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Thread: Options for Upgrading T12 fixtures?

  1. #1

    Default Options for Upgrading T12 fixtures?

    The lighting in our finished basement is all twin-tube 4 ft T12 fixtures. Fifteen (15) fixtures, all running 34W tubes in an effort to be at least somewhat efficient when we installed them (they have energy efficient balasts, but not electronic). But, weve hit the life on the tubes, a few buzz, and in general Id like to look at whether or not it makes sense to upgrade the internals or bulbs. I did a search for T12 in this forum and got no hits.



    So, I think my options are:

    1. Upgrade to electronic balasts and convert to T8 bulbs. I think these are supposed to be more efficient, but I'll have the cost of decent balasts (any recommendations)? I'm pretty sure the upgraded balasts I've seen all fit in the same housing. Cost: Balasts plus new tubes. Added efficiency would allow my to use lower wattage tubes possibly as I currently have PLENTY of light with the current fixtures. In fact, I'd love to add dimming, but that would be too costly I believe.



    2. Completely upgrade to LED tubes such as the DirectLED-FL from EarthLED (see http://www.earthled.com/DirectLED-t8...placement.html). They seem good but I have a hard time with the price (30 tubes at $60 each = $1800? ). No cost for new balasts but Id have to rewire fixtures (but my labor is free so not a big deal). Cost is the big factor here.



    3. Stock up on T12 tubes and just live with it. Balasts are ok for the most part aside from the odd buzz. (Philips Advance Mark III R-2S40-1-TP Rapid Start).



    #3 is obviously the easiest



    Open to ideas, suggestions, links, and cheaper places!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* LEDninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Options for Upgrading T12 fixtures?

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    02-07-2011 09:37 PM #2 brickbat

    Forget about option 2. Really, it makes no sense.

    Option 1 will fix the 'buzzing' problem, and probably save you 10 or 15W per fixture. 10W * 15 fixtures is only 150 W saved, so I really doubt this will ever pay for itself, unless you run these lamps 24/7. Still, switching to T8 lamps lets you buy decent lamps cheaper than T12, eliminates buzz, and might make you feel good about saving 150W of power. I'd troll eBay for name brand F32T8 ballasts. Look for GE, Sylvania, Osram , Philips, Advance etc.
    Jim

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    02-07-2011 09:48 PM #3 idleprocess

    You'll most likely be replacing all your fixtures if you take the T8 route. I gather that T8 bulbs last a great deal longer than T12's, so keep that in mind when running any numbers.

    I don't think that most T8's support dimming. T5's do, but their efficiency is comparable to T8 while their costs are generally greater.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

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    02-08-2011 03:09 PM #4 purduephotog

    Quote Originally Posted by gof
    The lighting in our finished basement is all twin-tube 4 ft T12 fixtures. Fifteen (15) fixtures, all running 34W tubes in an effort to be at least somewhat efficient when we installed them (they have "energy efficient balasts, but not electronic). But, we've hit the life on the tubes, a few buzz, and in general I'd like to look at whether or not it makes sense to upgrade the internals or bulbs. I did a search for T12 in this forum and got no hits.

    So, I think my options are:
    1. Upgrade to electronic balasts and convert to T8 bulbs. I think these are supposed to be more efficient, but I'll have the cost of decent balasts (any recommendations)? I'm pretty sure the upgraded balasts I've seen all fit in the same housing. Cost: Balasts plus new tubes. Added efficiency would allow my to use lower wattage tubes possibly as I currently have PLENTY of light with the current fixtures. In fact, I'd love to add dimming, but that would be too costly I believe.

    2. Completely upgrade to LED tubes such as the DirectLED-FL from EarthLED (see http://www.earthled.com/DirectLED-t8...placement.html). They "seem" good but I have a hard time with the price (30 tubes at $60 each = $1800? ). No cost for new balasts but I'd have to rewire fixtures (but my labor is "free" so not a big deal). Cost is the big factor here.

    3. Stock up on T12 tubes and just live with it. Balasts are ok for the most part aside from the odd buzz. (Philips Advance Mark III R-2S40-1-TP Rapid Start).

    #3 is obviously the easiest

    Open to ideas, suggestions, links, and cheaper places!
    Skip LED.

    Home Depot makes a 20$ rapid/low temp t8 fixture. There is a 10$ fixture but it is not a lowtemp setup.

    I'd just replace them all at the same time and be done with it.

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    02-08-2011 04:41 PM #5 Ken_McE

    I would swap over to T-8 as the T-12 ballasts died. This would give you a chance to use up the old bulbs. I have not seen an independent review of these LED fluorescent tube replacements. I would be suspicious of them until they were tested, since a bad implementation would be inferior to just putting in another fluorescent tube.

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    02-10-2011 10:05 AM #6 TPA

    Go T8. There are quite a few dimmable ballasts out there for T8 now. I believe Advance Ballast and Lutron both make them in various flavours, depending on how you're going to control them. They're still predominantly used in commercial applications, therefore are waaay overpriced, but dimmable ballasts do exist.

    Either way, I'd still go with T8 even if you went with non-dimming ballasts. I find the lack of flicker and quality of T8 bulbs available now are superior to even the best T12.

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    02-10-2011 12:07 PM #7 JohnR66

    I agree with the others who say to go T8. If you have too much light, perhaps you can remove some of the fixtures to save additional power.

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    02-10-2011 02:33 PM #8 kingofwylietx

    I would go either T8 or T5. We recently changed all our warehouse lights from 8' T12's to 4' T5's. The T5's are brighter, quieter, more efficient, and quicker to light than the T12's. The only reason we went T5 over T8 is that we don't plan to upgrade any time soon, so we went with the newer T5's.

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    02-10-2011 07:12 PM #9 purduephotog

    Originally Posted by kingofwylietx
    I would go either T8 or T5. We recently changed all our warehouse lights from 8' T12's to 4' T5's. The T5's are brighter, quieter, more efficient, and quicker to light than the T12's. The only reason we went T5 over T8 is that we don't plan to upgrade any time soon, so we went with the newer T5's.
    I agree that T5 would be a better choice- but for the lack of tubes. HD and Lowes each carry only 1 type (here in NY), whereas the T8 they have at least 5 flavours (had more, but looks like they're clearancing out one type).

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    02-11-2011 09:14 PM #10 jhellwig

    T5's have a different pin size so you would have to replace the tombstones. Unless it is some fancy fixtures it is usually cheaper to just replace the whole fixture. Newer fixtures have better light output because of the way they are designed and designed around the size of lamp they use.

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