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R.E. T-8 Ballasts

Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 13:19:02 -0400
From: "Paul E. Turley" <turl at eriecoast_com>
Subject: T-8 Ballasts

<I wonder if anyone can fill me in on the differences between T-8 and
<T-12 Ballasts.
<I have several 120W T-8 Ballasts that are rated to run 4 F32W T8 or
<3-F40W T-8 bulbs (Basically 120 W peak load).
<   Does anyone have the specs;  Amperage and Volts from a 120W T-12

The difference, as I understand it, is the T-8 lamps, (the tubes themselves)
are designed to be a more energy efficient form of lighting.

So, a typical 4 foot long T-12 tube is designed to draw 40 Watts, whereas a
4 foot long T-8 is designed to draw 32 watts.  Also, most of the balasts
designed for T-8 tubes are called "electronic" ballasts as opposed to
"Magnetic" Ballasts.  Magnetic Ballasts put out thier power such that the
lamps are charged at 60 cycles per second.  That is why, even with new
lamps, you can detect a flicker in T-12 lamps.

Electronic ballasts are designed to run in the thousands of cycles per

In general, I would not reccomend trying to run T-12 lamps on an electonic
ballast designed for T-8 lamps.  The energy efficiency would be lost, and
you would have a hard time getting the number of Watts the lamps need to add
up right.  You say your ballast is designed to run 4 32 Watt bulbs--- well,
4, 36 inch long T-12 tubes would be 120 watts, but whether they would run at
all with the higher freqencies that are put out by an electronic ballast

Well, if you try it and it works, let me know.  But I bet there will be a
loss in energy efficiency, or bulb life.

A page from the Philips Catalog, at this URL.

There are a lot of good T-8 lamps.  There are even some made specifically
for aquarium use.