OT T8 Tubes

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I am having a problem with some T8's that I bought from HD. They are Phillips Altos.
I have two boxes, of 10 one is daylight, one is for home and office (not sure of K).
Anyway they keep burning out in 3 months. I have tried replacing the ballast, I have tried other fixtures, I started dating them in marker on the bulbs.
They never are great, when they come on they are bright, but over a few minutes they get darker and zebra lines (best way to describe the pulsing) start appearing.
Any idea why this is happening? What would make one brand of tube behave so poorly?
--
Jeff

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woodchucker wrote:

Hope we get some good answers to this Jeff, because I've had bad luck with the T8's I get at the depot too. An election friend told me it may be because they get turned on an off too much - they really prefer to stay on for long periods of time.
--
-Mike-
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On Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:33:20 -0400, Mike Marlow

They once advertised the life of fluorescent tubes as "xxxx hours, less three hours per start" so apparently leaving them on is better than turning them off when you go to lunch.
The alternative is to get LED replacement "tubes" and rewire the fixtures *unless* they are electronic ballast. OK if you're the electrician, expensive if you hire it done. The fixtures in my basement are older T12 so would require rewiring. The LED tubes use about half the power for the same number of lumens and they have a predicted 50,000 hour life.
Example electronic ballast compatible tube here (it's a long URL so watch for wrap on some newsreaders): https://www.earthled.com/collections/led-t8-tube-replacements-replace-your-fluorescent-t8-t10-t12-lamps-with-led/products/luceco-led-fluorescent-replacement-tube-generation-2-4-ft-15-watt-t8-ballast-compatible-full-glass-body?variant 929341956&mc_cid๐2a49d337&mc_eid[dd20d24e
These are $9 per tube in single quantity (includes shipping). That drops to $8 per tube if you buy 25 or more.
If you get 10 times the life of a fluorescent from the LED tube, then you'd be way ahead on the total cost of the tubes.
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On 4/22/16 1:07 PM, snipped-for-privacy@wizardanswers.com wrote:

your-fluorescent-t8-t10-t12-lamps-with-led/products/luceco-led-
fluorescent-replacement-tube-generation-2-4-ft-15-watt-t8-ballast-
compatible-full-glass-body?variant929341956&mc_cid๐2a49d337&mc_eid[dd20d24e

I went with these in the 6 (4' x 4-tube) troffers I have in the shop. The power/lumens is about the same as fluorescent tubes, but the light stays bright as they age and that infernal buzzing is finally gone! Since they direct light in only one direction (down) instead of 360 degrees, they seem brighter.
I just went ahead an bypassed my ballasts, no need to generate excess heat.
-BR
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Sounds like the wrong kind of ballast. T8's need a T8 ballast, and by that I mean a ballast for T8 only. The ballasts that claim to work with both T8 and T12 bulbs generally don't work well with T8s (this tends to directly correlate to the cost of the ballast - there are good electronic ballasts, but the cheap ones at HD/Lowes are a crapshoot).

I hate the T8 bulbs - the idiot that decided they should use the same 2-pin base as T12s should be shot. I can't count the number of cases I know of where T8 ballasts have been fried by people putting T12 bulbs in, because they fit and there's absolutely nothing on the fixture to say don't use them.
(to Mike's question, all flourescent bulbs don't like being turned on & off, not just T8s. But the T8's seem much more persnickety about the ballast they're used with).
John
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On 4/22/2016 4:20 PM, John McCoy wrote:

Best advice thus far.
Where are the lights being used? Are they constantly turned on and off? As John said, are you using the proper T8 only ballast? In addition to ballasts, is it Instant start, rapid start or program start? The type makes all the difference in the world depending on where it's used. In a constant on/off environment, you want program start. If the lights stay on throughout the day, you want instant start. Don't buy the cheap home depot ballasts. Pay a little more for something like Philips Advance ballasts.
Many of the new Alto bulbs offer and average of 40,000 hours but newer Altos offer a 60,000 to 80,000 hour range but cost much more. Though, all that is meaningless if you use the wrong ballast.
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Meanie wrote:

My fixtures are now all T8 fixtures. Don't know the ballast details. I use only Altos bulbs. My lights can get turned on/off several times per day depending on what I'm doing.
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-Mike-
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On 4/22/2016 4:20 PM, John McCoy wrote:

Let's see if I understand this. You hate T8 bulbs because idiots put T12 bulbs in the fixtures? I like them because I can put in a T8 ballast when the old fixtures die and upgrade them.
In our shop we replaced all the fixtures with T8 in 2008. We are starting to replace many of the bulbs as they are stating to die with about 100,000 hours on them. They typically are turned on once a day for 10 hours
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On 4/22/2016 4:39 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Your numbers don't work. Ten hours a day, six days a week for eight years is is ~ 25,000 hours, far short of 100,000 hours.
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On 4/22/2016 6:49 PM, Just Wondering wrote:

Yeah, but I got more clicks on the calculator.
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Understand, I'm an engineer. I've spent 30 years designing things to be as idiot-proof as possible, and one aspect of that is, you don't use the same pinout for things unless they are 100% compatible.
T8 and T12 bulbs are not interchangeable. Having the same pinout is bad engineering, plain and simple.
BTW, changing the sockets when you change the ballast is trivially simple.

