T-12 fixtures again

I'm at the BORG today walking past the 8' fluorescent light fixtures and decide it's time to replace the magnetic ballast 8 footers that I have. I think I know what I want, T-12 electronic ballast, but after looking at what was there, I was just more confused than when I walked in.
So can you guys tell me what will work best and survive the cold weather? The choice of fixtures they had in 8' are;
T-8 (2 tubes) and the box says magnetic $33. That's what I have and I know I didn't want that.
The next is T-12 (2 tubes) and the box says commercial/ electronic $35. No mention of cold weather application. I think this is what I want until I see the next choice.
The next is T-12 (2 tubes) and the box says commercial/ High Output/ magnetic $55. The bulbs in this display read H/O cold weather.
Near the display there is a little sticker claiming that if the box has this emblem they are good to 0 degrees. None of the fixtures listed above, or any of the smaller ones at the store, had that emblem. None of the fixture boxes say anything about cold weather. Only the BULBS in the H/O fixture say cold weather and that unit seems to also have magnetic ballast.
Knowing that no one in the store would be able to answer my questions, I just left empty handed.
Any guesses as to whether any of the fixtures listed above will work? Or, should I keep looking?
Thanks
Mike O.
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Mike O. wrote:

Pretty much any electronic ballast should be good in cold weather, some are better than others.
Any particular reason you don't want electronic T8? Around here in Canada the 2-tube 4-foot ones are $20 and they claim to be good in cold weather.
Chris
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On Mon, 10 Mar 2008 17:21:15 -0600, Chris Friesen

Thanks, that's what I thought.

Everything I saw here that was T-8 had the magnetic ballast but I'll look again.
Thanks.
Mike O.
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On Mon, 10 Mar 2008 17:21:15 -0600, Chris Friesen wrote:

I recently bought some 4' shop lights with electronic ballast, only to find that they didn't work on a GFCI protected circuit, but a different brand did.
I asked an electrician and he said it was a known "feature" of some electronic ballasts. Depended on the chip used.
Most folks won't have their shop lights on GFCI, but just in case I thought I'd mention it.
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Why dont you try going to the electrical supply house and see if you may be able to support a company with people who "do" know what they are talking about, and likely may be locally owned to boot. Perhaps they will quote you a price similar to what you will get at the borg which gives no service, no knowledge, no support, and no local $$. At the vey least you will likely leave the counter well informed and having learned something. They may even tell you which is the better chioce at the borg if they dont have something in your pricerange (unlikely).
Mark
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On Mon, 10 Mar 2008 18:07:04 -0700 (PDT), BDBConstruction

Good idea. Last time I was in the closest one here they wouldn't let me purchase without a company check. This time I'll take a check with me.
Micheal
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Hogwash, if you went to a contractor only supplyhouse I "may" be able to see it however those are extremely rare anymore. If infact it was a trade-only supplyhouse I am sure there are others in the area. If you want to put your money where you mouth is post the name and ph. # of the supply house and I will give them a call and ask what their policy is for non-trade sales and post their response.
The days of "trade only" supply houses is coming to an end. While there are still some out there, in most every market there are several supply houses that sell to "retail" customers at discounted prices. Though the discount may be 10-20 percent shy of thier contractor sales, they may well be competetive, only slightly higher, and in cases of quality goods, even more competetive than big box stores.
You really need to reassess the weight you are putting on the knowledge, service, and support, of your supplier. You yourself stated that HD has no knowledge, which is why you are asking the question here. You wasted your time, fuel, and so on going to HD (even if it is on your way) to get no answers, no product, and no information. Those three things have a value that is quantifiable in a direct dollar amount.
The conundrum progresses even further when you outsource the knowledge and service (score 1 for HD) combined with your time (score 2 for HD), and then go back and buy a substandard product (score 3 for HD).
Mark
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On Tue, 11 Mar 2008 15:59:12 -0700 (PDT), BDBConstruction

