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OT Compact florescent light bulb ballast reuse/recycle

Discussion in 'General Electronics' started by robert casey, Jul 30, 2007.

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  1. robert casey

    robert casey Guest

    Many times, the part that fails on a bad CFL is the florescent bulb
    itself, and the electronic ballast is still good. It turns out that
    these ballasts (from CFL's that consume 15 watts off the line, not the
    equivalent incandescent bulb wattage) will be quite happy driving a
    regular florescent tube, specifically a F15T8. The kind found in
    kitchen countertop fixtures, or desk lamps.

    You can usually tell a CFL with a bad bulb if the bulb ends are
    darkened, both or just one end. Usually the filament inside one of the
    ends went open. Carefully break the glass bulb (place inside a plastic
    bag, and break the glass tube. Do it outside. After you break off as
    much as you can get from the rest of it, throw the plastic bag with the
    glass fragments and other toxic waste away in a reasonable manner. Then
    carefully break open the plastic shell around the electronic ballast
    (those of you who have cracked open wall warts know what to do) by
    slowly squeezing it in a vise until you can get a screwdriver in there
    to pry it further apart. Keep track of where the florescent bulb's
    filaments connected to on the board inside. Unsolder the wire inside
    the tip of the screw in Edison base. Getting at the other wire that
    connects to the screw shell may be a little hard unless you destroy the
    plastic shell (have at it!). You want to keep track of where the
    powerline connects to the ballast board.

    Unlike a magnetic ballast, the wires that connect to the bulb's
    filaments must be kept separate from the powerline wires. With that in
    mind, connect the filaments to the corresponding points the old CFL bulb
    was connected to, and the line to the same points the powerline did
    connect to. Exercise care as you're playing around with high voltages.

    Once you are satisfied that it works, then you can package the
    electronic ballast to fit inside the housing used for the F15T8
    florescent tube, to replace the hot and hummy magnetic ballast.
  2. From the CFLs I dissected so far I never needed to break the glass. I always
    opened the plastic shell and removed the tube as a whole. Nevertheless toxic
    waste of course. AFAIK the power requirements of the classic tubes do not
    meet the wattage of the energy saving bulbs. I nevertheless replaced a
    classic, bad functioning ballast of a 22W circline by a 20W electronic
    ballast from a energy saving bulb. Perfect performance for over two years so

    petrus bitbyter
  3. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Fluorescent bulbs tend to be very tolerant of being run out of spec, you can
    usually go as far as +30%/-60% without serious life reduction. You do need
    to be careful not to run them too low to assure proper cathode heating
    unless the ballast provides cathode current, which most cheap electronic
    types don't.

    Most CFL ballasts as well are the cheapest of cheap, low power factor, and
    often low reliability, but if you can make one work for you, go for it.
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