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Re:T8 electronic ballast wiring

Dave Papas wrote:

>The digram for my current 4
>lamp ballast show these wires connecting 1 to a bulb and, just before
>connection, splitting into 2 wires ( one for each pin?). I figured from all
>the talk I've seen in the past regarding custom fixtures someone here has
>dealt with this scenario. What would be the best technique to get this

This is because the lamps normally used in this setup have bipin bases which
are necessary if you have a rapid start ballast. Since you have an instant
start ballast the two pins on the end of the lamp have to be shorted
together so that both pins will provide current. If you don't do this the
lamp will work but fail prematurely. The easy way to do this is to take a
short piece of wire about 3" long and poke the stripped ends into the
appropriate holes into the holes provided in the lamp socket. You should
then have one hole left over on each side of the lamp socket where you can
plug in your other leads as required.

I had some used lamp sockets which I used in my fixture and you can remove
the old wires from used sockets by taking a small diameter nail and pushing
it into same hole as the wire and then pulling out both the nail and the
wire. If you don't do it this way then you may damage the pushin connector
in the lamp socket.

Depending on how you intend to hold the lamp sockets in your fixture though
you may want the replacement sockets sold at Home Depot. They have a
mounting hole in them and come with a small machine screw for mounting.

Lamp sockets are normally fit into a 5/16" x 1" notches that are part of the
fixture. I have found an easy way to do this when remote mounting a ballast
is to buy some stiffening channel used in 3 5/8" steel stud construction.
They come in 12'  lengths and you can cut them into 3 equal pieces. You then
cut your notches into each end of the channel with a jig saw and mount your
sockets. The channel serves as place to tuck your wires and can be mounted
to a reflector if you like or to canopy lid or whatever.

Making your own fixture has some safety pitfalls. Make sure the ballast and
reflector are grounded and make doubly sure that the sockets cannot fall out
and plunge a lit tube into your tank. I would also want to use a GFCI outlet
for the power supply. In some cases though, the output of a ballast may be
isolated from the input side of the ballast in which case it may be possible
that a GFCI will not trip if there is a current leak on the output side of
the ballast. I am not sure how to check this but one idea is to use an ohm
meter between the input side of the ballast and the output side and see if
there is continuity between them. Maybe someone else can help?