Fluorescent light and starter question.

On Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:04:20 +0100, ARW wrote:

Until the time you need to switch the light back on again. :-(
I've had the same sort of trouble with the last remaining fluorescent fitting that I couldn't upgrade to a "Quickstart"(tm) transformer ballast on account I couldn't get the older style compatible T12 tubes for this 5 foot fitting[1]. The problem is clearly down to shite quality starter switches and I eventually sorted it out by buying enough of them from which to choose a working one (about 4 or so 'new' ones to add to my existing collection of two or three).
Even so, it takes some 5 to 10 seconds before the tube will strike, strangely, sans the disco strobe effect - it just sits there with the ends glowing (or not) before suddenly striking to full uninterrupted brightness. As a consequence, it tends to be left switched on for the whole evening.
[1] One of these days, when we finally start seeing 200LPW LED equivalents to the 150W incandescent GLS light bulb, I'll revert it back to the ceiling pendant fitting it had before this 'spare bedroom' became my office/workshop some 20 years ago.
The unavailability of Quickstart compatible tubes hit home over a decade ago with the shorter 4 foot variety so the last remaining 4 foot Quickstart fitting (in the basement) is now relying on the very last working compatible tube until it too finally expires (they last a bloody sight longer in Quickstart fittings - 16000 hours versus 7000 hours or so in a switch start fitting).
Fluorescent luminaires are the only sane choice in some locations such as kitchens (and my basement) for their non-glare, shadowless illumination properties. Until recently, they were still top dog for energy efficient lighting (still are compared to the older stock of LED Tubes being foisted on the great unwashed consumer in most retail stores).
However, once I start to see 125LPW (or better) 300 to 360 deg LED tube replacements, I'll upgrade the last of my fluorescent fittings. Until then, I don't see much point in wasting time and money on a mediocre 'upgrade'. Alternatively, large area ceiling panel luminaires might make a more suitable substitute for the humble fluorescent tube fitting. At the end of the day, it all boils down to their cost effectiveness.
--
Johnny B Good

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On Sunday, 22 April 2018 00:23:26 UTC+1, Johnny B Good wrote:

I think anyone with a working brain would put it back don't you? Even without it thought one can still fire a light up. Just arc the switch.
NT
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T i m wrote:

From Collins Dictionary:
"cotchel
New Word Suggestion:
A large meal or large portion of food. Additional Information possibly from the days of Covent garden fruit market when left over fruit was taken home by workers - eg. taking home a cotchel of fruit."
Are your lights eating starters? :)
--
TOJ.



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A tranche of starters?
--

Graham.
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wrote:

I'd go more with:
https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Cotchel
'a small quantity'. ;-)

If they are they aren't having currents for pudding. ;-)
Cheers, T i m
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The spread of tolerances in the starters is far too wide I think. Either that or they are marked incorrectly for the job you put them to and all kinds of random changes will then cause issues. Probably knock offs made in a Chinese dodgy plant. Brian
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On Sat, 21 Apr 2018 08:30:32 +0100, "Brian Gaff"
That could be more the case with these 4-80W jobbies than the 70-125W version.

I think is the right answer.

And you could be right with that as well as they were less than a pound each, delivered (from the UK though).
Cheers, T i m
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I wouldn't fanny about like that. Buy an led tube with dummy starter and forget the flickering.
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On 21/04/2018 08:33, Cynic wrote:

+1
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Adam

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On Sat, 21 Apr 2018 15:26:23 +0100, ARW

Or just buy electronic starters and get the same result. ;-)
Cheers, T i m
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On Sat, 21 Apr 2018 15:26:23 +0100, ARW wrote:

