Shop lights

ok whats a good shop light? I've gone through 4 of the cheapies 10-12 bucks each, lowes and home depot...the lowes lasted about 2 years, 1 went bad already, the home depots i didn't even get 12 months out of them and 1 went bad last week. Its not bulbs..i tested. From googling i guess the ballasts are too cheap in these things..
How can i tell if it has a good ballast? From googling the I read on groups cheap ballast go through bulbs prematurely and leave black bands on the ends which you can tell its a cheap ballast.
thanks for suggestions!
- shawn
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ok whats a good shop light? I've gone through 4 of the cheapies 10-12 bucks each, lowes and home depot...the lowes lasted about 2 years, 1 went bad already, the home depots i didn't even get 12 months out of them and 1 went bad last week. Its not bulbs..i tested. From googling i guess the ballasts are too cheap in these things..
How can i tell if it has a good ballast? From googling the I read on groups cheap ballast go through bulbs prematurely and leave black bands on the ends which you can tell its a cheap ballast.
thanks for suggestions!
- shawn
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I assume you are talking about fluorescent lights?
If so, I recommend fixtures that use the thinner T8 style bulbs and low temperature electronic ballasts. They turn on instantly, with no flickering, even in the middle of winter.
I bought mine at Home Depot about 5 years ago, and paid $50 each for a 4' long, dual bulb fixture. Sorry, I don't recall the brand.
I have four of these fixtures in my garage, and I haven't even replaced a light bulb in the last 5 years. They still work as good as the day I installed them.
Anthony
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but your question implies otherwise.
I have three cheap ($10) fixtures in my shop. One is 15 years old; the others are 4 and 2 years old (my shop kept getting bigger...). All work fine, I think I have replaced one bulb in all three of them ever. You have just had bad luck.
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Some of the really cheap fixtures have non standard integral ballasts in them. Look for any fixture with a removable ballast transformer, preferably an electronic one for T8 32watt lamps

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$$$ The easiest indicator of quality parts is cost of the fixture! I second RBM's comment also. You can buy reasonable replacement ballasts from most hardware and electrical suppliers.
You'll be hard pressed to get the same light from screw-in fluorescents as from 2- 4' T8s.
RickR
RBM (remove this) wrote:

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I bought the cheapies too - 8 of them. I put them in my new garage. The next winter, all of them went bad. As though only one bulb would work. I replaced the "bad" ones with new bulbs, but still no luck. Somebody told me that cold temps affect the cheapies. So I went back to incandessant-style with neon insert bulbs.
Wish I could help you more.
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Just throw out the fixture and replace it with one or more regular light fixtures that just hold a standard light bulb. Then put compact flourescent bulbs in them.
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Wow...I bought 6 cheap fluorescent fixtures from Home Depot 12 years ago and they are still going strong. I paid a little more for the ones with a good-sized reflector on it as this casts more light. I'm wondering if it's your environment (salty air, acids, moisture, etc)?
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Could be they made em better 12 years ago too =)
I'm thinking on just going back to oil lamps =)
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Yes, they probably weren't made in China back then.
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Think temperature.
Standard magnetic ballasts don't like operating below freezing, and at even brand new/peak condition might not start at all below -10C (around 20F).
Electronic ballasts (more $) work vastly better at low temperatures.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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