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Fluorescent lighting is a popular and efficient lighting system used worldwide. Fluorescent lighting is most commonly found in commercial facilities, partly because traditional fluorescent lighting systems are more complex and physically larger than the simple incandescent lamp and socket, and historically, fluorescent lighting tended to only be available in "colder" colors of light than the accepted "warm" color produced by incandescent lighting. The non-warm colors produced by most fluorescent lighting systems seemed inappropriate for some applications. However, recent technological improvements have produced "warmer" lamp colors, smaller fluorescent lighting systems, and with growing concern over energy costs, there has been a renewed interest in using fluorescent lighting in residential locations. The initial cost of Fluorescent lighting systems is another barrier to wider use, although this is short-sighted thinking. Fluorescent lamps and fixtures are definitely more expensive to install than incandescent lighting, but they are considerably cheaper to operate and the lamps last far longer than incandescent lamps, making the long term cost-of-operation for fluorescent lighting far less than incandescent lighting. These documents describe how fluorescent lighting systems work and how to select the best brightness, energy efficiency, color, and size that various fluorescent lighting systems provide.
Section 1: The Fluorescent Lighting System Overview (HTML) A general overview of the terminology and the basic physics behind gas discharge lighting. Section 2: Components of the Fluorescent Lighting System (HTML with JPEG photographs) A discussion of the types of fluorescent lighting and the major components used in each system. A table appears here which shows which pre-heat lamp sizes go with which types of replacable starters. Some general information on fixture power consumption is provided in this section. Section 3: All about Fluorescent Lamps (HTML with JPEG photographs) The variety of fluorescent lamp light colors and some of the special use lamps are detailed. Section 4: Traditional Pre-Heat Fluorescent Fixtures (HTML) The original fluorescent light fixture design (still in use today, mainly in small lamp fixtures) is covered with step-by-step diagrams of how the pre-heat lamp starting process works. Recommended reading even for those using rapid-start or instant-start fluorescent lighting systems.
Section 5: Rapid Start Fluorescent Fixtures (HTML) It would be safe to estimate that at least 75% of all fluorescent fixtures in use today use rapid start technology. (If the lamps are three or four feet in length and the lamps are not marked as being "HO" or "FO32" lamps, it is likely a Rapid Start fixture.) Section 6: Instant Start Fluorescent Fixtures (HTML) For years, instant start has been found exclusively in eight-foot and special application fixtures. However, the new solid-state "electronic" instant-start ballasts are starting to take business away from the rapid-start world. (Lamps longer than four feet in length, HO, and FO32 lamps are all used in Instant Start fixtures.) Section 7: Compact Fluorescent Lighting Systems (HTML) With energy prices on the rise and improvements in compact fluorescent lamps, their use has skyrocketed in recent years as valuable energy savers compared to the traditional "screw-in" incandescent lamps that they replace. Section 8: Fluorescent Lighting Energy Savings and product comparisons (HTML) Tables comparing different types of fluorescent lamps to incandescent lamps as well to different brands of fluorescent lamps are presented. These tables can assist you in making sure that you are getting the most light for your money and it is in the shade and quality of light that you want. Section 9: Fluorescent Lighting Safety (HTML) As with any lighting system, there are safety issues. (Even candles have unique safety problems.) Because fluorescent systems are more complex than the simple incandescent lamp, there are more safety issues to consider, which are covered in this section. Section 10: Troubleshooting Fluorescent Lighting (HTML) Tables of common problems for various types of fluorescent lighting systems with likely causes and the corrective action that should be performed. Every building maintenance group should have a copy of this document. Appendix A: Fluorescent Lamp Replaceable Starter Size Table (HTML) For Pre-Heat fluorescent fixtures, this chart shows which starter is used with which lamp. Appendix B: I Broke A Fluorescent Lamp. Now What? (HTML) A discussion of what you should do (and things not to do) if a fluorescent lamp breaks. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
and (3) the Starter system. That current flow passes through the gases in the tube (argon and a small amount of mercury in a gaseous phase) and excites the atoms of gas. In fact. similar to the cathode found in a radio vacuum tube (called "valves" in some countries). There are three different systems used in starting a traditional fluorescent lamp. a process also known as arcing. The excited atoms emit photons. However. the Ballast) creates either or both of these conditions to start the lamp. completing the electrical circuit. when alternating current is used. or the starter function may be integrated into the ballast. (2) Rapid Start. a fluorescent lamp won't do anything. They are: (1) Pre-Heat. (2) The Ballast. The Starter (or if absent. a starter may not be required. The starting function may also rely on the physical design of the fixture. the potential of the electricity provided to the electrical conductors (called cathodes*) inside the lamp must be greater than the initial electrical resistance of the gas in the lamp so that the electricity may begin arcing through the gas. Technically. There are two ways to overcome this initial electrical resistance: (1) Lower the electrical resistance of the gas in the lamp. For a fluorescent lamp to start working. Depending on the particular fluorescent lighting system. That all sounds simple enough. or (2) temporarily raise the electrical potential supplied to the lamp to a level greater than the resistance of the gas. the starter may be a replaceable component. The ultraviolet light strikes a phosphor coating on the inside of the glass. some of which are vibrating at a frequency known as ultraviolet light. so that arcing may begin. usually a wire or plate inside each end of the glass tube that an electrical current can be applied to. but by itself. Each starting method is described in later sections. Each of these components is discussed in detail in Section 2. the cathode and anode switch 4 . * A cathode is an electrical conductor.Section 1 Fluorescent Lighting Overview A Fluorescent lighting system consists of two or three main components: (1) The fluorescent lamp. The basic concept behind a fluorescent lamp is that a flow of electrical current occurs between two metal conductors placed in a glass tube. The phosphor responds to the ultraviolet light by producing a bright visible light. all gas discharge lamps have a cathode and an anode. and (3) Instant Start. up to half of the wiring in some fluorescent fixtures is used only while starting the lamps. Electrons always depart the cathode and impact the anode after traveling through the gas of the lamp.
A complete assembly of fluorescent lamps and all components of fluorescent fixtures is known collectively as a Fluorescent Lighting System. a Bulb. the electrical conductor at both ends of the tube are both called cathodes. the general public is so used to calling incandescent lamps by the simpler name "light bulbs". and surrounding it is a protective outer globe. where a bulb (or globe) and screw base are combined to make a lamp. The term "Globe" is sometimes to describe the glass envelope used in incandescent. For example. Do you call it a Fluorescent Lamp. As it turns out. some manufacturers have given up on trying to enforce the distinction. Despite all that.roles many times each second (60 times in most western hemisphere countries. 50 times per second in most other places). a incandescent halogen lamp has an inner tube where the filament is. but in modern times. such as a near relative known as mercury vapor lighting. it is called a lamp. and typically is not used to describe any fluorescent lamp today. When alternating current is used. Use of the "Globe" term dates back to Thomas Edisons original carbon filament incandescent lamps. once all the parts are assembled into a unit. As with fluorescent lamps. This is also true in incandescent lighting. one inside the other. or if you must. and some will refer to fluorescent lamps as fluorescent bulbs in their publications and packaging. When the electrical connectors or other fittings are attached to the tube to make the complete assembly. it typically only refers to the outer glass of a lamp with two glass envelopes. mercury vapor and the various types of sodium lamps. 5 . all fluorescent lamps utilize a glass tube (even the compact screw-in fluorescent lamps have a small tube or tubes in there somewhere (it may be covered by a plastic housing) and the tube is actually what makes these devices be fluorescent lamps and not some other form of lighting. "Globe" is not used in any situation when referring to a fluorescent lamp. that finished assembly is now called a lamp. The term "Bottle" is even older. The term "bottle" now seems to be reserved for use in devices made of glass containing gas where light output is not the functional goal of the device. a Tube or a Bottle? The lighting industry prefers to refer to them as a fluorescent lamps. but never should they be called fluorescent tubes. the glow-bulb used in starters is sometimes referred to as the "starter bottle". For example. fluorescent bulbs.
other gases are used to obtain light colors other than the red-orange color that neon produces when electricity passes through it. and the phosphors emit visible light. but consume only use a few mill amperes of current while operating. That ultraviolet light can in turn be used to excite phosphors coating the inside of the tube. as well as producing visible light with a deep-blue color. a voltage greater than the total resistance of the gas of all the tubes in the circuit is typically used. This is because the cathodes. Argon is used because it is a source of ultraviolet light. are not heated to encourage electrons to travel through the gas. the light output of "neon" lighting is minimal compared to fluorescent lighting. most is unable to pass through the layers of phosphor in the inside of the tube. Gas discharge lighting (including those lamps using neon. The break-down voltage is the voltage level needed to overcome the electrical resistance of the gas in the lamp and start the current flow through the gas. Instead. argon. A typical eight foot long argon-mercury vapor tube with a phosphor that produces green light will require between 4. Argon (another Noble gas) is the most commonly-used gas used in gas discharge lighting. Gas discharge lighting is seen most frequently in "Neon" signs and decorative lighting. While Neon gas is used in some of these tubular lamps. This combination has a lower break-down voltage than pure neon. Adding this small amount of argon (as little as . When heated. A wide variety of visible light colors can be produced by using different phosphors. In fluorescent lamps and some "neon" lighting. By comparison an electron tube (such as a television picture tube or old radio tubes) uses a heated filament as the cathode. sometimes in conjunction with colored glass tubing. It also operates at lower (and safer) voltages. an eight-foot fluorescent lamp initially lights when 6 . Fluorescent lighting systems use far more current to obtain more light. a small amount of argon gas is added to neon lamps. Frequently. the higher the voltage must be to travel the same distance if the tubing was in a straight line. In addition to Neon. Gas discharge lighting systems use thousands of volts to create the arc through the gas in the glass tubing.000 and 5. krypton and other gases or combinations) are called "cold cathode" devices. For example. metal conductors on the inside of each end of the tube. and the combination generates large amounts of ultraviolet light.01%) does not significantly change the color of the light produced by the lamp. Because of the low current used.000 volts to start and operate. The more twists and turns in the tubing. Although the glass of the tube only blocks some ultraviolet light.Relatives and Ancestors of Fluorescent Lighting "Neon" Gas Discharge Lighting A fluorescent light is a descendant of the gaseous discharge lighting systems known by the generic name "Neon". a cathode gives up electrons more easily and more consistently. mercury is also added to argon gas.
The mercury vapor lamp also uses a small tube or globe containing argon and mercury. but then the voltage immediately goes down. security and other outdoor lighting are the bulk of the uses). usually nitrogen. Phosphor-coated mercury vapor lamps are commonly used in warehouses. Such lamps are very similar to fluorescent lighting. The standard low-end mercury vapor lamp has no phosphor coating at all. while the outer globe is filled with another gas. In fact. While the lamp is operating. a temperature-sensing mechanism (usually a measurement of current flow or elapsed time) built into the lamp decides when to end the warm-up process. In such lamps. employing many of the same techniques. some special mercury vapor lamp designs place a phosphor coating on the inside of the outer bulb of glass. and fill the outer globe with gasses that don't absorb ultraviolet light. most commonly a purplish white. Mercury Vapor Lighting A very close relative of the fluorescent lamp is the mercury vapor lamp. the heavy ballast won't fall the forty feet or more and strike anybody. The inner one is where the argon and mercury gas reside. the voltage drop across the lamp is around 125 volts. sports stadiums. it may take five to ten minutes for the lamps to restart. The ballast is usually located in the fixture. but it is only an inch or two in length. highway lighting systems sometimes place the ballast in the lamp pole base so that if the pole is struck. so that only the visible light produced by the lamp can escape. Like fluorescent lamps. typically the lamps must be cool before they will begin to start.around 600 volts is supplied to the cathodes. Most mercury vapor lamps use an initial high voltage to start the electrical arc through the argon and mercury. One annoying artifact of mercury vapor lighting is the fact that it takes several minutes for the lamps to start. the ultraviolet light is able to strike the phosphor and this creates whatever color light the phosphor produces. heating the mercury until it boils and becomes a gas. a second glass globe surrounds the inner one. Because the visible light from a standard mercury vapor lamp is a harsh bright blue light and suitable to only a few applications (street. However. As with a fluorescent lamp. A common example of this is when football games 7 . Some lamp models use an incandescent filament to speed the heating process. although for safety reasons. that would mean that both the visible light and the harmful ultraviolet light produced would escape from the lamp. so if already-operating lamps are turned off or there is a brief electrical outage. sometimes as much as 25 times the amount of power used by a gas discharge lamp of the same length. mercury vapor lamps also use a ballast to prevent the lamp from consuming more and more current as it gets hotter and hotter. Normally. and the lamps consume about 75 watts each. some large stores and other areas. This gas absorbs most of the harmful ultraviolet radiation coming from the inner bulb (much like the earths upper atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun).
although sodium halogen lighting has been used in warehouses and briefly as a classroom lighting system in a few pilot programs in schools in the 1970s and 1980s. halogen gas is used to increase the life expectancy of the lamp by helping to keep gas atoms from entering the lamp and shortening the lamps life. both types of sodium lighting are unsuitable for almost all indoor lighting. Instead. but are more distant relatives of fluorescent lighting than mercury vapor lighting is. Lamps containing halogen invariably contain two globes or bulbs.) The word "halogen" is frequently used in a generic way to describe a variety of gasses that are used to displace other gases. the halogen gas does not produce any of the light. 8 . Not only was the limelight system complicated. In some ways. Sodium lighting falls into two classes: low pressure and high pressure. while highpressure sodium-halogen produces an orange light. Sodium and Sodium-Halogen Lighting Another outdoor lighting system is known as sodium or sodium-halogen. including the Halon gases used for fire-supression. By modern standards. one inside the other. Most of these school systems have since been replaced with fixtures and lamps that produce a better quality light. The phrase "in the limelight" comes from the use of this system. which is heated by a current flow until it becomes luminescent. and the contents of each bulb is sealed from the other. Broadcasts of professional games usually run a lot of commercials following half-time shows while waiting for the field to become bright enough for the television cameras to operate properly. The light produced was then focused through lenses and mirrors and directed onto the stage. The use of halogen allows incandescent lamps to be operated at a higher filament temperature. It should be explained that in sodium-halogen or incandescent-halogen lamps. without significantly reducing the operating life of the lamp. Lime lighting heated a chunk of limestone by passing three types of burning gasses over it until the limestone glowed bright yellow. which means more of the energy leaving the filament will be visible light rather than being below the visible spectrum. this is similar to the Lime lighting system used in theaters in the last half of the 19th century. energy that is just perceived as heat. Low pressure sodium lamps produce a yellow-green light and are less-common today. it also tended to burn-down theaters.have special lighting for the half-time show and turn off the main stadium lighting. Both types of sodium lighting uses the element sodium. (Helium and Hydrogen atoms can pass through glass. These are hybrid gas discharge systems. it may take ten minutes for the stadium lamps to warm-up and become bright enough to resume the game.
The Fluorescent Lamp Similar to the gas-discharge lighting systems known collectively as neon lighting. However. a fluorescent lamp mainly contains argon gas. the mercury vaporizes (moving from the liquid phase into the gas phase) when the electrical flow through the argon gas starts. (2) RapidStart. but only the older "pre-heat" designs have a starter. and the presence of gaseous mercury 9 . including short-wave ultraviolet light. To generate more ultraviolet. Each of these three components is discussed in detail below. relying on ionization or brute-force voltages (or both) to get the lamp started.Section 2 Components of the Fluorescent Lighting System Fluorescent Lighting Systems contain two or three physical components depending on the fixture class. a fluorescent lamp may use a heated cathode (typically a tungsten filament) to get the current flow initially started. and (3) Instant-Start. sometimes with ionization from fixture Yes Starter function integrated inside ballast No All fixtures have a fluorescent lamp and a ballast. a small amount of mercury is added to each lamp. Although the mercury is in liquid form when the lamp is not operating and the lamp is at room temperature. The basic differences between the classes are shown in this table: Fixture Class (Ballast and Lamp type) Pre-Heat (See Section 5) Rapid-Start (See Section 6) Instant-Start (See Section 7) Starting or "Striking" Technique Fixture Uses Starters? Heated cathodes while starting Continuously heated cathodes and ionization from fixture High starting voltage. When a flow of electrical current passes through argon gas. several wavelengths of light are produced. using argon gas alone doesn't produce sufficient short-wave ultraviolet to greatly excite the phosphors used in most fluorescent tubes. Depending on the type. There three classes of fluorescent lighting systems are: (1) Pre-Heat. or may be an all-cold cathode design.
a fluorescent lamp can produce different levels of light. a fluorescent lamp will quickly run-away and destroy itself. the electrical resistance of the gas goes down. but other materials are used by various vendors. this is done because the filament material is better suited to donate electrons needed for the electrical arc through the gas in the lamp. so depending on the materials used. and in turn that helps generate even more ultraviolet light. this doesn't stop the leaked ultraviolet light from slowly damaging other objects in the area. However. Lamps for Instant-start fixtures don't need a filament to heat. but may contain a filament in the cathode anyway. which will make the gas even hotter. This behavior is known as negative resistance. (Mercury is a hazardous material if it escapes from the lamp. but some does escape from the fluorescent lamp. A discussion of lamp colors appears in Section 3. Additional information on mercury and other fluorescent lighting safety issues appear in Section 9. despite consuming the same amount of electricity. Because of the ultraviolet light. Fluorescent lamps that are meant for pre-heat and rapid-start fixtures contain filaments at each cathode. Sometimes. the phosphor emits various frequencies of visible light. Other design factors can affect the efficiency and life expectancy of a fluorescent lamp. Manufacturers blend phosphors to produce various shades or colors of visible light. and in turn the phosphor blocks most of the ultraviolet light. As the gas heats. 10 . allowing more current to flow. The filaments are usually made of tungsten. Some phosphors are brighter than others. blue and green. yellow. The Ballast When a fluorescent lamp begins conducting electricity. Without some regulation of the current flow.) This ultraviolet light strikes a layer of phosphor that is coated on the inside of the fluorescent lamp. The Ballast handles the job of making sure that each lamp can only draw a certain amount of electricity no matter how hot the gas is. Some manufacturers build fluorescent lamps that produce several shades of white as well as colors like red. The mercury also helps increase the amount of current that can flow through the gas. which allows even more current. which is why plastic lenses and other components of fluorescent lighting fixtures sometimes gradually become yellow or brittle. The phosphor absorbs most of the ultraviolet light. the gas inside grows warmer. Most of the paints and plastics used in fluorescent fixtures contain UV-inhibitors so that they don't wear out as quickly. the glass that the lamp tubing is made from is also tinted to provide the desired light color. In some cases. Additional information on lamp efficiency appears inSection 8.greatly increases the ultraviolet light produced.
some ballasts contain a step-up or step-down transformer (or similar mechanism). and a changing magnetic field generates electrical current in wires within that magnetic field. a ballast must exactly match the type and number of lamps used. ballasts are commonly sold for 120VAC and 277VAC (277VAC is used in commercial three-phase power systems). As the current flow through the ballast increases. The Magnetic (or Inductive) Ballast Magnetic (sometimes called Inductive) ballasts contain an electrical choke. Each ballast is marked with the list of the sizes and number of lamps that the ballast can operate.Some ballasts also handle tasks related to getting the lamp started. This interaction achieves a balance and limits the total current flow to the lamps to a specific amperage. To help prevent incorrect use. in the United States. a ballast uses these opposing magnetic forces to limit the amount of electrical current that can pass through the coils inside. in the United States. and the power provided by the local electrical supply may not be the precise voltage that is needed to operate that size lamp. while lamps smaller than what the ballast allows will be able to draw too much current and can overheat. In addition. which is a specially wound coil of wire. In addition to matching the line voltage. yet the same lamps can be used with either supply voltage because the ballast compensates for the difference in line voltage. This means that the appropriate ballast that matches the available line voltage must always be used. Connecting lamps larger than what the ballast supports may cause the lamps to malfunction or operate dimly. along with a diagram showing how the lamps must be connected to the ballast. Since electrical current flowing through a wire generates a changing magnetic field around the wire. Either incorrect situation can also damage the ballast or cause a fire hazard. increasing or lowering the voltage supplied to the lamps so that the same size lamps can be used regardless of the local electrical line voltage. ballasts for 277VAC electrical systems usually have red or pink labels while 120VAC ballasts have white or yellow labels. As to the current-limiting function of the ballast. A longer lamp needs a higher electrical voltage than a shorter lamp. For example. but limiting the current flow is the main purpose of the ballast. 11 . the coils inside the ballast generate a stronger magnetic field that opposes the flow of current that is trying to pass through the ballast to the lamps. they only come in two types: Magnetic and Electronic.
