The T12 HD 'cheapie' Shop Light Fixtures No Longer Work with T8?

bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)March 20, 2013

About 4 years ago I purchased the 48" least-expensive shop light fixtures at Home Depot. They came in a trapezoidal-shaped box. These fixtures were for T12 bulbs however T8s worked in them just fine. I decided to add more fixtures for another shelf of plants yesterday, so I picked up two more of the same fixtures at HD only to find that the T8 bulbs won't work with these newer-generation fixtures.The body of the fixture is identical to the ones I bought 4 years ago. The T8 bulbs work for about a minute when put in fresh and then they flicker like crazy and no turning of the bulbs seems to stabilize the lighting. It seems like the manufacturer changed the electronics inside the fixtures. :(

I liked these fixtures because the old-school server console rack I use for a shelving system is perfectly wide enough to accommodate 4 of these shop light fixtures side by side. The wideness footprint of these fixtures is perfect. I bought a fixture at Walmart last year that wasted too much space between each bulb. I hate to buy a different kind of bulb, so I guess I am shopping for new fixtures that accept T8 that have the same footprint. Any recommendations or should I just buy T12 bulbs?

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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Depending on the bulb, there is often little difference between T8 and T12 bulbs both in lumens (what humans see) and PUR (more important, what plants want). If in your situation I would buy daylight/aquarium or full spectrum T12's.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 7:25PM
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It might be a defective fixture. some T12 light fixtures will use T12/T8, others only T12. You can still buy the T12 for now, I've heard that they will be discontinued in near future. All my lights are now T8. When I buy them, I mark whether the box states T12 or T12/8 or T8, making it easier to know whether the different bulb will work.

I've noticed that alot of store are discounting the T12 only fixtures lately.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 12:13PM
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go onto ebay and get used t8 fluorescent ballast. Read about how to overdrive fluorescent fixtures, and turn your cheap shoplight into a lighting powerhouse, for very little money. a used appropriate ballast is about $10 - buy the ballast that is designed for 4 lamps, instant start, and use two leads for one lamp and 2 leads for the other lamp- your 32w t8 will be running at about 50watts and will put out the increased amount of light that will make your plants really happy - paul m. (that's what i do - anyway)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:55PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I ended up taking the fixtures back to Home Depot and instead settled on the Walmart ones that said T-8 on the box. I'd rather stay in the T8 world, but changing ballasts sounds interesting, so I should look into that for next year. I don't really need to accelerate growth and development though that would be a good catch-up if I get too lazy seeding for my late April\early May batches of tomato plants I sell locally.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:47PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

I use CFL's in closed boxes 4 ft by 4 ft with the Heights to plant needs. They work better than my tube lights by a long shot. Because the ballast is with the bulb there is no trouble shooting, just change the CFL and away you go.

This is where my starts are placed after ,growing in my CFL powered bucket and box light systems

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:04PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

That's fantastic poncirusguy!

Thanks for sharing! Simple and very effective!

Here's my current setup. I use an old server console rack with shop lights hung on the shelves. I used a giant sheet of reflective Mylar on the backside to keep the light inside the giant 'box' From FacebookShared From FacebookShared From FacebookShared

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

Hi bencjedi
You have quite a setup yourself. storage containers with tomatoes popping through holes in the lids. I saw what looked like cat litter buckets with pepper plants. I have 5 gallon buckets with peppers and eggplants. I am trying some thing different this year. Lots of frost covers and cold frames. You appear to have completed what I am in the early stages of. Thanks for the pics.

My sites are public so feel free to look beyond the direct links

Skyscraper eggplant starts

Skyscraper pepper plants from over seas 200 years back
eppers on the rail.

Pear, 2 apples, 2 sweet cherries, 3 grapes, 2 gooseberry, 3 rhubarb, 3 kiwis, 3 sweet lee tangerine seedlings

Spinach field with brussel sprout front left

Broccoli 16 plants

2 pear trees maxine to left, moon glow to right

the climb down out of the garden

Click on the link below to see more

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 11:08PM
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