-10 !
Unless you buy from a lighting specialist that can supply the latest 120LPW LED tube substitutes, you might be better off upgrading to a microprocessor controlled electronic ballast.
I was considering an LED tube upgrade for our 4 foot 36W cheap electronically ballasted B&Q fitting bought about two years ago now, when the 2nd tube in 18 months (replacement to the original, presumed low quality tube) started to give trouble. Switching the tube, end over end in the fitting gave less than a week's relief from the starting failure, culminating in the fitting 'going quietly Pop!'.
I wasn't impressed with either alternative of new ballast or a complete re-lamp with the unimpressively inefficient and over-priced LED tube options. However, persistence paid off and I bought a high quality Helvar ballast for just under a fiver delivered postage free[1]. At that price, it was the no brainer choice of repair.
However, the second tube had been so shagged by the Chinese ballast, the Helvar ballast refused to even try starting it. I had slightly better luck with the original but only in that it would light it up briefly before aborting further starting attempts (fussy microprocessor controller - I assumed).
My assumption proved to be correct but I did have to chance buying yet another tube, from Toolstation this time rather than my local lighting specialist from whom I'd bought the last one. In fact, I landed up buying yet another, cool white this time rather than warm white - I'd forgotten to take account of the kitchen's pale yellow colour scheme. At least I have a working spare, even if it is a little on the warm side for the kitchen's current colour scheme.
[1] <(Amazon.com product link shortened) Ballast/dp/B07217Q8FF/ref=sr_1_5? s=lighting&ie=UTF8&qid24354946&sr=1-5&keywords=helvar+ballast>
Would seem to be the very same item but a penny cheaper! :-)
If your fluorescent light fitting is a single 36W T8 tubed 4 foot luminaire, that should suit your needs nicely. It doesn't strike the modern T8 tubes as slickly as the ancient but very effective Quickstart ballasts did with the original T12 compatible tubes (250ms versus 900ms of the modern life enhancing microprocessor controlled electronic high frequency ballasts) but that's the price paid for a reduction from 52W consumption down to the 36W exactly of an electronically ballasted 4 foot T8 tube (I'd measured exactly 36W with both ballasts).
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Johnny B Good

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On Friday, 20 April 2018 18:51:25 UTC+1, T i m wrote:

The resistance between the filiments is near infinity when "Off" and near zero when the tube is running. This the basic problem.
The "choke"/inductors provide the high voltage jolt to establish the "arc" between the filiments and then limits the current when running (hence "choke").
Chokes are very reliable. If it goes wrong, you'll probably be able to smell it. (They can also go open circuit) As someone else has said switch the thing on and remove the starter and observe. If it starts to flicker, the tube is at fault (may take some time).
Both tube and starter have sub-atmospheric gas filled glass bulbs. (Plus mercury in the tube) The common fault is for air to leak in. The other fault is for a filiment in the tube to go open circuit.
A fluorescent tube with electronic "choke" is as efficient as an LED bulb.
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On Sat, 21 Apr 2018 01:10:10 -0700 (PDT), harry

Check.

Problem?

Understood.

Check.

Nope, everything solid with the starter out (and that was my first action when the Mrs reported the kitchen light flashing and needed a 'quick fix').

Check. Argon or Neon (and possibly others) in the starter I understand?

Oh?

Ok.

Hmm. If I had to change these then I'd look at LED but I'm yet to be convinced that it would be worth (electricity savings over outlay) or be able to fully equal the light range of fluorescent tubes?
A mate swapped 4 x 6' fluorescent (and fairly old even) tubes in his shop with the brightest LED replacements he could afford but it was noticeably darker in there (but at least he didn't get the migraines). Maybe things have improved since then (~1 year ago)?
Cheers, T i m
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The three most common failure modes for tubes at end of life are:
1) Loss of the electron emission coating on the filament.
This was pretty much the only failure mode in all tubes until about about 10 years ago. With switch-start control gear, it shows as a blackened tube end which only glows orange and not white as the starter repeatedly tries and fails to start the tube. No white is because the filament is not emitting electrons when heated red-hot (no thermionic emission), so there's no conduction into the gas-fill, and the discharge can't start. Electronic control gear detects this by seeing the tube start to act as a rectifier and shuts down the tube to prevent it changing to operate as a cold-cathode tube which has a number of dangers.
2) Run out of mercury in the gas.
Environmental regulations now require minimum mercury dosing of tubes for the expected life (typically 1/10th of what older T12 tubes used). Mercury is slowly absorbed into the electrodes and glass and lost from the gas fill. This causes tubes to dim with age, and eventually to run a dim pink when all the mercury has gone.
3) Phosphor worn out.
Tubes last much longer than they did and the phosphor efficiency drop causes them to dim and become unviable.
Air doesn't leak into tubes, even ones which are very many decades old.

Not any more. If you take into account losses in the fluorescent luminare (getting the light from the wrong side of the tube to where you want it, or losing it), they never were.
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Andrew Gabriel
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On Sat, 21 Apr 2018 11:35:12 -0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:
<snip> >> A fluorescent tube with electronic "choke" is as efficient as an LED bulb.

