Thread Number: 71419  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Q about faltering shop florescent lights.
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Post# 945018   6/24/2017 at 12:06 (361 days old) by scoots (Chattanooga TN)        

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When I bought this house about 10 years ago, money was short and I needed light for my basement, which was huge but only being served by 3 incandescent bulbs. Money was short so I bought some fluorescent lights from Walmart.

Several of these units now fail to turn on correctly. Typically when I switch them on they sputter and fail to come to full power.

If I 'bounce' the light switch between on and off quickly, something takes and the lights work properly.

My question is, is this a problem with the bulbs, the ballast, or the transformer? Or something else I'm missing? I don't know anything about the subject, other than I'm annoyed at this and I don't want to spend money on the wrong part.


Post# 945020 , Reply# 1   6/24/2017 at 12:28 (361 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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That happens with mine too, particularly when it's hot outside.  The light is in my laundry room.  When the house gets to around 76 with the a/c, it ceases.  I just deal with it. 

Post# 945021 , Reply# 2   6/24/2017 at 12:30 (361 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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I am going to say its a bit of combination of both....

I have three installed in closets, and one is beyond a can try new bulbs, and that may work for a while, I think its my ballast messing up, I should have taken it back since it started this issue within a month after installing....

but yeah, like you, sometimes I have to click the switch on and off several times to get it to light up completely.....

when it came for the laundry room, I bought 2 of the drop/shop fluorescent lights....drilled holes and screwed them to the joist...they plug right in or you can hardwire them.....cheapest thing ever, and works the best...

Post# 945023 , Reply# 3   6/24/2017 at 12:37 (361 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
They wear out.

The starters eventually go. Some are replaceable little ones, but a ballast isn't worth replacing. get a new LED fixture.

Post# 945025 , Reply# 4   6/24/2017 at 12:42 (361 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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I have some really old fluorescent fixtures in my basement...1940s I'm pretty sure. Sometimes the starters need replacing. I'd try that after the bulbs and before fooling around with the ballast.


Post# 945030 , Reply# 5   6/24/2017 at 13:13 (361 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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I did what Mike suggested to my kitchen light.  The electrical company that wired my house when it was built 33 years ago came and made a change to the light and they used LEDs that look like the fluorescent tubes.  Nice lighting. 

Post# 945035 , Reply# 6   6/24/2017 at 13:32 (361 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Some of the newer fluorescent's have a circuit board in them.

Post# 945057 , Reply# 7   6/24/2017 at 15:39 (361 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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I have fluorescents all over my basement but will now only replace them with LED from here on out.  I only replace them as the fixtures go bad.   I rewired (simple) the Vent-A-Hood and ordered an 18" LED tube for the fixture.  Recently did the same on the 58 GE range.  


Post# 945351 , Reply# 8   6/26/2017 at 06:23 (359 days old) by retro-man (nashua,nh)        

And don't think you will not have problems with the led lights. I have put a couple of overhead led lights to replace previous long tube fluorescent lights and they work great. Now I have led under cabinet light strips. Just this past week the one over the sink with 7 leds started flashing and getting real dim. Shut it off it comes back to full brightness then fades after a short time. Took it down and there is a "driver" in it that seems to be going bad. This driver is what replaces a transformer. Its about 2 inches long 3/4 wide and 1/2 deep. I am going to an electrical supply house today to search for another driver. If not hopefully I can get another light from Lowes where they were purchased 5 years ago. I would imagine that I should be able to find another driver.


Post# 945355 , Reply# 9   6/26/2017 at 07:38 (359 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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keep note.....too much a good thing is not always that.....

too many LED's can cause interference with wireless/cordless phones, WiFi signals, and home wireless alarms.....

just keep that in mind, should you install these types of bulbs....and then things start to go a bit wonky, then it will hit you, this started not too long after these bulbs were installed....

Post# 945367 , Reply# 10   6/26/2017 at 10:10 (359 days old) by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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There can be RF noise emitted from an LED lamp/fixture but this isn't due to the LEDs it is the switch mode power supply that is the culprit. Same goes with 99% of the failures in any LED lighting, the diodes themselves won't fail often (and generally only gradually) but the power supply will fail and you lose the entire lamp/fixture.

With the LED stuff you get what you pay for to a great degree. I have seen the most checkered results with the no-name stuff but generally have had near perfect performance from Cree and Phillips etc. I have a number of Phillips lamps that I have had installed for about 7 years with zero failures at this point.

As for a florescent, if it isn't a modern electronic ballast I'd replace the fixture right away due to efficiency. You could retrofit the ballast if you like the fixture itself. You can also retrofit any fixture with several different forms of linear LED tubes too. I've been using the tubes where you remove the ballast from the fixture and just wire 120v AC to the old bi-pin sockets.

I bought a few of these a while back and I have been happy with them so far, they were pretty inexpensive (less then $10/tube) though

They are bit lower output then a fresh T8 tube but they should equal or exceed a T12. They are only 15 watts per tube though so the luminous efficacy is still about twice what the florescent is.

Post# 945503 , Reply# 11   6/27/2017 at 01:40 (358 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

The transmitter plant is a good test ground for LED lights.The AEL and GE Evolve streetlamps are working fine for the past 3 yrs.Flourescent retrofit LED bulbs have less time on them but so far are OK.These are the ones that bypass the ballast.The problems with electronic switching flouresent ballasts and some LED drivers is the RFI issues-same with electronic digital ballasts for HID.Electromagnetic ballasts have NO RFI problems.And their reliability is still better for long term.The AEL streetligfhts have replaceable drivers and LED light elements.There is also RFI filters ahead of the drivers.The BIG problem with LED lighting is NO ANSI standards for drivers and LED elements unlike fluorescent and HID.

Post# 945520 , Reply# 12   6/27/2017 at 05:31 (358 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Every 7 years or so my bathroom fluorescent light will get touchy...won't come on unless I flick the switch on and off a few times...replacing the bulbs always fixes it.  Kitchen light went bonkers and quit completely.  It had 2 ballasts in it for 4 bulbs.  I bought 2 new replacements on ebay and now it works great and starts faster than ever.  I just wish I could run another wire and switch to it to power each pair separately instead of all 4 on all the time.  Maybe during the next kitchen remodel.........if I'm still living here.

Post# 945523 , Reply# 13   6/27/2017 at 05:50 (358 days old) by retro-man (nashua,nh)        

I was able to locate a new driver for my led under cabinet lighting. I called the manufacturer of the driver and they directed my to an after market dealer who had them in stock and shipped it out yesterday. Total price + shipping was $33.33 Cheaper than $39.99 for a new one which is no longer available. Wanted to keep the same style in the kitchen. So they can be found and easily replaced.


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