On Tue, 25 Jul 2006 20:09:59 -0400, "Bill"
I had accumulated a bunch of those cheap "shop lights"
(approx. 7-9$) that were inoperative, the remaining ones
weren't far behind so I gutted them all and put a
"replacement" ballast on the top of each fixture. I didn't
know it then, but standard replacement ballasts are often
better built than what they replace, due to the fact that
the manufacturers want to have a single ballast replace as
many standard units as possible. Therefore, they usually
built replacement ballasts beefy enough to easily replace a
wide range of unique ballasts. Mine cost about 11$ each at
HD, after wiring them in I never had any flicker or slow
starts in winter and they made the tubes last longer since
they actually shut off the starter after the bulb lights,
whereas many cheezy shop lights let the "heaters" run at a
lower current level all the time. (witness many of your
shop lights with black bands on the inside of the ends of
the tubes where the heater filament has been burning...) The
weakest link in my lights then became the "tombstones", or
the end pieces that the tubes twist in to.
Now, if I need a shop light I make it from scratch, using
replacement "tombstones" on the ends and a "replacement"
ballast, for the basic frame of the light I use a 2x4 for
the "backbone that the ballast mounts to and a 8" galvanized
exhaust duct that is made to hook together at the seam.
Mount the "unhooked" flue to the bottom of the 2x4, use 2 -
8" half rounds of mdf for end pieces and you have a
galvanized reflector housing the "tombstones" for the tubes
to mount into, suspend them from the ceiling with light
chain and screw hooks. No flicker, or buzzing just good
quality fluorescent lighting. I have even added "diffusers"
made from the "ice" pattern plastic cut to fit and clipped
to the reflector.
In addition, it seems that the "whiter" light (4000 Kelvin)
puts out a more usable light than the "soft whites", but
they cost a buck or two more. I really notice a difference
so That is all I use. Hope this helps, regards, Joe.