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Senior Advisor

Trouble Wiring Flurescent Lights

I'm putting T5 bulbs in my machine shed and can't get them to work.  

Cooper Metalux SNF254T5HO-LP41 

This is a slim line fixture wtih 2 4' 54W bulbs.

Sylvania ballast QS 2X54T5HO/UNV PS80-SC

50/60 Hz 120V-277V Universal voltage.

One of the two bulbs will ightt momentarily then go off.  After that, nothign happens and you can't even relight that one with subsequent switch attempts.

I've wired it 240V and 120V, no difference.

 

I wonder what I'm doing wrong?  I can' tfind any installation guides or wiring diagrams other than to strip the wire 3/8? and put the black wire where is says black and the white wire where it says white.  It says to ground the case and I've done that with the neutral (bare) wire.

 

Am I missing something?

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10 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Trouble Wiring Flurescent Lights

Yep you sure are, sounds like your missing the instructions. Don't fret, you've come to the correct place for help.
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Contributor

Re: Trouble Wiring Flurescent Lights

I would just wire them for 120 volts.   Black is positive or the hot 120v wire and white is the ground.  It should work, try a different light.  Usually those smart ballasts work very well.   I do not think I would try 240 though, but I do not have a wiring diagram in front of me for one.   With 240 you have two hot wires, 120v to ground with 240 volts between them.   I think the white wire should stay a ground wire.  When they say it will work with 277V is when in many 480V 3 phase systems each individual leg is 277V to ground and then 480V between phases or the lines.  For this system you also just juse one leg, thus  277V and then the white wire is the ground.  Of course you switch these with a contactor.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Trouble Wiring Flurescent Lights

I already tried wiring for 120V.  Black is hot, white is neutral, bare is ground.  It lights momentarily.  It is supposed to be good for 0°F and today it was 50°.  I'm out of ideas.

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Contributor

Re: Trouble Wiring Flurescent Lights

Do you have another light to try, maybe you did something to it when you tried the 240v idea.  Sounds like you have it wired right, are the bulbs perfectly in the sockets?  They should light fine in most any temperature , would be just a little dimmer in cool temperatures, so that should not be a problem.  I have put about 40 of these type of lights up and never have had a bad one out of the box yet. 

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Contributor

Few other thoughts.

I looked at wiring diagram for those ballasts and you can not hook up two different phases for the input or hot voltage (black) so I think if you tried to differnet 120 legs if their are two black input wires it may have done some damage.   If their are two black wires, hook both up to the same 120 leg or line how ever it should be said.   Also these ballasts may not work with energy saving t5ho bulbs, whatever they may be.  http://www.lighting-spot.com/pdf/49419.pdf    Are the bulbs wired correctly from the ballast, should be done from the factory but you never know.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Few other thoughts.

This afternoon, I took a new fixture light out of the box and wired it 120V direct to a 15A breaker.  The lamps come with the fixture in the box, so I hope they are right.  I can double check that tomorrow.  The wires both came off the same side of the box, black to the breaker and white and bare to the ground/neutral bus.  This is the entrance  box right off the meter, not a sub panel.

I saw the same info you did on phase differences.  I don't see any way to wire the ballasts differently, but I'll double check again tomorrow.

 

I'm wondering if I have to run a dedicated neutral?  I will try that tomorrow.  

 

I have one more new light and I will try it tomorrow and see if it works.  The only thing I did that may be questionable is that the lamp has two blacks and a white from the ballast to a plug.  On the plug, one receptacle is labelled black, another is labelled white and one is not labelled.  One of the blacks from the ballast goes to an unmarked receptacle.  When I first wired the test fixture today, I put the bare wire in the unmarked black receptacle.  Maybe that was bad.

 

Tomorrow, I'll take the other new light and I'll wire white to white, black to black, and will connect the bare wire to the fixture ground and the other end to the ground lug in the panel.

 

I've wired my house, my shops, my bins and while I'm not a trained electrician, I do have some books I consult and I have never had this kind of problem before, even on other flourescent lights.

 

I talked to an electrician, but I don't think he really knows, either.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Few other thoughts.

I hooked up the fixture and plugged it in an outlet.  Same result as before.  One lamp flickers and then nothing.  So, I took this in to the dealer and told him to plug it in and he could see what was happening.  He plugged it in and the lamp worked perfectly.

 

So, the problem is in my wiring.  I tried it in my farm shop outlet and it works perfectly there, too.  I tried it in a different outlet circuit in teh machine shed and it works there.

 

So, I have some breakers to double check and some wiring to look at.  The breaker I had it hooked to and failed showed 115V so I don't know what the deal is.  Maybe the current flow is too low.

 

Anyway, it's at least good to know the lamps work and I can focus on my wiring to see if I can find out what I did wrong.

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Contributor

Re: Few other thoughts.

Glad you got it figured out.  Sometimes things like that can drive a person crazy.  Could be a bad ground in your wiring, or something like the classic fozen wires that happen in conduit sometimes where when you check there is voltage but the wire is broken/pinched enough that not enough amperage can pass through, or just a loose connection.  Good luck, you will love the T5's.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Trouble Wiring Flurescent Lights

I had a similar problem once. An outlet would run a battery charger, or block heater but not both. It would never trip the breaker. It always showed 120 on a meter also. I had to replace the breaker which was only a couple years old.
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