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OT: shop fluorescent fixture questions

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  • OT: shop fluorescent fixture questions

    Twelve years ago I put up 8 four foot fluorescent fixtures in my shop. They were low profile and each used two 4' F32 bulbs. From day one they buzzed annoyingly. Recently a buddy was replacing all of his buzzy shop lights with quiet new ones. It got me thinking about solving my buzz problem.

    I bought eight modern ballasts used (removed from fixtures never installed) and started to rebuild each of my fixtures with the new ballasts. I found that my fixtures had two different types of ballasts installed. One kind was much smaller than the other. I now think the bigger ones were an older design, although still electronic.

    Anyway, I noticed that the fixtures with the large buzzier ballasts were much more discolored than the ones with the smaller quieter ballasts. I had some trouble getting all of the discoloration off the white powder-coated sheet metal.

    First question: what is the best solvent to use to cut such discoloration?

    Second: why do fluorescent fixtures discolor anyway?

    metalmagpie

  • #2
    Fluorescents do give off UV light and a touch of ozone, though you would never smell it. This degraded everything. Also the dust can become electrically charged and coat the reflectors.

    We always used windex to clean the reflectors.

    You can get 4 lamp electronic ballasts to replace the two old ones.

    With pics I can tell you more. I have probably changed more ballasts than every person on this board combined.

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    • #3
      Older ballasts were potted in tar. The warm tar redistributes from the
      cracks in the ballast case to the cooler sheet metal of the light fixture.
      Even tar has volatiles in it as it is a messy mixture of long chain alkanes
      and polyaromatics.
      Steve

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      • #4
        Ageed , hot water and windex cleaned mine ok.

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        • #5
          Was doing my last fixture today when I got called upstairs for dinner right after I'd spritzed it down with a blue detergent solution. Came back down about an hour later and it wiped clean and white. My problem was not letting the stuff sit long enough to cut the dirt.

          I bet that's right about the tar, good call.

          Now I can't hear any buzzing at all in my shop. Happy ..

          metalmagpie

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          • #6
            Originally posted by macona
            You can get 4 lamp electronic ballasts to replace the two old ones.
            I didn't write clearly enough - these are two lamp fixtures, and I took out a 2-lamp ballast and replaced it with a 2-lamp ballast. I'm all done now.

            metalmagpie

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            • #7
              I have several cheap fluorescent light fixtures in my shop. Periodically they will flick off and on. They will stay off from an hour or so to all day. It is at random and often a fixture will go for a week with no problems and then spend a day or two misbehaving. There seems to be no real pattern to it.

              Are the ballasts going bad?
              Are the bulbs ready to go, because they do come back on?

              Neil

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              • #8
                Is anybody having problem with these greenie bulbs. not wanting to come on. Never had a problem with the old bulbs, also in some fixtures they come on every time no problem others you have to wiggle,jiggle or smack them for them to com on.
                I have shinned both the pins and the cheap clips. I like Macona have changed thousand bulbs, ballasts, tombstones etc. over 34 years as a Facilities Manager. Have the fixture,ballast,bulb tester, everything test good but they flicker for time some come on some don't. They are in the basement with heat.

                The ones outside in the shop come on with less problems?
                Glen
                Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PTSideshow
                  Is anybody having problem with these greenie bulbs. not wanting to come on. Never had a problem with the old bulbs, also in some fixtures they come on every time no problem others you have to wiggle,jiggle or smack them for them to com on.
                  I have shinned both the pins and the cheap clips. I like Macona have changed thousand bulbs, ballasts, tombstones etc. over 34 years as a Facilities Manager. Have the fixture,ballast,bulb tester, everything test good but they flicker for time some come on some don't. They are in the basement with heat.

                  The ones outside in the shop come on with less problems?
                  Thats nothing, I once worked in a PC shop where you had to turn the lights on in a certain order or about 1/4 of them would'nt come on! I think it might of been voltage drop related because you had to turn the 'stubbren' ones on first, then the rest would be fine. But if you tried to turn the stubbren ones on last, they would never ignite, or maybe only one outta the two bulbs would, etc.
                  Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                  • #10
                    When we built my wife's' woodshop, we installed 15 4' fixtures, lamped with those tubes w/ the green ends. When it "felt damp" IE: spring or fall day, many summer days, etc, the tubes wouldn't light. Waiting or cycling them on and off and on might get them to eventually light. I eventually replaced the tubes with "Do It Best" brand from the h/w store and all is well.

                    I was using some 8' tubes in my shop lights that also had the green ends. They act the same as above and will be replaced one of these days.

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