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Re: Shoplights; too good to be true?

On Wed, 8 Dec 1999, Ivo Busko wrote:

> Yes, I think he is right. You can trust Patrick's insigth on lighting issues,
> he is an expert. These low-$ shop lights use for sure cheap ballasting 
> techniques that can harm the bulbs. I myself have two of these lights in the 
> basement, both about 2 years old, and had to replace bulbs twice in this 
> period. They burned out well before the expected life time of a regular 
> fluorescent. It's not a big deal when the bulbs are $ 1.50 40 w cool whites. 
> Another story would be to replace say, $ 25 apiece Tritons. 
> I agree that the shape and weigth of these fixtures can be very convenient
> at times. For use in an aquarium, I would just toss away the cheap circuitry
> inside the fixture (or just leave it in place) and install a remote electronic
> ballast to power the bulbs. IME good electronic ballasts never fail in lighting
> the bulbs instantly, do not heat up and are very silent.

Just to add another data point here, I've been using Lights Of America
fixtures going on 10 years now.  I've probably gone through ten of them
(the last four having come free with the basement of my house).  *ALL* of
them have failed after a few years, some taking the bulbs with them.  Like
Ivo, I like the shape and how you can stick them right onto the top of a
tank, so I now have about ten of them GUTTED and replaced with either
remote ballasts or (in the case of my basement lights) traditional tar
ballasts screwed right on top of them where I don't see them anyway.  In
this sense they're a good deal.  I wouldn't buy them for my tanks now, but
it's nice to know you can do something with the dead fixtures.

  - Erik
  (nearly caught up with the APD after vacation.  Moving on to doing
  a website update RSN. :)

Erik Olson
erik at thekrib dot com