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#163187 - 05/03/07 11:36 AM Fluorescents in cold conditions
bwise121 Offline

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 113
Loc: Sacramento, CA USA
I'm working in a produce/freezer warehouse. The owner has been complaining of dim fluorescent lights. They do look dim to me. They are mag. ballasts (T12). I'm planning to change them out to electronic ballasts with T8 bulbs. Does anyone know if this should do the trick or is there something else? The room has a temperature of 35 Deg. F.


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#163195 - 05/03/07 03:35 PM Re: Fluorescents in cold conditions [Re: bwise121]
ghost307 Offline

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 883
Loc: Chicago Illinois USA
Fluorescent lamps work best at 'room temperature'. When they get warmed or colder their output drops and they can get harder to start.

If you're changing the ballasts, get the low temperature electronic ballasts (-20 degrees) and the problem should be much less noticable.

If they want still more light...go with the T8HO (High Output) low temperature ballasts and lamps, but be sure to check your circuit loading. Those things draw more than the regular T8 lamps do.

#163196 - 05/03/07 04:07 PM Re: Fluorescents in cold conditions [Re: ghost307]
noderaser Offline

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 405
Loc: Portland, Oregon, United State...
Or, you could do like Wal-Mart and put in LED lighting... Less energy consumption by the fixtures, plus the savings of not having to recover for the heat generated by the fixtures (probably not discernable in a large facility anyway). Your customer has bottomless pockets, right?

#163201 - 05/03/07 05:34 PM Re: Fluorescents in cold conditions [Re: noderaser]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
T-8's, and t-5's, work much, much better at lower temps than traditional fluorescent lamps. Apart from a longer time to come to full brightness, they work just fine in temps as low as 20F.

Likewise, CFL's work real well at low temps too.

I cannot speak for temps below 20F, as we do not experience them here very often.

#163216 - 05/04/07 03:02 AM Re: Fluorescents in cold conditions [Re: renosteinke]
jdo1942 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/13/05
Posts: 32
Loc: st. louis, mo. usa
All the new t8 stuff is zero degree ballasts as supplied. But if you are going to use floresents in a freezer you will need HO type floresents, like the sign people use. These do well in very cold temperatures

#163224 - 05/04/07 05:42 AM Re: Fluorescents in cold conditions [Re: jdo1942]
Last Leg Offline

Registered: 05/04/05
Posts: 41
Loc: Houston, Texas
Check out this link.. I haven't read it in a while but they do have very good info on the T8 & T5 HO's - one works better in cold, but I forget which one. Very comprehensive.

#163240 - 05/04/07 03:21 PM Re: Fluorescents in cold conditions [Re: Last Leg]
Rewired Offline

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 567
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
What you might want to try as well is putting a " shatter shield" around the bulb as well to try and trap heat around the tube and block cold drafts.. It might help a bit no matter what type of tube you are using.


#163244 - 05/04/07 03:58 PM Re: Fluorescents in cold conditions [Re: Rewired]
Check Pilot Offline

Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 145
Loc: Edmonton Alberta Canada
We are now installing electronic ballasts here in Edmonton for T-8's and T-12's as a normal standard operating procedure and they seem to work very well down to about minus 20 C. (about zero F.) without noticeable dimming. Sometimes they do take about 5 to 10 seconds to brighten up to normal at -20C. but using the e-ballasts seemed to solve a lot of issues for us here. The only place we put them now is in unheated garages and outbuildings however, so there is little or no thermal cooling from air movement as might be seen in an exposed location. We don't put them outside where they might get environmental exposure with wind or air movement so I can not comment on that part.


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