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Crappy Altos giving me a headache!

Crappy Altos giving me a headache!

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Here we have a photo of 1 of my 4 lamps that are giving me a headache. Since I have moved into my home at the end of August last year, I have put these up in the basement as "night lights" that stay on all night. I hate dark spaces, so I have to have some light on. These were doing well for about 2 months, and then started being very stubborn at lighting. All are on trigger start ballasts, and take anywhere from 2 to 8 minutes to strike! This photo is when the quickest one would strike and the photo makes it brighter than it actually is. Takes several minutes for the entire lamp to be fully lit. I thought about trashing these, but I am a little reserved about using some of my older lamps for the time being.

Crappy_Altos!.jpg Lamps_from_ebay.jpg Lamps_from_ebay2.jpg Restore_find_6-13-14_F13T5_Lamps.jpg

Light Information

Light Information

Manufacturer:Philips
Model Reference:F20T12/D
Lamp
Lamp Type:Fluorescent
Base:medium bi-pin
Service Life:not sure
Fixture
Ballast Type:Magnetek trigger start ballast, magnetic of course!
Electrical
Wattage:20W
Physical/Production
Factory Location:USA

File information

File information

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Filename:Crappy_Altos!.jpg
Album name:Brendda75 / Fluorescent Lamps
Keywords:Lamps
File Size:155 KB
Date added:Jan 30, 2015
Dimensions:2050 x 1537 pixels
Displayed:209 times
URL:http://www.lighting-gallery.net/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-103801
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LegacyLighting
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Blake


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Jan 30, 2015 at 05:54 PM Author: LegacyLighting
Hi Brendda,

It's always a difficult choice between using cheap lamps or good ones as daily runners. I wonder if these ones might run better as pre-heat?
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Jan 30, 2015 at 06:03 PM Author: sol
Where are they made ? I have some Philips Alto F15T8 that are made in Holland. One has been doing 24/7 service since July 2011. They are plenty bright and strike very quickly. All are on preheat though. Can't say the same for Indonesian GE, however.
Brendda75
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LOVE my 8' slimline!!


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Jan 30, 2015 at 06:07 PM Author: Brendda75
I do have to agree with you Blake. I do have a few good ones from the 80s and earlier, but I would rather them be saved than used. I did try these lamps on a few different preheat fixtures. They don't like striking and after doing it once, I wouldn't do it again. Would be a lot of wear and tear on the starter blinking for 3-5 minutes before striking. Thats on the normal power factor ballast. On my HPF one, (one of the first pics I uploaded), the lamp lasted about 1 minute before one of the cathodes blew.

Love dresses, make-up and just crazy about fluorescent lighting!!  Keep those T12's and magnetic ballasts alive!!

Brendda75
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Jan 30, 2015 at 06:08 PM Author: Brendda75
Sol: They were made in the USA.

Love dresses, make-up and just crazy about fluorescent lighting!!  Keep those T12's and magnetic ballasts alive!!

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Jan 30, 2015 at 06:14 PM Author: sol
Have you tried using them on preheat ? They would in theory strike faster.
Brendda75
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LOVE my 8' slimline!!


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Jan 30, 2015 at 06:26 PM Author: Brendda75
I did try on a few preheat fixtures, but they still took several minutes to start, and my HPF one blew the cathode out after about a minute of trying. Seems like Philips don't care about the US made lamps like they do in Holland or Belgium.

Love dresses, make-up and just crazy about fluorescent lighting!!  Keep those T12's and magnetic ballasts alive!!

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Jan 30, 2015 at 06:38 PM Author: don93s
I've seen good and bad batches of Philips lamps but as a rule, I pretty much stay away from their post 90's fluorescents and their post 80's mercury vapor. I make a few exceptions like the circlines...even though made in Thailand, seem pretty decent though I had one go mercury starved.
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5ft 58W


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Jan 30, 2015 at 07:09 PM Author: Flurofan96
Sorry to hear that the Altos are not treating you very well, Brendda75 I also don't like dark spaces too

LED streetlights are flipping Yussless!!!! I'd may as well be in the dark!!!!!

Flaming Nora, where are SOX, SON, MH and MV when you need them

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Jan 30, 2015 at 07:24 PM Author: sol
I use a couple of these as basement night lights in my home. One is 24/7 and the other one used to be on a timer but the timer failed so now it is 24/7 as well. They do a very good job of illuminating the basement (that is 26' by 30' so not that big). I am not particularly a fan of dark spaces.
nicksfans
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Down with lamp bans!


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Jan 30, 2015 at 08:02 PM Author: nicksfans
Just buy some newer "sacrificial" lamps instead of using your old ones, but get GE or Sylvania.

I like my lamps thick, my ballasts heavy, and my fixtures tough.

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Jan 31, 2015 at 12:43 AM Author: TheMaritimeMan
You could fit electronic ballasts to the fixtures, just until these lamps are used up. That would fix the starting issues.

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suzukir123
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Feb 04, 2015 at 11:30 PM Author: suzukir122
Have you tried these on a hpf trigger start ballast? Maybe even an electronic program start? Sounds
like those altos lack mercury and have fragile electrode filaments.

