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Re: Compact Flourescent Bulb and Ballast Life? -- Or - should the lifespan be compact too?

JoAnn VanDersarl had a ballast go south in a JBJ fixture
and wondered about bulb and ballast lifespans.

The published figures for such items, if the manufacturer
does publish them, are averages of samples taken off the
line.  How accurate are they?  Only a good lawyer knows
what's required under law and only their corporate
conscience knows for sure.

I've seen simple magnetic ballasts last for decades.

Electronic ballasts should last for years and years, even
if cycled on/off several times a day or left running
continuously.  If you can't get 5-10 years as a typical
lifespan from a solid state device used as intended, then
the engineer that made the thing didn't do her or his
homework *or* the user is abusing the device  ( you hooked
it up to a what and then hit it with a what ?!!! :-0  )

A ballast maker might get a shipment of crappy (i.e., not
up to spec) transistors or chips from it's supplier and
have a production run of ballasts with short average
lifespans.  Good ballast makers will take care of the
customers and hope they don't go broke.  Bad guys will
point to the warranty and say, "Time's up."  Then
they'll fold the corporation and start up under a new name.

Bulbs, PCs anyway, have published averages in the
neighborhoods of 5k, 8k-20k hours --  it varies by bulb
model and there's probably lots of outliers comprised by
the averages.  And those averages are based on specific
ballast performance.  Bulb life can vary depending on what
ballast is used with a bulb -- different ballasts will
operate the same bulb at different voltages and amps.

But, when used as intended by the manufacturer, expect your
PC bulbs to last for several years except on very rare
occasions (curse those outliers on the short side of the
curve :-(  ).

But if your ballast lasts about a year, I'd first be polite
with the maker and then I'd raise hell.

BTW, this is the third or fourth published JBJ failure in
recent months.  Is this a coincidence and merely anecdotal
or are lots of folks that have these lamps having trouble
with the bulbs, fans, ballasts in JBJ fixtures?

Could be summer voltage swings in the power company's juice
or other of its summer "activities" are dropping
voltage spikes into your house and the components in the
ballasts.  That can fry some devices.  But I doubt it.  The
power delivered to my house is dirty as all get out and I
have never had a ballast go south (GEs, Robertsons, AH
Supply/Fulhams, and others).  More often (although still
rare), fluorescent lamps themselves send spikes into your
house circuits and screw up something else in your house. 
[Will you turn that darn aquarium off, I'm trying to watch

Modern electronic ballasts are less likely to spike than
magnetic ones but more likely to put noise, more pink than
white, onto your house circuit.  You'll probably never
"hear" the noise unless you play a radio near the
lights or plug it into the same house circuit.  If you do
hear it, a good noise filter can help.  You'll certainly
never see it, despite it's so-called pinkness ;-) .  And,
as always, it's important to be well grounded.

Scott H.

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