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  1. #1
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    Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    We snagged an Ott-Lite Floor task lamp on some major sale a few years ago and the ballast has stopped working. In my research on this I'm finding that Ott-Lite doesn't make their spare parts freely available and I'm not sure I want to continue with this style if it doesn't hold up any better. One source suggested a better option would be to replace the OEM "simple reactance" ballast with an "electronic" ballast if you knew what you were doing. Well I don't know much about this kind of stuff and what I do know scares me. I know we have some EEs in the group. We even have some Lighting Experts. Could someone give me some guidance on what to do here please? Here are some pics of what I have:

    The broken part that plugs into the wall:







    Thanks for any suggestions! Our old eyes appreciate it.
    ‎"Good things happen to people who underestimate their setbacks."-Jason Isbell

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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Out of curiosity, labeling aside, is the ballast actually in the wall wart power supply or in the lamp base? I ask because that lamp has an awfully substantial lamp base, suggesting the bulk of the ballast could be in the lamp base and the wall wart may be little more than a power supply (sometimes the parts are labelled as a package rather than as individual parts). I'm not terribly familiar with the Ott brand lights, but at their core they are a normal fluorescent bulb (with phosphors optimized for a certain spectrum) and I would expect them to use an otherwise typical ballast.

    It is often possible to repair a damaged ballast -- often times a component (fuse, resistor, diode, etc.) burns out when the bulb fails -- depending upon exactly which component failed. Many are practical to replace but if by chance the inductors fail then it may be impractical to fix. The real challenge can be gaining access to the ballast as most of the wall warts nowadays are ultrasonically welded plastic which can only be accessed by physically cutting the unit open. The challenge then is safely resecuring the power supply housing after it has been repaired. If the ballast is in the lamp base, which appears to be secured with screws, then access for repair is much simpler. Whether or not repair is practical and worth attempting depends largely upon the overall replacement costs -- or novelty value -- since they often fail at the bulb's end-of-life. The other challenge -- in the absence of a working unit to reference against -- can be trying to identify the characteristics (e.g. resistance) of the failed component if its markings have been destroyed by the failure -- it is hard to replace a component whose correct value you can not quantify and the manufacturers seldom provide schematics for their products nowadays!

    Sadly, we have become a senselessly throw-away society and it absolutely drives me nuts!

    One option would be to scan sites like ebay where both working and non-working (e.g. 'parts only') equipment can be bought and sold. A quick and dirty way to get your unit back up and running for a reasonable price is to buy someone else's junk. Otherwise, I really don't know where to look for identical drop-in replacement parts for your Ott light since no vendor specifications are available to base such a suggestion upon. The typical advice in your scenerio is to buy replacement parts from the original manufactutrer (OEM), but if they will not sell the individual parts then you are left with either replacing the unit or attempting third party repair.

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    I agree with Ethan, your ballast is most likely in the lamp base. Can you take it apart and take some more pics? The wall plug is likely just a small transformer.
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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Thanks guys!
    I just did some exploratory surgery and here is what I found:
    There are two bases. This one which is a steel counterweight and empty:



    The lead goes up to the lamp head. And this one at the base of the bulb which has a switch, wires, a small pc board (wrapped in shrink tubing and cable tie) and the tube receptacle:



    What I want to do is get rid of the wall wart and whatever the small PC board is and connect a standard electronic ballast and correct switch. This is too dang nice to toss.
    ‎"Good things happen to people who underestimate their setbacks."-Jason Isbell

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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    The real difference between the Ott light and a standard light of similar design is the coating inside the lamp, which produces the special color temperature that the Ott lights use. All of the lamp electronics are identical to other similar fixtures. You should be able to find an electronic ballast, or at least a regular ballast, for it quite easily by matching it to the wattage of the lamp.

    If you can provide the lamp wattage I'll try to find a source for you

    Charley

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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Charles,
    It's an 18 watt single compact flourescent bulb with 4 pins.
    ‎"Good things happen to people who underestimate their setbacks."-Jason Isbell

  7. #7
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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Here are a few possibilities. Space in the lamp housing will likely determine your choice for re-wiring and replacement. Although I have seen the wall wort type of ballast that is used in your fixture (and have owned a few) I haven't yet found a source for them. I'll keep looking.

    Charley


    http://www.directaquarium.com/Curren...st-p/10547.htm

    http://www.ballastkit.com/index.php?...53&cPath=0_600

    http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/el...campaignId=T9F

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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Thanks Charles!
    Would there be a problem with using one of these ballasts external to the lamp, extending the lamp leads about about 5ft and feeding them through the pole? I'm thinking about making a small box out of a junked CD drive case or something similar. My space inside the lamp head is limited to about 2 X 1.5 X 2. Even if I remove the mounting tabs I'm still outside of that on the smallest ones.
    (BTW...I'm looking at the plastic cased, nonground type ballasts)
    ‎"Good things happen to people who underestimate their setbacks."-Jason Isbell

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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Extending the wires 5' or more shouldn't make any difference, but remember that there are 4 wires to the lamp. They need to connect to the correct terminals of the lamp, so color coding the wires would be a good idea. Also, make sure that the container that you choose for the ballast is heat resistant, as I would expect the ballast to get to about 150 deg during extended use. Ventilation would be a good idea too.

    Charley

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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Thanks!
    I found this one:
    http://www.fulham.com/PDFs/SpecSheet...TW-2006-20.pdf

    and ordered it. It will wedge in to the space with some ventilation slots cut into the lamp.
    ‎"Good things happen to people who underestimate their setbacks."-Jason Isbell

  11. #11
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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    That should do it. I'm not far away, so can help with the installation if you need it.

    Charley

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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Allright, let there be light!


    I got it fixed! Here's a step by step because there are no others on the net I could find:

    The Pony "Sugarcube" SC120-118-CTW electronic ballast finally arrived (~$10 from www.prolighting.com because no CLT suppliers had it or a crossmatch)


    It needed the mounting tabs removed in order to fit inside of the lamp head. Quick work with a sharp chisel.


    After removing the wall wart and the PC board and power switch in the lamp head,


    I added a new "normal" 2 prong power plug and a switch to the leads at the wall. Then wired the ballast:


    and wired the bulb socket:


    Held my mouth just right and everything fit with a little ventilation room through the empty switch socket:


    Thanks again everyone who helped!
    ‎"Good things happen to people who underestimate their setbacks."-Jason Isbell

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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Congratulations, Mark. I knew you could do it.

    Charley

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    Re: Ott-Lite Ballast Help Needed

    Nice job Mark! Now you can add Electrical Apprentice to your resume. Been away a while and came back to this super post.
    pOp What happens if you're scared half to death - twice?

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