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Old April 18th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #1
Chris Kenny
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Frustration finding fluorescent fixture

I'm trying to build a low-cost fluorescent lighting system. I thought I had things pretty much figured out, but tracking down what I need has turned out to be much harder than I thought.

My intention is to use real Kino Flo bulbs, specifically the 242-K55. This appears to just be a standard F40T12 fluorescent. My problem is, though, every fixture I can find for F40T12 bulbs has a magnetic ballast. Which, of course, will result in flicker.

This ballast will do what I want, it seems, but where can I get a fixture without a ballast to install it in?

Alternatively, can someone recommend a decent electronic T8 fixture and compatible daylight bulbs with a good (above 90) CRI?

It's remarkably hard to try to find items like this. Google searches are nearly useless.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 01:46 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
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I got a 4ft. fluorescent shop light that accepts both T8 and T12 bulbs from Lowes and, of course, has an electronic ballast for $23. I found some T12 and T8 bulbs that are > 90CRI at both Lowes and Home Depot.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 02:10 PM   #3
Chris Kenny
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Thanks. Looked at the Lowes web site and then the American Fluorescent site. Some of the American Fluorescent stuff is much closer to what I need than anything I've been able to dig up. Unfortunately, they don't seem to offer a 24" F40 fixture -- only 48". I want this set-up to be semi-portable, and 48" seems like it would be awkwardly large.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 11:01 PM   #4
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Location: Honolulu, HI
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48" is a bit large for transport. I am hoping to get big "compact" fluorescents in the 65-85W range and put them in softboxes to get more control and portability. A higher power alternative is something like the KinoFlo Diva400 with 4 55W high-output bulbs. Something a bit cheaper, that I have not used, that is made of the same style can be found here:

28,800 lumens for $500 and only a few hundred watts needed is fairly compelling. I have never used that company, so maybe someone else can give their thoughts.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 11:43 PM   #5
Major Player
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 327
Hey Chris,

If you can't find a fixture that works for you, why not just make one that meets the specs of what you want? The Kino Flo tube clips can be purchased as "spare parts" from FilmTools or ESS, and you can make the fixture out of whatever you want. The ballasts can be wired using zip cord and add-a-taps as long as you follow the ballast's wiring diagram.

Also, for daylight tubes, B&H sells GE Cinema Series 5500K F40 T12 tubes for $8/tube. They are sold under the Lowel name but are in fact real-deal GE Cinemas. No green spike, much more affordable that Kinos.

You could theoretically make a 4-bank fluorescent light that will do what you want for under $100.
Matt Irwin
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Old April 20th, 2006, 10:50 PM   #6
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Location: northern cailfornia
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remember Kino flo tubes have a thick plastic coating around the tube so if it breaks it stays together very careful with NON kino flo tubes - when they break they are a MESS ..

call you local rental lighting house or look up gaffers in your area to buy the tubes ...

i use the 2 foot tube with regular magnetic ballast (home depot- they sometimes have electronic ballast) .. i use 20- 25 ft 12-14 gauge wire from the ballest to the tubes ( a gaffer made them with ends that snaps on tubes) .. i usually just tape the tubes to walls/doors/ceilings
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