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> From: Anthony Ciarochi <Anthony.Ciarochi at eng_Sun.COM>
[$30 electronic ballast, or guts of an $8 shoplight?]
> I can replace parts in my current setup for YEARS before it would cost me as 
> much as one electronic ballast, and other saving me an occasional trip to the 
> hardware store, I get no benefit for the extra money spent.
> So am I a fool, or a beacon of common sense?  I stand by to be flamed :)

I've done it both ways, and both ways make sense.  Most of my shop
lights lasted me about a year (especially the "Lights of America"
kind) before the ballasts fizzled.  I've kept the fixtures and hooked
them to remote replacement ballasts, because they make good hoods and
are way cheaper than anything else.

Most of my light fixtures I plan to keep for 10 years or more, so it
IS cost-effective to purchase better ballasts.  It's even more
cost-effective to just go "T8" to begin with, since the electronic
ballasts for them cost more like $25 for 4, save you energy, put out
more light, and since they're incompatible with the ones in the
shoplight, you can justify ripping the original ballasts out.  The
retro-fit shoplight turns out to be a great way for beginners to do
T-8 without having to build their own hood.

So, I guess, buy your shoplight, use it until the ballast dies, and
then replace it with something better.

  - Erik

Erik D. Olson
erik at thekrib.com