Watch out for this when shopping. Because there is a transformer or similar magnetic coil inside the ballast that operates at 50 or 60Hz. the produced noise can be reduced. with "A" considered the quietest ballast. requiring additional lower voltage outputs to keep all filaments heated at all times. or an Electronic "A" rated ballast for $25 more. and to 12 . This may be a discrete transformer. creating a chopped electrical current with up to 50. Rapid-Start ballasts are more complex. increasing the noise levels further. Home Depot was found to be guilty of this in their 96T12 dual-lamp ballast offering. improper or loose mounting of the ballast and fixture can act as a sounding board. which are usually cheaper to make. the Electronic ballast is more complicated in Rapid-Start fixtures. which is why ballasts have a "Sound Rating". have started selling noiser ballasts. Solid state ballasts are a fairly recent innovation.) When the lamp is cold and an electronic ballast is being used. and to impress a high voltage electrical potential between lamp fixture and cathode voltages. which was around 1935.000 pulses of electricity supplied to the lamps per second instead of the 100 or 120 pulses per second produced by a magnetic ballast. the electronic ballast provides shorter or more infrequent pulses of current to the lamp. The Electronic (or "Solid State") Ballast Electronic (also called "solid state") ballasts contain semiconductors and other electronic components. and a "C" rating having far more noise. Depending on the quality of the materials in the ballast. (In computers. and as the lamp reaches the desired operating current consumption. that chopped power is eventually rectified and regulated to the desired voltages needed by the computer. the pulses of current sent to the lamps by the ballast are more frequent or last longer.In addition the current limiting. As with Magnetic ballasts. Even the "A" rating on a Magnetic ballast generates enough noise to prevent fluorescent lighting from being used in certain facilities. or be integrated into the current limiting section of the ballast. selling only sound rating "C" magnetic ballasts. in order to claim they have the lowest price. it will generate a low frequency "hum" when operating. Note that some "home improvement" stores. Electronic ballasts are like the switching power supplies you find in computers. Also. As of March 2005. Their competitors will sell you a better sound rating on an magnetic ballast for about the same price. like broadcast or recording studios. an additional set of windings may exist inside the ballst that step-up or step-down the line input voltage to the levels needed to operate the lamps. Magnetic ballasts have been around since fluorescent lighting was invented. requiring additional lower voltage outputs to keep all filaments heated at all times.
are lighter. they can interfere with radio and television equipment due to emissions from the power switching electronics. VCRs and other devices.) Two types of ballasts: (Top) A two-lamp rapid-start ballast for four-foot lamps. but they are actually quieter than a compatible magnetic ballast that also has a Sound Rating of "A". they don't survive power surges and overloads or high temperatures as well magnetic ballasts. a fixture containing an electronic ballast actually does produce some noise because there still is a transformer inside the switching power supply in the ballast. All electronic ballasts have a Sound Rating of "A". (I have not encountered any model of compact fluorescent lamps that have this problem. what sound does escape the enclosure of an electronic ballast fixture is usually well above the human hearing range. The X-10 remote control system can be rendered useless by some models of T-8 electronic ballasts on the same power distribution transformer. (Bottom) An open-frame pre-heat start ballast used for a single 18" lamp. but because it and the lamps operate at higher frequencies than found in a fixture with a magnetic ballast. and the higher flicker rate can interfere with infra-red remote control systems used in televisions. (The ballast shown came out of a clothes dryer.impress a high voltage difference between lamp fixture and cathode voltages. in the same way that a computer switching power supply has multiple sets of windings and each set is used to produce a specific voltage required. Electronic ballasts are more power-efficient than magnetic ballasts. This is the most common ballast type made. These voltages are obtained from additional sets of windings in the switching power supply transformer. Electronic ballasts have a further advantage in that they are virtually silent. In fact. They are currently a lot more expensive.) 13 . and can typically be squeezed into smaller spaces. provided that the lamps are not at the end of their service life and are operating normally. They do not produce that low frequency "hum" produced by magnetic ballast fixtures. Almost all compact fluorescent lamps use an electronic ballast. due to the interference the ballasts allow to leak onto the input power line. There are some negatives to electronic ballasts.
its resistance will be lower than the resistance of the gas in the starter. Now. (2) A glow-blub starter and capacitor. When power is first applied to the fixture and is unable to flow through the fluorescent lamp. When sufficiently heated. 14 . it also flows through the filaments in the fluorescent lamp. the gas in the starter heats and starts to bend one of the metal contacts inside. a small amount of electricity arcs through the argon gas in the starter bulb. (3) a glow-bulb starter in its metal can (note the small hole in the top used to see the glow lamp in operation). because electricity is not arcing through the gas in the starter. the bi-metal moves out of position and creates a direct electrical circuit in the starter. when current flows through the starter. At some point the two electrical contacts stop touching and now the electricity has no place to flow except through the gas in the fluorescent lamp. (4) A manual reset starter with capacitor (very old). the starter is cooling and eventually the bi-metal contact will begin bending back to its rest position. Various types of starters used in pre-heat systems: (1) A semiconductor starter and capacitor from a compact fluorescent lamp. so electricity will begin arcing through the fluorescent lamp. the maximum amount of current flows through the filaments of the fluorescent lamp. If the fluorescent lamp was sufficiently heated.The Starter The traditional starter consists of a small bulb containing a gas (usually argon) and a bimetal contact.) As current continues to flow through gas in the starter. (5) An electronic starter from a four-foot fluorescent lamp "shop light" fixture. The starter also has the resistance of the two filaments in the fluorescent lamp as part its electrical circuit. which heats the gas in the fluorescent lamp.) Once the fluorescent lamp successfully starts. the starter bulb continues to cool and eventually the bi-metal contact returns to its "rest" position. Meanwhile. Some starters also contain a capacitor (also known as a condenser) that can reduce electrical noise and assist in the starting process. in the same way that a bi-metal thermostat works. Because of where the starter is wired into the electrical circuit. (The starter is deliberately designed to have a higher break-down voltage than the much-longer fluorescent lamp. (See Section 4 for schematics and theory of operation for Pre-heat Fluorescent Fixtures. or the gas in the starter bulb.
This is the case regardless of the line (or "mains") voltage supplied to the ballast. 15 . Most manufacturers recommend replacing the starter when the fluorescent lamps are replaced. InstantStart fixtures use high starting voltages to overcome the higher electrical resistance of a cold fluorescent lamp. A chart that shows which size of lamp is used with each type of starter can be found in Appendix A. The most common method is by adding the total wattage of all of the lamps.Like the main fluorescent lamp. Rapid-Start fixtures have circuitry inside the ballast that handle the starting process. and the other method is by examining the voltage and amperage rating of all of the ballasts. In some fixtures. a four-foot T12 lamp typically is rated to consume 40 watts of power. A fixture with two of these lamps would consume around 80 watts of power. particularly some compact fluorescent lamps. the starter is electronic and does not need replacing or cannot be replaced. For example. glow bulb starters eventually wear-out and must be replaced. and so on. Power Consumption Fluorescent lamp power consumption is typically measured in one of two ways.
7 amps. in that as the voltage goes up. while providing the same amount of work force (watts).8 amps on the ballast case. maximum loading should be determined by a licensed electrician. a 120V 60Hz ballast will show a higher amperage value than a 277V 60Hz ballast operating the same two lamps. and that total must always be less than the rating of the circuit and its wiring. the current demand usually drops. 16 . Note that if your line voltage is only 115 VAC or 118 VAC. depending on the efficiency of the design and manufacturing tolerances of both ballast and lamps. The actual power consumption of a fixture will typically be higher than the figure listed on the ballasts during the period when the lamps are starting. A rapid-start ballast meant to operate two 40 watt lamps that is supplied with 120 volts will show a current rating of about 0. or if the operating environment is cold. This is a normal artifact of electricity. the ballast will draw more current than the amperage value stated for a line voltage of 120 VAC. (The two lamps combined consume around 0.66 to 0. The power consumption of the same size and type of ballast will vary between models and manufacturers. they become more efficient. As with all electrical circuits. but this number must be used in conjunction with the line voltage value. Initial in-rush and other factors must be considered when determining the maximum load that can be placed on any branch circuit. As the lamps warm up.) Solid state ballasts will be usually show a slightly lower current rating as they are usually more efficient and dissipate less power as waste heat. For example.Amperage consumption is usually stated on the ballast.
adding the word "Deluxe". This section discusses topics specific to the fluorescent lamp.Section 3: All about Fluorescent Lamps Because of their versatility. a phosphor that produces a bright light is chosen (possibly just one of the white phosphors) and then the glass is tinted to the desired color. several shades of "White" are marketed by the fluorescent lamp manufacturers for general lighting use. green. From most vendors. while using Cool White lamps elsewhere in the store. blue and other colors are available. there is no "white" color of light. although some manufacturers have multiple shades or grades of each. while others generate large amounts of light at the expense of service life. so a tube with untinted glass is used with these phosphors for blue or gree light colors. Some are designed for operation in cold locations. Humans perceive white as a combination of several frequencies of light. The Warm White lamps have more red and orange light. fluorescent lamps come in many sizes. In the case of red and some of the other colors. shapes. In addition to primary colors. Bright phosphors exist that generate green and blue colors. efficiency is discussed in Section 8. A blend of phosphors is used to generate what is considered to be a white light. Lamps that produce. Color and Special Purpose Light Fluorescent Lamps In addition to general lighting use. such as the red. different shades of white can be produced. 17 . while the theory of operation of each component in the entire Fluorescent Lighting System can be found in Section 2. Grocery stores will sometimes use these lamps only in the meat and bakery departments to improve the look of these products. which can be simplified to just a few primary colors. Of course. types. Cool White and Daylight. Depending on the blend. "Designer" or designations. green and blue used in television. Because efficiency of a fluorescent lighting system is controlled by the lamp and other components of the system. red. green and blue lamps appear normal until illuminated. many fluorescent lamps are produced for decorative purposes. colors and light intensity. A one paragraph summary of the theory of operation of a fluorescent lamp can be found in Section 1. and are marketed towards use in residential and other areas desiring light similar to what is produced by incandescent lighting. These tend to fall into three shades: Warm White.
While phosphors for blue light exist that cover the needs of chlorophyll. Kelvin values this low have not been seen in non-CFL lamps. However. and blue light centered at 430nm and 453nm. A tinted glass produces an yellow-orange light that is less attractive to flying insects than other light sources. having more blue phosphor in the mix probably produces better plant results. In Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). Black Light The Black-light lamp (also known as "Black Light Blue") uses a specially tinted glass similar to the cobalt tinted glass used in chemistry applications. full-spectrum light must be located nearby to give the insects another light source that can attract them away from the area where the bug lights are located.600 to 2. This color had much more red in it than Warm White. appearing purple or pink in shade. which appeared starting around 2003. there are no phosphors for red that precisely cover the frequencies that chlorophyll wants. By 2007. Because the blue wavelengths available for phosphor are more compatible with what the plants actually want. so phosphers are selected that target these frequencies. Soft White is really a variant of Warm White. with Kelvin values in the 2. This is the most commonly-used lamp color by far for traditional fluorescent lamps. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are still targeted at the home.850 range. but determining what the mix is for a particular lamp likely requires actually viewing the lamp type in operation since the phosophor blend information is usually not published. It is designed for use on porches or other outdoor areas where light is needed but insects are not desired. and won't work at all if they are the sole source of light in the area. Bug lights don't work on all flying insects. so multi-lamp packages for consumers tend to come only in "Warm" or "Soft" shades of white. Bug Light This is the fluorescent lamp equivalent of the incandescent "bug light". These tend to have a "cold" appearance. and a special phosphor to generate long-wave ultraviolet light while blocking the short-wave ultraviolet and most visible light. and a blue light. chlorophyll responds to only a few frequencies of light. A brighter. as Kelvin values this low are rarely seen on the shelves of the major retail stores.Cool White lamps are the "normal" fluorescent lamp color. with more green in the produced light. plants are able to utilize red light centered at 642nm and 662nm. Daylight lamps have a blue tint and are supposed to mimic the color of light reflected from a clear sky. consumers appear to have rejected the color. Such tubes are dark purple in appearance and are used in a variety of 18 . Plant "Grow" Light/Aquarium Light The typical plant lamp generates both a red or near-red light. In particular.
The ratio of the phosphors used determines whether 647nm to 491nm 424nm 700nm ~300nm to to and 575nm 491nm 424nm to 491nm 611nm Mix of 626nm 528nm 450nm 611nm (Redor (Blue) or Orange) (Orange) 546nm or 658nm 19 . Green and Blue columns is used in these lamps. Comparison of Lamp Colors Soft Warm Cool Color Name White White White Daylight Red "Bug" Green Blue Plant or Black Aquarium Light Blue Typical Color Temperature (in Kelvin's) 2.100K 6. Long-wave ultraviolet radiation is not immediately harmful. I recently bought two four-foot Black Light Blue lamps for under $10 US each and a $10 US two-bulb four-foot "shop fixture" for $30 US total. fluorescent Black light lamps may be directly substituted for the same size "white" fluorescent lights in existing fixtures. In general.000K 4. Speciality stores and drug stores usually charge much more for the same lamps and are really poor choices for shopping for any kind of lamp (unless it is an emergency). all from a chain home improvement store.600K 3. at least through lighting supply or the larger chain hardware stores. and are available in a variety of sizes. The lamps may be purchased separately. they were selling a single two foot Black Light Blue lamp with its own fixture for $40 US. At the national chain electronics store next door.000K 647nm 585nm or to to to to to to approximate 2. Although stores will frequently attempt to sell a fluorescent Black Light lamps with their own fixtures. so shop around. fluorescent Black Light Blue lamps cost two to four times what a good quality "white" Fluorescent lamp of the same size costs.200K 7. producing 1/4th the amount of light at more cost than what I put together myself. unlike the output from a germicidal lamp.850K 3. These are handy for lighting indoor areas using existing fixtures when having parties or other short-term activities. Long-wave ultraviolet light is not visible to the human eye and the light that can be seen from a black light blue lamp is a small amount of violet visible light that manages to get through the filter glass.000K 700nm 647nm Wavelength (in Nanometers) Phosphor wavelengths commonly used in At least one phosphor from each of the Red.applications. including Compact Fluorescent Lamps.500K 4.
658nm (Red) (Green) and 450nm (Information on printing color tables on color printers can be found here. or CRI. 20 . a manufacturer may produce several different lamp models with the same category designation (such as "cool white"). The actual light wavelength(s) emitted by a given lamp varies depending on the phosphors used by the manufacturer. For color and special purpose lamps. so there can be a significant difference in the amount of light the lamps from different makers produce.lamps the produced light is perceived as Warm White. In some cases. For comparisons of lamps with approximately the same color temperatures. and this light is quite hazardous to biological tissue and will kill organisms. there is a wide deviation between manufacturers as to what frequency light is produced in a lamp of a given color. For the warm white. see Section 8. or Daylight shades. Cool White. 52nd edition. This is called the germicidal fluorescent lamp. or Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. In general. some manufacturers have added a new specification to their near-white lamps. and they can be found in sterilizers and EPROM erasers. (An EPROM. called the Color Rendition Index. The Kelvin color temperature ranges shown are based on published values for T12. Germicidal One other special application fluorescent lamp has no tint or phosphor on the tube at all.) The wavelength ranges shown for non-white colors are as stated in CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. In general. the choice of phosphors is dictated by standards bodies. this means that the phosphors selected generate frequencies of light closer to what the cones in the human eye can most readily detect. to use less energy (which almost always means less light output) or it may simply indicate older or newer lamp phosphor formulas. The higher the number. The deviation may be caused by the desire to generate more light output which may force the selection of a less desirable mix of phosphors. In recent years. just knowing the number of lumens that the lamp produces and the approximate frequency (measured in Angstroms or nanometers) or the color temperature (measured in Kelvin's) are the far more useful values. 40 watt fluorescent lamps produced by Philips and Sylvania. but the color temperature and brightness frequently deviate between lamp models. lamp manufacturers tend to not disclose lumens or other specifics on non-white lamps. Further.) These lamps emit large amounts of short-wave ultraviolet light. so mixing lamps from different manufacturers may result in several shades of the same color. cool white and daylight colors. is an older device for storing computer data indefinitely. the better the light quality is supposed to be.
or may have a plastic tip with recessed contacts. the T8 size has become popular in 36 and 48 inch sizes. Depending on the lamp type. For shorter-length tubes. The length and diameter of the tube enter into the calculation of how much power the lamp will consume and how much light it can generate. but this doesn't always work. fluorescent lamps also exist in modularized shapes in which two or four tubes are interconnected (or may be a single tube bent multiple times) so that a single arc of electricity passes through all sections of the tube. Apart from the straight-line tubes. Photograph of a germicidal fluorescent lamp and the safety warning label on the glass. The most common diameter is 1.5" diameter) sizes. Mercury-Vapor lamps are supposed to automatically extinguish themselves if the outer globe breaks. These tubes are clear and you can see right through them. These types of lamps usually are seen in some smaller fluorescent lamps designs that allow the lamp to be detached from the base (containing the ballast and starting circuitry). Fluorescent Lamp Shapes and Sizes The most common fluorescent lamps are a shaped as a straight tube. The light produced by the germicidal fluorescent lamp is identical to that produced by a damaged Mercury-Vapor lamp that has lost its outer globe. 21 . and these are known as T12 lamps.Such lamps have stern warnings printed on the tube advising you to never look at the tube when it is operating. and the lamp can be replaced. In recent years. lengths where previously only the T12 diameter was available. narrower diameters are more common. including the T8 (1" diameter) and T5 (0. with 48 inches being the most common size. these tubes will have one or two pins that extend from each end of the tube. Normally. Some mercury-vapor lamps have a phosphor layer on the outer globe so that it produces a light with more of a white look.5 inches. Lamps up to 96 inches in length come in this diameter. letting only a bright visible blue light escape the lamp. Straight-line tubes come in standard lengths and diameters. such lamps have an outer globe that absorb the ultraviolet light produced.
Some size lamps can be used in both Pre-Heat and Rapid-Start fixtures. However. a lamp that is turned on and off dozens of times a day will probably fail before it reaches half of the estimated service life. Most manufacturers list 20. so the lamp tube itself typically does not have any part numbers or other standardized details. the 96 inch fluorescent lamps are only available for use with Instant Start fixtures. The most wear on a fluorescent lamp occurs when it is started (particularly if the ambient temperature is lower than 50F). and Instant-Start. although some "super energy saver" and compact lamps have an operating life of 10. The manufacturer of the entire assembly usually declares what amount of light the unit produces. fluorescent lamps have a long service life. This annoying behavior is one of the few remaining objections people still have to using CFLs in place of incandescent lighting. Some even are initially bright. the power consumed by the unit. all of these life expectancy ratings are not based on continuous use. For example. so it is not surprising to find fluorescent lamps that are left on for extended periods end up lasting far longer than the 20. However. The details of fluorescent fixtures and the components used in the three starting systems are discussed in other sections. then grow dim and slowly get bright again. Fluorescent Lamp Operating Life When used with the correct ballast and starter. Rapid-Start. and may or may not give an indication of the color of the light the lamp produces. some CFLs also have the curious behavior of illuminating immediately when power is applied. Similarly. with Instant being more popular. Modern Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are instant start or rapid start designs.000 hour average life.000 hours for the most common fluorescent lamps. More information on Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) can be found in Section 7. 22 . but at a noticbly lower light level. they assume a pattern of modest use where the lamps operate several hours total per day and are started only a few times each day. Certain size and shape lamps are only made for one or perhaps two of these operational systems.The "twist" tubes that are highly popular in most Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) designs are permanently attached to the base (which contains the ballast and starting circuitry). Fluorescent Lamp Functional Types Fluorescent lamps are made for use in three classes of fluorescent light fixtures: Pre-Heat.000 hours. and then the lamp takes some minutes to reach its ideal brightness. The newer T8 32 watt 4' lamps are instant start and also use a solid state ballast. Instead.000 or 15.
The highest power consumption of a fluorescent lamp and fixture occurs during the starting process. and can completely wear-out a new lamp in just a few days. An old or faulty starter can attempt and fail to start a lamp a hundred times a minute (seen as a flickering lamp). the lamp should be left on if it will be needed again within twenty minutes. the lamp will last longer and will use less electricity. the typical fixture uses about the same amount of electricity it would have consumed running normally for seven minutes. ####################################################################### 23 . Also. many manufacturers recommend that if a fluorescent lamp is installed in an area that is intermittently occupied. Because of the start-up issues. averaged over its entire life. before turning the power off to the fluorescent lighting. The wear-and-tear of the starting process is one reason why manufacturers recommend replacing pre-heat starters when the lamps are replaced. More information on efficiency and operating life can be found in Section 8. By leaving the lamp on instead of turning it off and back on again in five or ten minutes. during the start and first five minutes of operation. For the most efficient use of fluorescent lighting. many commercial facilities now use timed motion sensors that control the building lighting in some or all areas. these motion sensors should be set to leave the fluorescent lamps on for at least twenty minutes after no motion is detected. As part of efficiency campaigns. and it is generally accepted that each start of a fluorescent lamp shortens its operating life by about twenty minutes.
