Retrofitting an old PC Fixture

Discussion in 'DIY' started by xcaret, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. xcaret

    xcaret Supporting Member

    Been working on re-arranging the basement after the seismic work, will take me couple years (at least). New shelves will be put in so I can have better use of the space and then sort what I have to keep, what I want to keep and what I must definitely NOT keep...
    Found a PC fixture, two 55W bulbs that still rock, has two moonlights built in and I came across a reflector; spare one for a Tek fixture that is buried in there so what the heck. Cut the Aluminum to size to then squeeze it in the fixture so I can add four T5 lamps (24")
    I just need to figure if the current ballasts can be used to power each, a pair of lamps; each ballast is a 55W unit so it should but need to figure the wiring first to make sure.
    At one point in the life of the fixture I had in mind to gut it and place two DIY DE-MH reflectors for 150W bulbs but that never happened...
    So here's the progress so far

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  2. xcaret

    xcaret Supporting Member

    Finally done.
    I could not make the stock ballast work for two lamps each so while sorting things in the basement found an old CSL Custom Sea Life PC ballast; I believe most of their ballasts are Fulham Workhorse; this one had a couple Workhorse 5, a little too much for two 24W lamps.
    I had a couple Workhorse 3, more suitable but they don't turn on, maybe the fuse blew; these ballasts are covered in a tar like product so checking the electronics inside to find the fuse was not worth the effort. The fuse has to be the closest thing to the hot wire but still, removing that stuff...
    So today after sorting boxes I gave up on that and went to distract myself with the retrofit of the old Current USA PC fixture.
    I used the two Workhorse 5 ballasts, wired the sockets (gutted from a Tek light I'll fix it life) I was missing, attached the ballasts to the case and connected all wires, attach test bulbs and there was light, precious blinding blue T5 light. Then I found one Workhorse 3 ballast that works but just one...
    So the fixture has a shot at life again; nice looking little thing even built in moon lights; one of the two ML is dim but not gonna worry about that.
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  3. Newjack

    Newjack Supporting Member

    nice job! way to make use of an old fixture.
  4. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I might have a spare T5 ballast around somewhere if you need it.
  5. xcaret

    xcaret Supporting Member


    And I would appreciate that; I don't know much about ballasts; these ones, WH5 are self adjusting? for the lamps it runs but in the technical data nowhere near specifies for 24W T5 lamps; I don't want to overdrive the bulbs so they have a much shorter life span.
  6. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I do have a couple of nice electronic ballasts, but turns out they are T12, not T5HO.
    2 x GE ProLine ge-240-rs-mv-n-diy.

    Not sure what happened to my old T5 ballasts.
  7. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    IIRC they do self regulate, there are just so many different possible combos that all cant be represented on the label. Easiest check is to put iton a killawatt meter to see how much it pulls
  8. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    It all depends on the ballast.
    A cheap magnetic ballast had better be run with exactly the bulbs it was built for.
    A modern electronic multi-voltage ballast can run with a wide variety of bulbs.
    And there are many specs to worry about: Voltage, Current, frequency, start-up-type, automatic shutoff, etc.

    But really:
    1) The cost of a new ballast is about the same as the cost of a set of bulbs.
    2) New ballasts are noticeably more energy efficient than old ones.
    3) There are a lot of specs to try to match. Voltage, Current, frequency, start-up-type, automatic shutoff, etc.
    Experiment with old used ballasts, but then buy a new ballast that specifically lists the matching bulb.

    Opinion on over driving: I would get HO, not VHO.

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