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  1. #1
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    Default cheap shop lights

    This is about the fluorescent shop lights that you get at the big box stores. Specifically, the cheap ones that have two 48 inch 32 watt bulbs. I have had two go bad after a couple of months use. I know it's not the bulbs.

    Do they put such cheap starters or ballasts in these that thay only last a short time? Am I just unlucky or have any of you had this happen too?

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  2. #2
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    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    Are they under warranty?

    I installed about 14 similar ones between the garage and the workshop but got the ones with electronic starters. In 8 years I have replaced maybe 8 bulbs.

    I think they cost around $40 each back then but well worth it.

    Are you sure the bulbs are in there right? They are hard to get lined up.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    I'm sure the bulbs are installed right and I checked them in other fixtures and they work. I paid only about $10 for these cheapo's. I guess you get what you pay for huh?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    I only buy the ones with the Rapid Start lamps, essentially T-12 lamps and some T-10 lamps.

    The T-8 lamps use starters and cheap ballasts. If it has starters, yeah, they are cheap. Could it be the starters which are bad?

    Either way, always go for the RS (rapid start) lamps.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    I bought a plug in cheapo with a pull string and it's been over my bench for 3+ years on the same bulbs. I rarely turn it off which may help its longevity. It's one of those things that I put up with the intention of upgrading someday but has never needed it.


  6. #6
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    I have 6 of them in my garage and just had to replace all of them. $ 16 each. I think these were 5 years old.

    Best

    Ron


  7. #7
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    I don't think you can buy a fluorescent light with a starter it in any more.( if you find them - run from them)
    They come with ballast installed.

    The T8 lamps are the ones to have. They have electronic ballast which is uses less electric, and they are zero degree rated ( for those of us in colder climates) They are far from cheap and inferior.

    The regular old fashioned T 12 used magnetic ballasts which are outdated and slowly being done away with as T8 and T 5 Technology is more advanced.

    The newer one's on the market are T5 even a narrower tube.

    Those cheap lights at the big box ? Roll the dice some last for a while some don't. Theres a reason they cost about $18.00 when the better one cost about $ 40.00
    Your correct though - you get what you pay for. Spend the money and get a better fixture.

    Another thing -Make sure your using the correct tube with the correct ballast
    tubes will work for a short time when installed with the wrong ballast.
    T8 uses electronic
    T12 uses magnetic

    Last edited by ken horak; 06-07-2009 at 05:01 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    I don't think you can buy a fluorescent light with a starter it in any more.( if you find them - run from them)
    They come with ballast installed.

    The T8 lamps are the ones to have. They have electronic ballast which is uses less electric, and they are zero degree rated ( for those of us in colder climates) They are far from cheap and inferior.
    You can find the T8 ones with the starters at the Big Box stores, they are cheap and they are inferior.

    You are talking about better ones not from the Big Box stores, yeah, those are better.

    T8 uses electronic
    Not all do. Some still use the old ballast with the starter.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    I have 12 cheap lights in my garage and installed in 94. Only changed the bulbs once. Some are slow to start sometimes but they always fire up.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    I have 12 cheap lights in my garage and installed in 94. Only changed the bulbs once. Some are slow to start sometimes but they always fire up.

    Are they the T12 lamps?

    Are they getting black on the ends? If so, they are "burning out" - there is a heater filament inside each end which heats the gases inside and allows them to light.

    Try this: when you turn them on, rub your hand along the lamps which are slow to start, if they light up, that is an indication that they are not grounded.

    T12 lamps are RS or Rapid Start, they are required to have, need to have, a grounded shield within 1/2" of the lamp for it to start properly. By running your hand along the lamps, you are creating that "grounded surface" and lighting them off.

    T12 lamps may start reliably for years in ungrounded fixtures, but when the lamps start going bad or something else happens (could be several things), they now need to be grounded to light.

    Many older cheap shop light came with a non-grounded cord and plug, and, yeah, they were required to be grounded for proper operation.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    "Try this: when you turn them on, rub your hand along the lamps which are slow to start, if they light up, that is an indication that they are not grounded."

    I've had to run my hand over the sink light for over 15 years now. Did not know why.
    I check to see if it has a ground.
    Thanks

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    Yes the bulbs are black on the end. They are grounded because I Wired them straight in with NM cable. I'll try the hand rub and if that corrects it I will check the grounds.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: cheap shop lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    Yes the bulbs are black on the end. They are grounded because I Wired them straight in with NM cable. I'll try the hand rub and if that corrects it I will check the grounds.
    Mike,

    With the bulbs black on the ends, they are going bad and massaging them may not help. When they get too bad they simply need replacing.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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