Question on converting from T12 to T8 flourescent


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Old 12-11-16, 02:48 PM
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Question on converting from T12 to T8 flourescent

Hi all,

I am restoring a circa 1950s bathroom medicine cabinet. It has chrome fluorescent light fixtures mounted vertically on each side of the cabinet. Each fixture holds one F14T12 bulb, a ballast and the bottom tombstone has a starter. The old ballast wiring is cracked and dried out and the tombstones are cracked.

I want to use T8 bulbs, T8 ballasts and new tombstones. I also believe T8 doesn’t require a starter. Is that true? What would be the right ballast? The bulbs need to be 14 7/8 long and I found that length in T8 14 watt bulbs. All help will be greatly appreciated,

Thanks,
henrylr
 
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Old 12-11-16, 03:35 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

The only other thing you would need is a ballast. I believe this is the correct one: (example only) http://www.iballast.com/fluorescent/...-1-tp-emi.html

Another option would be to retrofit the fixture with some LED strip lights.
 
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Old 12-11-16, 03:35 PM
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I would have really liked to go with LED bulbs but it seems 15" long bulbs are not being made. Does anyone know of any?

Thanks again,
hemrylr
 
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Old 12-11-16, 03:46 PM
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I edited my post above. LED strips can be cut to length and wired into almost any place. Here are some good sites to check them out:

https://www.superbrightleds.com/cat/...rips-and-bars/
LED Under Cabinet Lighting - Inspired LED
Or just search "LED strip lights"
 
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Old 12-11-16, 03:46 PM
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Thanks for the info. Would using the ballast you listed eliminate the need for a starter for either T12 or T8 bulbs? I believe T12 and T8 use the same tombstones. If no starters are needed, the tombstones are pretty inexpensive. Are there ballasts optimized for T8 bulbs? If I'm going to do this I would like to do it with the best available components.

Thanks,
henrylr
 
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Old 12-11-16, 03:48 PM
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The sockets for T8's and T12's are the same. No starter needed for T8's. IMO I would go LED as mentioned above. You would need a driver, which is similar to a ballast, that would need to be hard wired in. It just converts 120v AC to 12v DC.
 
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Old 12-11-16, 03:51 PM
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feedback

I'm very glad to have found and joined this site. I've got lots of other questions. I've also restored a very old house and also built a small machine shop so I hope I can become a contributor.
 
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Old 12-11-16, 04:04 PM
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I've seen some of the LED strips on Amazon and they don't strike me as good lighting for a bathroom mirror light source. I need to get something that will be good for shaving and for my wife and daughters makeup ritual.
 
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Old 12-11-16, 04:09 PM
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on a different topic

I mentioned that I have a small machine shop. I'm 70 years old and do very little custom work now. I have three lathes, a milling machine and tons of other equipment. Is there a place to list the stuff for sale?
 
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Old 12-11-16, 04:28 PM
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You may be better off switching to the T-8 tubes.

Since you didn't put the state you live in in your user biography.... it can be a little tough to recommend a place.

Here in NJ we have Craig's List which is a free listing service. You may have something like that near you.

Just keep in mind we don't sell equipment here.
 
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Old 12-12-16, 01:44 PM
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what ballast to use

I've gone on a number of sites that sell fluorescent ballasts and tombstones and am still confused. There are so many types...instant start, rapid start, preheat, preprogrammed. And then there are magnetic and electronic ballasts. Some of the schematics for the magnetic type have an S in the wiring diagram. Does that mean a starter is required? I've attached a pic of the fixtures which show there isn't much room for a large ballast. Any recommendations?

Thanks,
henrylr

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Old 12-12-16, 02:09 PM
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Yes the "S" is a starter
I would try to keep the fixture original if possible
You can try going to Semperlite.com if you post a good clear picture of the lampholders (Tombstones) I can try to see which ones would match your fixtures (It looks like one has a starter socket) Also I found a Ballast that will work with a F14T12 and a starter
 
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Old 12-13-16, 11:33 AM
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Thanks for the info. I learned some things on the semperlite site. For example, tombstones need to be the shunted type if an instant-start ballast is used. I had no clue about that so now I need to decide what type of ballast to get before I can buy tombstones. I also learned the un-shunted type can be made shunted by using jumper wires but I'm trying to keep this project simple.

This is more complicated than I thought. So far, all I know is, I want to get an electronic ballast but have to pick between at least four different types. I've read that instant-start ballast are not the best type for lots of on-off cycling. Then there is the preheat ballast but it seems that bulbs need to be a preheat type. This is very confusing. Does anyone have a recommendation on a ballast that will be turned on and of quite a bit.

Thanks,
henrylr
 
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Old 12-13-16, 06:59 PM
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You want a Programmed rapid start system then. Here is an electronic rapid start ballast
The programmed rapid start preheats the cathodes (The lamp filaments) and then applies the full arc voltage.

This is better for the lamp then instant starting them although any startup of the lamp without a reasonable amount of actual on time will shorten lamp life.
 
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Old 12-14-16, 02:27 PM
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another ballast question

Thanks for the info. After reading about the different types, I think your suggestion is on the money so, I'm going with a Programmed rapid start ballast. I just need to find out if they require shunted or un-shunted lampholders. Also prices range from about $10 to over $20. Anyone have any good or bad experiences with different brands?

Thanks,
henrylr
 
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Old 12-14-16, 02:44 PM
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The Programmed rapid start requires Un-shunted lampholders each pin has a wire connected.

I really don't like electronic ballasts so I don't have any recommendations on brands sorry. The F14T12 is a preheat lamp by design (It was one of the original fluorescent lamps when fluorescent was a new thing in the 1940's) I would try to get a known brand ballast though (Universal GE, Philips Advance, etc)

The preheat ballast/starter is the better more reliable combo (I do know some people can't stand the flashing of the lamp until it finally lights up though)
 
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Old 12-15-16, 10:47 AM
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Ballast question

I appreciate all the help and info and have decided to try to get a programmed start electronic ballast. However, there is one problem, the top brands like GE, Osram and Phillips don't make one small enough to fit in my fixtures. I've only found rapid start electronic types made by Inter-Global, Fulham and Keystone. Has anyone used their ballasts and if so how have there been any problems with them?

Thanks,
henrylr
 
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Old 12-16-16, 09:22 AM
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I have used Keystone and Fulham electronic ballasts with good results and reliability. I have never heard of Inter-Global before (Even though I did link to one before in this forum thread )
Make sure the Fulham ballast is programmed start though as I noticed a lot (But not all of there models) of there offerings are instant start. If you give me the model number of the ballast you are going to buy I can tell you if it instant or programmed start

Also the wiring diagram is a giveaway instant start only has one wire to each lampholder/tombstone and programmed start has two wires to each one
 
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Old 12-16-16, 09:48 AM
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Thanks for the info. Keystone, Fulham and Inter-Global also have electronic rapid start. None, including GE, Osram and Phillips, have programmed start in the small size I need. I've searched on many sites, for hours over the last four days, with no luck. Guess I'll go with an electronic rapid start.

I also considered going with LED Bi-Pin retrofit bulbs. The shortest I could find was 32 inches but I need F14 length which is 14 7/8"long.

Thanks,
henrylr
 
 

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