Converting a Fluorescent Light to Energy Efficient
How to Convert a Fluorescent Light Fixture from Magnetic Ballast and T12 Lamps to Electronic Ballast and T8 Lamps: Electronic Ballast, Replacement Lamps, Lamp Sockets, Fluorescent Light Color Options, Procedure to Convert the Light Fixture Ballast and Lamps.
Upgrading to a Energy Saving Fluorescent Light Fixture
Electrical Question: My workplace has light fixtures that are presently have four 4 foot T12’s with 2 magnetic ballasts.
- How do I properly convert a fluorescent light fixture with magnetic ballasts to single electronic ballast for four T8 lamps?
- We had some of these done this way by a vendor several years ago and haven’t experienced any problems using the existing T12 bulb sockets to be used with the new T8 lamps.
This electrical wiring question came from: Glenn, a Handyman from Paris, Illinois.
Additional Comments: Great Resource.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Glenn.
Converting to Energy Efficient Lighting
- Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
- Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a non-aluminum ladder, flashlight, and Voltage Tester.
- Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and access to the light fixture(s).
- Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
- Notice: The replacement ballast should be UL Approved.
- Materials: Replacement Solid State Electronic Ballast, Replacement Lamps as specified on the ballast label, twist on wire splice connectors.
How to Convert a Fluorescent Light Fixture from Magnetic Ballast and T12 Lamps to Electronic Ballast and T8 Lamps
Converting a Magnetic Fluorescent Light Fixture to be Energy Efficient will require a New Ballast and New Lamps:
- Electronic Ballast
Select an Electronic Ballast that will replace your existing magnetic ballast making sure the electronic ballast is compatible with the size and quantity of the lamps of the light fixture.
- Replacement Lamps
The new electronic ballast will be required to operate the same number of lamps at the same voltage, for example: four 4 foot lamps at 120 volts. Purchase the specified number of lamps, for example four T8 lamps, and make sure the new replacement lamps are compatible with the new electronic ballast
- Lamp Sockets
Lamp sockets will not need to be replaced when converting a light fixture from T12 lamps to T8 lamps because the pins have the same configuration.
- Fluorescent Light Color Options
You may select from a few lighting color options for your application or environment, however here are the most common color of fluorescent lights:
- 4000 Kelvin – Cool White – Neutral Color
- 2800 Kelvin – Warm White – Warm Color
Once you have the replacement ballast and lamps here is the procedure to convert the light fixture:
Procedure to Convert the Light Fixture Ballast and Lamps
- Identify and turn OFF the lighting circuit.
- Remove the old T12 Lamps and the fixture cover to gain access to the old ballast.
- Note the wiring to the ballast and the Wiring Diagram that is on the label of the ballast. The line voltage is typically a black and white wire, the remaining wires connect to the lamp sockets.
- Cut the wires fairly close to the ballast.
- Remove the old Magnetic Ballast.
- Install the New Energy Efficient Electronic Ballast.
- Notice and follow the Wiring Diagram on the label of the new ballast to make the appropriate wire connections using good wire stripping methods and wire connectors.
- Strip about 1/2 inch of insulation off each wire and joining the wire connections with small orange wire nuts.
- The existing light sockets will be used.
- Replace the fixture cover.
- Install the new T8 Energy Efficient Lamps.
- Restore the power to the circuit.
Flip the switch and Enjoy Great Lighting from the existing light fixture while Saving Energy!
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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