Building maintenance technicians for commercial, retail or institutional facilities with fluorescent lighting have hundreds, if not thousands of fluorescent tubes that have to be routinely checked and maintained. Even though those tubes last for tens of thousands of hours, they do ultimately fail, some prematurely, and some stop working because of other problems with the installation ballast.
In the past, this type of maintenance has usually meant lots of trial and error. If a light was found to be out, the technician would have had to climb a ladder, open up the cover, remove the bad tube and replace it. If the new tube did not light, the technician either tried again or had to call an electrician or bring out a voltage tester.
Fluke has now developed a tool that takes the trial and error – and a significant amount of time – out of maintaining fluorescent lighting. The Fluke 1000FLT Fluorescent Light Tester, specifically designed for building maintenance professionals, is an all-in-one fluorescent lamp tester, ballast tester, non-contact voltage tester, pin continuity tester and ballast-type discriminator.
Some fluorescent lighting testers on the market may have one or two testing features. Fluke developed a device that takes care of all the essential lighting tests, saving time, tool bag space and trips up and down ladders. Instead of having to carry two or three testing tools, the 1000FLT is able to make all of the following measurements:
• Lamp test: Allows testing without removing the tube from the ballast. The tester sends a pulse of energy that lights up the tube if there is gas in it. The 1000FLT is compatible with T5, T8 and T12 fluorescent tubes.
• Ballast test: Determines whether the ballast is working.
• Non-contact voltage test: Checks for the presence of voltage without touching the source.
• Pin continuity test: Tests whether filaments in the tube have continuity.
• Ballast-type discriminator: The 1000FLT is the first multi-function tester to include this feature, allowing technicians to easily identify whether the ballast is electronic or magnetic without taking the fixture apart or even climbing a ladder. The tester is aimed at the ballast from the ground and it immediately identifies if the tube is the old-style, power hungry magnetic ballast, for maintenance or replacement.
The 1000FLT’s user interface was designed to be as simple as possible, with all tests delivering instant results. The ballast, voltage and pin continuity tests indicate results with either a Go or No Go indicator light. The ballast-type discriminator lights up either the magnetic or electronic LED on the face of the tester, while the lamp test result is determined by the user if the tube lights up or not.
Users can run all five tests on the 1000FLT in about 30 seconds, so if one has hundreds of fluorescent lights to maintain, it can save hours of testing time every week. One customer has reported a saving 40 to 60 minutes by testing roughly 50 light fixtures per day using the 1000FLT.
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