Ballast testing.

My ancient shop light has 2 mammoth ballasts with 4 starters for the 40w tubes and I'd like to be able to know for sure what's at fault before I begin replacing parts. Is there a procedure for bench testing ballasts using a multimeter? Next, is there any reason to replace a ballast,if one is needed, with the original type, or can I adapt a modern smaller ballast that doesn't use starters? TIA Clint
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PAROADHOG wrote:

Why bother. Get a new more efficient fixture with T-8 lamps and a good quiet efficient ballast.
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Joseph E. Meehan

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I've heard T-8's mentioned a lot recently. Why are they better?
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PAROADHOG wrote:

Frankly they are better because they are smaller. Being smaller keeps the heat in the lamp better and they work more efficiently. Most also come with modern electronic ballast and will work well at very cold temperatures without any of the annoying buzz.
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Joseph E. Meehan

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Lamps are measured in`1/8's of an inch.. Do not ask me why, I do not know where this came from. T-8's are 1 inch in diameter and are smaller than the standard T-12's. The T-8's also can produce more light for less energy. There are also some high output T-5's available.
Personally I would throw away the ballasts and starters and buy new. Either electronic or magnetic ballasts your choice. Wear gloves when your replacing the old ballasts, they are probably full of PCB's. Do not burn them.
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PAROADHOG wrote:

few bucks for some wide spectrum bulbs; sometimes referred to a "daylight" bulbs. The light from them makes a big difference in your general viewing pleasure and in many cases they seem to brighten up a sagging mood just like going outside on the first sunny day of spring. I've switched to those kinds of bulbs everywhere I can in our home, my home workshop and our office.
Jeff
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While you're at it, since it's that old and parts like starters and sockets are sure to begin failing, why not replace all of the electrical components with a 4-light electronic ballast, 8 new sockets and 4 new day-light spectrum lamps?
It may be cheaper to just buy a whole new fixture and swap the whole electrical component.

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quoting:

What are the bulbs doing? Flickering, completely dead, ends of bulbs lighting up? Anything? IS the whole fixture out, or is it just one or two bulbs?
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On 23 Feb 2004, PAROADHOG wrote:

Is the shop heated? Or actually, can you say "it never gets too cold in there"?
If it's a reasonably warm room, you can get away with a new fixture that uses cheaper tubes (35 or 38W, it's late, can't remember right now) and you could buy a fixture and a case of 10 tubes for less than you would likely pay for replacement parts for an "ancient" fixture and 4 new 40W tubes.
Sometimes, $tuff just ain't worth trying to fix.
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I've learned to totally appreciate 'Small Firms'.
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with a new light. BUT.......I'd still like to know if there;s a simple way to bench-test a ballast , or test it in place. Thanks to all for the help.

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