic ballast went out in my 35 yr old 2, T12 bulb, 2' x4' fluorescent fixture that is mounted in a basement suspended ceiling. I only got 35 yrs out of the ballast . The fixtures are in decent condition, although I don't like the lens mounting. It is a frameless type suspended around the inside edges of the ceiling grid and can break easily. I've have a total of three fixtures and would replace/re-fit with a T8 as they fail.

I was thinking to replace the whole fixture with either a Lithonia 2GT8 or Cooper Metalux 2GR8 2 or 3 bulb T8 troffer, but am concerned about the quality of the ballast. FWIW, I read some reviews that ballast in the fixtures fail in less than a year. Is this T8 electronic ballast failure typical for these fixtures or should I just replace my existing fixture with a better quality ballast (if I there is one) in the old fixture?
Old 03-26-13, 10:29 AM
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Where I work they replaced hundreds of T12 bulbs & ballasts (kept the fixtures) in January and already have experienced about 5% failure on the ballasts. Not a good sign. They are cheap electronic ballasts about 1" square x 10" long and can drive 2 32W T8 bulbs. We even used 25W tubes exclusively so the failure is because they are junk and not due to overloading or heat.
I'm not sure if this is a "you get what you pay for" thing or not--I don't know if more expensive fixtures come with better ballasts.
Old 03-26-13, 10:43 AM
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I wouldn't necessarily call the new ballasts junk but they are a mass produced item and are prone to manufacturing defects.

They do save on energy costs. So put aside the money you are saving on energy costs for future ballast replacement.

As far as a better fixture - better ballast. Seems to be no difference.
Old 03-26-13, 02:22 PM
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I'm sure I've installed a few thousand T-8 fixtures in suspended ceilings. No one has been called back to replace a failed ballast yet, so far as I know.

Most of the fixtures are Lithonia. Often, they have dual-feed ballasts which can be fed with either 120V or 277V power. They are usually ordered from one of the local supply houses, unless the job is large enough to warrant a direct order. IOW, thay don't come from a big box or local hardware store.

You can buy your new fixture from the same supply houses we buy from.

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