We have a 4-lamp magnetic ballast that is on the blink. The ballast is a Mark
III Energy Saver made by Advance Transformer, catalog number R-4S40-A-TP-AC.
This ballast is a magnetic ballast and costs $60 to replace. I can be a 4-lamp
electronic ballast from Lowe's for $30.
Is it possible to swap the bad magnetic ballast with an electronic ballast? If
so, are there any modifications that I need to make to the 4' fixture?
1. The wiring may be different - look at the wiring diagram on the
2. Check the ballast label and the lamps to be sure they are compatible
with each other.
If you are doing a ballast relacement with an electronic ballast, I
would get one for F32T8 (4-foot) or F17T8 (2-foot) (T8 is one inch in
diameter) lamps rather than F20 and F40 (T12, or 1.5 inch diameter) types.
T8 lamps are mostly a little better and usually have higer color rendering
index. Ballasts for T8 are usually better than ballasts for T12 so far in
If you are in for new lamps (bulbs):
My favorite T8 lamps have color codes SPX35 or 835. This is (in my
words) "semi warm white". 30 is warmer and 41 is "cool white color". SPX
or 8 (followed by the 2-digit abbreviated color temperature) means a color
rendering index of 82-86, with most of the color distortions in the
direction of making colors more vivid than "proper". SP or 7 followed by
2-digit abbreviated color temp. has a color rendering index in the upper
I would not bother with fluorescents with CRI 90-plus - they cost more,
have less light output, and their color distortions, although slight, are
mostly in the direction of making colors duller than "proper".
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Of course. You need all the old lamp holders, and buy wire nuts for 11
wires I believe (8 for lamp holders, hot, neutral, and one in case you
drop any of the first 10). You'll only be able to buy electronic very
soon, but they're great. No hum, more light, and less current. And,
the tubes will last longer.
One big reason is energy efficiency. Another possible reason may be the
cost of electronics going down. I believe they are now required in
business buildings. They may even be required as replacement ballasts in
Magnetic ballasts are considered hazardous waste. At least until recently
they contained PCBs, and many jurisdictions (try to) limit how
many you throw out in the trash and/or route them to hazmat disposal.
Electronic ballasts work MUCH better at low temperatures too.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
I am VERY interested in whether electronic ballasts (and other domestic
devices also) cause radio interference and look forward to further posting
on this thread. A large school, nearby refitted with them about a year ago.
So much for ecolgy! Their electrical contractor pitched the old ones, some
of which must have dated from the school building in 1955 and 1956, perhaps
older and then donated and therefore possibly PCB prone! They went to the
dump in the regular container!
And btw; yes I did stockpile some 20 or so free 'non PCB' ones. Along with a
lot of other bits and pieces and dozens of 34/40 watt tubes that were
dumped! Boy is my basement workshop well lit when I'm down there!
PS. Yesterday I was close to and monitored a low frequency coastal radio
beacon, operating in the frequency band below AM broadcast. I set my auto
radio to 530 kilohertz, as low as it would go and while close to the beacon
the signal was strong enough to read its continuous but modulated morse code
Driving away ZNC disappeared; but I was astounded at the amount of radio
noise on that frequency at the bottom end of the AM broadcast band! The
nearest local station is on 560 kHz. and about 50 miles away by the way; and
it was not yet night time when I do occasionally receive distant AM
So driving home, a distance of some 20 kilometres (12 miles), I left the
radio on that frequency. The amount of buzzing and other radio hash
especially as I drove under domestic power lines and past certain locations
was a disgrace! I thought those discharge street lights might be factor but
the interference was worst when driving under/near the wire 'drops' across
roads to our regular homes!
My opinion is that the FCC and the equivalent authorities in other countries
are doing a very poor job or very little to find and control unauthorized
and unlicensed emission of energy within the various radio frequency bands.
As these frequency bands, including the VHF often used by police and
ambulance services, become ever more polluted by radio 'noise' we, the
public, are being forced to buy our communications through cable, telephone
company and or satellite connections, at increasing cost and complexity.
Some of the hype surrounding a push towards such things as DAB (Digital
Audio Broadcasting) Satellite TV and Radio Services etc etc. seems to be
covering up the gradual erosion of existing services such as 'Good Ol'
simple, cheap and basic AM broadcasting; and even FM broadcasting?
Apparently even radio astronomy and in at least one case visible light
astronomy, even at locations distant from large centres of population is
being adversely affected by the proliferation of electrical devices and use
of continuous domestic, street and commercial outside lighting during
darkness hours! i.e. It's getting too bright in here to see out!
Seems kind of ridiculous when some students get prosecuted for setting up a
low power 'illegal broadcasting station' radiating no more power than a
flashlight on one specific locally chosen frequency, while ten thousand
light switch dimmers are radiating untuned radio hash/noise in the same
Anyway my rant for today!
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