Rated 2.5 out of 5 by 2
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by ElApuesto finding the right ballast can be tricky
This website says that my local Home Depot has 29 of the 4x48"-T8 ballasts from GE. But, they don't have any ballasts from GE at all, apparently, so I got 2 Philips Advance ballasts instead. One is an AmbiStar, which is marked "for residential use only", and the other is marked as a Centium with a part number that begins "IOPA". The OP in IOPA means Optanium. Optanium <> Centium. I called Philips to ask what the deal was, and the man I spoke with was surprised by the mislabeling, but said the part number, and not the "Centium" part, should be right. He also said that was a good thing, because Optaniums were better (more efficient themselves, and better for use with efficient tubes). This website lists Centiums at 3x the price of Optaniums. In-store, I paid the lower price, despite being labelled as a Centium.
The Philips rep also gave me a pretty simple answer to my AmbiStar vs Optanium question. The Optanium (and Centium) are more efficient, and therefore approved for commercial use, but have higher EMI. The Ambistar, on the other hand, is less efficient (and, thus, "for residential use only"), in order to create less interference with radios, TVs, and whatever else.
So, I installed the probably-Optanium ballast and it works fine, with no humming or flickering and no noticeable difference in radio interference vs. the Sylvania ballast I replaced.
March 18, 2013
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by Greg Only a good value if you like to replace them every couple of months
They last about 6 -7 weeks. I have 4 fixtures in the kitchen. The original ballasts lasted around 3 years and some are still working. The 2 that I have had to replace have each been replaced 3 times now in the last year and a half. Bought the last one somewhere else. Guess I see if those replacements fair any better.
September 13, 2013