Pre-heat fixtures either have an automatic starter or require a manual starting action. there is a device known as the Starter.Section 4 Traditional Pre-Heat Fluorescent Fixtures Older and some low-cost modern fluorescent fixtures solve the starting problem by the use of a "starter". in that they have two electrical contacts on each of the lamp. The Starter is usually housed in a small cylindrical metal can that can be removed and replaced. The "On" button would have to be 24 . which heats the gas around them. creating light. All pre-heat lamps are "bi-pin". the electricity stops flowing through the filaments and the fixture attempts to send the electricity through the gas in the fluorescent lamp. This cycling is what causes "burned-out" fluorescent lights to flicker over and over. If the gas was sufficiently heated. This filament is similar to the ones found in an incandescent lamp. and the path through the lamp should now have a lower resistance than the path through the starter. and all have a mechanism called a "starter". In fixtures that automatically start. If the lamp still hasn't warmed-up enough to conduct. Compact fluorescent lamps may have the starter in the base with the ballast. the electricity will then flow through the starter. The starter is designed to allow electricity to flow through it for a short period of time (usually less than two seconds) with almost no resistance. When a gas is heated. In such cases. a manual starting process is used where the operator was expected to perform the role of the starter. and through the filaments on each end of the lamp. no matter how much heating is done by the starter. When the pre-heat fluorescent fixture is first turned on. In some older fixtures. The automatic starter works by having a higher electrical resistance than a warm fluorescent lamp. its resistance to conducting electricity goes down. When the starter resistance jumps from zero to the higher value. the flow of electricity will seek a lower resistance path. current flows through both of these filaments. while some low-cost "shop" fixtures may have a non-replaceable starter inside the fixture. After a few seconds of heating. or built into the lamp assembly. then the starter abruptly increases its resistance. but not through the gas in the lamp. primarily desk lamps. Connected to each pair of contacts is a filament that is located inside each end of the lamp. the old lamp has too much resistance and can't start or sustain a current flow. Fluorescent fixtures that have to heat the gas in order to start the lamp are called "pre-heat" fixtures. and also having a lower electrical resistance than a cold fluorescent lamp. This means that when the lamp is cold and not conducting at all. the electricity now conducts (also called "arcing") through the lamp. the starter will repeat this cycle until it succeeds in making the lamp warm enough to operate.
pressed and held down for a few seconds and then released. 25 . When the button was released. The idea was that if you pressed the "Off" button long enough. neutral and the lamp. nothing would happen. current would flow through the lamp gas if the gas was warm enough. the "Off" button frequently just disconnected the electrical power for as long as the button is pressed. but most fixtures did not. For clarity. the color purple is used in these drawings. 120 VAC pre-heat ballasts for lamps larger than 20 watts typically have connections to hot. pressing the "On" button operated the heating filaments in the lamp or lamps. There is no defined color for the wiring between the lamp and the starter. instead of just to hot and the lamp as shown above. Typical Automatic Pre-Heat Fixture Wiring Diagram [ STARTER ] [ ] [ o/ ] [ / ] [ +/ o-+ ] [ | | ] +-----------------=[-+) (+-]=-----------------+ | [ ] | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | +--=|---|=--+ | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | +--=|---|=--+ | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | | --NEUTRAL-----+ (WHITE) +---------------+ | | | | --HOT------------BLACK--------| BALLAST |-----BLUE------+ | | +---------------+ LINE aka MAINS Some single-lamp pre-heat ballasts have no polarity and both wires from the ballast may be the same color. In many fixtures of this type. In fact. the gas in the lamp would cool down and would not be able to conduct electricity when you let go of the button and the electrical power was restored. but unless its gas was heated by the starting process. Some fixtures made the "Off" button really turn off and leave the power turned off. Similarly. the lamp was always connected to the electrical supply.
but the current flow is enough to heat the starter bulb gas. the current flow is too low to illuminate the starter filaments or generate any heat to start the fluorescent lamp. a small amount of electricity arcs through the gas in the starter bulb. [ STARTER ] [ ] [ o/ ] [ / ] [ +/ o-+ ] [ | ~~~ | ] +---------------<>=[-+)~~~(+-]=<>---------------+ | [ ~~~ ] | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | +<>=|---|=<>+ | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | +<>=|---|=<>+ | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | | --NEUTRAL--<>-+ (WHITE) +---------------+ | | | | --HOT------<>----BLACK--------| BALLAST |-----BLUE--<>--+ | | +---------------+ LINE aka MAINS In the diagram. This causes the entire starter assembly to have no resistance to the electrical flow. the <> symbols. Instead. and the ~~ symbols inside the starter or fluorescent lamp are all used to indicate where current is flowing. and now the full line voltage flows through the fluorescent lamp filaments.Starting Sequence for a Pre-Heat Fluorescent Lamp Step 1: Power is applied When power is first applied. quickly heating the gas in the ends of the fluorescent lamp. 26 . Step 2: Fluorescent Lamp heater filaments are operated As the starter bulb heats. as shown below. a bi-metal plate inside the starter begins to bend until it makes contact with the other contact. the lines marked with a blue color. also called the starter bottle. Although current is now flowing through both filaments of the fluorescent lamp. the resistance of the cold fluorescent lamp prevents the electricity from flowing through it.
the <> symbols. which sustains the arc. Since the gas in the starter is no longer being heated.LINE aka MAINS [ STARTER ] [ ] [ o ] [ ] [ +---o-+ ] [ | | ] +---------------<>=[-+) (+-]=<>---------------+ | [ ] | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | +<>=|---|=<>+ | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | +<>=|---|=<>+ | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | | --NEUTRAL--<>-+ (WHITE) +---------------+ | | | | --HOT------<>----BLACK--------| BALLAST |-----BLUE--<>--+ | | +---------------+ In the diagram. 27 . and the ~~ symbols inside the starter or fluorescent lamp are all used to indicate where current is flowing. Up until now. the electricity will resume arcing through the gas in the starter bulb and the starting process returns to Step 2. but the arc continues to heat the gas in the fluorescent lamp. the bi-metal contact in the starter bulb was heated to the point that it made contact with the other wire in the starter. That process not only begins the generation of light. the starter cools sufficiently that the bi-metal contact starts moving back to its "cold" position. heating the gas in that lamp. it now begins to cool. breaking the short circuit. and seeks the next lowest path of resistance. so that current could flow through the starter without arcing through the gas in the starter bulb. If the gas in the fluorescent lamp is sufficiently heated. the lines marked with a blue color. The electricity now has no direct path through which to flow. as shown below. the electricity will now arc through the fluorescent lamp. Step 3: Start the arc in the fluorescent lamp In the previous step. After a few seconds. Meanwhile. so little current was drawn that the ballast did not have to do anything. The ballast now begins its task of limiting how much current can safely flow through through the fluorescent lamp. the full line current is flowing through the starting filaments in the fluorescent lamp. If the fluorescent lamp isn't sufficiently heated to arc.
LINE aka MAINS [ STARTER ] [ ] [ o/ ] [ / ] [ +/ o-+ ] [ | | ] +-----------------=[-+) (+-]=-----------------+ | [ ] | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | +--=|-.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ --|=--+ | ) ~~~~~~~FLUORESCENT LAMP~~~~~~~~ ( | +<>=|-. the <> symbols. the lines marked with a blue color. and the ~~ symbols inside the starter or fluorescent lamp are all used to indicate where current is flowing. Typical Manual Pre-Heat Fixture Wiring Diagram |NC (ON/START SWITCH o/ NORMALLY OPEN) PUSH )===/ +-------------------o/ o----------------------+ | NO | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | +---|---|---+ | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | +---|---|---+ | +---------------------------------------+ | | | (WHITE) | +-----+ (BLACK) | | |NC | | --NEUTRAL-----+ o/ | +---------------+ | PUSH )===/ | | | | --HOT-----------o/ o +-----| BALLAST |-----BLUE------+ |NO | | +---------------+ (OFF SWITCH NORMALLY CLOSED) LINE aka MAINS 28 .~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ --|=<>+ | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | | --NEUTRAL--<>-+ (WHITE) +---------------+ | | | | --HOT------<>----BLACK--------| BALLAST |-----BLUE--<>--+ | | +---------------+ In the diagram.
In the manual-start fixture. the electricity will now flow through the fluorescent lamp. To turn the lamp off. When the button is released. the only route the electrical flow can take is to arc through the gas in the fluorescent lamp. the lamp won't light unless the starting process is repeated. the operator is required to close the "ON" switch for a few seconds. If the gas was sufficiently heated. The lamps resistance goes up rapidly when current is not flowing through the gas. allowing the filaments in the fluorescent lamp to heat the gas in the lamp. the power supply is interrupted briefly. 29 . so when the current is applied again.
This is why rapid start fixtures light almost instantly (but dimly). Some lamps that are formed into a "U" shape actually have a conductive metal stripe painted on the glass tubing to assist in the starting process.5" diameter) lamps with one ballast controlling a maximum of two lamps each. the ballast is providing current to the filaments at each end of the lamp to further assist the starting process. Instead. Typical Rapid-Start Fixture Wiring Diagram The most common types of Rapid-Start Fluorescent fixtures contain two. 30 . Meanwhile. this feeble flow of current does start heating the gas throughout the length of the lamp. Most of these rapid-start systems establish a brief but high voltage potential between one or both cathodes of the lamp and a metal surface in the fixture that must be within a certain distance (usually less than 0. three or four T-12 (1. the ballast is able to get a low current flow of electricity moving through the lamp.Section 5 Rapid Start Fluorescent Fixtures Most fluorescent fixtures with two or more lamps are known as "rapid start". In this system. all of these things work to rapidly lower the electrical resistance of the gas and encourage the lamp to draw more current and become brighter. there is no starter. which is another way to reduce the initial resistance of gas to a flow of electrical current. two ballasts are typically used.5 inches) of the lamp along its full length. and the light being produced creates even more ionization. and uses a capacitor or other techniques to start the lamp by ionizing the gas. which causes the lamp to glow dimly. both of which work to lower the resistance of the gas further. However. Combined. the ballast keeps a low flow of current running through the filaments at all times or during the start-up period. By ionizing the gas. When three or four lamps are present. and then take a few more seconds to achieve most of their normal operating brightness.
To ensure proper starting. Instead. yellow and blue wires are polarity independent and can be connected to either contact of the same end of the lamp as shown. both red wires must be connected to the same end of the lamp and so on. 40 watt two-lamp rapid-start ballast is shown below. the pairs of red. Since the entire rapid-start fixture is grounded. +---------------------------------------+ +-----=|---|=-----------+ | | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | | | +--=|---|=--------+ | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | +--|--|--========METAL=FIXTURE=REFLECTOR============ | | | | | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | +-----=|---|=-----+ | | | | | | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | | | | | | +--=|---|=--+ | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +---------------+ | | | | | | +-----YELLOW1----| |----RED1------+ | | | | | | | | | | | +--------YELLOW2----| RAPID|----RED2---------+ | | | | | | | --GROUND-+-----------GREEN-----(| START | | | LINE | | | | aka --NEUTRAL------------WHITE------| BALLAST |----BLUE1-----------+ | MAINS | | | --HOT----------------BLACK------| |----BLUE2--------------+ | | +---------------+ Notes: Wiring color and how the wires are to be connected may vary by ballast manufacturer. 31 . so always refer to the diagram on the ballast used and follow its instructions.e. it is essential that there be electrical contact between the ballast and a metal surface close to the entire length of the lamps.The wiring for the typical T-12. there may not be an actual wire connecting the ballast and reflector together. they usually make electrical contact via the metal parts of the fixture. Typically. The yellow wires must be connected to ends of the lamps opposite the red or blue pair. There are also safety reasons for having the fixture and ballast properly grounded. The same color wires must be used together. i.
This lasts for about 0. The worst case situation is to have at least one lamp still in place. Some Electronic Rapid-Start ballasts behave like Pre-Heat ballasts with "smart" starters. as the cathode filaments will continue to receive current for heating the filaments in an effort to get all the lamps going. Because of the design of a Rapid Start fixture. See Section 6 for information on the Instart Start systems. rather than heating the filaments for however long it takes the semi-mechanical starter to reset itself. so in almost all cases. and may be objectionable if it is expected that some amount of light (however minimal) is provided the instant that the power is applied. It has been found that some "Electronic" or "Solid State" Rapid-Start ballasts behave more like Pre-heat ballasts than the traditional Rapid-Start ballast.5 to 1. The reverse isn't always true. a given rapid-start lamp can be used in a pre-heat fixture and in a rapidstart fixture. In these models. as is done in traditional Rapid-Start fixtures. The initial "dim" period that standard Rapid-Start ballasts exhibit doesn't occur. the filaments are initially supplied with a high current level. causing them and the ends of the lamp to glow brightly when power is first applied. Both rapid-start and pre-heat lamps require filaments that are used in the starting process.0 seconds and then the current flows through the length of the lamp at or near its full brightness.Rapid-Start and pre-heat fixtures frequently use the same type of lamp. the fixture will consume power if the lamps are unable to start because one or more of the lamps have been removed or rotated so that it does not make electrical contact with the socket. because the smaller straight-line lamps of 20 watts or less are used only in pre-heat fixtures. they may be using just as much power (or more) than if working lamps 32 . In fact. This may seem like an insignificant point. but they are really Rapid-Start systems. as is done in Pre-Heat fixtures. The behavior difference is noticible. so visually these can be mistaken for Pre-Heat configurations. but many commercial organizations have removed lamps from thousands of rapid-start fixtures under the false assumption that they are saving electricity. the electronics appear to heat the filaments for exactly the amount of time needed to start the lamp.) Rapid-Start fixtures consume power even when the lamps have burned-out or are missing. (If the delayedillumination behavior is a problem. This is because the ballast will consume power trying to start dead or electrically missing lamps. or leaving minimal filament current on all the time. conversion to a T-8 lighting system with an Instant Start Ballast and T-8 lamps may be desired. In these models of electronic Ballasts.
At the same time. exposing the organization to legal liabilities. This is not a new misunderstanding of how these fixtures work. failing to replace burnt-out lamps can also waste more electricity than having working lamps. and they may be violating OSHA safety rules. During the 1974 Energy Crisis. leaving students and instructors with gloomy hallways and under-lit classrooms. while the still-powered fixtures continued to consume and waste electricity with absolutely no benefit. Subsequently. probably after they noticed it wasn't helping on the power bill as much as expected. The removed lamps in the Fort Worth ISD were not re-installed until 1975. in situations where the light is not needed or you are trying to conserve energy. the Fort Worth Independent School District (like many other organizations nationwide) removed every other pair of lamps in the fluorescent light fixtures in their schools. you must disconnect the electricity supply to rapid start fixtures rather than just remove or "unscrew" the lamps. so it is always in the interest of the person who is paying the electricity bill to replace fluorescent lamps promptly when they fail. plus the teachers and students were complaining. 33 .were installed.
Once current starts flowing through the lamps. as the ballast is able to detect the absence of a lamp and shut down that portion of the ballast automatically.) However. the instant-start ballast will immediately regulate the voltage and current down to the normal operating levels. High Output lamps have a plastic or similar material surrounding recessed contacts on each end of the lamp itself. they are commonly used in outdoor signs as well as grocery store freezers and other applications. with the advent of electronic ballasts. the lamps illuminate at close to their full brightness. Most electronic ballasts do not need this interlock. older instant-start designs using magnetic ballasts employ special lamp sockets that are designed to disconnect the fixtures power source when a lamp is removed.0" diameter) "F0" and "FB0" series lamps are bi-pin designs but are meant for use with special instant start ballasts. High Output lamps. or by having recessed contacts. Traditional instant start lamps could be identified by having either a single pin on each end of the lamp. and the remaining lamps will operate correctly. (Recessed contacts are used in "High Output" lamps containing "HO" in the lamp model number. After a successful start. the newer T-8 (1. The electronic ballast designs commonly allow less than the maximum allowed number of lamps to be attached to the ballast. Today. The starting voltage is so great (as high as 940 volts in some models) that even if the gas is extremely resistant. In addition to their ability to work at colder temperatures. it will usually conduct. which are a high-current type of instant start lamps. which helps lower the starting resistance of the lamp. essentially starting the lamp with brute force.Section 6 Instant Start Fluorescent Fixtures Instant start fixtures work by causing the lamp to initially "strike" or light by applying an initial voltage to the lamp that is many times greater than the lamps normal operating voltage and greater than the lamps break-down resistance. High Output lamps produce more light than normal fluorescent lamps of the same size. Because of the higher voltages and current involved with these fixtures. Older magnetic ballast designs require that the stated number of lamps be connected and in working order or some or all of the lamps may not illuminate fully or at all. This prevents High Output lamps from being used in the wrong types 34 . Some instant start fixtures also create a potential between the fixture and lamp cathodes to generate ionization. are designed to start and operate in cold environments and were originally used in walk-in freezers.
but frequently both ends of the filament are wired together so the filament can never be heated. so always refer to the diagram on the ballast used and follow its instructions. the power supply to the fixture that passes through two of the lamp sockets (on left in drawing above) is disconnected. Typical Instant-Start Fixture (with Magnetic Ballast) Wiring Diagram +---------------------------------------+ --HOT----BLACK---+ |+-+| |=|+ ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( +|=-----+ +----+ |+-+| | LINE | See +---------------------------------------+ | aka | Note | MAINS | | | See | | Note+---------------------------------------+ | --NEUTRAL---|----+ |+-+| | | |=|+ ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( +|=--+ | | +-+ |+-+| | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +---------------+ | | | +-----WHITE1-----| |----RED1------+ | | | MAGNETIC | | +--------BLACK1-----| INSTANT|----BLUE1--------+ | START | | BALLAST | | | +---------------+ Notes: Wiring color and how the wires are to be connected may vary by ballast manufacturer. it means that you probably really have a Rapid-Start or Pre-Heat fixture. 35 . The filament simply acts as a cathode material that is a suitable source of electrons. causing the entire fixture to shut down.of fixtures. when a lamp is absent. The electrical contact on the lamp itself acts as a power supply control switch. A curious feature of many instant start lamps is that they also have filaments in each end of the lamp. In the above design. and may provide some protection from moisture making electrical contact with the lamp contacts. Caution: If the fixture you have has two wires connected to the socket on both ends of every lamp (a total of four wires per lamp).
so always refer to the diagram on the ballast used and follow its instructions. Please refer to Sections 4 or 5 for details on these other designs. 36 . Typical Instant-Start Fixture (with an Electronic Ballast) Wiring Diagram +---------------------------------------+ +=|---|=+ +----+ | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | +----------+ | +=|---|=+ | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | +--|-----========METAL=FIXTURE=REFLECTOR============ | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | +=|---|=+ | | +----+ | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | +-------+ | | | +=|---|=+ | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | +=|---|=+ | | | | +-+ | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | +----+ | | | | | +=|---|=+ | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | | | | +--|--|--========METAL=FIXTURE=REFLECTOR============ | | | | | | | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | +=|---|=+ | | | | | +-+ | ) FLUORESCENT LAMP ( | +-+ | | | | | | +=|---|=+ | | | | | | | +---------------------------------------+ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +---------------+ | | | | | | +-----YELLOW1----| |----RED1------+ | | | | | | ELECTRONIC | | | | | +--------YELLOW2----| |----RED2---------+ | | | | INSTANT| | | --GROUND-+-----------GREEN-----(| | | | LINE | START | | | aka --NEUTRAL------------WHITE------| |----BLUE1-----------+ | MAINS | BALLAST | | --HOT----------------BLACK------|---------------|----BLUE2--------------+ Notes: Wiring color and how the wires are to be connected may vary by ballast manufacturer.not an Instant Start fixture.
rather than the 120 to 150 watts consumed by the older design.) The best F40T12 lamps currently produce 3. the modernized fixture could produce more light with less electricity consumed. The electronic Instant Start ballast design shown here allows an existing four-lamp fixture that uses F40T12 lamps and two magnetic ballasts to be replaced with a single electronic ballast and the new F032T8 lamps. 37 . Please refer to Sections 4 or 5 for details on these other designs. In some instant start electronic ballast designs. Note that 32 watt T8 lamps produce more lumens per watt than any T12 lamp of the same length. and the wiring to the lamp sockets must be altered. not an Instant Start fixture. I have also seen cases where fixtures with two F96T12 lamps that consume between 60 and 75 watts each were "modernized" to hold four F032T8 lamps (pairs of lamps mounted endto-end) and a new electronic ballast. even though the T-8 lamp is actually producing less light. because the light is coming from a smaller space. The reworked fixture now consumes about 128 watts. With the right choice of lamps. the T-8 lamps also create an illusion that T-8 lamps are brighter than the equivalent T-12 lamp. the ballast manufacturer allows the same ballast to be connected to one to four lamps. it means that you probably really have a Rapid-Start or Pre-Heat fixture. (Both ballast and lamps must be replaced for such a conversion.300 lumens while consuming 40 watts. while F032T8 lamps are available that produce 2. The unused wires are simply insulated and not connected to anything. Note also that if you were already using T-12 34 watt lamps. but when replacing existing T12 with T8 lighting.Caution: If the fixture you have has two wires connected to the socket on both ends of every lamp (a total of four wires per lamp). Despite the lower amount of light produced by the F032T8 lamp. and has the reliability that three of the four lamps can fail or wear-out and the fixture will still be producing some light. so the T8 lamps are superior when it comes to power consumption. virtually all T-8 lamps will produce more light for 32 watts.950 lumens but only consume 32 watts. the lower light output may cause areas to be underlit.
These early lamps had numerous problems. From this central base. and tended to ship these lamps with cool white or similar phosphors that didn't blend in well with nearby incandescent lighting. An average three bedroom house has at least 28 incandescent lamp sockets. consisting of an assembly that contains all the components needed to start and operate the attached lamp. The manufacturers failed to consider the areas where the lamps would be used. The next problem was that the combination of magnetic ballast and round fluorescent lamp was heavy. and made almost any table lamp top-heavy. Compact fluorescent lamps are a fairly recent innovation. arms extended that held a round fluorescent lamp. yet this solution could be used in no more than four of those locations on average. This section discusses this special category of fluorescent lighting.Section 7 Compact Fluorescent Lighting Compact fluorescent lighting are a special category. The biggest problem of all was that these lamps only fit a tiny fraction of the possible lamp sockets in the average residence. and a better solution was needed. Evolution of Compact Fluorescent Lighting The Beginnings Arguably. also known by the trade name "Circline". This product was marketed as a power-saving replacement lamp for table lamps and sometimes included a special mounting bracket to adapt to the various supports used to hold the lamp shield of a table lamp. and are primarily targeted for use in residential situations. resulting in accidents and lamp breakage. the earliest form of compact fluorescent lighting consisted of a screw-thread assembly containing a starter and ballast. These assemblies come with a screw-thread base that are meant to be installed in place of traditional incandescent lamps. 38 . These lamps didn't really deserve to use the word "compact". but it is also common to find them in commercial situations such as hotels and restaurants.
The Miniature U-Tube
In the 1970s, several fluorescent lamp manufacturers introduced a the "U-Tube", a lamp that was shaped in a "U" shape. In most respects, it was identical to the T12 (1.5" diameter) lamps already available, but during manufacturing a glass tube of roughly four feet in length is formed into a "U" shape. Two of the finished lamps were then installed in a 2'x2' fluorescent fixture. Previously, a fixture of that size that produced that amount of light would have required four 2' lamps, but this innovation allowed only two lamps to used, and a single ballast. Wiring was also simpler because all connections were on the same side of the fixture. With the growing popularity of 2'x2' drop-in ceilings, the use of these fixtures in commercial applications became quite popular and are still used today. In the 1980s, someone exploited the U-tube design further, producing a miniature version in the T6 size (0.5" diameter) tubing. Now, the complete assembly of lamp, ballast and starter was narrow enough to be used in a few more locations where incandescent lamps were traditionally used and using fluorescent lighting were previously impractical. However, this new miniature U-tube solution still had problems. It was still considerably longer than an incandescent lamp, so it could not be effectively concealed in many existing fixtures that were designed with an incandescent lamp in mind. Seeing recessed incandescent light fixtures with two inches of a six inch fluorescent lamp sticking out was a common sight in some hotels and restaurants, and to many this looked tacky. The lamp and ballast were usually separate components so that the lamp could be replaced (some lamps also had the starter built into the lamp connector so that the starter would be replaced at the same time as the lamp), but this modular design also added more length and weight to the complete assembly. Plus, the manufacturers still continued to use cheaper coolwhite phosphors, which hindered acceptance of these lamps further. Although the magnetic ballast was still bulky and added even more length to the total lamp length, the big problem was that with the ballast located in the base of the lamp. Some fixtures don't have enough room to accommodate the ballast because the fixture clearance may be too narrow near the socket, an area where the typical incandescent lamp narrows as the glass meets the screw-base. Despite these obstacles to use, the miniature U-tube compact fluorescent lamps made some inroads, but most found their way into new fixtures specifically designed for the longer length of the lamp, including outdoor porch lamps and recessed can lighting.