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1966 RCA Victor CTC-25


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Feb 04, 2015 at 11:40 PM Author: TheUniversalDave1
I have an F20T12 Alto, and it is just horrible. When started on preheat or TS, it takes forever and once it starts, it is dim and striating like a 34, except much worse. The ballast is louder, too.

Vintage TV's are like tater chips - you can't have just one.

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Feb 04, 2015 at 11:53 PM Author: TheMaritimeMan
It's funny because there's a couple dozen F20T12 Altos doing 24/7 service on magnetic rapid start at school, and they're several years old and still all working perfect.

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dor123
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Feb 05, 2015 at 05:01 AM Author: dor123
This looks like an air poisoning. I think that a fluorescent lamp with a reliable sealing and thick glass, should be work correctly even with 1.5-2mg (3.306933932773164e-6-4.409245243697552e-6 pound) mercury dose. They would just have a slightly lower light output, or even this not.

I"m don't speak english well, and rely on online translating to write in this site.
Please forgive me if my choice of my words looks like offensive, while that isn't my intention.

I hope that LED won't replace all forms of other lighting.

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Feb 05, 2015 at 05:51 AM Author: TheMaritimeMan
A lamp with 3 pounds of mercury in it would be quite a thing.

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Feb 05, 2015 at 07:45 AM Author: dor123
I used Windows 7 calculator, to convert the 1.5-2mg to pounds, and this was the result.

I"m don't speak english well, and rely on online translating to write in this site.
Please forgive me if my choice of my words looks like offensive, while that isn't my intention.

I hope that LED won't replace all forms of other lighting.

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themaritimeman themaritimeman themaritimeman
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Feb 05, 2015 at 08:01 AM Author: TheMaritimeMan
You used kg instead of mg. 1 kg is 1000000 mg, which is approximately 2 pounds. A couple of milligrams is so small that there's really no other units that would be appropriate to use for it.

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dor123
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Feb 05, 2015 at 08:12 AM Author: dor123
Corrected the information. I didn't noticed that the number in pound had an exp-6 after the fraction.

I"m don't speak english well, and rely on online translating to write in this site.
Please forgive me if my choice of my words looks like offensive, while that isn't my intention.

I hope that LED won't replace all forms of other lighting.

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Feb 15, 2015 at 06:42 PM Author: streetlight98
Yeah I agree with Don about Philips stuff. I try to stay away from anything bearing the Alto name. You will probably have better luck with GE or Sylvania like Nick mentioned. I don't run any night lights except for a 7W C7 incandescent nightlight in the bathroom. I leave the bathroom door open a crack at night and it allows just enough light through for me to make my way down the hallway from my bedroom without bumping into anything lol.

#167

Lightingguy1994
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T12 are and always will be my favorite bulb


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Aug 12, 2017 at 12:03 AM Author: Lightingguy1994
I had 2 alto daylight F20s i got from restore unused and they both were hopelessly starved completely. GE is definitely a better go to
streetlight98
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Mike McCann


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Aug 12, 2017 at 07:52 AM Author: streetlight98
All new T8 lamps are starved upon first light-up. The 30-pk of GEs my grandpa got actually says to leave the lamps running for a few hours after initially installing them to allow the tube to "break in". And once you do that, GE tubes won't act mercury starved at start-up anymore! Sylvania T8s do it every freakin' time though. Even if you had the tube lit for 10 hours and shut it off for a half hour and turn it back on... still dim and flickery in the middle.

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HU112
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Chester


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Aug 12, 2017 at 12:34 PM Author: HU112
According to most members on this forum, it seems that the American Alto T12s are utterly crap
These tubes have extremely low mercury dose(1.7mg according to the Philips specsheet, 8.0mg in European 20W T12), no doubt they always gone Mercury starved.

My Chinese Osram L36W/840 is even worse than this. It did strike up easily, but the initial brightness is similar to a 15W incandescent, if not, even dimmer.
Takes ages for it to brighten up, light output is similar to a 18W T8 after an hour running.

The non-American Alto ones are actually different, I see them as European 'Eco' tubes in a Alto disguise.

No more cheapy crappy Chinese junk, please.

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Aug 12, 2017 at 12:49 PM Author: HomeBrewLamps
I've always associated "american made" as a good thing.... i guess in this case thats not the case

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Mike McCann


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Aug 12, 2017 at 01:15 PM Author: streetlight98
American made doesn't mean anything. Often times (such as with automobiles or example) American made is junkier because in order to keep competitive with other country's lower labor costs, US-made stuff uses cheaper components and has less bells and whistles to even out the cost. GE HID cobraheads are still made in the USA but Cooper Lighting's Mexican-made cobraheads are better quality and still less expensive.

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Aug 12, 2017 at 01:26 PM Author: wattMaster
AEL also makes their cobraheads in Mexico, and they seem to be good quality.

Where are bucket lights when you need them?

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Mike McCann


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Aug 12, 2017 at 02:15 PM Author: streetlight98
AELs are about on-par with GEs.

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Aug 12, 2017 at 02:35 PM Author: Ash
For all i know a lamp can start without any mercury in it at all. Taking 8 minutes to start looks to me like entirely unrelated to the Mercury dose, just a too high starting voltage (maybe wrong dose of starting gas used ?)

This might be possible to solve by using a small (few VA) 12V isolation transformer, stepping up the voltage supplied to the ballast input to up the OCV
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