After 2 years of moderate use (2 hrs / day on average) I've determined
that the el cheapo $8 Commercial electric shop lights (2xF32T8) have a
pretty short life expectancy -- 5 out of 7 units have failed, and a 6th
is starting its flickering death throes. The bulbs are fine, the
ballasts (Sunpark CL-15) are toast. Meanwhile all the other ancient
shop lights that I inherited with the house are still going strong.
Since the units were cheap, it's a painless learning experience. But in
the quest to find longer lasting ballasts, the path is not so clear.
Some other units in the $20-$30 range at the BORG come with the same
2-year warrantee as the cheapo units, and most other units have no such
indication of life expectancy. Even the local lighting speciality store
only gives a 5-year expectancy for their $38 ballasts. At that price,
it makes no economic sense to do anything but buy new cheapo lights
every 2 years, although it feels wasteful and the repurchase and
re-hanging is a small hassle.
Other random details: electric system measures 120V on the money;
these lights are hung 4" from the basement ceiling (between joists) just
like the non-failing older units; basement temp is 60-75 degrees most
of the year, maybe up to 85 in rare summer heatwaves.
Does anyone have better info or experience with long-lasting quality
shop lights? Thanks in advance for any advice.