Problem with T8 Fluorescent Lighting Fixtures

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Old 10-20-17, 01:34 PM
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Problem with T8 Fluorescent Lighting Fixtures

Hello. First time poster on this site. About one year ago, my 70yo father in law installed four T8 fluorescent lighting fixtures in my garage which until that time only had one wall mounted fixture. They worked great for a while, but over time (a few months), they began to dim and all but stopped working. I replace all the bulbs and things again worked great. But, the same thing happened. I am now on my 3rd set of replacement bulbs in less than a year. Replaced them on 10/24/17 and have full light. I checked all of the wiring connections and they all seem to be good. Does that mean there may be a problem with the ballast on one or more fixtures? And is there a way to test a ballast to determine if it is faulty? Thank you for your time.
 
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Old 10-20-17, 06:52 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

It's pretty strange that all four fixtures are having the same problem. That would almost eliminate ballasts. With fixtures only a year old... they should be using electronic ballasts for which the most part... work.... or don't work.

You could check and see that they say electronic on the ballast and have 2x32w tubes listed in the use chart on the ballast.
 
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Old 10-20-17, 09:50 PM
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Normally when fluorescent lamps steadily lose output, it's either caused by impurities in the gas fill, either caused by an air leak or manufacturing defect, or it's caused by low mercury. The phosphor also degrades over time, but there are few defects that could accelerate that deterioration.

The typical pattern for improper gas fill or too little mercury is a lamp that gradually takes longer and longer to reach full brightness after starting. For the first several minutes of operation, it will be noticeably dimmer than normal, then begin to get brighter on each side while the middle remains dim. Output will slowly increase and even out. This is normal to some degree with today's reduced mercury lamps, and will also occur when temperatures are low. However, if it gets to the point where the lamp never attains full brightness and output continues to diminish, then it's a defect.

What manufacturer(s) made the bulbs? In the past Philips seemed to become mercury-starved most frequently, though Sylvania has declined in recent years as well. GE tends to be the best in most sizes. I would recommend trying a different brand/supplier if they were all the same. The store might have a bad batch of tubes.
 
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Old 10-20-17, 11:13 PM
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The OP is on his third batch of tubes. It's more than a bad batch.
T-8's have a pretty good life. Years.... not months.
 
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Old 10-21-17, 12:01 AM
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Retrofitting with direct wire LEDs may be the simplest solution but beware of BigBox home stores. They usually have a limited over priced selection. $18-$20 dollars should be your price range. You do not want ones that require a ballast.
 
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Old 10-21-17, 05:05 AM
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I also would not waste time worrying about getting the fluorescents to work. Like Ray2047 recommended I would replace with direct wire T8 LED bulbs. They are available from Amazon or SuperBrightLEDs for a good price and can be found at most big box home centers though more expensive. Make sure you order the bulbs that say direct wire and that they do NOT use a ballast.

When you get the bulbs the instructions will tell you how to wire the fixture. There are two types of wiring used. One method sends both wires of your 120VAC to one end of the bulb. The other method has one wire of your 120VAC going to each end. Both methods work but just make sure you wire the fixture to match your bulbs.
 
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Old 11-02-17, 10:08 AM
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Thank you Dane. I will give that a try.
 
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