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Re:T8 End caps and 18awg solid copper wire

The Motorola T8 electronic rapid start ballasts I bought from
a local lighting contractor came without any wire, but they
specify 18awg insulated solid copper wire.  6 colors would
be real nice since that is how many colors they have on the
wiring diagram, but I'll go color blind if I have to.

Wayne says

I just use 16 guage wire it still works in the pushin connectors so I don't
see a problem. I think the 18 guage is a minimum size. Why don't you
consider buying some cheap 2 lamp fixtures and just replacing the ballast.
You get wire, 4 sockets, reflector and a nice case to put the ballast in for
not too much money. Reflectors can be improved by sticking some aluminized
mylar to the inside of the reflector.

Rod Rote

The lights will be above the water surface with no intervening
glass.  I don't even know of a source of endcaps for t8's, but if
I did it would probably cost nearly 10 dollars a pair, a
signifigant fraction of the cost of the whole thing.  I can get
regular open end caps for less than two dollars a pair.  Any
ideas on how these could be used?

And I say

I have the same setup and I don't use waterproof endcaps and the GFIs don't
trip but I am not sure why because I have been half expecting that they
would. It could be because the ballast output is isolated and the GFI cannot
detect any leaks. If this is the case I think I will have to get a glass
cover as I think it could be an unsafe condition. Maybe it is something you
should think about. I believe some people just solder the wires directly to
the to the lamp and use Plasticote or heat shrink tubing to inusulate the
connection. The lamps are then held in place with UV resistant tie wraps. I
don't like it much but it is very cheap. On regular endcaps you will notice
that there are little slots at the base of the socket. These are intended to
allow the lamp to be fit into a 5/16" x 1" notch in a fixture. Fixtures are
usually designed in such a way that there is no way the socket can fall out
once the socket has been fit into the notch and the fixture is fully
assembled. Also, most rapid start ballasts require a grounded metal strip
within 1/2" of your lamp. That's why it is a good idea to mount your sockets
onto some kind of piece of metal that is the same length as your lamps which
serves as both a ground and a good mounting surface. That's why stiffening
channel for 3  5/8" metal studs is so handy for mounting lamps. It is the
perfect size to receive a lamp socket. It's cheap too.

Please remember that I am not advising you to do any of this. For maximum
safety you should have a glass cover. For your wife to get anything out of
the insurance company after you electrocute yourself, the lamps should also
be mounted in an approved fixture. Failing that, you should at least use
waterproof endcaps. Mounting your own sockets must be done right or disaster
can ensue. If you cut the notches oversize the sockets can fall out, if you
use tie wraps they could deteriate and break causing lamps to fall in the


waj at mnsi_net