The Miniature Double-U-Tube
The basic problem with miniature fluorescent lamps is the issue of length versus light. The length of the fluorescent lamp dictates how much surface area is available for the phosphor coating that will create the light, and if you reduce the surface area, you will have less light. You can compensate to some extent by using more current arcing through the gas in the lamp, but that shortens the life of the lamp, which is also undesirable. Some early pioneers in the compact fluorescent lamp market, notably Philips and Lights of America, hit upon a solution to the length problem, by taking the miniature U-tube design and bending the bulb not once but multiple times. A typical lamp double-U tube lamp would start with the same length glass tube as in the current U-tube designs, say a twelve inch tube that was previously bent back towards the lamp base at the six-inch point. For the double-U design, you do things differently. At two inches or so from one end of the tube, the tube is bent at a right angle (now horizontal) to the west for an inch and then bend back down (now vertical) towards the lamp base, parallel to the first two inches of the tube. Two inches from that last bend, you make another rightangle one-inch horizontal bend (now parallel to the lamp base), but this bend was to the south, followed then with a bend up away from the base (vertical). Two inches further and you have another right angle bend with a one inch horizontal section, this time heading to the east, and finally another bend back towards the base (vertical). After executing all of those turns, you still have twelve inches of tube surface area, but the entire thing fits in a space less than 3"x3"x3", far closer to the size of an incandescent lamp than any previous design. The double-U tube designs became the first of these lamps that could honestly use the word "compact". Some came with a plastic shroud that covered all of the twists and turns of the fluorescent tube, sometimes for waterproofing, sometimes to improve the color of the produced light, but these designs were far more successful than the single U tube designs. A few manufacturers refused to adopt the double-U design, but instead put multiple smaller U tubes in their compact fluorescent lamps, wired in series. The result is pretty much the same, providing more phospher coating surface area in a smaller amount of space. After a few years of selling the double-U and multiple-U tube designs, the electronic ballast started to appear in the compact fluorescent designs. This greatly reduced the weight of the lamps which were still overturning table lamps, and also provided faster lamp starting, now one of the few remaining shortcomings when compared to incandescent lighting. Curiously, some lamp makers would use an electronic ballast but incorporate a traditional pre-heat starter bulb, which resulted in slow lamp starting. Gradually, rapid or instant start designs started taking over and the pre-heat compact fluorescent lamp became the rarity.
The "Twist" Tube
Although the double-U were constantly improved after its introduction, and some of these were eventually made of four separate tubes interconnected with small interconnecting glass pipes between the four main tubes that the electrical arc could pass through. This and other innovations improved the size and light output, but these lamps were much more difficult to make than a straight tube, and this made them expensive. This meant the lamp had to last several years before the cost of the lamp could be justified in electrical consumption cost savings. In the mid-1990s, someone somewhere came across the solution to the manufacturing cost, and that was to build a tube that didn't have many or any sharp bends, but instead had gradual twists, a design that looks a lot like a soft-serve ice cream cone. Originally appearing in the United States around 1997, the twist design revolutionized compact fluorescent design. Today, it is sometimes difficult to find compact fluorescent lamps that don't use the twist tube design. Combined with electronic ballasts, warmer color phosphors and tighter and tighter tube twists, compact fluorescent lamps now exist that fit inside the physical dimensions of an incandescent lamp and produce the same amount of light, if not more. One design uses 13 watts to produce 800 lumens of light while a 60 watt incandescent of the same form factor may also produce 800 lumens of light. Such lamps can be obtained for as little as $4US retail, and at lower cost in quantities.
Compact Fluorescent Lighting Today Today, compact fluorescent lamps come in many sizes and shapes ranging from 13 to 26 watts and producing from 500 to 1580 lumens of light, depending on lamp.
The manufacturers have finally paid attention to lamp color, and most lamps produce at least a semi-warm light, perhaps not as good as that produced by a warm-light straight-line fluorescent lamp, but not the cool-white colors of older compact fluorescent lamps. A few of the brightest compact fluorescent lamps produce a half-brightness "Post-It" yellow-colored or orange-colored light when they first start, but after two or three minutes they achieve their full brightness and the color becomes whiter, closer to that produced by halogen incandescent lamps. Currently, the largest "plain" compact fluorescent lamps available consume 26 watts, but produce up to 1580 lumens, more light than a 100 watt incandescent lamp can produce. Such lamps have a 10,000 hour average life. A "sweet spot" lamp uses 23 watts, produces around 1400 lumens, and fits many fixtures.
and this can cause ballasts to overheat or malfunction. Compact Fluorescent Lamps can't be used everywhere There are some applications and locations where compact fluorescent lamps cannot be used. weight and light color issues have been largely resolved in compact fluorescent lighting. and fluorescent lamps do not work well at low temperatures. the special-duty incandescent lamps used in ovens and refrigerators are designed to function in these extreme temperature ranges. Further. Now that the physical size. While incandescent lamps don't care if the power source is AC or DC. fluorescent fixtures and compact fluorescent lamps cannot be used for emergency lighting systems. by using fluorescent lamps that use a fraction of the power and produce a fraction of the heat.The 1000 to 1580 lumen compact fluorescent lamps are a great innovation. and can cause the insulation on the wiring in the fixture to become brittle. because these high-lumen lamps can safely be installed in fixtures that could not previously use incandescent lamps larger than 60 or 75 watts. The heat from the largest incandescent lamps can burn or melt materials in the fixture. For example. With compact fluorescent lamps costing as little as $4US for 13 watt and $4. all that remains to convince people to utilize these lamps is to convince them of the cost of ownership savings. and electronic ballasts may malfunction if DC power is used.50 for 23 watt lamps. Emergency power systems may also not generate the same voltage as normal commercial power. Unless specifically allowed. Such systems may switch to battery power in an emergency. However. manufacturers are also trying to boost consumer acceptance by also providing two and three warranties on lamps. similar to the warranties manufacturers offer on halogen incandescent lamps. the electronics in compact fluorescent lamps could be damaged. These are discussed in detail in a later section. if condensation forms. Compact fluorescent lamps contain plastic components and electronics that would not withstand the heat of an oven. Incandescent fixtures with the 60 or 75 watt limits have those limits not just because of the current-carrying capacity of the wiring in the fixture but mainly because of the fixtures limited ability to handle the heat produced by larger incandescent lamps. Ceiling-mounted incandescent fixtures can also dry-out or burn ceiling plaster when incandescent lamps that are too large are used. fluorescent fixtures with magnetic ballasts won't work at all if DC is used. you can still provide more usable light in a location than you could have ever obtained (safely) by using incandescent lamps. 42 .
The vast majority of fluorescent fixtures and compact fluorescent lamps cannot be used with dimmers. the Uniform Traffic Control Devices standards specifically disallowed the use of fluorescent lamps to control traffic flow (red. For example. although the original reason the idea was rejected was not because of the fluorescent lamp itself. 43 . but they have a higher initial cost than incandescent lamps. fluorescent lighting is typically no longer used in highway signage because the lamps operate too dimly at these low temperatures.) Fluorescent lamps have been used for highway signage in many areas. but these non-standard devices are typically special order components and may have to be specially ordered. and are popular because of their very long life (typically 100. (Note that newer traffic signals use solid state indicators made up of hundreds of light emitting diodes (LED). This category includes airport runway lamps and traffic control signals. allowing the lamp to withstand much more vibration than a standard lamp. The fluorescent lighting installed on "Green Signs" along interstate highway systems beginning in the early 1960s are now being replaced in states as far south as Texas with newer lighting systems that are capable of operating at colder temperatures without significant light reduction. and usually isn't supported well enough to handle the shocks and other vibration that a rough service incandescent lamp can handle. Since the 1970s. Compact Fluorescent lamps can't be used in certain life-safety applications. so the proposal was rejected. any incandescent lamp that must be able to reach its full brightness immediately at all ambient temperatures should not be replaced with a fluorescent lamp of any type. In areas with colder winters. The proposal requested that the signal heads be modified to allow each indicator to be a horizontal stripe 1'x4' in size (one stripe per color. with the shape selected to accommodate a four-foot fluorescent lamp. but use more supports for the filaments. one per color or indication). green and direction indicators). although their cost has slowed their deployment. there is a class of incandescent lamp known as "Rough Service" that doesn't really have a compact fluorescent lamp equivalent. The starting filament is a weakness for compact fluorescent lamps.000 hours). Finally. yellow. When considered. it was felt that this change of shape would be confusing to drivers. but typically only in areas where winter temperatures do not fall below 10F. creating a safety hazard. These lamps not only have heavier glass. Gas-discharge lamps (Neon and Argon designs) are used in pedestrian Walk/Don'tWalk indicators. Dimmable compact fluorescent lamps do exist and dimmable ballasts for traditional fixtures are also available.
ball or recessed fixtures simply exceed the length or width clearance needed. Few people are willing to wait for the lights in a bathroom or restroom to "warm up" before entering it.) Closets would also be a problem for lamps that need to warm up. However. and can prevent the use of Compact Fluorescent lamps in certain areas. and then wait five minutes before it is bright enough in there to find what you originally wanted to get? 44 . all for 13 watts or so per compact fluorescent lamp. this "slow warm-up" is a real negative. (A search for a vendor who makes a similar lamp without this undesirable artifact has so far turned up nothing. these lamps initially illuminate at less than their full brightness. even though there are no other size restrictions on the lamp itself. I have a light fixture over a bathroom sink that holds four of those bare 40 watt incandescent "globe" or "sphere" frosted lamps. they initially produce about 20% of the rated light levels. and the warm-up period with the very low initial light levels that some lamps exhibit. some compact fluorescent lamps will simply not go where an incandescent lamp that they supposedly will replace went. so I ended up putting two of the incandescent lamps back. it produces a brighter light than the 40 watt incandescent lamps did. this may not be an issue. the brand I happened to buy ("Techna Bright". However. Subsequently. turn on the light. Each time you turn them on. For a variety of reasons. Although the size issue has been greatly improved in recent years. Even businesses that use power saving systems which turn lamps off in unoccupied areas can have issues with this warm-up problem. Who is going to go in a closet. Obviously. For commercial environments where lamps are turned on and left on for the entire business day. leaving the bathroom so dark as to be a safety hazard. The warm-up problem is something that has surfaced in some of the more recent compact fluorescent lamp designs. I have a garage door opener and the lamp sockets on it are made in such a way that the wider base of the compact fluorescent lamp will simply never screw in. and in some cases less than 20% of their full brightness. for home use. For example. The compact fluorescent lamp is almost the same size.Things to Consider Before Switching to Compact Fluorescent Lamps The two most common problems people encounter when attempting to switch to compact fluorescent lamps are the size of the lamp. but many globe. In some cases. They then take up to five minutes to reach their full brightness levels EACH TIME they are turned on. so that there would be a usable light level in the room immediately. the power savings in my situation is about half what it could have been. There is a compact fluorescent replacement for these lamps. purchased from CostCo) takes a full five minutes to achieve that full bightness each time it is turned on. if the compact fluorescent lamps came on at a brightness far closer to their rated value. These fixtures are fairly common. you can't use compact fluorescent lamps in ovens or refrigerators. and when fully illuminated. the socket itself is at fault.
this warm-up problem was not an issue. Hopefully. and you will pay anywhere from $10 US to $18 US for that package of lamps. Only in some lamp types that have appeared since that time has this warm-up problem become so significant. but for most brands of lamp. consider doing that. initially producing 80% or more of the rated light would not be a problem to most consumers. I have seen this same behavior in Compact Fluorescent "Flood" lamps sold under the Westinghouse (now only a trade name used by Philips in North America) and other brand names. At least Westinghouse/Philips mentioned on the packaging that not all of the tubes that make up the lamp would illuminate immediately. the power-up brightness is typically within 20% or so of the rated brightness and full brightness is achieved quickly. The lesson here is to not purchase a large quantity of Compact Fluorescent lamps until you have determined a given brands behavior and decided if you are willing to accept any quirks that may accompany that particular type of lamp. manufacturers will hear this feedback and return to making compact fluorescent lamps that turn on immediately and are at or near full brightness in seconds. This is about 1/5th of what lamps with similar lamp output cost just four years ago. not minutes. in lamps made in 2000 and earlier. If it is possible to test one of the lamps in a store prior to purchase. few manufacturers of Compact Fluorescent lamps mention the fact that a given model of lamp requires a warm-up period before it produces 80%* or more of the stated lumens. the individual price for each 800 lumen (13 watt) lamp is commonly at or below $2 US and a 1400 lumen (23 watt) lamp can be purchased for around $2. It's the compact fluorescent lamps that initially produce less than half or even less than a third the rated light when first illuminated that are the main problem. * The value of 80% mentioned above was selected arbitrarily. In my opinion. even at normal room temperatures. Shop around when purchasing Compact Fluorescent Lamps Pricing on Compact Fluorescent lamps is highly erratic. Strangely. Warehouse stores like Costco or Sams consistently sell compact fluorescent lamps in quantities of four to ten lamps per package. Make sure the lamp being tested has been off for at least an hour or else you will see better warm-up results than you might normally get.50 US.Of course. 45 . but they didn't explain that this meant that the lamp comes on at about onethird of its eventual light output. at least in the stores I have visited. Virtually all fluorescent lamps produce less than 100% of the rated light each time they are turned on. In these small quantities.
Home Depot seems to be stuck on Philips for the bulk of their lamps. KMart. What's interesting about all of this is that most of the compact fluorescent lamps made today and sold in the US are produced in the same factories in China. if it is at Home Depot or Lowes. but if you just need the plain warm white 800 (13W) or 1400 (23W) lumen compact fluorescent lamp sizes to replace incandescent 40. Meanwhile. then you can save yourself a lot of money by doing some price checks first. expect to pay anywhere from $4 to $7 for that same compact fluorescent lamp. if you to go Home Depot or Lowes. Of course. and Feit for the rest. As you get into the Walmarts and other consumer "household" retailers. Walgreens.However. So the 13 Watt "Warm White" lamp sold at Costco in a package of eight is frequently the exact same lamp sold under three other brand names at other stores for as much as six times the price. Worse. if you go to WalMart. 75 or 100 watt incandescent lamps. Target or similar retailers. 60. Effectively the two companies agree to not compete against each other in this way on most of their offerings. with only the packaging and an external label on the lamp reflecting the different brand names. The most off-base price I saw in Summer 2004 was a physically enormous 23 watt model sold at Walmart for $19 US. they are sold under the one or two brand names of lamps that the store carries. Home Depot or Lowes will likely offer you a lot more choices. You'll never find a Philips lamp you bought at Home Depot for less at Lowes because Lowes avoids selling that brand. and Home Depot will never be cheaper than Lowes on Sylvania lamps because Home Depot avoids selling Sylvania products. expect to see even more expensive brand names like General Electric on the compact fluorescent lamps that are offered. A lot of this price imbalance is caused by the use of name brands. a completely obsolete price and obsolete physical design. 46 . At Sams or Costco. expect to pay between $7 US and $10 US for one compact fluorescent lamp and it sometimes it is an older and physically larger design than the current models. in that they probably have Compact Fluorescent lamps available in "Daylight" and other color shades as well as more sizes. the plastic package with four to ten lamps in it may claim to be from a company that you haven't heard of or rarely hear of. This split of brands between store chains is intentional and is done to prevent the consumer from being able to utilize the price match guarantee both chains offer. while Lowes sells Sylvania for most of their lamps and uses Lights Of America and sometimes a few Westinghouse/Philips lamps for the rest of the sizes they wish to carry. CVS. The prices for these lamps at both of these chains have been quite slow to go down.
Despite all this. Still. paying $2 instead of $10 makes that initial investment a lot easier to accept. ######################################################################## 47 . today it is probably cheaper to pay for the club membership and then get these far lower prices on the lamps. church or other large facility. Although it costs between $35 US and $45 US to initially get in the door of a Costco or Sam Club (unless you know someone who already has a membership). you need to find a wholesale distributor who can get you an even better price. when you include the electricity costs as well. the fluorescent lamp will still be more economical than the pile of incandescent lamps it will replace and outlast over its operating life. even if you end up paying $10 US instead of $2 US for the same compact fluorescent lamp. If you are thinking of buying hundreds of these lamps all at once for a place of business. even if you don't buy anything else there. if you are planning on buying at least 8 or more compact fluorescent lamps of the warm white color (most common type made).
(They are still considerably more expensive than nondimmable lamps and probably will remain at least more expensive. They aren't quite as efficent as the bare 48 . even though the lamp is the same. or problems that have caused consumer resistance to using fluorescent lighting are about as resolved as they will ever be. Key improvements made since 1995 include: Reduction in cost. and more color choices are available. If the lamp wattages are identical (which means that consume the same amount of power). and other choices like "Daylight" and "Cool White". Compact fluorescent lamps that can be used with dimmers are now available and can be found in some major stores. Frequently the same lamp gets stamped with a "better" companies name and gets sold for a higher price. a fluorescent lamp can produce five times more light and still last eight to thirty times times longer than an incandescent lamp. The quality of the light produced has been improved with fluorescent lamps available.) The physical size of the compact fluorescent lamp has been reduced considerably.) There are now Compact Fluorescent Lamp models with an outer glass shaped to look the same as normal incandescent lamps. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) typically cost over $15US per lamp in 1995 and are now available for under $2US per lamp when purchased in modest quantities (two to six) and when avoiding "household" brand names that are usually made by the same factory in China as the ones marked with company names that you aren't familiar with. (Big name brands also tend to be slower about switching to new models that offer improvements or lower cost. offering a "Warm White". and lasts longer than incandescent lamps. consumes less power. Different brands behave differently on this point. The problem. although some designs still take several minutes of operation in order to reach the claimed brightness. which is comparable to that produced by incandescent lamps. Virtually all compact fluorescent lamps use solid state ballasts which produce little or no audible noise and allow for smaller lamps The latest lamp designs illuminate instantly when power is applied.Section 8 Fluorescent Lighting Energy Savings and Product Comparisons Fluorescent Light Efficiency Versus Incandescent Here is the answer: Fluorescent lighting produces more light. allowing direct substitution for incandescent lamps in most cases.
20 power = $36.) The most significant remaining problem is initial cost.03744 . However. the fluorescent lamp is the big winner.50* 10. here are some bare facts on a few types of competing types of lamps: (background colors in this table represent lamps of similar categories. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the most power-efficient lighting system available.000 $0. The typical purchaser still has a hard time grasping the long-term cost savings in both electricity and lamp life that flourescent lamps provide.000 (in Watts) Lumens) (US) Hours) $0. found today in some traffic signal heads and holiday lighting as well as electronic equipment.60 1. not the color of light produced by the listed lamp) Power Cost Cost to Power Light Average Average per 24 hours Own and Consumed Produced Initial Life Per of use Operate Per Lamp (in Cost Lamp (in (Assuming for 20.12 US per hours /KWH) (20 new lamps X $0. but will certainly help them be accepted by those people who objected to the lamps looking different. The cost is expected to improve dramatically in the next several years. Until then.20 US 49 Lamp Example Lamp Type #1 Screw-in Incandescent 60 800 $0.000 $0. There is even a CFL lamp available designed to work in a refrigerator or in a microwave oven. for use as a general lighting system. Is the flourescent light the most efficient system available? No.50) + $31.1728 #2 Screw-in Compact Fluorescent (CFL) 13 Warm White (2670K) 900 $2. and so the buyer tends to only consider the purchase price.60) + $144 power = $156 US (2 new lamps X $2. "twist" style CFL. flourescent lighting is where the cost savings are. To demonstrate. (None are available yet that can survive the heat of a traditional oven. When you do consider these "big picture" items. LEDs currently have a high initial cost.