Round about that same time I replaced the couple of T8 fixtures I had with T12 ballasts. They're more reliable, brighter, and last longer, and I figure by the time I'm out of T12 bulbs LEDs will be cheap enough to be an economical replacement (I use the same thinking with Edison base bulbs - after trying a couple of twisties, I'm sticking with incandescents until the LED prices are low enough to make switching make sense).
John
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John McCoy wrote:

Well... not so much John. There are fixtures that are rated for either T8 or T12. That makes the common pin out logical.

Yes, it is.
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On Sat, 23 Apr 2016 10:16:51 -0400, Mike Marlow

It's possible to design a connector that will take only T12 (old connector), only T8 or either. That should have been the goal.

It costs an extra $1.50 (perhaps a big deal for institutions with thousand) and some are riveted so not so trivial.
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4ax.com:
*snip*

If you buy good drill bits or can sharpen yours...
Right, not so trivial.
Moving on...
Puckdropper
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On 23 Apr 2016 17:21:23 GMT, Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

That's easy for homeowners but not so easy for commercial installations. You don't think they design this stuff for us?

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John McCoy wrote:

A problem I've experienced with LEDs...
Late last fall I installed four, flush mount ceiling fixtures with integral LED; i.e., the bulb was built in...when it burned out, toss the whole fixture. Within about 4 months, two of the four started flickering; a very annoying flicker, maybe 25 cycles or a bit less per second.
Web research told me that LEDs are very susceptible to voltage variation and that a poor switch could cause the problem. Each flickering light had its own switch; each was on a separate circuit. I figured my best bet was to toss them and replace with incandescent. Which I just did.
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On 4/22/2016 4:20 PM, John McCoy wrote:

(originally made for T8). The others have all been replaced with T8 Ballasts Ge Units. I had to rewire and jumper the tombestones for T8 and wire correctly.
--
Jeff

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Shunted tombestones are for 'instant start' ballasts only (never 'rapid-start').
From NEMA document available here: https://www.1000bulbs.com/pdf/gcp-559-lampholders.pdf
Numerous ballast manufacturers have received and verified reports of incorrect applications of shunted bi-pin lampholders (tombstones) used with rapid-start (RS), programmed start (PS) and dimming ballasts. These incorrect applications have occurred in both new luminaires and field lamp and ballast retrofits.
For the purposes of this discussion, ballasts operating T8 rapid start lamps can be divided into two classifications; rapid-start and instant-start.
Rapid-start, programmed rapid-start, and dimming models provide lamp cathode power before striking the lamp (and sometimes after operation) and require that two wires be connected between the ballast and each lampholder. Instant-start ballasts do not preheat the lamp cathodes and need only one wire between the ballast and each lampholder. Correct wiring of instant-start ballasts and rapid start lamps necessitates that the lampholder terminals be shorted together, either via wiring or the use of a shunted lamp holder.
There are two basic types of lampholders, normal (or non-shunted), and shunted. A normal lampholder does not short or shunt the two lamp contacts within the lampholder, whereas a shunted lampholder shorts the two lamp contacts within the lampholder. Other than possibly a manufacturerโ€™s part number that is stamped or molded into the lampholder, it is very difficult to identify whether the lampholder is normal or shunted. These "shunted" lampholders were designed for instant start applications only.
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On 4/24/2016 10:17 AM, Spalted Walt wrote:

found out Friday that they were instant start. Surprise, surprise. But they are wired correctly.
When I looked up the model # of the ballast.
I don't know what the 3 bulb drop ceiling units in the basement are. I didn't build them, just installed them.
The stripes have disappeared after the gases stabilized in a couple of hours. New bulbs they told me (Philips) will do that.
At any rate they recommended I try other brands, which I have explained I have, and they did work well. It's the phillips bulbs that are not working well, and providing short life.
So, I think I've got to be tough and not take the easy way out while at HD. I've got to either go to Lowe's or a supplier, or online.

--
Jeff

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I'm curious as to how those Feit A19 LEDs are doing for you now. I remember you had a couple that flickered right out of the box. Did you end up returning them all, or are you still using them. If so, do you like them?
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Feit-Electric-60W-Equivalent-Soft-White-A19-LED-Light-Bulb-6-Pack-A800-830-10KLED-6-48/206397936
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