Replace T 12 tubes with T8 tubes?

As my 4 foot T12 fluorescent lights in my shoplights fail, can I replace them with 4' T8 tubes? These shoplights all seem to have electronic ballasts, consisting of a small, sealed plastic package about 2"x2"x1/2".
Thanks
Walter
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wrote:

its probably cheaper to replace the fixture than just the ballast for low cost shop lights, although i havent priced them
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** No, the 32 watt T8 lamps use a different ballast. Those really cheap shop lights with the integral ballast, aren't designed for ballast replacement
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As long as they have the sockets and wires, an electronic ballast can be added. Though, it might be cheaper to buy a whole fixture than a ballast.
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I don't dispute the cost of a fixture compared to the cost of a ballast. I am indicating ANY fluorescent fixture containing tube sockets can be easily wired into any ballast regardless of the stock wiring layout. A simple universal T8 ballast contains two blue wires, one red wire and a black and white (hot and neutral). The wiring diagram is located on the ballast as well.
As for a slot or fastener for the ballast, I agree most cheap fixtures will not have a pre-made fastening area for the bigger electronic ballast. Though, most fixtures (even the cheap ones) have holes on top, one can be used for a screw, and electronic ballasts are much smaller than their megnetic parents. Otherwise, it still doesn't mean a simple drill bit and machine screws can't hold it in place.

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**And I'm not saying it can't be done, just that the design of these really cheap shop fixtures makes it impractical from every conceivable point of view

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-snip-
I guess 'impractical ' is an objective observation. Worked for me. In one morning, for about $6 per fixture I converted a pile of junk in the corner of my garage to 6 functioning T8 lights with electronic ballasts.
Along with that, I got a bit of an education in the different ways manufacturer's can come up with to join things together & I learned a tiny bit about how ballasts are wired.
If I saw a pile of 6 broken lights at a garage sale, I'd be tempted to do it all over again.
Jim
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You are obviously not talking about the same $10 shop fixtures. These fixtures have an integral ballast built into the ends of the fixtures. They don't even have a ballast chamber running down the center of the fixture or any other location that a 2/32 ballast can be properly located
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Right.
Instead of fooling around with potentially incompatible ballasts and tubes, I will replace all failed fixtures (failed ballasts) with new T-8 shop lights. They cost only $ 17.98 at Lowes. If a fixture with a failed ballast has any OK bulbs, I will save them and keep my T-12s going.
Thanks
--
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On 4/23/2011 12:50 PM, walter wrote:

I put 12 of them in my garage when they were only about $10. a piece and the energy saver bulbs come bulk packaged for about $1.07 a piece. It's nice to be rid of the hum of ballasts.
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An electronic ballast isn't a guaranteed universal lamp ballast, otherwise, it would most likely have T-8s in them. Double check the ballast to determine if it's T-8 compatible. If not, then you'll need a T-8 ballast.
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No- but if you like the T-8s, keep saving the cheap shoplights as they fail. When you get 6 of them, check ebay for the deals on T8 ballasts. Buy 6 of them and spend a morning doing ballasts.
I did that a couple years ago & I'm happy with the results.
Jim
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A T12 ballast may fail to start T8 tubes. If the T8 tubes start on the T12 ballast, they will very likely be overpowered.
If you are going to use T8 tubes, then you need to replace the ballasts - or, maybe more easily, the whole fixtures.
Then again, T12 full-40-watt tubes are not being completely banned. There is an exception for ones with color rendering index above some certain amount.
The only exempt-on-CRI ones that I know of, without compromise in light output, are Philips "Ultralume" series. Last time I checked, Home Depot had those. The 4100 color one is the same color as regular cool white.
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