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Early Universal Therm-O-Matic Ballast

Early Universal Therm-O-Matic Ballast

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I can't believe I almost threw this thing in the dumpster. I was cleaning my mini storage unit out and going through a pickup truck load of rusty, bent up louver fixtures fellow member Icefoglights and I rescued last fall and finally got around to tossing some of the chassis and louver units that were simply too far gone to try and restore. (I should have saved the eight footers, but they were bent up and I got sufficiently sick of tripping over them to bend them in half and throw them in the dumpster). With that said, most had replacement Triad electronic ballasts, something I figure is toast if they'd been sitting outside in the weeds for probably a decade or more (Which they were until a few months ago). As I started dealing with these things, broken glass from lamps and leaves and dirt and blue tarp shreds raining out of them every time I moved them, it occurred to me before I threw this single four foot unit in the dumpster I should see what it had for a ballast. I fought to pop the (bent up) louvers off (It wasn't one of the better fixtures) and lo and behold this greeted me. I couldn't believe I almost sent it to the landfill. No idea if it works, but with these ballasts it wouldn't even surprise me if it did. I'll try it at some point with some junky Altos. I've seen worse ballasts that worked fine.

It's definitely PCB laden and has the rubber wires. I've heard these early, pre-34w Universals would fry fast with 34 watt lamps, the proliferation of those in the 70s and 80s cooked lots of these ballasts or so I've heard. With that said, these fixtures came with a bunch of SP35 GE Watt-Misers in close proximity and in smashed remnants in some fixtures, so I presume this fixture had them. It doesn't appear to be a tarry mess, though, so I am willing to bet this ballast may still work- just need 120 volts, 60 hertz to find out, which I didn't have available at the time, and an expendable pair of Altos.

Can someone roughly date the era? I'll pull the ballast later on, these fixtures need paint and some replaced louver slats badly. (I threw away some of the worse-off fixtures, since I just got tired of stumbling over them, but I saved enough lovers and ballast channel covers to make two nice sets for the two four footers I saved.

Funny but true side note: While I was trying to tear the bent up fixtures down for enough parts to piece together two good ones, I found about the only way to make louver slats pop out, since they are all rusted in place, is to hit the pavement at highway speed from the bed of a pickup truck. Why do I know this? Because it actually happened when originally picking these things up, resulting in a quick U-turn, flashers on, and picking up louver slats over a 300 yard stretch of shoulder.

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Light Information

Light Information

Lamp Type:L
Ballast Type:Magnetic Rapid Start, High Power Factor
Location:Fairbanks, AK

File information

File information

Download: Download this File
Album name:ace100w120v / Ballasts
File Size:552 KB
Date added:May 02, 2019
Dimensions:1848 x 2464 pixels
Displayed:42 times
Date Time:2019:05:01 10:45:38
DateTime Original:2019:05:01 10:45:38
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Exposure Time:1/15 sec
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May 02, 2019 at 05:47 AM Author: rjluna2
There should be a date stamp under the ballast.

Pretty, please no more Chinese failure.

fluorescent lover 40
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Lights are awesome! :)

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May 02, 2019 at 07:02 AM Author: fluorescent lover 40
if the wires are rubber, then it's probably from the early '70s.

Current: US 120v 60hz
Power provider: Southern California Edison (SCE)

-Date decoder of some US lamps 1960-present.
-I'll save any vintage lamp... dead or alive! Smiley

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May 02, 2019 at 01:25 PM Author: ace100w120v
Good to know, thanks!
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May 03, 2019 at 06:27 AM Author: suzukir122
I know of the Universal Thermo-matic ballasts, but I have NEVER seen this version of them before.

1. Motorcycles, Women, and Lighting (especially fluorescent)
2. Weighting/staying extremely athletic
3. Severe Thunderstorms of all kinds
4. Food and drinks. So gimme them bbq ribs
Lighting has been a passion of mine since I was born. I consider everyone on LG to be a friend

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