Garage fluorescent light fixtures

Curious to learn - what is a realistic life expectancy for a garage flush m ounted fluorescent light fixture?
Discovered to my dismay that all three fixtures were dim and flickering. T he house itself is 40 years old but the fixtures appear to be 10-20 years o ld based on the press fit connectors used. Garage is neither heated or coo led. Temps here can be teens in the winter to over 100 in the summer.
When I went to test whether the tubes were good I discovered a tombstone ve ry stiff. So stiff I was afraid I might break the tube trying to put it in . Even the original tube balked at going back in. In the process I also m anaged to snap a mounting tab from the tombstone. Do these become brittle over time?
Original intent was to put in new tubes if that was all that was needed. I f ballasts were bad I considered reconfiguring for led's. But if the tombs tones need to be replaced it seems maybe replacing the entire fixture with one designed for led's would make sense.
With that final thought in mind. Assuming a standard junction box is hidde n by the existing fixture would a square or round flush mount ceiling light be a viable alternative? Say something like this? http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-7-in-White-LED-Low-Profile-L ight-54663141/206589815
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What is a tombstone called by regular people?
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On Tue, 10 Jan 2017 16:39:23 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

PIZZA
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On 1/10/2017 6:39 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

I never knew them as anything other than sockets or lamp sockets.
Never heard of them referred to as "tombstones" but it's pretty damn apropos
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On Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 7:46:31 PM UTC-5, Unquestionably Confused wrote:

https://www.earthled.com/blogs/led-lighting-faq-frequently-asked-questions/what-is-the-difference-between-a-shunted-and-non-shunted-tombstone
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On 1/10/2017 7:39 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

It's where the bulb is attached, one at each end. We've all screwed with these with flickering bulbs. I was glad to get rid of one in the kitchen years ago.
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On Tue, 10 Jan 2017 16:39:23 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

The lamp socket.
To the OP, I am migrating all of my old T12F40s to LED as they go bad. So far so good but considering most of these are 20-26 year old cheap "shop lights", they have a lot to live up to.
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On Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 6:58:44 PM UTC-6, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Did you find any of the plastic parts became brittle? As I seldom use the garage lights I would have stayed with fluorescent tubes but when tubes won't twist into place and tabs snap off I get doubtful.
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wrote:

I have 20 year old shop lamps too, NP with the tabs, I'm in Florida. How cold was it when yours broke?
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On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 5:17:27 AM UTC-6, dadiOH wrote:

18
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On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 7:58:57 AM UTC-5, Chiefjim wrote:

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At 18°F I would expect standard florescent tubes to be dim and flicker ing. They may eventually warm up enough to stop flickering, but cold temp flickering of florescent tubes is common. The fact that all 3 of your fixtures are acting the same way, I'd really suspect cold temp issues.
I have begun to convert my shop light fixtures to direct wire LED's tubes. You can get versions that work with ballasts and those where the tombstone is direct wired to the 120VAC. I'm not talking about replacing the fixtures with LED fixtures, just the tubes as shown here:
https://www.earthled.com/blogs/light-2-0-the-earthled-blog-led-lighting-new s-tips-reviews/33135492-how-to-buy-t8-and-t12-led-fluorescent-replacement-t ubes
When using direct wired tubes, you need to make sure that you have/use non-shunted tombstones. So far, I've been lucky and all my fixtures have non-shunted tombstones
https://www.earthled.com/collections/fluorescent-led-retrofit-lampholders
One thing to be aware of is how bright these LED tubes can be. Even at a lower lumen value, they may be much brighter because all of the light is directed downward. It took me a while to get used to how bright my garage and shop are now that the LEDs are in use. I'm actually hesitating to convert a few of the fixtures in my basement because I really don't need that much light. I may opt for a lower lumen value so that I go all LED but without the brightness.
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Could be why they broke, stuff gets more brittle when it is cold.
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On 1/10/2017 7:39 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

Monument.
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On Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 7:39:27 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

Tombstone.
More specifically, shunted or non-shunted tombstone.
https://www.earthled.com/blogs/led-lighting-faq-frequently-asked-questions/what-is-the-difference-between-a-shunted-and-non-shunted-tombstone
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For florescents, that sounds like normal aging.

Yes they do. But they are easily replaceable.

Interesting. I have the LEDs on order, and I plan to install the LED tubes in an existing fixture. Today I took the fixtures apart and found one socket (not tombstone) was missing a chunk.
Since the new LED tubes are single end I know one socket just has to hold the bulb in place, so I may or may not order a new socket.
Looks like new sockets are easy to identify and order.

It's "home repair", not "home replace".
--
Dan Espen

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On 01/10/2017 06:12 PM, Chiefjim wrote:

Depends on the quality of the light fixture. If the fixture came from your local BigBoxSuperMart, it prolly won't last long.
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On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 4:32:31 AM UTC-5, devnull wrote:

I've got cheap big box fixtures that are well over 20 years old. Still going strong.
I recently rewired some of them for use with the new direct connect LED tubes. Now there's nothing much left to go bad, so they'll probably last forever.
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Removed one fixture and discovered it had been installed without a junction box behind it. Seems all the replacement fixture instruction sheets call for connecting to a box.
Guess I'll need to spend some time on YouTube searching for how best to use old construction boxes when the wire is already present. I've done others in the past but always had access to the space behind the drywall. Not the case this time around.
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