DIY T12 to T8 Ballast Change.

For those of you with T12 fixtures and are finding it hard to locate T12 Zoo Med or Exo Terra UVB lamps..... This post is for you.

The economics of buying a new T8 fixture from Lowe's for $13 vs. buying a T8 Ballast at Home Depot for about $20 is kind of simple. Why take the time to convert a fixture when the component you are changing costs more than an entire new fixture?

There are some things to consider. How much did you spend on the T12 fixture? Is it a nice fixture that works well for your application? Do you like doing little projects? Is the old T12 fixture one of those $8 Home Depot specials with a POS magnetic ballast that hums? Do you want to create more trash for the land fills?

I have a couple of nice Lithonia fixtures I spent $20 on and added switches and cords to.... The fixture is nice, simple and works well for my application. So I am keeping them and changing them over to T8.

This is the ballast I purchased from Home Depot. It was $20. When looking at the ballast section of you Home Depot or Lowe's pay attention to what you are looking at because if your HD is like mine.... Stuff was ALLL over and nothing was well marked. I had to look closely at the label ON the BALLAST.... lol not the label or the box the ballast was sitting in. Even the labels with prices don't make sense.... So I wasn't even sure of the price till I went up to check out. So just beware.





Now. T12 and T8 fixtures have the same size pins. So you will not need to buy new end caps for the fixture, just the ballast.









I did not realize this until I re-opened my fixture... but apparently it was an electronic ballast. This would explain why it would operate T-8 lamps.... but it was causing 'snaking' and funky operation. 'It is not good for the lamp' is what I gathered from talking to some people.

old vs. new



What you will notice at first is the color and number of wires from old vs. new.





So with the new ballast I had to join wires together. In my fixture at one end of the lamp base there are two blue wires for one lamp base and two red wires for the other. At the other end there are two yellow, which split off with two white.






With the new fixture I put one of the blue wires from the ballast to join the two blue wires for one lamp base and the other blue wire will go to the two red wires. The yellow wires will join to the one red wire from the ballast.







 
Oh... and it did work when I was done.... haha



this is a Philips 'plant and aquarium' lamp with a 6500K GE lamp. a pair of GE lamps is only 6 bucks! It is also the right color temp for growing plants.... where as the Philips lamp is not, its 5000k and costs $8 for one. :(
 

Dinky

New Member
yeah im making an multi system setup up using variety of wavelength led lights as the ultimate setup over grow lights plus no heat :) ill post the diy
 
I am hoping to be installing a T8 Dimmable ballast into one of my fixtures tonight. I will take some photos and share them here... it should be exactly the same as a standard ballast. :)
 

Klutz

New Member
Very clear concise post

Thanks so much for taking the time to put this one together. I had bought the T8 ballast before checking to see if all of them were wired the same. I saw a Sylvania T8 one wired like a T12. Of course, i ended up with an Advance. You saved me a lot of time, gas, and especially frustration. Kudos!! :D You should be delighted to see that your work lives on.
 
Thanks so much for taking the time to put this one together. I had bought the T8 ballast before checking to see if all of them were wired the same. I saw a Sylvania T8 one wired like a T12. Of course, i ended up with an Advance. You saved me a lot of time, gas, and especially frustration. Kudos!! :D You should be delighted to see that your work lives on.
Here is the Phillips Advance dimmable ballast installed into a DIYCages fixture.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/diycages-ballast-change-65121/
 

nerkadan

New Member
changing T12 to T8 bulbs

Great post with great photos and clear instructions. THANK YOU - stumbled on this, I'm not even a chameleon owner. Just want improved light in my pantry, workshop.
 
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