000 $0.000 $0.000 $0.20 power = $67.00) + $144 power = $165 US (3 new lamps X $4.1728 (7 new lamps X $3.60) + $96 power = $108 US (1 new lamp X $4.00* 6.06624 #5 Screw-in Compact Fluorescent (CFL) 26 Warm White (2700K/82CRI) 1580 $5 10.06624 .00) + $55.288 #9 Screw-in Compact 23 Fluorescent PAR 1.07488 #6 Screw-in Incandescent 40 490 $0.00 2.00* 8.00 3.000 $0.000 $0.20 US (2 new lamps X $5) + $62.300 $5.00 20.1152 #8 Screw-in Incandescent Halogen PAR 38 Flood 100 1.#3 Screw-in Incandescent Halogen (Clear Glass) 60 900 $3.00) + $96 power = $100 US (10 new lamps X $5.40 power = $72 US (20 new lamps X $0.00) + 50 #4 Screw-in Compact Fluorescent (CFL) 23 Warm White (2600K) 1600 $4.1152 #7 Traditional Four Foot Fluorescent Warm White or Cool White 40 3200 $4.60 1.000 $0.000 $0.00) + $240 power = $290 US (4 new lamps X $5.400 $5.
but the compact fluorescent lamp lasts about three times longer and costs 25% of what the 51 . Unfrosted incandescent lamps emit 10-20% more light than frosted ones. closets and hallways that are currently lit with one to three 60 or 75 watt incandescent lamps.) Lamp #2 (13 watt compact fluorescent) in the table above produces a little more light than Lamp #1 (traditional 60 watt incandescent). Be aware that halogen incandescent lamps are the most expensive lamps available (considering purchase price with operating costs) for the light produced. this is my favorite lamp size to use in place of 60 watt incandescents. Lamp #2 lasts ten times longer than Lamp #1.20 US (Information on printing color tables on color printers can be found here. You may even be able to use a lower wattage lamp and save some energy. Highly recommended for use in bedrooms. Lamp #4 (23 watt compact fluorescent) produces considerably more light than Lamp #1 (60 watt incandescent) and still consumes about a third of the electricity. and no one will know that the lamp isn't frosted. but if the compact fluorescent lamp will physically fit. Tip: If you are stuck using incandescents in certain fixtures and the fixture has a lamp shade or contains frosted glass. both consume the same amount of power. and in situations where more light is needed and fluorescent lamps cannot be used (such as on magnetic dimmers or emergency power circuits). It can also brighten-up a light fixture that could not use a 75 watt or larger incandescent. it is an excellent substitute. You would also have to purchase and install 20 incandescent lamps to last as long as the one fluorescent lamp. but produces less light than lamp #4 (23 watt compact fluorescent) or lamp #5 (26 watt compact fluorescent) and lamp #3 won't last as long. Halogen incandescent lamps do produce a "whiter" light than normal incandescent lamps. and Lamp #2 costs less than 25% of what it costs to operate the Lamp #1. Lamp #2 also generates less heat than Lamp #1. Currently. making the cost savings of using fluorescent lighting that much greater. Indoor/Outdoor flood lamps #8 and #9 produce about the same amount of light. halogen incandescent lamps are a possible solution. but the fluorescent lamp produces over six times the amount of light for the same electrical cost.20 power = $75. and if used in a fixture where the bulb is obscured.38 Flood $55. Lamp #3 (60 watt incandescent lamp with halogen) produces more light than lamp #1 and the same amount of light as #2. which can also reduce air conditioning costs. consider using unfrosted incandescent lamps. and lamp #3 has longer life than normal incandescent lamps. take advantage of the extra amount of light you will get. Lamp #6 (40 watt traditional incandescent) and lamp #7 (40 watt fluorescent lamp).
and you may be offered a choice of light shades while the "wholesale clubs' usually offer only one light shade.99 US per lamp. The Incandescent lamp is superior for producing a more focused light (despite being a "flood" lamp).216.47 a month. and prices on identical lamps vary significantly depending on where you buy them and in what quantity. a 17 watt compact fluorescent lamp that would produce more light than a 75 watt incandescent would cost 4. Lamp #9 is sold in 3-packs at "Costco" for $14. and the incandescent offers "instant on" total brightness (not all compact fluorescents provide full brightness when turned on). or $1. Lamp #2 above is sold in 8-packs at "Costco" for $12. the cost would be (75 / 1000) x 24 x 0. (Prices updated 7-Feb-2005) To calculate power costs youself. or a $1.59 US. the compact fluorescent flood is very servicable alternative to incandescent flood lamps.6 cents per day. * The lamp prices shown are a very rough average taken between chain retail stores and "wholesale club" stores. but if you do not need either of these things. and you have $6. Identical or virtually identical lamps are also sold at Home Depot/Lowes in smaller quantities (including quantity one packaging) for prices between two and three times the Costco quantity price.9 cents a day to operate. The prices at Walmart or Target are perhaps two times higher than the Lowes/Home Depot price. if you left it on all the time.incandescent lamp costs to own and operate.216) by 30 for the average number of days in a month. use this formula: (watts of lamp divided-by 1000) times 24 hours times cost of electricity per KWH For example. These and other issues related to Compact Fluorescent Lamps are discussed in Section 7: Compact Fluorescent Lighting.12 per KWH and you want to know how much it will cost to run a 75 watt lamp (of any type) for 24 hours. 52 . The lowest costs with the smallest selection can be found at the "wholesale club" stores. You can then multiply that figure ($0. Some lamp models are physically larger than the incandescent lamps they are meant to replace. always buy fluorescent lamps in quantity to save money.48 to run that 75 watt lamp continuously for a month. For example. When possible.48 US per lamp. Lamp #4 is sold in 4-packs at "Costco" for $10. or $4. some take minutes before they reach the operating brightness EACH time you turn them on.72 US. or $2. if your area electricity costs are $0. or 21.98 US.59 US per lamp. By comparison. Note: Some Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) have some limitations that should be considered.12) == $0.
the expense and hassles were simply not worth it. Executive office areas had to be re-lamped at the full 40 watt level so that they would stop complaining. (The same problem of low quality lamps also exists for incandescent lamps. some energy-saving lamps only last half as long as other models.The higher the cost of electricity. so a gas that won't react with the burning filament is placed in the lamp under high pressure to keep other gasses from migrating into the bulb. but produce half of the light of a lamp that costs a little more to initially purchase. the "capsule". depending on how poorly made the lamp is. then to 34 watt lamps with the "power-saver" devices removed.) The lowest cost 48" fluorescent lamps may still consume 40 watts. and the lower light levels caused many complaints. Fluorescent Light Efficiency and Marketing Trickery Without a doubt. a fluorescent light is more efficient than any incandescent system available. but not any more. and operating life all mean that you have to be alert when selecting fluorescent lamps and make sure you are getting the lamp with the maximum amount of light that you want in the color shade that you want. Also. while only saving 15% of the electricity. or as some lamp makers prefer to call it.) However. That reduction of light may be so significant as to cause additional fixtures to be installed to compensate for the low light levels. (It used to.5 inches in diameter doesn't mean it consumes 40 watts or produces 3200 lumens of light. with a standard 60 watt incandescent lamp producing anywhere from 900 down to 450 lumens.) Always check the watts and lumens rating when buying any type of lamp! Then there are the so-called "energy saving" 34 watt lamps that might only produce 50% to 66% of the light of the best 40 watt lamps. increasing the cost of ownership. greatly reducing the lamps operational life. the less significant the initial cost of buying fluorescent lamps becomes. 53 . just because a fluorescent lamp is 48 inches long and 1. (Having been the victim of a couple of building-wide conversions from 40 watt lamps to 40 watt lamps with 34 watt "power-saver" devices. including those using halogen or other gas invasion-fighting methods.) These variations in power consumption. completely defeating the energy savings of using these lamps with lower light quality and quantity in the first place. (The smallest gas atoms are able to seep into incandescent light bulbs right through the glass. light quality and quantity.
250 98.200 96. This means that the lamps that generate the most light for the smallest amount of power consumed in a given color category appear first. even though the lamps consume the same amount of electricity. The background color for each entry is an exaggerated indication of the color temperature of the lamps.000 40 3.Fluorescent Light Efficiency (straight-line lamps) The following table contains some lamp models from various vendors. lamps are sorted by lumen output. Retail price was not considered. Lamp listings are divided by lamp color temperature and by power consumed. brightest Index.5% Designer Sylvania Warm White F40/DWW 3. if a manufacturer made it hard to collect all the shown information on their lamps. Hours) Lumens). See Note 1 Note 4 Lamp Maker Model Name Part Number Warm White Lamps that consume 40 watts of electricity (T12 lamp design) (Requires a T12-40 Watt Rapid Start Ballast) Designer Sylvania Warm F40/DWWP White Plus Philips Advantage 3. This is by no means a complete list of all available lamps in this category. See See Note 2 See Note 3 lamp.9% 54 .300 100% F40T12/ADV30/ 3.000K (80) 20.000K (80) 20. Note that for the same color shade there are substantial differences in the amount of light generated between models of lamps.000 40 3.000K (85) ALTO 20. lamps from that maker were not listed.000 40 3. Percent of Color Light the light Temperature Power Average Produced compared and Color Consumed Life (in (in to the Rendition (in Watts). In each category. Also.
000 40 2.000 91% Philips F40/HL WX/ ALTO 3.250 98.500K (73) 20.000 40 2.970 90% Philips SPEC 3.880 87% Philips 3.100K (80) 20.700K (90) 20.970 90% Philips 3.970 90% Philips SPEC Home Light Warm Natural 3.000K (85) 20.Sylvania Warm F40/WWP White Plus Home Light Warm Deluxe 3.000 40 3.000 40 2.880 87% Warm Sylvania White Deluxe Philips Advantage F40/WWX 3.300 100% 55 .970 90% Philips Kitchen & F40/KB/ Bath ALTO Ultralume F40/30U/ ALTO F40/SPEC30/ ALTO 3.500K (85) ALTO F40/35U/ ALTO F40/SPEC35/ ALTO F40/HL Warm/ ALTO F40/N 3.000K (70) 20.7% Cool White Lamps that consume 40 watts of electricity (T12 lamp design) (Requires a T12-40 Watt Rapid Start Ballast) Sylvania Designer Cool F40/DCWP 4.000K (85) 20.130 64% F40T12/ADV35/ 3.000 40 2.5% Philips Ultralume 20.000K (85) 20.000 40 2.000 40 2.880 87% Philips 3.000K (85) 20.000 40 3.000K (70) 20.870 56.000 40 1.000 40 3.000 40 2.000 40 2.500K (73) 20.500K (85) 24.
000 40 3.970 90% Philips SPEC 4.5% Full Spectrum Lamps that consume 40 watts of electricity (T12 lamp design) (Requires a T12-40 Watt Rapid Start Ballast) Philips Advantage F40T12/ADV50/ 5.000K (85) ALTO F40/50U/ ALTO F40/Sunstick 5.880 87.000K (90) 24.8% 67.3% Philips Home F40/HL Cool/ Light Cool ALTO 4.200 90.250 100% Philips Ultralume 20.000 20.9% Cool F40/CWP/CVP White Plus Ultralume F40/41U/ ALTO F40/SPEC41/ ALTO 4.950 2.000 40 1.000 40 40 2.200K (89) 20.000 40 2.000K (85) 5.000 40 2.5% Designer Sylvania Cool White Sylvania F40/DCW 4.000 40 3.White Plus Philips Advantage F40T12/ADV41/ 4.100K (85) 20.7% Sylvania Sunstick 56 .000 40 2.100K (70) 20.000 91% Philips 4.250 68% Philips F40/CWX/ ALTO 4.100K (85) ALTO 24.3% Cool Sylvania White Deluxe Deluxe Cool White F40/CWX 4.200 96.800 54.880 87.100K (70) 20.100K (70) 20.000 40 3.100K (87) 20.000 40 2.250 98.100K (70) 20.000 40 3.
500K (95) 20.520 Warm White Sylvania Super Saver Philips Warm White Energy F34/WW/SS/ECO 3.600 100.0% (78.Philips Colortone F40/C50 50 5.000K (52) 20.4% (71.000 40 1.000 34 (85%) 2.365 91% (71.350 90.025 100% 92.9% Daylight Lamps that consume 40 watts of electricity (T12 lamp design) (Requires a T12-40 Watt Rapid Start Ballast) Sylvania Daylight Philips Daylight Deluxe F40DX F40/DX/ ALTO 6.180 2.9% 7500K Lamps that consume 40 watts of electricity (T12 lamp design) (Requires a T12-40 Watt Rapid Start Ballast) Philips Colortone F40/C75 75 7.9% (76.4%) Philips SPEC F34/SPEC30/RS/ 3.000 40 40 2.000K (70) EW/ALTO 20.000K (85) 20.7%) F34/WW/RS/ EW/ALTO 3.000 34 (85%) 2.915 58.2%) 57 .000 34 (85%) 2.000 20.720 79% Warm White Lamps that consume 34 or fewer watts of electricity (T12 lamp design) (Requires a T12-40 Watt Rapid Start Ballast) Philips Ultralume F34/30U/RS/ EW/ALTO 3.000 34 (85%) 2.000 40 1.000K (53) 20.500K (84) 20.7%) 96.000K (85) 20.500K (88) 6.
200K (62) 12.000 34 (85%) 2.300 Sylvania 4.500K (85) 20.9% (77.4%) 59.000 34 (85%) 2.6% (72.2% (56.200K (62) 20.8%) Philips SPEC F34/SPEC35/RS/ 3.5%) 1.365 Cool White Lamps that consume 34 or fewer watts of electricity (T12 lamp design) (Requires a T12-40 Watt Rapid Start Ballast) Cool White Sylvania Energy Saver Philips Ultralume F40/CW/SS/ CVP/ECO 4.600 100% (80%) 96.000 25 (62.520 White Sylvania Super Saver F34/W/SS 3.5%) 91% (72.000 34 (85%) 2.000 34 (85%) 2.Saver Philips Ultralume F34/35U/RS/ EW/ALTO 3.000 34 (85%) 2.650 100% (80%) F34/41U/RS/EW/ 4.100K (62) 20.4%) 90.7%) 70.100K (70) EW/ALTO F34/LW/RS/ EW/ALTO F34/CW/RS/ EW/ALTO F25T12/CW 4.580 58 .100K (85) ALTO F34/SPEC41/RS/ 4.6% (47.7%) 86.9%) Philips SPEC 20.000 34 (85%) 1.000 34 (85%) 2.000 34 (85%) 2.520 Philips Lite White Cool White Cool White Deluxe Cool White 20.200K (89) 20.8% (69.450K (57) 20.860 Philips F34/CWX/RS/EW 4.600 98% (78.400 Philips 4.000 34 (85%) 2.200K (51) 20.8%) 95% (76.500K (73) EW/ALTO 20.
000 30.950 2.580 100% (79.000 34 (85%) 2.000K (86) 24.500K (75) 24.000 32 (80%) 2.100K (86) 4.500K (86) 3.775 100% (81.800 100% 96.000 32 (80%) 32 (80%) 32 (80%) 2.6% 94. See Note 5) Sylvania Octron 841 F032/841/ECO Philips Philips TL 741 4100K TL 80 F32T8/TL741 ALTO F32T8/TL841 4.100K (82) 4.000 24.000 32 (80%) 32 (80%) 2.4% Sylvania Octron 735 F032/735 Cool White Lamps that consume 32 watts of electricity (T8 lamp design) (Requires a T8-32 Watt Instant Start Ballast.000 20.9% 59 .000K (85) 20. 3500K F32T8/TL830 PLUS/ALTO F32T8/TL835 PLUS/ALTO 3.800 100% Philips 3.500K (84) 20.Full Spectrum Lamps that consume 34 or fewer watts of electricity (T12 lamp design) (Requires a T12-40 Watt Rapid Start Ballast) Philips Ultralume F34/50U/RS/ EW/ALTO 5.4%) Daylight Lamps that consume 34 or fewer watts of electricity (T12 lamp design) (Requires a T12-40 Watt Rapid Start Ballast) Philips Daylight Deluxe F34/DX/RS/ EW/ALTO 6.850 2.520 100% 85.950 2.100K (86) 20. See Note 5) Philips TL 80 3000K TL 80.4%) Warm White Lamps that consume 32 watts of electricity (T8 lamp design) (Requires a T8-32 Watt Instant Start Ballast.000 34 (85%) 1.
000 hours.  The power consumption and light output shown assumes that 40 or 34 watt bulbs are used with 40 watt ballasts. a 60 . a 34 watt lamp uses 85% of the power consumed by a 40 watt lamp. Such extra devices will reduce the light levels produced and may also alter the color temperature. 2002. On the "energy saver" lamps. When provided by the lamp maker. the value in parentheses shows the percentage of light produced when compared to the best traditional 40 watt lamp of the same color temperature. Manufacturers may discontinue or replace products at any time. that 34 watt lamp probably isn't a very good one.  Values that appear in bold were significantly higher or lower than the other lamps in that category.  The value shown is the percentage of light produced by a given lamp when compared to the brightest lamp of the same class (same watts and light temperature). 34 watt bulbs are generally required to be used with 40 watt ballasts and these lamps cannot be used in conjunction with 34 watt ballasts or other power-saving devices. if most lamps in a category had a life expectancy of 20. Check the manufacturers own specifications for the latest information.800 94. Light output usually declines slowly until the bulb reaches the end of its serviceable life.100K (70) 20. For example. but if a given lamp only produces 55% of the light that the best 40 watt lamp produces.4100K PLUS/ALTO 4. For example. knowing the difference can be significant. or make improvements to existing products that change their specifications. Although lower power lamps invariably produce less light than the brightest 40 watt lamps.9% Sylvania Octron 741 F032/741 The information in this table was researched from January to March. A lower number is a more-red color while a higher value is a more-blue or violet color. 32 watt lamps are not interchangeable with the 40 and 34 watt lamps. the "Design Lumens" value is shown.  Lumens ratings generally represent light output after the first 10 to 20 hours of initial operation. The author is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers listed and is not employed by the lighting industry. and that there are no powersaving ballasts or other devices present. and requires a ballast specifically designed for these instant start lamps.000 32 (80%) 2.  This next generation lamp design uses a T8 bulb (1" diameter). 32 watt lamps with 32 watt ballasts. Notes:  Color temperature is measured in Kelvin's and is a more precise indication of the color of the light produced than a lamp model name may convey.
such lamps have significantly shorter operating life. but it really comes down to this: Most lamp packaging provides at least some of the information shown above. and less desirable light quality. The tables above have a lot of information. As demonstrated in the table above.100K to 4. The lamps placed next to "shop fixtures" tend to have the lower light output. which will let you do onthe-spot comparisons.950 2. 61 . When buying fluorescent lamps at "home improvement" stores.880 2.500K Daylight 6.000K Some lamps have color temperatures just beyond the ranges shown. but also produces far less light.lamp with a 12. for the higher light quantity and quality.300 3.000 hour life expectancy would appear in bold. making the use of "deluxe" somewhat misleading. This small table provides a general rule of thumb for getting the best brightness value from the four lamp color categories for 48" 40 watt lamps: Lamp Color Color Temperature Watts Minimum Acceptable Lumens Best Available Lumens Warm White 3.000K to 7. these are also the least expensive lamps. some compact fluorescent lamps have a color temperature of 2700K and call themselves "Warm Color" rather than "Warm White".000 3.180 Full Spectrum 4. Lamps with unusually low light output or longer life expectancies also appear in bold. frequently the least efficient lamps are the ones most prominently displayed. phrases like "Super Saver" and "Energy Saver" typically mean that the lamp consumes less than the traditional 40 watts.200K 40 40 40 40 2.250 2. Usually. the best lamps may be worth it to you. One of the most curious items found in researching this table was that the Sylvania lamps that include the word "Deluxe" produce far less light than almost all other models including other lamps from Sylvania.500K Cool White 4. However.000K to 3. while those that produce more light or better quality light might cost up to 50% more than those other lamps. These tend to have a red to pink tint rather than the more orange to yellow tint of typical Warm White lamps.300 3.800K to 5. and in a few cases.880 2. For example.
converting existing systems may not be cost effective in the short term.950 / 32 = 92. If you are building a facility from scratch (or installing new fixtures) AND are willing to buy the T8 system (which will be more expensive. use this formula: Lumens divided by Watts = Lumens per Watt 3. The best possible power savings from an existing fixture conversion would be 8 watts per lamp (from 40 watt to 32 watt lamps). both in lamps and in fixture cost). even the best T8 48" lamps still produce less light than the best T12 48" lamps. plus electrician costs to alter the wiring in the fixture. The price of the fixture and parts will dictate when T8 will be cheaper than T12. As demonstrated above. at $4 US each. However. the cost recovery per fixture will take many years. the result will be a small power savings (2 watts per lamp). the savings will eventually be recovered.T8 Versus T12: New Fixtures and Conversions A lot of fluorescent lamp. get the landlord to install T8. but the T8 lamps also use less power. and the lower total light output that will occur if replacing 40 watt lamps may be a problem. and a 15% light output increase. not including electrician charges. plus T8 48" lamps. (This is because T12 and T8 fixture wiring is slightly different and must be changed. However. and then you pay the monthly electric bill. the savings in power consumption for 8.) If you are in an existing facility and are considering replacing existing existing "energy saving" 34 watt T12 lamps and ballasts with T8 lamps and ballasts. the best T8 lamps available produce about 10% more light for the power consumed. or 32 watts per four-lamp fixture.08 US per kilowatt hour. a T8 ballast (all of which are solid state devices) that is capable of operating one to four lamps will cost about $30 US in single quantities. If your local electricity costs $0.) The cost to overhaul a four lamp fixture will be in the neighborhood of $46. as compared to the best T12 40 watt lamps available. but it will take several years.300 / 40 = 82. They are also marketing conversion packages to re-work existing T12 fixtures with T8 lamps and ballasts.760 62 .650 / 34 = 77. (If your landlord has to install the fixtures and lamps anyway in space you are leasing.9 Lumens per watt (for best T12 34 watt fluorescent lamp) 2.19 Lumens per watt (for best T8 32 watt fluorescent lamp) Based on that formula alone. If you are looking at this simply from the point of view of which system will give me the most light for the amount of electricity consumed without considering cost. fixture and ballast makers are really marketing the 48" T8 lamp systems as the preferred new installation lighting system over the existing T12 48" lamp systems.5 Lumens per watt (for best T12 40 watt fluorescent lamp) 2. For example.