But isn't that often part of the whole 'lighting' process, especially in a domestic environment, having light shining in all directions (especially reflecting off the fitting / ceiling) and giving a much more overall (albeit less efficient) illumination to that space?
Working in a room with a single central light reminds me how nice it is to have a 'long' light source, when you start to try to work with a single point and are often in your own shadow. ;-(
Are you aware of any 6' LED fittings that offer the same light level and colour temp as the two TL-D 70W 840's I have now?
https://www.lampshoponline.com/philips-master-tl-d-70w-840.html
That's not even considering the chances of recovering the cost over the years I have left. ;-(
Cheers, T i m
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On Saturday, 21 April 2018 12:35:14 UTC+1, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

FWIW there are thinner ones with better efficacy than T8 or T12 but their ouput v temp dependance is horrible
NT
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     snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com writes:

You are talking of T5 tubes. T5 tubes are only rated for running on electronic control gear.
There are two ranges: T5HE (High Efficiency) are exactly the same efficiency as T8, when compared with T8 running on electronic control gear (although for historic reasons, I think T8 efficiency still has to be quoted for when running on magnetic ballasts, which is why it looks lower).*
T5HO (High Output) are lower efficiency than T5HE or T8 on electronic ballasts, but significantly higher light output for when that's required.
(There is also the old T5 tube range, 4,6,8,13W, but these are separate from T5HE and T5HO ranges.)
Also, as I hinted before, there's an important difference between fluorescent tube efficiency, and flourescent luminare efficiency. Fluorescent tubes emit light all around the tube (excluding in-line with the tube). That's not usually how you want light distributed, so refectors are used (that can be part of the luminare, or something like the ceiling - it doesn't matter). Reflectors are inefficient, and even with reflectors, much of the light is lost, typically 50% in the luminare and external reflectors such as ceiling, although it can be much worse.
T5 tubes do make it possible to design slightly higher efficiency luminares, because the smaller light source (thinner tube) makes it possible to focus more of the light output in the required direction than is possible with a T8 tube.
LED's on the other hand are by nature directional, so they start off avoiding the problem of light leaving the source in the wrong direction. They are (or can be) smaller sources too, which again helps with any focussing optics to get the light in the required direction.
* Also note that all T8 electronic control gear in the EU underruns the T8 tubes, as is rerquired by EU directives, so that power is saved rather than generating additional the light output which would be achieved if they ran at high frequency at full power. This doesn't significantly change their efficiency though.
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Andrew Gabriel
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On 21/04/2018 12:35, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

Yes but that only goes to show that is you do the opposite of what harry says then there is a good chance you are correct.
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On Sat, 21 Apr 2018 11:35:12 +0000, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

This was an issue aggravated by the use of cheap bi-pin switch started lamps in domestic service (kitchens, basements, sheds and the circular tubes used in hallways and landings). Each switch start attempt would sputter some of the thoriated coating off the cathodes/cum anodes, shortening the service life when used in such frequently switched applications.
The older (half century older!) Quickstart transformer technology not only gave an almost instant flicker free startup (200 to 300ms) but significantly reduced this sputtering effect which could double or even triple the service life of a tube used in a domestic kitchen over that using the cheap bi-pin switch start circuit, especially useful since it encouraged the occupiers to treat it as an instant start incandescent (but with a service life around an order of magnitude longer).

I lament the parsimonious mercury dosing of modern T8 lamps since it lends an unwanted "run up" characteristic, especially noticeable in the winter months, more associated with the mercury amalgam variants used in CFLs. The earlier fully dosed T12 tubes only showed the slightest hint of this with really low temperatures not usually seen in a domestic environment even in the winter other than for outhouse lighting.
In regard of both startup and run up time, modern electronically ballasted fluorescent luminaires(sp?) have taken a backwards step over the ancient Quickstart fittings. I guess that's the price you pay to save some 16 watt's of consumption on a 4 foot fluorescent fitting.

True enough, the phosphors have to deal with mercury poisoning as well as the degradation from UV radiation - the phosphor coating on LEDs doesn't have to contend with this so they last a lot longer (but nevertheless still slowly degrade over time).
In office and factory environments, fluorescent lamps were replaced en masse after clocking up the rated hours for the 80% of design lumens point, thousands of hours before the more gross and obvious failures would start showing other than for defectively manufactured lamps.
This was simply because changing out lamps by the gross was far cheaper both in electricity consumption to meet the minimum lighting standard required by regulations and the labour costs involved in relamping on an ad hoc basis as each individual lamp failed to produce its design lumens output one way or another.

For the general public, that's a fairly recent development, I first saw 125LPW samples just over a year ago and I think prior to that, most of the retail outlets were (and still are) offering 81 or 90 LPW lamps. You can still see plenty of 60LPW lamps in the smaller wattages on sale even today (about the same efficiency as the best CFLs of recent years).
The best efficiency tubes maxed out around the 90 to 100LPW mark.

For situations where a nice diffuse, shadowless lighting effect is desired, such as a kitchen or a shed come DIY workshop or a low ceilinged basement, that's not quite the deficiency it would seem. However, these days when such a lighting characteristic is deemed desirable, a better solution would be the use of ceiling mounted LED flat panels with a suitable diffusing cover to mute the horrendous glare typical of naked LEDs.
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Johnny B Good

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