T5 ballast troubleshooting

skyrne_isk

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Need a game plan for what’s going on with my 2 x 24w T5 ballast. It’s been wired up for years, but I noticed some weeks back the front bulb was barely lit but dim - like 25% of the brightness of the other bulb. Thinking it was simply a burnt out bulb, I swapped them both out but again, they wouldn’t light. Next step was to replace the ballast - it’s this one: https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/2x24w-2x39w-t5-high-output-ballast-ati.html?dfw_tracker=43788-209492&utm_term=&utm_campaign=EL+|+ACQ_Prospecting_Shopping+|+ROAS+|+All+Products&utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=ppc&hsa_acc=7373341438&hsa_cam=11496128324&hsa_grp=111757179109&hsa_ad=475916932266&hsa_src=g&hsa_tgt=pla-587033768862&hsa_kw=&hsa_mt=&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_ver=3&gclid=Cj0KCQjw9_mDBhCGARIsAN3PaFOsg7fv9x83-st_M2jhXFP2vqMD46L7eJtYKKmhIEDlrci6I5LnEqkaAsXhEALw_wcB

But again, the bulbs still won’t light. In the interim, I also bought some brand new Giesemanns - no luck. So I think I’ve ruled out the bulbs and the ballast (I doubt the original one was actually bad at this point - but now I’ve got a spare).

The ballast is controlled by my Apex, and the weird thing is that some mornings the bulbs will be lit up fine, other times not. Yesterday they didn’t fire, so I switched the ballast off for 15-20 minutes and then back on - and the bulbs fired up and didn’t flicker or anything. Worked fine all day. This morning, nothing - even after manually turning off and back on.

My only guess is now it’s down to the wiring. Either the harness or the power cord itself. I’m not great with electricity, so can somebody walk me through what I need to test? I am guessing I need a multimeter or something to check continuity to each of the lines? But I’m not exactly sure what I need to do to rule out where my problem is. Should also mention I have manually plugged in the ballast to a regular outlet and other Apex outlets - the Apex outlet does not appear to the the problem.
 
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skyrne_isk

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Yes to all the above. I have a bunch of new bulbs - and I’ve tried all different combinations of bulbs. Same result.
 

RocketEngineer

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Check the sockets and make sure the contacts on the fixture are free of rust/gunk. Check that the bulb pins are properly oriented. Loose wire, wire cut on a sharp edge, corrosion. Any of the above may be the issue.
 
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skyrne_isk

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Check the sockets and make sure the contacts on the fixture are free of rust/gunk. Check that the bulb pins are properly oriented. Loose wire, wire cut on a sharp edge, corrosion. Any of the above may be the issue.
The end caps are sealed, but I’ll check. Isn’t there a way to check the continuity of all the lines to the end caps? I’d like the start there. It’s a retro kit in a hood, not excited about rewiring it all if I don’t have to.
 

Saltyreef

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The end caps are sealed, but I’ll check. Isn’t there a way to check the continuity of all the lines to the end caps? I’d like the start there. It’s a retro kit in a hood, not excited about rewiring it all if I don’t have to.
Heres step by step for another fixture but i think it should be the same.....


There are a few warnings in the litetature that should echo throughout all t5 HO fixtures.
 
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skyrne_isk

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Okay. That wasn’t fun but it’s done. Checked all four end caps for continuity -
including the power cord and everything is good. I’ve even replaced the end caps and still nada. Now I’m thinking to try an icecap ballast - I’ve got a 660 hanging out at home. Basically a different style ballast. Not sure that it should matter, but I’m running out of ideas.

Do any electrical minded folks know how I could test current to the sockets? I was unsure how to do anything other than continuity since you have what, four contact points for each bulbs? I did check the outlet coming out of the EB8 and it was 124 or so - I assume my multimeter was a little off.
 

Saltyreef

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Is your ballast connected with a wire connector clip? Or is everything individually wired to the endcaps?
Id swap the ballast once more with a brand new one and use brand new never fired bulbs.
 

Biglew11

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I'd probably get new end caps any way. Are you sure that the end caps are plugged on all the way on the bulb?

I had a similar experiance with my aquatic life fixture. And it turned out to be the end cap was barely making contact with the bulb pins. Do the pins feel like they're making a tight connection with the socket?
 
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skyrne_isk

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Is your ballast connected with a wire connector clip? Or is everything individually wired to the endcaps?
Id swap the ballast once more with a brand new one and use brand new never fired bulbs.
I think the answer to that is yes. The six wires from ballast go through a quick disconnect harness. The power goes through some kind of push/insert clip and then to the grounded cord. None of this setup is new, however. Probably 6-7 years old at this point.

New Geiseman bulbs are on hand.
 
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skyrne_isk

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I'd probably get new end caps any way. Are you sure that the end caps are plugged on all the way on the bulb?

I had a similar experiance with my aquatic life fixture. And it turned out to be the end cap was barely making contact with the bulb pins. Do the pins feel like they're making a tight connection with the socket?
I would say connection tightness is meh. The play in these waterproof endcaps (i’m sure you know what I mean) is always a little suspect.
 

WVNed

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First rule of troubleshooting this. When one bulb lights and the other doesn't swap them. Don't change them. If the same slot lights the bulbs are good and you know you have 2 good bulbs. I recently ordered 8 T-5 bulbs and 2 of the 8 didnt work.
 
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skyrne_isk

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First rule of troubleshooting this. When one bulb lights and the other doesn't swap them. Don't change them. If the same slot lights the bulbs are good and you know you have 2 good bulbs. I recently ordered 8 T-5 bulbs and 2 of the 8 didnt work.
It’s either old bulbs or something was up with the ballast. I changed probably 3-4 new bulbs before deciding to take a look at the hardware. The bulbs I had on hand were stored inside - but are 5-6 years old at this point .
 
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skyrne_isk

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Man it feels good to be a gangster....

D0048D25-8315-4736-9E35-A5C5FD415D92.jpeg
So that rules out the bulbs as bad, eh?
Perhaps the replacement ballast was bad. I’ll talk to BRS about getting me another unit.
 
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skyrne_isk

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Epilogue: BRS sent out a replacement ballast. Pushed in the wires - fired right up

So after all that - it was a bad replacement ballast that was the problem.
 

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