replacing a fixture that used four T12 40 watt lamps probably made 15 to 20 years ago with a new fixture of the same style made by the same manufacturer. If your building maintenance people have already installed T12 34 watt lamps. the new lamps emit about 95% of the light emitted by the old lamps. T8 25 watt lamps appeared on the market. the usable light of the new fixture and lower-power lamps is noticibly greater than the older fixture. would be $22. T8 Versus T12: Fixture Replacement instead of Conversion It should also be mentioned that in cases where a fixture containing T12 40 or 34 watt lamps is completely replaced with a modern fixture designed for T8 32 watt lamps. The cost recovery for just the ballast and parts would be about two years if the fixture is illuminated all the time. Recently. and it would take over twenty-five years (assuming eight-hour use) to recover the conversion costs. but their light quality is so poor that I cannot recommend them in replacement configurations. the old fixture was a rapid start design so now I no longer have that start-up delay when I turn on the light switch for the room. converting to T8 32 watt lamps would only save eight watts per four-lamp fixture. which may require fixtures to be repositioned or additional fixtures may need to be added to compensate. but you will get more light.850 lumens. thanks to a less-yellowed/cloudy plastic lens on the new fixture. If T8 25 "energy savers" are used in fixtures that formally had 34 or 40 watt lamps. This new fixture used four T8 32 watt lamps.43 US per year for that fixture. Existing fixtures contaning T12 34 watt lamps that are converted to T8 32 watt lamps will actually see a light output and quality of light improvement.000 lumens. and so less light is lost in the fixture compared to older equipment. Another thing to consider is that a fixture containing 40 watt T12 lamps that is converted to 32 watt T8 lamps will be producing a little less light than before. In addition. as fixture designs have improved and would have newer materials. Therefore. the lamps being replaced were an average of 3. With a more typical eight-hour per day use of the fixture. I personally tried this at home in June of 2007. the usable light levels could be the same or improved. the new light level will undoubtedly be unacceptable. not counting the cost of the electrician needed to rework the fixtures. Fixtures with just two or three 40 watt T12 lamps that are converted to T8 systems are the ones most likely to reduce lower light levels so much that it becomes objectionable. However. In my case. 63 . Cases where the brightest T12 lamps were already installed and were replaced with second-best light producing T8 lamps will enlarge the difference in light output between the two systems.hours (the lamp burning constantly for a year). it would take six years to recover just the parts cost of the conversion of each fixture. and the new T8 lamps were 2.
and even the age can all cause a ballast to fail. A fixture where some or all of the lamps shut off by themselves and later come back on is probably a fixture with a failing ballast. electrical power to the entire fixture should be disconnected. Many overheat. using the wrong size lamps. fixtures with longer lamps operate at higher voltages. it does have some safety issues. In addition to the need for an electrical ground for the fixture to operate. This is not always practical in situations where a large number of fixtures are controlled from the same power control (such as in open office areas). In these cases. operation at temperatures below or above the rated limits. Understanding these issues can help guide the selection of the best types of fixture. wet or high-humidity locations (like commercial kitchens) must have an electrical ground for the fixture and ballast. insulating gloves and a nonmetallic ladder should be used if the fixtures must be serviced when power is present. and with proper fixture grounding when indicated. with some fixtures having starting voltages across the lamp as high as 950 VAC. power surges. When servicing fluorescent fixtures and lamps. incorrect line voltage. incorrect wiring. In most designs. Integrated Ballast Overheat Safety Fluorescent lamp ballasts can fail.Section 9 Fluorescent Lighting Safety Although fluorescent lighting is an efficient source of light. All modern magnetic ballast designs have an internal temperature sensor that shuts the ballast off it gets too hot. when the ballast cools off. However. not all ballasts fail and stop functioning. Fixtures should always be operated with all access covers installed and lamps fully seated in their sockets. Because a failing ballast can get extremely hot. lamp and location that can avoid many of these issues. it can become a fire hazard. Leaving burned-out lamps in the fixture. 64 . Voltages at this level represent a strong shock hazard and improperly grounded fixtures or direct contact with electrical connectors or other wiring can result in severe injury or death. Electrical Safety A general rule of thumb is that any fluorescent fixture that uses lamps longer than 24" or that is to be used outdoors or in damp. All rapid start and instant start fixtures must have an electrical ground in order to operate properly. the sensor will allow the ballast to turn back on.
contact them and ask if the ballast contained PCBs. and you can dissolve and remove any tar left on the fixture (or that leaked out of the fixture) with WD-40.Overheating magnetic ballasts may also leak. wear gloves and clean up the oil with disposable towels. that the fixture is wired according to the diagram on the ballast. In these older ballast designs. and their use in electrical equipment has been banned since the 1970s. wiping up the mixture with paper towels. If the model number and manufacturers name are still on the ballast. this indicates a problem that needs to be corrected. Electronic ballasts are supposed to all shut off when they fail. or a power surge. this tar can melt and leak out of the ballast. it cannot overheat due to what the lamps are doing. Newer ballasts are usually marked "NO PCBs" to indicate that they don't contain these compounds even if older models from that manufacturer didn't have any PCBs either. This means that because of the way the switching power supply inside the ballast works. it may indicate the presence of PCBs. you will be transferred to the product safety group of that company who will assist you. Then replace the ballast with a modern one. If not. any ballast can overheat due to incorrect wiring. replace the ballast. but some types of failure may prevent that shutdown. If the ballast doesn't contain PCBs but is leaking. If you can't find out if the ballast contains PCBs or find out that it definitely does. The coils of modern ballasts are embedded in tar. However. The clean-up materials. make sure that the correct lamps are being used. and that the ballast is correct for the local line voltage. some ballasts . the old ballast and the gloves should be sent to a hazardous material handler for proper disposal. If a ballast is leaking a clear or light colored oil. 65 . even if the lamps are burned-out or not installed. but if the ballast is overheating. a component failure. PCBs were a group of compounds with electrical insulating properties. In some companies.particularly those used to control "High-Output" lamps contained PCBs. and were found in transformers and other electrical devices. PCBs Prior to the 1970s. The call centers of all ballast manufacturers have the answer to this question for all of their older ballast models. and then replace the ballast. the PCB compounds could leak out of a ballast if it is overheated or if the ballast case is physically damaged. If you see black tar leaking out the ballast. see the PCBs section below. but a ballast made before this date could contain this compound. Electronic ballasts may state that they have "Inherent Overload Protection" or something similar. PCBs are also carcinogens. Correct any of these things that are wrong. IF you see light-colored oil leaking.
Mercury Safety All fluorescent lamps contain a small amount of elemental mercury (Hg). it is always important to avoid breaking fluorescent lamps. but instead becomes a vapor when heated. The biggest immediate injury threat from a broken lamp is from the phosphor-coated glass. and many other serious medical conditions even for extremely small doses. Breaking the glass can cause shrapnel injuries. kidney damage. Depending on the type. When lamps are cold. also known as quicksilver. Never EVER place fluorescent lamps in trash compactors or incinerators. the Environmental Protection Agency finally ordered waste handlers to treat fluorescent lamps as hazardous waste. frequently mistaken for insanity. With such a 66 . Many years ago. there may be a partial vacuum or the lamp may be under pressure. mercury can contaminate buildings. Mercury vapor is a highly toxic substance. and that mercury was present. If not properly disposed. but while the lamp is operating. animals. birds. Although the amount of mercury in each fluorescent lamp is small. brain damage. and the exposure to mercury gradually caused mental and nervous disorders. If cut with fluorescent lamp glass. some of the mercury in the lamp is in liquid form. It eventually cools and condenses back to a liquid form. humans. This mercury exposure is precisely what created the old saying "Mad as a hatter".Breakage Safety Fluorescent lamps have several hazards if broken. Mercury can cause severe respiratory tract damage. along with the release of mercury and other hazardous compounds. any phosphor that gets into the wound is likely to prevent blood clotting and will interfere with healing. spreading the contamination to larger areas. Medical personnel should be informed that the injuries were caused by a broken fluorescent lamp. In the United States. lakes. Such injuries should be treated seriously and immediate medical attention should be obtained for people or pets that are cut. most of the mercury is in a gaseous or vapor form. Businesses. Liquid mercury will not burn. or when the lamp is hot. Even in liquid form. central nervous system damage. fish. and that the unbroken lamps be delivered to a hazardous waste handler. landfills. with an "extreme" rating as a poison. contact with mercury is considered life-threatening or a "severe" risk to health. schools and other large commercial facilities that replace hundreds or thousands of fluorescent lamps each year are particularly at risk of creating areas of significant mercury contamination due to improper handling of lamps. crops and rivers. hat makers used mercury to tan the animal pelts used in hats. since this will release the mercury and contaminate the surrounding area.
and so the vast majority of citizens dispose of these hazardous items in improper ways. this recovery may or may not be done.classification. Otherwise. even if the residents have to break fluorescent lamps into small sections (potentially contaminating their property). where they can store most of these hazardous items collected in residential neighborhoods. but batteries. Where I live. the landfill and the areas where the trucks operate. and then keep them separate from the general trash. all just to properly dispose of these items. fluorescent lamps are not to be sent to landfills. fluorescent lamps. These consumer notifications need to be updated. Consumer awareness of the need to handle burned-out fluorescent lamps with the same care required for old storage batteries. these items will end up in the general trash. old paint. residents that want to do the right thing are currently expected to drive up to 30 miles to reach a single hazardous waste collection point for the entire county. contaminating the trucks. motor oil. By far. fluorescent lamps are habitually forgotten. it is also becoming more difficult for waste handlers to detect whether any fluorescent lamps are present in a given load of waste. However. as cities and other waste collectors need to take positive steps to make proper disposal of fluorescent lamps and these other items extremely simple. That level of inconvenience is just not acceptable to the general public. With smaller fluorescent lamps on the market. by allowing them to be picked-up at the curb. making their detection extremely difficult. that improved information won't do the job alone. all in order to hide the old lamps in the trash bags or bins. Typically. these extra bins (sometimes simply welded-on to standard trucks by the local waste hauler or are really large canvas and plastic-lined bags that are slung on the side of trucks) are the most effective way I have seen of obtaining residential cooperation with disposal of these hazardous items. but instead are to be sent to recycling centers that break the lamps under special conditions and safely recover the mercury. which compacts them. While many municipalities do remind residents via newspapers and monthly bill inserts of the urgent need to not put batteries. The screw-in compact fluorescent lamps sold today are too easily placed in general household waste. 67 . Depending on the level of compliance with the EPA rules in your area. Some motivated trash haulers have added "Bad Bins" to their collection trucks. trash collectors typically throw fluorescent lamps into the general trash truck. Where I live. old paints. pesticides and used motor oil remains the first line of defense in controlling this source of mercury contamination. tires are not taken by this method due to their bulk. pesticides and used motor oil into general trash. old paint and pesticides are.
) Short-wave ultraviolet light is one of the damaging components of the suns rays that reach the surface of the Earth.In recent years. this was quite a serious problem and ultraviolet emissions were a significant percentage of the total light produced. If something hits and breaks the lamp. preventing the release of glass or mercury. Fixtures in areas close to the ground or in areas with moving equipment should use metal or plastic shields to protect the lamp from being broken. This caused a lot of 68 . it is important to install fixtures in areas where the lamps are not likely to be broken. Because mercury will be released if a fluorescent lamp is broken. Short Wave Ultraviolet Light Safety A long term hazard from fluorescent lighting is the shorter-wave ultraviolet light that escapes the lamp. A few vendors sell fluorescent lamps that are coated with a strong plastic. The procedures for handling mercury spills are constantly being refined. so seeking professional help to clean up a spill is advised since they will have the latest handling recommendations. some short-wave ultraviolet light escapes from every fluorescent lamp made. some organizations have reported that some of these compounds are actually there only to deceive EPA instruments that are trying to measure how much mercury is present and that these other compounds do nothing else. fabrics and other materials. Other makers mixed other compounds with the mercury that supposedly compensate for the lower amount of mercury. However. which are discussed in more detail in Appendix B. There are numerous material safety sheets available on the Internet and directly from chemical companies that provide recommendations on how to deal with mercury spills. the additional cost may be worth it. but in areas where breakage risk is high. For some makers. (Even incandescent lamps produce a small amount of short-wave ultraviolet light. the glass breaks but the plastic holds all the glass and mercury inside. In the early days of fluorescent lighting. No matter how well crafted. there are numerous safety and cleanup issues. this wasn't a problem since they were putting more mercury in each lamp than was needed. Short-wave ultraviolet light can also age or damage paper. These lamps typically cost two or three times as much as normal lamps. or the manufacturer was able to switch to more sensitive phosphors that needed less ultraviolet light to produce the same amount of visible light. If a fluorescent lamp breaks. which can directly damage organic tissue and trigger cancers. the EPA also ordered fluorescent lamp makers to reduce the amount of mercury in each lamp. and some insurance companies now insist on such measures to reduce the risk of claims.
Fluorescent lighting in museums. but this is likely just a lamp restraint. Generally. where the phosphor coating is frequently thinner and there is more high-energy activity. many of which were as unfounded as the theories that surrounded the introduction of fluoridation to drinking water. ########################################################################## 69 . fixtures with a plastic lens leak the smallest amount of ultraviolet light.conspiracy theories about the use of fluorescent lighting. rather than being an attempt to block ultraviolet light from escaping out of the fixture. due of the presence of the cathodes inside each end of the lamp. mainly because most of the ultraviolet light gets absorbed in the plastic lens. archival libraries and manufacturing "clean room" areas usually have ultravioletabsorbing sheeting applied to the lamps or the fixture lens to eliminate all ultraviolet light. Some fixtures actually block light from this part of the lamp. Fluorescent lamps tend to leak more short-wave ultraviolet light at the ends of the lamps.
and Compact Fluorescent lamps ( Yellow ). make sure that the electrical power for the fixture is turned on. The most common models have a pushbutton that must be pressed for two or three seconds and then 70 A Lamp or lamps No electrical power in a fixture won't to the fixture. Instant-Start fixtures ( Blue ). Pre-Heat Fixture Troubleshooting Problem Possible Cause Action If all lamps in the fixture refuse to light or blink. If you don't know the difference between these types. Fixture requires manual starting. more things can go wrong and things get a bit more complicated. or the lamp glass is broken. what the probable causes are. The most likely causes tend to be the ones that are easiest to fix. and what corrective action should be taken. Because fluorescent lamps have more components and sometimes lamps work in pairs or other groupings. or the lamp is not getting any electricity. Instant Start fixtures are usually found only in commercial facilities and equipment. or Compact Fluorescent lamps may all be found in homes. Make sure all power control switches are turned on. please refer to Section 2 first to help determine which type of system you are going to be working with. . light at all. The type most commonly found in office building fixtures are Rapid Start. essentially it comes down to just three things: the lamp is burned-out. Rapid-Start fixtures ( Green ). No flickering. The power to some fixtures is controlled from a wall switch or power cord. Pre-Heat and Rapid Start fixtures. Some desk lamp and under-cabinet fixture models of preheat fluorescent lighting require human intervention each time they are started. The following table describes the most common problem symptoms for each class of fluorescent lighting. starting with the most likely and ending with the least likely cause. The table is divided into four categories of fluorescent lighting: Pre-Heat-Start fixtures (shown in Orange ).Section 10 Fluorescent Lighting Troubleshooting When it comes to solving problems with incandescent lamps. but the fixture may also contain a power switch. The likely causes for each problem appear in order.
Wrong Size Starter. it is unlikely that all lamps and starters came loose at the same time. try replacing the lamp and the starter. make sure the correct properly seated in starter is locked into its socket. If the fixture has more than one lamp. positioned in both lamp holders. particularly if the fixture was previously working and then quit. If this fixture has starters. Lamps and starters have been known to vibrate or be bumped so that they no longer make electrical contact. so check the other causes.released in order for the lamp or lamps to start. it is unlikely that all lamps and starters failed at the same time. The correct voltage for the ballast should be marked on the ballast. Wiring problem in fixture 71 . they are rated for use with different lamps. Do not measure at the lamp sockets or starter socket. Starters turn clockwise to lock into their sockets. This is very unlikely. FS-2 starters are for use with 18" and 24" lamps. Although all replaceable starters come in the same size container. check the other causes. If the fixture contains a single ballast. while lamps have an alignment mark on each end of the lamp (usually a depression in the metal cap) that indicates where the tube should be positioned when installed. try replacing the ballast. If the fixture has multiple ballast's and none of the lamps work. If the fixture contains a single lamp. Use an AC voltmeter to verify that the right electrical voltage is reaching the ballast. If the fixture has more than one lamp that isn't working. so check the other causes. Starters are marked with exactly what size lamps they are to be used with. Such fixtures do not have starters and usually use lamps 18 inches long or shorter. Ballast failed. and the lamp is correctly socket or missing. Lamp or starter worn-out. Lamp or starter not If the fixture contains a single lamp. the problem is almost certainly a lack of electricity or low supply voltage. so be sure to install the right type. FS-4 starters are for use with 48" lamps.
Note that when this happens. or goes out for periods of time on its own. A schematic showing the correct wiring is present on almost all ballast's. High-temperature electrical tape can be used to cover worn insulation. they are rated for use with different lamps. causing a short. The lamp keeps trying to start (ends blink on and off repeatedly). Replace the starter. The packaging for the lamp must explicitly state that the lamp may be used in pre-heat fixtures. some cannot be used in pre-heat fixtures. Lamp and starter worn-out. Look for any places where the wiring has been caught by the metal parts of the fixture and replace any damaged wiring with wire of the same gauge and insulation temperature. Although all replaceable starters come in the same size container. Note that almost all 34 watt "energy saving" 48" lamps cannot be used in pre-heat fixtures. Wrong Size Starter. it can greatly reduce the life of the lamp. so compare the wiring of the fixture to that drawing. it usually indicates that the starter has gotten stuck in the "start" position. but lamp doesn't light or remain completely lit. so be sure to install the 72 . FS-4 starters are for use with 48" lamps. the lamp should be replaced as well. Although many rapid-start lamps are also designed for use in pre-heat fixtures. The ends of a lamp Starter worn-out. but the rest of the lamp is dark. Starters are marked with exactly what size lamps they are to be used with. If the ends of the lamp are constantly lit with no blinking or flickering. Although all replaceable starters come in the same size container. starters also age and it is prudent to replace both at the same time. FS-2 starters are for use with 18" and 24" lamps. so be sure to install the right type. if a fixture was recently installed or repaired and hasn't worked since. Replace both the lamp and starter for that lamp. It is also possible that rodents have damaged wiring or that wiring has been crushed or worn within the fixture. FS-2 starters are for use with 18" and 24" lamps. Wrong type of lamp. so long as the wire itself isn't damaged. you may have a wiring error that is causing the problem.However. When the fixture is turned off. FS-4 starters are for use with 48" lamps. if the ends of the lamp appear dark or "smoky" in color. Starters are marked with exactly what size lamps they are to be used with. are lit continuously. Wrong Size Starter. they are rated for use with different lamps. Although only the lamp may be beyond use.
Replace all lamps and starters connected to the ballast and see if the problem persists before replacing the ballast. when a ballast is malfunctioning and overheats. If you replace the lamps and the starters with the sizes stated on the ballast and if the new lamps also quit working or show significant darkening at the ends in just a few days. A somewhat rare situation. If the ballast is faulty. Being 2% off Line Voltage low.right type. it probably won't work properly if the line voltage is below 108VAC. This cycle will repeat endlessly until the problem is corrected. although the cycle may get slightly shorter when the fixture is left on for hours.) With an AC voltmeter. not a bad ballast. For example. If you see or hear this condition. a ballast can fail in such a way that brand new lamps fail to start after only a few hours or days of use. After severalminutes when the ballast has had time to cool-down. replace the ballast and the lamps and the starters that connect to that ballast. However. the problem should reappear in an hour or so. but this may be cheaper than replacing the ballast first when the ballast didn't really need replacing. if a ballast is rated for 120VAC. a safety thermal protector inside the ballast can cause the ballast to abruptly turn off (sometimes with an audible "click" or "ping" sound) and all lamps connected to that ballast will go dark. measure the electrical voltage coming to the fixture. so watch out for any hot tar that may spill out of an overhead fixture when you are working on it. Ballast failing. the ballast turns back on and the lamps come back on at full brightness and may operate for a period of several minutesbefore shutting off again. replace the ballast. You may have to replace the lamps and starters again. this is probably just a bad lamp(s) or starter(s). Ballast's that are overheating like this are probably also leaking. The ballast probably won't work properly if the line voltage is more than 10% below the operating voltage specified on the label on the ballast. In addition. (If the lamps flicker and blink on and off several times in just a few minutes or seconds. 73 . Do not measure power at the lamp or starter sockets. Other devices in the typical business or residence would not work well if the voltage was so far off.
and standard fluorescent lamps exhibit these symptoms when the lamps are cold. . but only half that bright in the middle portion of the lamp. they may take more and more time to heat and begin the starting process. If a new starter still takes a long time (more than two to four seconds) and the lamp doesn't flicker or blink. When the fixture is turned off. Note that when this happens. Otherwise. contact the power company or an electrician to investigate the problem. The only action that could be taken would be to leave brand new lamps on for ten to twenty hours to break them in. try a new starter made by a different manufacturer. New Lamp. ignore this artifact. particularly those with reduced mercury content (known by abbreviations or model names like "ALTO" or "ECO". Cold Operating Lamp starts but glows dimly. it takes Starter worn-out. After this aging period. If the air temperature is considerably colder and if the surrounding air is circulating. If you find that the line voltage is too low. it usually indicates that the starter has gotten stuck in the "start" position. A lamp is bright near the ends. this behavior doesn't occur or only takes a minute or so to obtain full brightness across the entire tube. This behavior may be repeated each time the lamp is turned on for the first 20 to 30 hours of use. and may exhibit "rings" of bright and dim light that appear to move up and down the length of the lamp. become bright at the ends and gradually (over as much as an hour). As starters wear. The artifacts typically begin when air temperatures around the lamp are below 50F. the lamps will never generate enough heat to keep their internal temperatures above 50F. During the first hour or two of use of a brand new lamp.(117VAC instead of 120VAC) probably won't hurt. a long time for a lamp to initially come on. If the ends of the lamp are constantly lit with no blinking or flickering. Fluorescent lamps do not like cold areas. the lamp should be replaced as well. so 74 When the fixture is Slow Starter or turned on. Replace the starter. if the ends of the lamp appear dark or "smoky" in color. the lamp will glow dimly over most of the length of the lamp. Replace the starter. Some lamps. may Location flicker slightly but constantly. it can greatly reduce the life of the lamp. have a peculiar behavior. the bright areas on each end of the lamp will grow until the entire lamp glows brightly. Depending on how cold the ambient air temperature is. operating the lamp may eventually warm the gas inside the lamp to the point that the lamp begins operating at or near its full brightness.
material stripped from the cathodes at end of the lamp impacts the cathode on the other end of the lamp. has a light or medium gray or brown ring or rings on the inside of the glass near the ends of the As the lamp operates. Such sleeves are commonly seen on fluorescent lamps in grocery store freezer units. In cases where it is not desired to replace the entire fixture. When the lamps are operating. Indicates a section of the lamp that is colder than other sections. gradually causing the end of the lamps to become partly opaque. They can also be protected to operate at even lower temperatures by using enclosed fixtures or lamp sleeves. This entire assembly is then placed in the socket in the light fixture. The lamp is inserted into these sleeves and a plastic cap on each end seals the lamp inside the plastic tube. A variety of things can cause marks like this. which can look like a gray feather inside the lamp. and gradually the air inside the fixture will heat along with the lamps and the lamps will start to operate normally. These lamps provide most of their brightness down to 10F. . it could eventually reappear again. Fixtures that use the High-Output lamps (HO) are typically found in outdoor signs and other locations where exposure to cold temperatures is expected. there are plastic lamp sleeves available. including a fixture located close to an air vent that blows cold air on that part of the lamp. Sometimes the area is shaped like a feather. 75 Lamp works but has a gray "patch" away from the ends of the lamp made up of thousands of black spots. allowing only the electrical contacts of the lamp to protrude. probably at the same location on the same side of the lamp as before. Lamp works but Normal lamp aging. The solution here are to use enclosed fixtures that provide insulation from colder air temperatures by trapping a limited amount of air around the lamps. "Feathers" cause no harm and do not indicate that a lamp is bad or worn out. Some of this material impacts and is embedded into the phospher coating on the end of the lamps. However. Sometimes a place inside a lamp will collect a fine deposit of mercury. or in outdoor fluorescent lighting used in commercial locations such as the front porch area of stores. developing the smoky or burnt look. simply rotating the lamp 180 degrees and operating the lamp will cause the mark to gradually dissipate.the lamps will continue to glow dimly and flicker. the lamps are insulated from a constant fresh supply of cold air. In most cases.