Well I'm not used to being called a liar and I'm not used to explaining myself to those who might call me a liar. The last time I tried to buy some special electrical stuff I went to the local Locke Wholesale Electrical Supply building and was told I needed a company check. Unlike you, I believed the guy.
Have a nice day!
Plonk
Mike O.
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Plonk away. Simple fact is local sources abound for quality goods, supplied by knowledgable staff, who offer copious quantities of service, support, and information, at a reasonable price for all of the above. They may meet or beat the borg, they may be a bit more, but service and knowledge have direct value. And as I said, they will likely tell you "hey, we have this fixture but Lowes is selling the same one for 10.00 less". They may even go on to say, "but, that model has a china ballust which has a 1 year life span and when that ballust goes it will cost more than the total fixture cost to replace it". Whats that worth?
While your location may be the one with a single supply house and it is trade-only I will gladly eat my words. If there is enough trade to support a trade-only house there is usually several others in the area. It may take a little legwork to find the one for you but the profits abound when you find it. The legwork will be far less than you are doing to line the borgs pockets.
Today's consumer, with obscene amounts of bias, is willing to do the work of their supplier, substitute personal research for all the knowledge of their supplier, worry about the warranty of their supplier, AND on top of it all, settle for low quality, substandard goods. This while trying to do hours of research regarding quality, long life, and performance with regard purchase. After all that, they want to feel ripped off when what they got didnt work, didnt last, or god forbid negatively affected the US economy, and they want to return it.
These sources (borg) do not aim to offer any one of us any of those features and benefits unless they are abitrarily inherant in the end product (perhaps a brick, a bag of concrete mix though it could have less portland in it, a stick of rebar). If it can be dumbed down it will be. They are not remotely interested in providing you with a quality light fixture. Customer satisfaction is not thier ultimate goal. They are merely interested in getting you to a point where its easier for you to keep it rather than return it. They are interested in making you think you are getting a good fixture but it will have low quality ballust which will last until the return period is over. It will have the least possible amount of paint, thinnest sheet metal possible, on and on. They dont even care if the low quality impacts returns because they force vendors to accept any and all returns as a condition of doing business with them.
Mark
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Mike O. wrote:

they would not actually light up until around 10 AM. I found T8 electronic ballasts at Lowes and just replaced the ballasts and replaced the bulbs with T8's. The ballast will have it's minimum starting temperature on it. I believe theirs was 30 degrees F. Since then I have found the ballasts much cheaper online.
The T8 ballast is wired differently in the fixture but has a diagram on the label and is very simple to do. Now my shop (and shed) lights just pop on when the switch is clicked, no hum or flicker. There is a "burn-in" period when first installed of a few hours when the light is not full power.
--
Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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Gerald Ross wrote:

Here is the link
http://www.ballastwise.com/item.asp?PID5&FID=1&level=0
--
Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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Boy.. the things you learn hanging around the woodworking group. I always knew there was a difference in ballast and performance, I just didn't know which one was which.
Thanks!
Robert
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On Mon, 10 Mar 2008 22:11:09 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Yep.. I learned about them here and tried one.. loved it and bought four 4" double-tube units for the new shop..
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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On Mon, 10 Mar 2008 22:11:09 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

