+ power factor close to unity;
+ tend to come without tube, rather than with el-cheapo 3500K
Switch start are almost obsolete now, stock being sold off.
HF batten fittings have become very cheap, e.g.
Choose a triphosphor tube, colour 835 or 840, according to taste...
Yes, I've done several. Plenty of people selling HF ballasts on ebay.
You can get the pukka 'fluorescent fittings wire' from RS (85 deg rated,
for use in the push-fit connectors). Blank off the starter hole if
there's any risk of wandering fingers getting zapped.
But with new HF luminaires falling in price it's hardly worth the bother
Don't think switch start ballasts or halophosphate tubes can be
made or imported into the EU now. Still seem to be stocks of
switch start ballasts around, although the halophosphate tubes
pretty much all vanished a couple of years ago.
Just watch out that the ballast is a well known make.
Otherwise, IME it won't last as long as the first tube.
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
If there is a large DC component in the output of the electronic
ballast, then you can get some blackening around one end. Reverse the
tube end for end and it will disappear.
In a normal ballasted fitting the blackening is due to heat from the
heaters, made rapidly worse as the tube ages and fails to start
On Fri, 26 Jun 2015 10:13:31 +0100, Harry Bloomfield wrote:
Yep, almost as good as the half century old technology of
"Quickstart"(tm) magnetic ballasted lamps in regard to flicker free
'instant start' and much less startup wear and tear on the cathodes
compared to the cheap and nasty switch start ballasted fittings that have
been the only point of reference for over 90% of the population these
past 60 odd years.
I bought a 4 foot slimline electronic fitting from B&Q last year (about
14 quid complete with 36 watt slimline T8 tube) to replace the "40 watt"
T12 tubed not quite so slimline fitting in our kitchen which I had
upgraded to quickstart over quarter of a century ago by removing the
starter switch and wiring in a quickstart transformer that I'd had to
strip the casing from in order to squeeze it into the fitting.
The reason for 'splashing the cash' was one of aesthetics due to being
forced to have the ceiling repaired due to water ingress from a leaking
asphalted flat roof which had required removal of the fitting to
facilitate the repair work. This gave SWMBI an excuse to insist on a nice
new fitting (and in such insistance, she was elevated to the status of
Before I fitted the new fitting, I took the opportunity to compare the
performance of the old and new in regard to light output and energy
The light output levels were, as far as I could discern (it hadn't
occurred to me to use my camera as a light meter on this occasion) were
on a par with each other. The power consumption, otoh, was a different
matter. The new fitting showed a consumption of 36 watts whilst the old
one showed something like 54 to 56 watts.
Since, given enough run time, the ballast inductor got very hot it was
obvious were most of the vampire watts (some 14 to 16 of them) were being
turned into heat. Mind you, the electronic ballast in the new lamp wasn't
above turning some of the power into waste heat, it just wasn't as much.
It's been known for some 40 years or more that using a high frequency
current (circa 20KHz) in place of mains frequency current (50 or 60 Hz)
improves fluorescent lamp efficacy by some 10% or so. This is the main
reason why electronic ballasting is usurping the old fashioned inductive
ballast in fluorescent lamp fittings. The "Instant Start" just happens to
be a useful by-product which, for most home users, is "The Icing On The
Cake". For me, the only icing on the cake was the 16 watts or so power
saving - I've been taking "Instant Start" for granted these past 3
decades or so.
Such electronically ballasted fluorescent tube fittings have an
efficiency rating somewhere between 90 and 100 lumens per watt (the best
CFLs, BTW, are only around the 70L/W mark).
For about a year now, it's been possible to buy LED based linear lamps
with double that efficiency and better (ultimately reaching 400L/W
efficiency for all LED based lamps over the next year or so's time).
Unfortunately, you have to pay a hefty premium right now for the 200L/W
lamps. The ones still being cleared out of the supply chain are only now
approaching the 100L/W mark (typically 81L/W for most of the not quite so
outrageously priced samples on the shelves of Aldididle and Asda).
The point of mentioning LED lamps is to warn you that you might be
swapping your nice new fitting for a LED based unit in just two or three
years time when the pricing on the 200L/W lamps finally drops out of the
 The big difference in startup characteristics between the modern lamp
and the older one using half a century old technology was that the new
lamp wasn't quite as instant in that it lit up immediately from stone
cold but with about a half second's worth of half brightness flicker. The
old lamp was fully lit up in something like a quarter of a second or less
from switch on.
Since I was already used to the idea of 'instant start fluorescent
lamps', this seemed a less than stellar performance. Not a major
deficiency to be sure but a deficiency nevertheless in my mind. For
anyone brought up with switch start fluorescent lamps, this would be
considered a marvel of technical development.
Otoh, it could just be that I happened buy the one luminary in the stack
that wasn't quite up to snuff (either the tube or the ballast - I don't
have a spare T8 tube to test with). I wonder if I'm the only one to
witness this startup behaviour?
 I can't be absolutely certain but I believe I'd only had to re-tube
the fitting twice in all of those 25 years plus.
On Sunday, 28 June 2015 02:14:09 UTC+1, Johnny B Good wrote:
The delay improves tube life.
Maybe you missed out on thermal starters, that came before glowstarters. They behaved impeccably, and started every time with no flicker. Glowstarters took over because thermal starters wasted 1 watt, and watts aren't free.
Manual switching also doesn't flicker, but isn't very other-people compatible. (FWIW I also remember using a cast iron cased mercury lamp ballast with a manual switch to strike it.)
Modern electronics makes all that stuff obsolete now.
I have a couple of bench lights on arms, which use manual switching. I
tend to be impatient with both - not allowing them enough pre-heat
time, before trying to get them to strike, so I have to repeat.
What concerns me is the quality of the light from these super efficient
LEDs. Or any LED, come to that. It may not matter much for just general
illumination, but may well where quality florries would be used, where the
ability to match colours etc matters.
In general at home I'm more concerned with having pleasant and convenient
lighting than saving a few pennies.
The difficulty in dimming many LEDs also rules them out for me.
*Why isn't 11 pronounced onety one? *
Dave Plowman firstname.lastname@example.org London SW
A decent HF unit is more efficient and will also prolong useful tube life.
Gives reliable starting too regardless of temperature. And less obvious
flicker if you are susceptible to such things. Some types can be easily
Can't really think of any cons, apart from possibly price.
*If a thing is worth doing, wouldn't it have been done already?
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
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