Despite my best efforts, I'm getting pushed into more and more of this kind of work, and I hate lighting work.
Anyway, for a long time, I've managed to avoid working on this crap, but I've been getting more and more of it lately.
I'm looking for some solid troubleshooting info for electronic ballasts and the like.
I'm tired of the method that I've been using which amounts to trial and error. Change this part, change that part, change all the parts and hope for the best.
What info are you looking for? What are the problems you are encountering?
Isn't it either the lights work or they don't?
If the light is kinda lit, just barely glowing or flickering. It's either a bad bulb or weak ballast
I think all a ballast is is a transformer. Power in, power out. The power out should be marked on the Ballast itself. A easy quick test with your meter.
Incorrect power out= bad ballast
Correct power out= bad bulb or bulb socket
You'd think that, wouldn't you?
Originally Posted by Phase Loss
I got thrown into one on Friday. Hill Phoenix case, T5 bulbs with electronic ballasts.
Voltage to the ballasts was pretty equal +/- 10v or so at about 490v.
One lamp on, one lamp off. Dropped the canopy, re-did all the connections to the ends and magically, I had light. No difference in the voltage measured.
If voltages were good, maybe the bulbs contacts just needed some wiggling to seat properly in the socket.
You had one of those situations where you back away slowly and hope it works. Gotta try harder not to work on this stuff
Tried the wiggle, wiggle bit. Didn't fly.
Originally Posted by Phase Loss
Didn't work until I redid those connections.
I'm thinking they are pretty sensitive to voltage. Either that or it was some sort of high resistance connection causing some sort of voltage drop.
Customer insists that all lighting remain at 100% at all times. They employ hack and butcher lighting company and, when they cannot fix it, WE get the call!
You're working with a funny chain there.
Most customers are working on lighting reductions!
And I'm convinced all other trades are idiots.
Even though us Reefer guys CAN do everything doesn't mean we should have to
I did about 150 new ballasts here, had a few problems. One thing to check is the lampholders. They are a knife-edge connection (normally), and can pull away from the lamp pins over time. Also, electronic ballasts work at 20kHz or so, a nicked wire can cause odd problems. Lastly, yes, ballasts are effectively transformers, electronic units just do the work with a solid state version to provide better power quality among other things.
I suspected a frequency component to this whole mess...
Originally Posted by tjrobb
So, is there something that I need to measure? Do I need a better meter?
If I'm going to do this s**t, I'm going to do it correctly.
I may be starting at ground zero on this ballast stuff, but I'm a quick study.
FWIW I'll be getting a 1000V meter since most I see run over 600V
Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm
Do you know what V your trouble ballast is supposed to put out?
If You Can Dodge A Wrench You Can Dodge A Ball
Phase- I'm actually in maintenance, it was a T12 to T8 conversion. The units got beat up over 30 years if use, and so some bad units were expected.
Are you replacing ballast and bulbs in existing fixtures or putting in brand new fixtures? If they are existing are you converting them to T5's? If not are you saying that you have new fixtures with bad ballast and bulbs?
Relatively new cases, some still under warranty.
I tend to get brought in after several attempts by Hack & Butcher to repair, so it is impossible for me to accurately state what the original problem is.
I've found electronic ballasts not grounded. I've found the wrong ballast used with the wrong tubes. (T8 ballast on T5 tubes). I've found a ton of very poor workmanship which, of course, may be contributing to the problem.
I'm not trying to retrofit anything, I just want to make what is there work and stay working for as long as it can work.