T8 electronic ballasts come in different configurations. The starting temperature will be on it. T8 fluorescent output is based on bulb wall temperature. In cold operating conditions consider an enclosed fixture. Pay attention to the BF or ballast factor. There are 3 basic settings. Low Out put which is about .75 to .79 of reference output. Normal output would be about .85-.88. there is also a 1.18 output but that is probably only practical for commercial as high efficiency luminaires are necessary to essentially replace a 4 lamp fixture with 2 lamps. Oh they also make a long life high lumen T8 lamp. Finally consider Higher degree Kelvin temp lamps as they will appear whiter and cause a perceived brighter environment.
Mike M
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Do these bulbs have the ballsts attached? I always thought (but I'm ignint of these matters) the ballast is installed in the fixture, and the bulb is a separate replaceable.
    -- Andy Barss
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It depends on the brand. Some lights will be sold with the bulbs, but I believe most will be sold without.
Also, the ballast is part of the fixture, not attached to the bulbs. You may be thinking of the compact fluorescent bulbs which have a built in ballast and are used in the screw type incandescent sockets.
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I'll tell you my recent lighting story and you may be able to glean some information from it, or not. At Menards I bought their 2 bulb 4 foot T-12 fluorescent light fixture. $16.88 each. Bought 37 in all for the 1200 square foot basement. 36 of them had two brands of electronic ballast. As someone else said, they state right on the ballast what their operating temperature is and its near freezing if I recall correctly. More than adequate for basement or even garage lights. 1 of the fixtures had a magnetic ballast. I exchanged that one so all my T-12 fixtures are electronic ballasts. No humming at all and they come on immediately.
Due to cost reasons, and a nice sale price at Menards, I went with cheap Sylvania fluorescent bulbs. $1.35 per bulb including tax. 70 CRI, 3000 lumens, 4200 K. Before buying the bulbs I had five different sets of bulbs in the basement, comparing them to see which I liked best. 6500K, 2200 lumen, 90CRI; 5000K, 2400 lumen, 90CRI; 3000K, 3300 lumen, 80CRI; 3500K, 3600 lumen, 85CRI; 5100K, 3500 lumen, 85CRI. The 6500K were very blue, bad. The 5000K were sort of OK but not bright enough when compared to superior bulbs. The 3000K was too yellow, incandescent reproduction, and not bright enough. The 3500K was slightly yellow but very bright, high quality bulb. The 5100K was very bright and white, high quality bulb. I liked the 5100K best with the 3500K a close second. But each was about $5 a bulb from the local electrical supplier company. $370 for high quality light bulbs compared to the $95 for the 4200K, 3000 lumen, 70CRI bulbs I ended up with. Cost difference was too much at this time. And the cheap bulbs I bought are OK enough, especially supplemented with the 150-200 watt incandescent lights in the basement. If I spent hours in the basement shop, then nicer bulbs and the extra $275 cost would be justified.
I recommend gathering up a variety of bulbs and comparing them when choosing bulbs. You will see a wide range of light quality. The big and small hardware stores only have poor light quality bulbs. But may be able to sell them cheaply. For high quality light bulbs you have to get them from a store specializing in lighting. And you will have to pay dearly for them. But it may be worth it.
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On Mar 11, 7:24 am, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Good information, Russell. I personally like anything that is qualitative but with numbers I can point to.
You bring up a great point, too. When I was doing a lot of commercial finish out, I did minor maintenance as a favor to the building owners on a few different developments. We changed out a lot of flourescent bulbs, and they gave me $5 a bulb to change them out. They did not care what I put in the fixtures as long as they actually lit up. I paid .88 a bulb in 12 bulb per case packages. I have no idea what they were, but they were cheap, and that is all my instruction from the building owner I got.
At the time none of us knew much about flicker (we thought they only flickered when the ballast was going out), and how that affected what the people saw that worked under those bulbs. We didn't know that the bulbs flickered constantly, and that they flickered at a different rate on each bulb, and especially that they flickered at a harmonic rate much different than the old CRT monitors.
I can't imagine how many people's headaches were actually from the flourescent bulbs we used to put in.
Robert
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Hey Mike - ask the Associate in electrical to open up one of the fixtures you're interested in and read the ballast. You cannot go by the markings on the box. HD sells lights that are not rated for cold start, but if you look at the ballast, you'll find they are rated for -10C. That's cold enough for most applications. They sell for far less than the rated versions. Any HD electrical department Associate will open up a fixture (remove the shield) so that you can examine the ballast.
If you can determine the SKU for a particular fixture, but can't get by the store to look at the product in person, email me with the SKU and I will open one up for you. HD SKU's are XXX-XXX numbers.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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Just an observation:
FYI, I purchased some Home Depot shop lights with 2-4' T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts. I have 10 of these; the ballasts in 2 of the 10 have failed. I did some googling of that issue and read opinions that the ballasts are very low end in these type lights.
Since I cut the supplied cords off and wired them directly from the junction box, I guess I am not going to return them. But I am not going to purchase these again; I will just replace the ballasts.
Other than that the lights were not rated for "cold" but they have always come on immediately when I flipped the switch.
And FYI different electronic ballasts do have different ratings for power efficiency and such. It appears you can opt for more lumens (light output) or less power use with different ballasts. And that is aside from the difference you might see with different tubes.
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