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Fluorescent ballast life

All - ALL - electronic devices, be they fluorescent ballasts, televisions, 
radios, computers, light bulbs, anything, are affected by heat and voltage.  
You simply cannnot predict the life of any of them, but you can influence 
their longevity.  For every volt over the rated voltage (usually 117 volts), 
you can expect to cut about 10% off the life of the device.  Heat is under 
your control.  A ballast placed in open air with even a small amount of cool 
air blowing over its service will last 4 or 5 times longer than a device 
placed inside an enclosed case where heat is trapped.  Voltage spikes are 
another story; a lightning strike a few blocks away can destroy electronic 
devices unless they are protected by surge protectors.  Look for surge 
protected outlet bars in the computer department of stores.  Naturally, you 
don't want to operate anything electronic near high humidity; avoid splashing 
water on your ballast.  If you address each of these issues and take care of 
them, you can expect maximum life from your ballast.  If you don't, then 
don't blame the engineer who designed it.  He did his job.

> 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  

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