Fluorescent Light Fixture Question


I have a pair of recessed fluorescent light fixtures in the kitchen that I think the ballasts are going out. The lights do not come on sometimes and sometimes when it does come on it is very dim. Changing to new tubes did not help.
I am not sure where the ballast is located and if it is a standard part I can get a replacement for. The light fixture says:
Underwriters Laboratory Recessed Fluorescent Fixture Issue No. A-540 508 U 880542 118 Volts 60 Hz
It is 48"x12" in size with two tubes.
Any idea how I can locate and identify the ballast?
Thanks,
MC
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Not sure in your case, but many will have the ballast under the cover between the tubes. You should be able to take that cover off from the side the tubes are on. The ballast should have on it the type of tubes it will be used with. If it is old, it will be mostly iron and heavy. You can replace it with a newer electronic ballast. They usually are the same size and weigh much less. If you have not seen the ballast, it may be 2 or 3 inches wide and about 8 inches or so long.
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Suggestion; if you use an electronic ballast instead of the older 'iron' type is it not necessary to use a different type of fluorescent tube?
Not certain about this but when I used two conventional 34 watt (T10 tube, I think) to temporarily test a fixture with an electronic ballast the tube seemed to get excessively hot? Maybe just a one-off case but now curious. That fixture has been in use continuously since (2 to 3 years), btw, with the smaller diameter (T8?) type tubes.
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Some of them don't use a single piece ballast/starter, but instead have a set of discrete components at each the end of the fixture, one for each tube - ballast, starter, and sometimes a small resistor across the ballast. When I run into one of these, I just throw the entire thing in the trash. It isn't worth the time and trouble to wire in a conventional ballast, and I'm not even sure where you would get replacement parts from. If it's a single piece ballast in the middle, then that is easy to fix, and the ballast you would buy from your favorite hardware store is probably much better quality than the one it came from.
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