Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting ... Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting

Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting
Date Released: June 2014
Application Note #436
PN: 048436 Rev: B
Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting
Note: All applicable safety and electrical codes must be adhered to when using
this manual. In the United States, all testing/inspecting of light fixtures must
be in compliance at minimum with The National Electric Code, NFPA 70E
and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.333 regulations concerning electrical and elevated
work safety. Refer to these regulations and other applicable local and national
codes before using this manual.
This troubleshooting checklist is designed to offer guidance when
troubleshooting Lutron fluorescent dimming systems. It is intended to be used
by qualified personnel. Lutron is not responsible for its misuse and does not
guarantee that all fluorescent dimming problems in field applications can be
resolved with its use.
Questions: For technical support or to return product for analysis contact
Lutron Technical Support Center at (800) 523-9466.
*The Lutron socket wiring tester (model number FDB-LSWT-T5/T8) helps to
decrease the amount of time troubleshooting fluorescent fixture wiring issues.
It is used to verify proper filament voltage is present at all pins of fluorescent
lamp sockets. This tester can be purchased at www.Lutronstore.com
Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting
Application Note #436
Date Released: June 2014
PN: 048436 Rev: B
General Information
Filling out the requested information and sending it to systemsupport@lutron.com will help to expedite
your service
Name: _____________________
Company: _____________________
Contact Number:_____________________
E-mail address: _____________________
For Jobs in North America
Preferred time and day to be contacted (please circle both time block and time zone):
Time Zone:
Job Specific Information
Job Name: _____________________
Job location: _____________________
Ballast Model(s) #: ______________________________________________________________
Control Model(s) #:______________________________________________________________
Lamp brand(s) and Model #:______________________________________________________
How long have the ballasts been installed: _____________________
Were the ballasts Preinstalled in the fixtures or installed on site (please circle one)
Symptom seen (Please be as descriptive as possible):__________________________________
Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting
Date Released: June 2014
Application Note #436
PN: 048436 Rev: B
Identify the symptom you are experiencing and perform the actions listed. See glossary for
explanation of terms
Fail to illuminate
Perform actions: A,B,C,G,H,I,J,L,M,N,P,R,S,T
Have blackened ends
Perform actions: A,B,C,G,J,L,N,O,S
Perform actions: A,B,C,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,R,S,T
Perform actions: A,B,C,D,E,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,P,R,S,T
Perform actions: A,B,C,G,H,I,K,Q,R
“Ring-like shadows” moving across the lamp
Perform actions: A,B,C,D,E,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,R,S,T
Extinguish when dimming
Perform actions: A,B,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,P,R,T
Fail prematurely
Perform actions: A,B,C,I,J,L,M,N,O,R,S,T
Are stuck at high end
Perform actions: A,D,E,G,H,I,K,P,Q,R
Are stuck at low end
Perform actions: A,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,P,Q,R,S
Have limited dimming range
Perform actions: A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,P,Q,R,S,T
Are pink at start up
Perform actions: A,B,C,G,J,L,M,O,R,S,T
Are pink all the time
Perform actions: A,B,C,G,J,L,M,O,R,S,T
Are dimmer on one end than the other
Perform actions: A,B,C,G,J,L,M,O,R,S,T
Glow or flicker in the digital off state
Perform actions: A,B,C,G,I,J,L
Fixture buzzes
Perform actions: A,C,G,
Fixture Contains an Emergency Ballast: See “Advanced Troubleshooting for fixtures with
both Lutron ballasts and emergency ballast”
Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting
Application Note #436
Date Released: June 2014
PN: 048436 Rev: B
A) Verify ballast model number matches the lamp wattage and number of lamps (See Figure 1).
o Ballast model#:______________________ Qty in fixture:________
o Lamp model #:_______________________Qty in fixture:________
*Reduced wattage lamps must be driven by reduced wattage ballasts (Ex: EC5TXRWJUX)
B) Verify that the lamp wire length does not exceed the maximum length specified on the
ballast label (See Figure 2Figure 2).
o Length of Red wires:________
o Length of Blue wires:________
o Length of Yellow wires:________
o Length of Blue/White wires:________
C) Ensure the lamp is not touching any metal part of the fixture
o Measured minimum distance between lamp and nearest ground plane/grounded
D) Verify the ballasts are dimmable (See Figure 1).
*Confirm ballast does not have a custom ballast factor (model number will end in “Cxx”)
E) Check the low end light level rating of the ballast (1%, 5% or 10%) (See Figure 1).
F) Ballast may be running above rated temperature. Verify case temperature on the ballast
is not being exceeded (See Figure 2).
o _____°C or °F (circle one) Method used to measure temperature:_________________
*Some ballast have a feature called ”Thermal Foldback”. Thermal Foldback will engage when the ballast is
running above its rated temperature. Once engaged the output will be reduced to attempt to cool down the
ballast. This may cause a cycling effect.
G) Make sure ballast is grounded
o Measured resistance from ballast enclosure to known good ground ________Ω
o Reference ground used:_____________________
H) Verify that the control wiring for the dimmer/dimming system is properly connected
o Control model number:______________________________
o If applicable list what the load type is set to:___________________
*Is there a high end trim set on the system?
