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T8 Retrofit; Instant vs. Programmed Ballast

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  • T8 Retrofit; Instant vs. Programmed Ballast

    I'm retrofitting my T12 to T8 florescent bulbs. My current T12 bulbs (old magnetic rapid-start ballasts) in the kitchen last around 2-3 years each. They aren't on "all day" like an office, but they aren't on/off like a hallway light: probably closer to on/off than all-day since we are home during the day.

    Question: If I switch to electronic Instant Start ballast and use T8 bulbs, how much reduced lifespan could I expect?

    I'm debating on upgrading the ballasts to more expensive Programmed Start instead of the Instant Start (which are 50% the price).

    Opinions?

  • #2
    Originally posted by cebury View Post
    Question: If I switch to electronic Instant Start ballast and use T8 bulbs, how much reduced lifespan could I expect?
    No difference T12, T8, and T5 are all rated the same 20,000 hours. What you are gaining is lighting efficiency expressed as Lumens/Watt.

    T12 = 75 L/W
    T8 = 95 L/W
    T5 = 105 L/W

    So you are gaining 21% more light per watt.
    MSEE, PE

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    • #3
      Hmm, maybe I didn't ask it correctly or my assumptions are wrong.

      [B]Is the lifespan of a T8 bulb reduced, when paired with an Instant Start vs. a Programmed Start ballast?[/B]
      Stuff I've read says the answer is a clear Yes, when T8+Instant is used in frequent on/off fixtures. In an office, where lights are on all day, there is no reduction in life. Some say "T8+Instant Start = Death to the bulb unless it's hardly ever cycled, like no more than 2x/day".

      If that's true, then I'll pay more and go with Programmed Start.

      If an extreme exaggeration, then maybe I'll stick with the cheaper Instant-Start ballast.

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