Rapid-Start Fixture Troubleshooting Problem Possible Cause Action If all lamps in the fixture refuse to light or blink.000 hours of operating life. 76 . it is unlikely that all lamps failed at the same time. so check the other causes. A Lamp or lamps No electrical power in a fixture won't to the fixture. and should be ignored until the lamp eventually fails to start. replace all of the lamps that aren't lighting. This is a normal part of lamp aging. so check the other causes. If the fixture contains one or two single lamps. Lamps have been known to vibrate or be bumped so that they no longer make electrical contact. If the fixture contains a single lamp. the discoloration on the end of the lamps can be as dark as coal. Ballast failed. all lamps may have to be installed and seated in their sockets for the other lamps to operate.lamp. as the typical fluorescent lamp has at least 10. In fixtures with multiple lamps. The power to some fixtures is controlled from a wall switch or power cord. No flickering. light at all. If the fixture has more than two lamps that aren't working. the wrong size starter was used. make sure that the electrical power for the fixture is turned on. Lamp(s) worn-out. try replacing the ballast. If the fixture has more than one lamp. but the fixture may also contain a power switch. Lamp(s) not properly seated in socket or missing. Make sure all power control switches are turned on. it is unlikely that all lamps came loose at the same time. That may indicate that the starter was not replaced. or the ballast is faulty or the wrong type. This aging should be gradual. The only case where this would be considered a problem would be if new lamps develop these marks within the first 100 hours of use and have trouble starting. make sure that the lamp is correctly positioned in both lamp holders. If the fixture contains a single ballast. Lamps have an alignment mark on each end of the lamp (usually a depression in the metal or plastic end caps) that indicates where the tube should be positioned when installed. When the lamp does finally wear out.
Look for any places where the wiring has been caught by the metal parts of the fixture and replace any damaged wiring with wire of the same gauge and insulation temperature. so compare the wiring of the fixture to that drawing. If a fixture contains an energy-saving 34 watt ballast OR an energy saving device that is installed in addition to the ballast. then tries to start again. This is very unlikely. The correct voltage for the ballast should be marked on the ballast. It is also possible that rodents have damaged wiring or that wiring has been crushed or worn within the fixture. so long as the wire itself isn't damaged. Use an AC voltmeter to verify that the right electrical voltage is reaching the ballast. Lamp worn out. when a ballast is malfunctioning and overheats. and them come back on. A schematic showing the correct wiring is present on almost all ballast's. or the lamp intermittently blinks.Wiring problem in fixture If the fixture has multiple ballast's and none of the lamps work. Use only the lamp types listed on the ballast. you may have a wiring error that is causing the problem. the lamps should be replaced in pairs. Ballast failing. but this may be cheaper than replacing the ballast when it didn't need replacing. Rapid-Start fixtures with multiple lamps typically operate the lamps in pairs from the same ballast. a safety thermal protector inside the ballast can cause the ballast 77 The ends of a lamp are lit continuously. . replace the ballast. Replace all lamps that are not lighting. However. the problem is almost certainly a lack of electricity or low supply voltage. A somewhat rare situation. or the lamp starts and after a while goes out. the fixture cannot use 34 watt or other energy-saving lamps. particularly if the fixture was previously working and then quit. If you replace the lamps with the size stated on the ballast and if the new lamps also quit working or show significant darkening at the ends in just a few days. High-temperature electrical tape can be used to cover worn insulation. Do not measure at the lamp sockets. a ballast can fail in such a way that brand new lamps fail to start after only a few hours or days of use. In such fixtures. You may have to replace the lamps again. However. causing a short. The lamps may completely turn off for a while. if a fixture was recently installed or repaired and hasn't worked since. In addition. Wrong type of lamp.
contact the power company or an electrician to investigate the problem. This cycle will repeat endlessly until the problem is corrected. particularly those with reduced mercury content (known by abbreviations or model names like "ALTO" or "ECO". The ballast probably won't work properly if the line voltage is more than 10% below the operating voltage specified on the label on the ballast. but only half that bright in the middle portion of the lamp. After this aging period. Ballast's that are overheating like this are probably also leaking. the problem should reappear in an hour or so. For example.) With an AC voltmeter. Other devices in the typical business or residence would not work well if the voltage was so far off. Being 2% off (117VAC instead of 120VAC) probably won't hurt. if a ballast is rated for 120VAC. After severalminutes when the ballast has had time to cool-down. the ballast turns back on and the lamps come back on at full brightness and may operate for a period of several minutesbefore shutting off again. New Lamp. this is probably just a bad lamp or lamps. If the ballast is faulty. If you find that the line voltage is too low. Some lamps. have a peculiar behavior. it probably won't work properly if the line voltage is below 108VAC. During the first hour or two of use of a brand new lamp.to abruptly turn off (sometimes with an audible "click" or "ping" sound) and all lamps connected to that ballast will go dark. this behavior doesn't occur or only takes a minute or so to 78 Line Voltage low. This behavior may be repeated each time the lamp is turned on for the first 20 to 30 hours of use. If you see or hear this condition. A lamp is bright near the ends. although the cycle may get slightly shorter when the fixture is left on for hours. the lamp will glow dimly over most of the length of the lamp. so watch out for any hot tar that may spill out of an overhead fixture when you are working on it. Do not measure power at the lamp or starter sockets. (If the lamps flicker and blink on and off several times in just a few minutes or seconds. become bright at the ends and gradually (over as much as an hour). the bright areas on each end of the lamp will grow until the entire lamp glows brightly. Replace all lamps connected to the ballast and see if the problem persists before replacing the ballast. replace the ballast and the lamps that connect to that ballast. not a bad ballast. . measure the electrical voltage coming to the fixture.
outside. For fixtures that are wired permanently to the buildings 79 . Have a proper grounded outlet installed for use with the fluorescent fixture. it is possible for the lamp to be inserted and Some lamps in a seated correctly and held by the sockets. such as an turned on. It is also possible to have one while other lamps contact with socket end of the lamp mis-aligned with the socket so that only one pin on that end of the lamp is in a socket while the other pin is in the same fixture contacts. tried and it did not correct the A fixture that has a power cord is grounded through the problem. and this can make a fluorescent fixture malfunction that is connected to them. but glowing dimly. may not light at all or may Verify that both ends of all lamps are correctly inserted into intermittently each socket and that the lamp is rotated to the the correct flicker but position. In addition. increase in capacitance caused by you touching the lamps. Some older buildings have outlets that do not have grounded outlets (sometimes called two-prong outlets instead of three-prong). the round prong is ground. In North America. the lamps may reach normal operating brightness only by an external influence. The lamps of the socket. glow brightly the metal reflector of the fixture must be correctly installed so immediately if one not electrically that it is within 1/2 inches of the lamps AND is in electrical of the lamps or the connected to the contact with the ballast.) ground prong on the power plug. that are dim remain so The lamp or lamps that are not installed in the socket correctly can be any of the lamps.obtain full brightness across the entire tube. are not making good not making electrical contact. and without this field. or the or if other lamps in ballast and fixture lamp and the metal reflector by the ballast during the starting the area are also are not grounded. and a three-prong cord can be plugged-in only by use of a "cheater" adapter. or (Replacing the by an increase in light (ionization) in the area coming from lamps has been other sources. ballast. but both pins on each end of the lamp are fixture start but only glow dimly. A capacitive field is created between fixture is touched. The only action that could be taken would be to leave brand new lamps on for ten to twenty hours to break them in. including one of the ones indefinitely. ignore this artifact. Otherwise. These "cheaters" do not provide a ground. Check all lamps. This is indicated on the end-cap of the lamp as a generally remain ridge or indentation that should align with the slot in the end dark. process. sometimes the lamps will begin to Metal reflectors are Rapid Start and some Instant Start fixtures must be connected not installed or are to an electrical ground in order to start properly. Lamps are not On Bi-pin lamps.
This grounding can be defeated if these parts are missing. Always ensure that all fasteners that came with the fixture are re-installed after servicing. if a ballast is rated for 120VAC. because fixture designs usually rely on clips. plastic material of the socket housing breaks. a socket may become brittle and the bakelite or damaged or broken. even when metal conduit is used. have a ground installed for locations that need them. the metal conduit served as the ground. and in some fixtures. For example. The ground wire from the ballast (normally green in color) must be connected to the electrical supply ground wire. screws or other metal fasteners to force electrical contact between the metal reflector and the ballast. This will help ensure that the ballast is making good electrical contact with the rest of the fixture. replace the damaged socket. Such grounding points may employ a green-colored screw to distinguish them from screws and other hardware meant to mount the fixture. use a piece of sandpaper to scratch the paint off the ballast case at the points where the ballast makes contact with the metal fixture. If parts of the socket appear to be missing or are obviously cracked. and may prevent the contacts from being able to grab hold of the lamp and keep it from falling. The most likely cause of a fixture grounding problem that suddenly occurs is in the fixture itself. but newer electrical codes require a ground wire to be installed. a ground wire should have been provided as part of the building wiring. Fixture sockets are In some cases. When replacing a ballast. In some older commercial buildings. 80 . Do not measure power at the lamp or starter sockets. Line Voltage low. or if the fixture or replacement parts have been re-painted in such a way that the metal parts now can't make good electrical contact. With an AC voltmeter. If the fixture is permanently installed and the building wiring lacks a proper ground. it probably won't work properly if the line voltage is below 108VAC. a special terminal is provided on the fixture to tie the ballast and supply ground wires together while also making a solid electrical contact with the fixture.electrical system. The ballast probably won't work properly if the line voltage is more than 10% below the operating voltage specified on the label on the ballast. measure the electrical voltage coming to the fixture. and this may prevent the electrical contacts from making a solid connection.
This entire assembly is then placed in the socket in the light fixture. there are plastic lamp sleeves available. When the lamps are operating. If the air temperature is considerably colder and if the surrounding air is circulating. Such sleeves are commonly seen on fluorescent lamps in grocery store freezer units. If you find that the line voltage is too low.Other devices in the typical business or residence would not work well if the voltage was so far off. and gradually the air inside the fixture will heat along with the lamps and the lamps will start to operate normally. replacing the ballast is the remaining option. Being 2% off (117VAC instead of 120VAC) probably won't hurt. If a rapid-start fixture persists in having start problems after installing good quality lamps (not those two-for-a-dollar specials). In very rare cases. and may exhibit "rings" of bright and dim light that appear to move up and down the length of the lamp. Cold Operating Lamp starts but glows dimly. The solution here are to use enclosed fixtures that provide insulation from colder air temperatures by trapping a limited amount of air around the lamps. the lamps will never generate enough heat to keep their internal temperatures above 50F. contact the power company or an electrician to investigate the problem. and standard fluorescent lamps exhibit these symptoms when the lamps are cold. Fixtures that use the High-Output lamps (HO) are typically found in outdoor signs and other locations where exposure to 81 Ballast failing. In cases where it is not desired to replace the entire fixture. may Location flicker slightly but constantly. Depending on how cold the ambient air temperature is. operating the lamp may eventually warm the gas inside the lamp to the point that the lamp begins operating at or near its full brightness. The lamp is inserted into these sleeves and a plastic cap on each end seals the lamp inside the plastic tube. The artifacts typically begin when air temperatures around the lamp are below 50F. the portion of the ballast involved in establishing the capacitive field can fail. allowing only the electrical contacts of the lamp to protrude. or in outdoor fluorescent lighting used in commercial locations such as the front porch area of stores. so the lamps will continue to glow dimly and flicker. the lamps are insulated from a constant fresh supply of cold air. and you have made sure the fixture is grounded properly. Fluorescent lamps do not like cold areas. .
material stripped from the cathodes at end of the lamp impacts the cathode on the other end of the has a light or lamp. 82 . As the lamp operates. In most cases. as the typical fluorescent lamp has at least 10. A variety of things can cause marks like this. These lamps provide most of their brightness down to 10F. The only case where this would be considered a problem would be if new lamps develop these marks within the first 100 hours of use and have trouble starting. Sometimes the area is shaped like a feather. including a fixture located close to an air vent that blows cold air on that part of the lamp. cold temperatures is expected. of the glass near the ends of the This is a normal part of lamp aging. the wrong size starter was used. "Feathers" cause no harm and do not indicate that a lamp is bad or worn out. Lamp works but Normal lamp aging. developing the rings on the inside smoky or burnt look. This aging should be gradual. in a fixture won't to the fixture. Instant-Start Fixture Troubleshooting Problem Possible Cause Action A Lamp or lamps No electrical power If all lamps in the fixture refuse to light or blink. Indicates a section of the lamp that is colder than other sections. which can look like a gray feather inside the lamp. When the lamp does finally wear out. simply rotating the lamp 180 degrees and operating the lamp will cause the mark to gradually dissipate. Some of this material impacts and is embedded into the medium gray or phospher coating on the end of the lamps. make sure that the electrical power for the fixture is turned on. Sometimes a place inside a lamp will collect a fine deposit of mercury. gradually causing brown ring or the end of the lamps to become partly opaque. until the lamp eventually fails to start. it could eventually reappear again. However.000 hours of operating life. and should be ignored lamp. probably at the same location on the same side of the lamp as before. the ballast is faulty or the wrong type. the discoloration on the end of the lamps can be as dark as coal.Lamp works but has a gray "patch" away from the ends of the lamp made up of thousands of black spots. or the fixture and ballast are not properly grounded. They can also be protected to operate at even lower temperatures by using enclosed fixtures or lamp sleeves. That may indicate that the starter was not replaced.
Check that all lamps are fully seated. so check the other causes. Wiring problem in fixture . No flickering. make sure that the lamp is correctly positioned in both lamp holders. If any lamps are missing or not fully inserted into both lamp sockets. so compare the wiring of the fixture to that drawing. This is very unlikely. try replacing the ballast. if a fixture was recently installed or repaired and hasn't worked since. all lamps may have to be installed and seated in their sockets for the other lamps to operate. Ballast failed. Lamps have an alignment mark on each end of the lamp (usually a depression in the metal or plastic end caps) that indicates where the tube should be positioned when installed. Do not measure at the lamp sockets. In fixtures with multiple lamps. it is unlikely that all lamps failed at the same time. particularly if the fixture was previously working and then quit. A schematic showing the correct wiring is present on almost all ballast's. Make sure all power control switches are turned on. replace all of the lamps that aren't lighting. Some instant start fixtures utilize "disconnect" sockets. Lamp(s) worn-out. Use an AC voltmeter to verify that the right electrical voltage is reaching the ballast. If the fixture contains a single ballast. so check the other causes. power to part or all of the entire fixture may be disconnected. If the fixture contains a single lamp. If the fixture has more than one lamp. causing a 83 Lamp(s) not properly seated in socket or missing. the problem is almost certainly a lack of electricity or low supply voltage. If the fixture has multiple ballast's and none of the lamps work.light at all. The correct voltage for the ballast should be marked on the ballast. It is also possible that rodents have damaged wiring or that wiring has been crushed or worn within the fixture. However. it is unlikely that all lamps came loose at the same time. If the fixture contains one or two single lamps. you may have a wiring error that is causing the problem. If the fixture has more than two lamps that aren't working. Lamps have been known to vibrate or be bumped so that they no longer make electrical contact.
the lamps should be replaced in pairs. not a bad ballast. The lamps may completely turn off for a while. (If the lamps flicker and blink on and off several times in just a few minutes or seconds. the ballast turns back on and the lamps come back on at full brightness and may operate for a period of several minutesbefore shutting off again. You may have to replace the lamps again. Rapid-Start fixtures with multiple lamps typically operate the lamps in pairs from the same ballast. This cycle will repeat endlessly until the problem is corrected. or the lamp intermittently blinks. High-temperature electrical tape can be used to cover worn insulation. this is probably just a bad lamp or lamps. After severalminutes when the ballast has had time to cool-down. replace the ballast and the lamps that connect to that ballast. If you see or hear this condition. but this may be cheaper than replacing the ballast when it didn't need replacing. Replace all lamps connected to the 84 The ends of a lamp are lit continuously. However. If you replace the lamps with the size stated on the ballast and if the new lamps also quit working or show significant darkening at the ends in just a few days. A somewhat rare situation. Use only the lamp types listed on the ballast. and them come back on. or the lamp starts and after a while goes out. In addition. Lamp worn out. a safety thermal protector inside the ballast can cause the ballast to abruptly turn off (sometimes with an audible "click" or "ping" sound) and all lamps connected to that ballast will go dark. when a ballast is malfunctioning and overheats. If a fixture contains an energy-saving 34 watt ballast OR an energy saving device that is installed in addition to the ballast. the fixture cannot use 34 watt or other energy-saving lamps. so watch out for any hot tar that may spill out of an overhead fixture when you are working on it. so long as the wire itself isn't damaged. although the cycle may get slightly shorter when the fixture is left on for hours. then tries to start again. . Replace all lamps that are not lighting. Ballast failing.short. Ballast's that are overheating like this are probably also leaking. replace the ballast. Look for any places where the wiring has been caught by the metal parts of the fixture and replace any damaged wiring with wire of the same gauge and insulation temperature. Wrong type of lamp. a ballast can fail in such a way that brand new lamps fail to start after only a few hours or days of use. In such fixtures.
Line Voltage low. If the air temperature is considerably colder and if the surrounding air is circulating. Other devices in the typical business or residence would not work well if the voltage was so far off. become bright at the ends and gradually (over as much as an hour). Otherwise. If you find that the line voltage is too low. and may exhibit "rings" of bright and dim light that appear to move up and down the length of the lamp. so 85 . contact the power company or an electrician to investigate the problem. it probably won't work properly if the line voltage is below 108VAC. The artifacts typically begin when air temperatures around the lamp are below 50F. Cold Operating Lamp starts but glows dimly. For example. After this aging period. this behavior doesn't occur or only takes a minute or so to obtain full brightness across the entire tube. The ballast probably won't work properly if the line voltage is more than 10% below the operating voltage specified on the label on the ballast. and standard fluorescent lamps exhibit these symptoms when the lamps are cold. the lamps will never generate enough heat to keep their internal temperatures above 50F. During the first hour or two of use of a brand new lamp. have a peculiar behavior. ballast and see if the problem persists before replacing the ballast. if a ballast is rated for 120VAC. Fluorescent lamps do not like cold areas. measure the electrical voltage coming to the fixture. ignore this artifact. Some lamps. but only half that bright in the middle portion of the lamp. The only action that could be taken would be to leave brand new lamps on for ten to twenty hours to break them in. the lamp will glow dimly over most of the length of the lamp. Do not measure power at the lamp or starter sockets. may Location flicker slightly but constantly. the bright areas on each end of the lamp will grow until the entire lamp glows brightly. This behavior may be repeated each time the lamp is turned on for the first 20 to 30 hours of use. operating the lamp may eventually warm the gas inside the lamp to the point that the lamp begins operating at or near its full brightness. the problem should reappear in an hour or so. Being 2% off (117VAC instead of 120VAC) probably won't hurt.) With an AC voltmeter. Depending on how cold the ambient air temperature is. If the ballast is faulty. New Lamp. particularly those with reduced mercury content (known by abbreviations or model names like "ALTO" or "ECO". A lamp is bright near the ends.