I) Verify proper line voltage is present at the ballast (See Figure 1).
 AC voltage measured from hot to neutral at the ballast:________________
Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting
Application Note #436
Date Released: June 2014
PN: 048436 Rev: B
Actions continued
J) Ensure the sockets are wired correctly according to the wiring diagram on the ballast.
Yellows must be wired in parallel, not series (See Figure 2).
*The Lutron Socket Tester can identify this issue.
K) If the ballast is 3-wire controlled, verify that the dimmed-hot and switched-hot inputs are
not reversed.
*This can be verified by placing the control to its highest setting, turning off the breaker, and
disconnecting and capping the Switched Hot output at the controller. Turn the breaker back
on and all fixtures that are wired correctly will be out. All miswired fixtures will remain on.
L) Verify that the lamp sockets are rapid-start type (non- shunted), not instant-start
*The Lutron Socket Tester can identify this issue.
M) Replace the lamp. If this resolves the symptom, Date new lamp(s) installed and see
actions “N” and “O”
N) Lamps may be at the end of their life. Compare how long they were running with the
rated lifetime of the lamp
O) Contact lamp vendor to ensure that the lamps are compliant to the appropriate ANSI and
IEC lamp specifications. Lutron cannot certify lamp compliance, only ballast compliance.
P) Make sure the dimmer/dimming system is the proper control type for the ballast.
Q) Check if there is a daylight sensor in the system. Daylight levels may need to be adjusted if
lights are not at the desired level.
*Disconnecting E1/E2 from the ballast will allow the ballast to go to its full brightness unless a 3-wire control is
also connected. Using both 3-wire and digital controls is not recommended
R) If there is an emergency ballast in the fixture, confirm that it is wired properly and not
interfering with the dimming performance. See the “Emergency Ballast Troubleshooting”
sections for more advanced troubleshooting tips.
S) Lamps may be too cold. Shield the lamps from air flow.
T) Lamp(s) may be damaged or at the end of their life. Swap lamp(s) with known good
lamp(s) to see if problem follows the lamp. Replacing the lamp with another brand or
model is another option.
Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting
Date Released: June 2014
Application Note #436
PN: 048436 Rev: B
Advanced Troubleshooting for fixtures with both Lutron
ballasts and emergency ballast:
Exchange lamps with lamps in a working fixture.
o If the problem “follows the lamps” then the lamps have been damaged,
possibly by excessive emergency ballast activation. Verify the customer is
no de-energizing emergency sensing circuit regularly. Replace lamps and
Verify proper wiring of emergency ballast by using wiring diagram provided by EM
ballast manufacturer online.
o If the wiring is found to be incorrect, repair the wiring as needed.
Verify that the socket leads to not exceed their maximum allowable length (7’ linear,
3’ T4 compact and T5 twin tube). Include socket wiring added by the EM ballast.
o If leads are found to exceed their maximum allowable length, shorten
leads as needed.
Disconnect battery connector on EM ballast.
o If the symptom ceases after the battery connector is disconnected, report
issue to EM ballast manufacturer.
Disconnect the single wire from the EM ballast that is connected to either a red or
yellow lead of the dimming ballast.
o If the symptom ceases after removing the single wire, report issue to the
EM ballast manufacturer.
Disconnect the EM ballast socket leads and connect the dimming ballast directly to the
lamps as per the wiring diagram on the product label.
o If the symptom ceases after removing the EM ballast and wiring the
Lutron ballast directly to the lamps, report issue to EM ballast
If the symptoms persist:
o Dimming ballast is likely damaged. Check for proper connections and
replace the dimming ballast. Return removed dimming ballast to Lutron
for analysis and monitor the performance of the new one. If the dimming
ballast fails again, elevate to engineering and EM ballast manufacturer for
advance troubleshooting.
Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting
Application Note #436
Date Released: June 2014
PN: 048436 Rev: B
Figure 1: Sample Ballast unit label, Model number and ratings
A: Ballast model
number and
number of lamps
E: Low End light
level rating
I: Verify proper line voltage at
ballast. To verify, line voltage
should be measured at the
ballast terminals. Raitings of
ballast can be found here.
D: Verify ballasts
are dimmable
Figure 2: Sample Ballast unit label, case temperature, wiring diagram, maximum lead length
F: Calibration point
and maximum case
J: Ballast wiring
B: Maximum lead
Figure 3: Overall sample Ballast label showing where Figure 1 and Figure 2 are.
Figure 1
Figure 2
Dimmable Fluorescent Troubleshooting
Application Note #436
Date Released: June 2014
PN: 048436 Rev: B
Glossary of terms
Flash: Lamps will ignite for a short period of time and then go out.
Flicker: Instability in the light level. Example: similar to the flame of a candle.
Breathing: A minor change in light level in a repetitive up and down pattern. This
usually happens at a slower pace. Comparable to the rate of normal breathing
Digital Off State: Line voltage is still applied to the ballast but the lamps are turned
off with a digital command (system command, sensors, ….)
Emergency Ballast: An emergency ballast is similar to a battery backup. This would
be in addition to the Lutron ballast and would drive the lamp(s) in the event that
power is removed from the Lutron ballast.
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