They can also be protected to operate at even lower temperatures by using enclosed fixtures or lamp sleeves.the lamps will continue to glow dimly and flicker. Lamp works but Normal lamp aging. probably at the same location on the same side of the lamp as before. allowing only the electrical contacts of the lamp to protrude. The solution here are to use enclosed fixtures that provide insulation from colder air temperatures by trapping a limited amount of air around the lamps. Fixtures that use the High-Output lamps (HO) are typically found in outdoor signs and other locations where exposure to cold temperatures is expected. there are plastic lamp sleeves available. including a fixture located close to an air vent that blows cold air on that part of the lamp. which can look like a gray feather inside the lamp. Sometimes the area is shaped like a feather. This entire assembly is then placed in the socket in the light fixture. Sometimes a place inside a lamp will collect a fine deposit of mercury. . A variety of things can cause marks like this. and gradually the air inside the fixture will heat along with the lamps and the lamps will start to operate normally. Some of this material impacts and is embedded into the phospher coating on the end of the lamps. Indicates a section of the lamp that is colder than other sections. or in outdoor fluorescent lighting used in commercial locations such as the front porch area of stores. simply rotating the lamp 180 degrees and operating the lamp will cause the mark to gradually dissipate. These lamps provide most of their brightness down to 10F. developing the smoky or burnt look. Such sleeves are commonly seen on fluorescent lamps in grocery store freezer units. 86 Lamp works but has a gray "patch" away from the ends of the lamp made up of thousands of black spots. has a light or medium gray or brown ring or rings on the inside of the glass near the ends of the As the lamp operates. gradually causing the end of the lamps to become partly opaque. The lamp is inserted into these sleeves and a plastic cap on each end seals the lamp inside the plastic tube. material stripped from the cathodes at end of the lamp impacts the cathode on the other end of the lamp. In most cases. the lamps are insulated from a constant fresh supply of cold air. In cases where it is not desired to replace the entire fixture. it could eventually reappear again. When the lamps are operating. However. "Feathers" cause no harm and do not indicate that a lamp is bad or worn out.
so the lamp can't receive electrical power. and should be ignored until the lamp eventually fails to start. This is inserted into the existing socket. the ballast is faulty or the wrong type. Replace the lamp assembly. Compact Fluorescent Troubleshooting Problem The lamp won't light. the discoloration on the end of the lamps can be as dark as coal. entirely into the socket through the hole provided in the fixture reflector.lamp. The only case where this would be considered a problem would be if new lamps develop these marks within the first 100 hours of use and have trouble starting. Lamp cannot make In some fixture designs such as the recessed models. some other type of lamp may have to be used in this fixture. Possible Cause Action No electrical power Make sure all power control switches are turned on. the wrong size starter was used. This gets the lamp assembly further away from the base of the fixture. This is a normal part of lamp aging. and will not function properly or at all when state control. or the fixture and ballast are not properly grounded. When the lamp does finally wear out. be tested by removing the compact fluorescent lamp and temporarily installing a good incandescent lamp to verify that it lights. Lamp assembly is burned-out. then the lamp is inserted into the extender. Dimmable compact fluorescent 87 . a device roughly two inches in length and it consists of a lamp socket and a lamp screw base. If the lamp doesn't feel like it is completely in the socket but can't be inserted further into the fixture. but it may also make the lamp extend out of the fixture. hardware stores sell a lamp socket "extender". Alternatively. as the typical fluorescent lamp has at least 10. That may indicate that the starter was not replaced. a electrical contact in compact fluorescent lamp assembly may be too large to screw the socket. This aging should be gradual.000 hours of operating life. Circuit is connected Most compact fluorescent lamps cannot be used with to a dimmer or solid dimmers. connected to these circuits. This can to the socket.
to control the power flow. Also. Instead. Socket on an Some emergency and exit lighting systems in commercial Emergency Lighting buildings use Direct Current. If the lamp can be replaced. The ends of a lamp tubing are lit continuously (usually right at the base).lamps are available and this capability is clearly marked.usually a triac . Lamp worn out. and this can interfere with the electronics in the compact fluorescent lamp base. Fluorescent lamps do not like cold areas. triacs don't allow 100% of the electricity to flow through when they are conducting. may Location flicker slightly but constantly. or the lamp intermittently blinks. connected to these circuits. Unfortunately.to control the power flow. this could be the problem. and this can interfere with the electronics in the compact fluorescent lamp base. they use a solid state electronic component . and will not function properly or at all when state control. triacs don't allow 100% of the electricity to flow through when they are conducting. Depending on how cold the ambient air temperature is. replace the entire assembly. or the lamp starts and after a while goes out. and . Also. and some types of compact System fluorescent lamps cannot be used here unless the lamp packaging specifically says the lamps can be used in this situation. Dimmable compact fluorescent lamps are available and this capability is clearly marked. Otherwise. If the compact fluorescent lamp works correctly in another socket that is controlled from a wall switch. they use a solid state electronic component . and some types of compact System fluorescent lamps cannot be used here unless the lamp packaging specifically says the lamps can be used in this situation. and standard fluorescent lamps exhibit these symptoms when the lamps are cold. try replacing just the lamp. some photocell and timer controls don't use a relay or electrical contact to turn and off the power. If the compact fluorescent lamp works correctly in another socket that is controlled from a wall switch. some photocell and timer controls don't use a relay or electrical contact to turn and off the power. this could be the problem. Circuit is connected Most compact fluorescent lamps cannot be used with to a dimmer or solid dimmers. then tries to start again. operating the lamp may eventually warm the gas inside the 88 Cold Operating Lamp starts but glows dimly. Unfortunately. Replace the lamp. Socket on an Some emergency and exit lighting systems in commercial Emergency Lighting buildings use Direct Current. Instead.usually a triac .
Sometimes a place inside a lamp will collect a fine deposit of mercury. This is a normal part of lamp aging. developing the of the glass near smoky or burnt look. simply rotating the lamp 180 degrees and operating the lamp will cause the mark to gradually dissipate. which can look like a gray feather inside the lamp. in damp locations. 89 .may exhibit "rings" of bright and dim light that appear to move up and down the length of the lamp. or use an enclosed fixture. Lamp works but has a gray "patch" away from the ends of the lamp tubing that are made up of thousands of black spots. The artifacts typically begin when air temperatures around the lamp are below 50F. material stripped from the cathodes at end of the lamp impacts the cathode on the other end of the has a gray or lamp. This aging should be gradual. This may indicate a low or high voltage power problem in the socket or a faulty lamp assembly. In most cases. the ends of the lamp tubing. Note that some compact fluorescent lamps cannot be used in outdoor. the lamps will never generate enough heat to keep their internal temperatures above 50F. as the typical fluorescent lamp has at least 10. so check the specifications or use instructions that come with the lamp. As the lamp operates. However. If the air temperature is considerably colder and if the surrounding air is circulating. When the lamp does finally wear out. "Feathers" cause no harm and do not indicate that a lamp is bad or worn out. The solution is to use compact fluorescent lamps designed for outdoor or cold locations. and should be ignored until the lamp eventually fails to start. probably at the same location on the same side of the lamp as before. it could eventually reappear again. or in enclosed fixtures. The only case where this would be considered a problem would be if new lamps develop these marks within the first 100 hours of use and have trouble starting. Some of this material impacts and is embedded into the brown ring or phospher coating on the end of the lamps. gradually causing rings on the inside the end of the lamps to become partly opaque. lamp to the point that the lamp begins operating at or near its full brightness. Indicates a section of the lamp that is colder than other sections. the discoloration on the end of the lamps can be as dark as coal. so the lamps will continue to glow dimly and flicker.000 hours of operating life. including a fixture located close to an air vent that blows cold air on that part of the lamp. Lamp works but Normal lamp aging. Sometimes the area is shaped like a feather. A variety of things can cause marks like this.
Straight-Line .Straight-Line . Most manufacturers recommend replacing the starter when the fluorescent lamps are replaced.) 90 .Straight-Line o o o o o Circline Circline Circline Circline Circline (Information on printing color tables on color printers can be found here.Straight-Line .The following chart shows the more common types of replaceable starters.Straight-Line . glow bulb starters eventually wear out and must be replaced.Straight-Line . and what sizes of pre-heat lamps are used with each type of starter.Straight-Line . Lamp Size in Watts Lamp Length Starter Type Lamp Shape 40W 30W 13W 20W 15W 14W 8W 6W 4W 40W 32W 25W 22W 18W 8" / 20cm 48" / 122cm 36" / 91cm 21" / 53cm 24" / 61cm 18" / 46cm 15" / 38cm 12" / 30cm 8" / 23cm 6" / 15cm 16" / 41cm 12" / 30cm FS-4 FS-4 FS-4 FS-2 FS-2 FS-2 FS-5 FS-5 FS-5 FS-12 FS-12 FS-25 FS-25 FS-25 .Appendix A: Fluorescent Lamp Replaceable Starter Size Table Like the main fluorescent lamp.Straight-Line .Straight-Line .
Cleaning up the affected area should be done after injured persons are treated. If an eye injury occurred. unless the eye was actually cut by glass. turn clockwise to lock the new starter in place. ask emergency personnel how to proceed. Take the new starter of the same type. Any skin or eye contact with phosphor should be washed with water for at least 15 minutes.) Open doors and windows in the area to allow any mercury vapor to start dispersing from the immediate area. If other areas of the building can be closed-off. align the two pins with the holes in the socket. close them off. Starters cannot be shared.) Any bleeding injuries should be treated immediately since many of the phosphors used in lamps can prevent blood from clotting and impair healing.Replaceable starters are removed by pressing down slightly on the starter and turning the metal or plastic can counter clockwise about 1/8" of a turn. the lamps and possibly a metal cover in order to reach the starter(s). If any part of the lamp remains in the fixture or still in a screw-base socket. Allow outdoor air flow to clear the air for an hour at least. Then the entire starter "can" may be lifted out of the socket. All contaminted clothing and shoes must be removed prior to leaving the area. (A box fan positioned in a window or door that is pushing air into the room from the outside can help speed the process. TURN OFF AND LEAVE OFF any window or central air conditioner blowers and ceiling fans. If a fixture uses a starter. Now What? If the worst happens and a lamp breaks. (Any parts of the lamp still in the fixture will be removed later. disconnect power to the fixture or socket to prevent any possible fire hazard. Then get medical attention immediately. Don't use the fan to blow air already in the contaminated room anywhere else. you may have to remove a lamp diffuser. Depending on the mechanical design of the given fixture. as washing with water might cause more problems. as the mercury may condense in the air ducts or coils of these units or spread the contamination to other areas. insert into the socket. 91 . there will be one starter for each lamp in that fixture. no matter how minor the injury or contamination seems to be. and while pressing down slightly. the first things to do are to treat any injuries and limit further exposure. ###################################################################### Appendix B: I Broke a Fluorescent Lamp.
However. In particular. but it is still a problem. Inhalation of any mercury vapor is extremely dangerous. your exposure to the vapor from one or a few broken lamps will probably be quite low. However. and all contaminated items should be washed separately from non-contaminated items.Keep all children well away from the area. If you had a lamp break and parts fell into an aquarium. 92 . put on some heavy work gloves (which you will discard later). While waiting for the room to ventilate. so do not panic. or licks any of the lamp material (including trying to lick a wound). A paper yard trimmings bag will also work. the pet should be taken for emergency attention as well. in case they pick up residual traces of phosphor or mercury from the floor. Also locate paper (not plastic) grocery bags and build a double or triple layer bag. Washing their hands is extremely important to help prevent them from getting any mercury in their mouth. If the lamp was not operating when it was broken and the area that the lamps were in was not in direct sunlight or near some other heat source. Poisoning from both the phosphor and the mercury can occur. so keep uncontaminated individuals and all pets out of the area until it is cleaned-up. which is less dangerous. and wash the hands. unless you are in a very confined area with the lamp when it broke. Plastic containers should not be used. some of the mercury is likely in a liquid state. you can start the clean-up by locating a large glass jar. Some animals are attracted to the shiny beads of mercury and may ingest them. preferably having a screw-on lid. so shoes must be washed thoroughly. When ready to start the cleaning. feet and knees of small children frequently in the following days. See below. Don't use the thin plastic gloves like the ones that come with hair-coloring. Don't use your favorite glassware for this task as you will have to dispose of this container later. If a pet is cut by lamp glass. such as one that was used for pickles or something similar. and it should not be ignored. the specimens need immediate action. the rubber in shoes can absorb the mercury they come in contact with (usually from the floor). Mercury on the floor will be picked-up by the shoes of others as well as the feet of pets. Compact fluorescent lamps have the smallest amount of mercury and make a smaller mess if they are broken. The larger the lamp. and mercury vapor will be present if the lamp was operating or was hot when it was broken. clothes and shoes must be still washed before being used again.) Even if there are no injuries. there will always be some mercury vapor present. the more mercury is present that will need to be cleared. later.
DO NOT 93 . On the "twist" style fluorescent lamps. that piece needs to be removed first since it could also fall. Pour the contents of the broken section of the lamp into the glass jar. dump the entire compact fluorescent lamp into the glass jar. In this situation. and rotate the lamp ten times clockwise and then ten times counter-clockwise. tilt the tube so that any loose material inside falls toward the non-broken end of the lamp. Once emptied of loose material. and could break in more places. Get someone to hold the glass jar under the broken part of the lamp. If at all possible.If any part of the lamp is still in the fixture. Once free from the socket. If the other end of the tube is also still in the fixture. The idea here is that depending on how the lamp fell when it was broken. any other sections of the tube. or parts fell onto a chair or sofa. Now. If the lamp was a screw-in style compact fluorescent lamp. don't unscrew the lamp by grasping the glass. pick-up one end of the lamp and hold that section so that the broken end is higher than the unbroken end. at least not yet. you can avoid spilling any more out of the broken section of the lamp. immediately contact a professional cleaner to treat these areas. repeat that process process with the other end of the lamp. the lamp should pull straight out without having to rotate it. repeat this process for that end of the lamp. Don't worry about any loose metal parts or pieces of glass that may fall into the jar. pour the contents of the tube into the glass jar you located earlier. After emptying the section of the broken tube. some of the mercury may still be in the lamp. so the person holding the jar is there to try to catch as much of that material as possible in the jar. more debris and mecury could fall out of the end of the lamp. place the glass section into the paper sack. If part or all of a straight-line lamp is on the floor. the end with the electrical contacts. If it won't fit. Don't worry if phosphor or bits of glass and other metal parts fall into the jar. this step will give every opportunity for any mercury still in the lamp to work its way out of the lamp and into the glass jar. because there may still be mercury and other debris in the part remaining in the fixture that hasn't spilled-out yet. This has to be done carefully. hold it broken-end down in the jar. Now. try to pull the part gently from its socket while holding the glass tube as close to horizontal as possible and grasp the tube as close to the socket as possible. If the lamp was a straight-line tube and part of it is still in the fixture. you may need some help for this part. and with careful handling now. Then put the base part of the broken lamp and any attached glass into the paper sack. and explain that this is a mercury spill. Now. pick up the larger remaining pieces of glass or metal parts (still wearing gloves) and place those pieces of glass in the paper sack. place that broken section of glass in the paper sack. DO NOT use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the area. while you unscrew the lamp by reaching grasping the base and turning that. If the lamp broke in a carpeted area. and finally. The moment the lamp detaches from the socket. because any remaining glass tubing may be highly fragile now. As you unscrew the lamp. so that any remaining mercury will end up in the jar.
EVER use a home steam cleaner, iron or any other source of heat in an attempt to remove the mercury. This will just make things worse. Don't use a consumer vacuum cleaner of any sort as it will become permanently contaminated. Keep people and animals away from contaminated carpets and furniture until they can be cleaned. Mercury can get under the carpet and into the pad, as well as get down into the fabrics of chairs and sofas. Depending on the material used and the amount of contamination, it may be necessary to replace the exterior fabric of chairs or sofas, and to replace the carpet padding in the affected area. If the lamp fell on smooth tile or waxed flooring (including waxed wood or polished stone floors), you may be able to clean the spill yourself. While still wearing heavy work gloves, use a small piece of cardboard or something similar that can be discarded to push the beads of mercury together. (You might take a desk light or other source and lay it on the floor so that the light shines across the affected area. Doing this and turning off the main room lights may help locate additional shiny beads of mercury. Once the mercury has been gathered together, if you have a chemical laboratory pipette and a suction bulb (DO NOT DRAW SUCTION BY MOUTH), collect the mercury place it in the glass jar. Once again, DO NOT use a plastic container of any type.) If you don't have access to a pipette, use dry cotton balls or dry paper towels to collect the mercury. Place these cotton balls or paper towels AND the piece of cardboard you used to push the mercury around with in the glass jar. Once the area appears to be completely free of mercury, sprinkle sulfur or calcium polysulfide on the area. (Powdered Sulfur is sold in most garden stores so it can obtained quickly.) Then, wipe the entire area with a damp (not soaked) paper towel, put that towel in the jar, then repeat with new DRY towels until all traces of the mercury and sulfur are gone. Examine the paper towels for traces of the sulfur or mercury to know if you need to do another cleaning with a new dry paper towel. Remember to put the cleaning materials used in the disposal container (or containers) and seal the lid of the jar tightly. If the spill occurs on concrete, rough stone, fired stone materials, or unwaxed wood floors, apply the sulfur first, as it will help get the mercury out of the pores in the material. (Note: Sulfur can react with some types of unpolished wood flooring, so do a test application in a corner first.) Some types of concrete and stone will have to be treated by products designed for mercury spills on porous surfaces. You might call the United States Coast Guard National Response Center at +1 800 424-8802 or your local hazardous spill response team (usually a part of the local fire department) for their recommendations on how to deal with a spill of mercury on the materials present at your location. Once the spill is cleaned, the containers of broken glass, mercury and ALL cleaning materials (INCLUDING the gloves you used) must all be delivered to a hazardous material handler for proper disposal. They may want to know how many lamps were involved in the spill and what compounds were used to neutralize the mercury.
Broken Fluorescent Lamps and Aquariums
This is special information about fluorescent lamp breakage in aquariums. If a lamp breaks open and contents of the lamp fall into an aquarium, immediately disconnect all power to all devices associated with that tank (including air supplies), and immediately remove all fish and other specimens to any other container with new water. Do not bring any of the water from the contaminated tank. Get the specimens out quickly, as quickly as you can get the new water temperature and salt levels correct or de-chlorination completed. Fish can absorb mercury in water quickly. Once the fish and other specimens are out of danger, you do have a long clean-up process. First, contact your local authorities for the precise rules where you live about disposal of water contaminated with mercury before doing anything to the water. In most places, you can take the water out of the tank and mix it with powdered sulfur (at roughly one pound for every twenty gallons of water), and mix thoroughly. (Do this outdoors.) That will neutralize the mercury in the water, and in most areas, that treated water can then be disposed of via a public sewer system, but cannot be put into a septic tank, nor can the liquid be discarded outdoors or allowed to enter any waterway. The water must still be treated at a wastewater facility. (The mercury is still there after the sulfur is mixed-in. It just isn't as harmful to human contact as it was.) If you find that your area doesn't even allow the neutralized mix to be put into the sanitary sewer, you will have to transport all of the water to a hazardous waste handler. After mixing with sulfur, you can boil the water to partly reduce its volume, but do this outdoors on a camp stove or some portable heating device with good ventilation. (Notice: The container you boil the liquid in will be permanently contaminated.) Alternatively, and if you have the time, you can set the water containers outdoors in the sun for a few weeks and let evaporation reduce the volume of water, and then take the remainder to the hazardous waste handler. Unfortunately, all aquarium plants in the affected tank must be treated as hazardous waste. Plastic tubing (such as air lines) and any plastic plants or flexible plastic props that were in the water of the affected tank must also be replaced, because these types of plastic can absorb and then slowly release the mercury. Non-porous aquarium gravel, rigid plastic items and non-porous tank items (such as firedglazed clay trinkets, bridges, treasure chests, wishing wells, etc) should be cleaned much as you would normally do for cleaning, typically by scrubbing in a baking soda/water solution with successive rinses. All water used in the cleaning process must also be saved and treated as described above. Remember that the mercury is as heavy if not heavier than the gravel, so you must scoop small amounts of the gravel out of the tank, pour water over it to carry the mercury away, then repeat the process until all gravel has been rinsed. The muddy debris in
the contaminated tank will be where the mercury is now and that will have to be handled like hazardous waste. Don't dispose of it down the sink or in the yard. Porous items (like most sea shells, sandstone and all coral) can sometimes be cleaned successfully in a water and sulfur paste solution, soaked in the same solution for several hours, scrubbed with baking soda and water, and then let standing in a clean water bath for at least 24 hours. This entire process will probably kill any living coral you have and may discolor the other objects, but it's your only choice if you want to keep them in the tank. Otherwise, these items must be treated as hazardous waste and properly disposed of. As above, the tailings from cleaning porous items will also likely contain some mercury contamination, and will have to be disposed of properly. Once emptied of filters, plants, props and gravel, scrub clean and rinse the tank repeatedly (baking soda and water), using as little water as possible, because you have to capture the first two washings or so of that water for disposal. Remove all moss from the glass with a razor blade scraper. After several additional rinse cycles, the tank is as clean as you will ever get it. Microscopic traces of mercury can get into the glass caulk, and there is no practical way to remove it, but the residual amount is so small that it should not cause any problems. Now you can start putting all the other cleaned items back in the tank, except for the plants and flexible plastic items which should be replaced. The best tip for for aquariums is prevention: Move cover light fixtures well away from the tanks when servicing the lamp or starter, to reduce the possibility that a lamp could be broken where it could fall into the water. At other times, keep the top of tanks completely covered to reduce the possibility that broken parts from room fluorescent lamps could ever fall into the tank. When servicing overhead fixtures, temporarily cover aquariums with plastic bags or sheeting as a precaution. Don't position heavy objects above tanks where they could fall onto the tank covers, breaking the lamp inside. Don't use tank covers that are cracked or otherwise damaged where they could unexpectedly shift and fall into the tank on their own. Having the lid fall into a tank full of water typically won't break a lamp, but you trying to catch or stop a falling cover and lamp could cause breakage and could give you an electrical shock. Let it fall, unplug the power and then retrieve the cover and the hopefully unbroken lamp. This point is extremely obvious but it must still be stated: If a fluorescent lamp breaks and it or its content fall into the lobster or live "pick your dish" tank at some dining establishment, DO NOT serve the contents of that tank to your patrons in any form, EVER! The tank and its contents should be discarded and replaced. DO NOT re-use anything from the comtaminated tank in a way where it could come in contact with or become human food. Even cooked seafood will still retain any mercury absorbed from such an incident.
The same warning goes for fish farms and other confined fish-raising facilities that manage to get mercury into the tanks from any source. ************************************************************************* 97 . so seeking professional help to clean up a spill is recommended since they should have the latest handling procedures. The procedures for handling mercury spills are constantly being refined. That livestock can never become food for humans or feed for something that might eventually be consumed by humans. A Final Note on Mercury Spill Handling There are numerous material safety sheets available on the Internet and directly from chemical companies that provide recommendations on how to deal with mercury spills.
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