for a jukebox restoration project (changing T12 lamps to T8 by replacing lamp + ballast, the juke uses one ballast and starter per lamp), I am looking for the correct starter of the TL lamp.

The juke states that it uses FS5 and FS2 starters, the lamps are currently F20T12 and F4T5.

Would I be correct in assuming that these both can be replaced with the newer S10 starter by philips ? https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00BFT1RC0/ref=zg_bs_10388864031_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=CZDKH5B6TX3JA17JQYEM

  • In the U.S. old mag ballasts were outlawed in 2002 or 2004 I don’t remember as it was delayed several times. Since then all ballasts are electronic and no longer need a starter. Since you are updating you might consider a frosted T8 led instead of the fluorescent. But it would be obvious a change as most led tubes only have 120 deg beam angle.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 19, 2019 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


The starter is part of the ballast

So it goes with the ballast.

Changing from T12 to T8 is a good thing to do. You have to change the ballast.

T8 ballasts are almost universally electronic ballasts, do not use starters, and use one of two wiring schemes.

Old-style ballasts that use starters use quite a different wiring scheme.

Your new ballast includes a wiring diagram, either on the label or its instructions/data sheet. You will need to convert to this new wiring scheme. It will not involve starters. So there is no reason to be shopping for starters, unless (amazingly) your T8 ballast requires one, in which case you'll need to use the starter it proscribes.

Choices of ballast type

Since a starter based lamp does use preheats, that means your lampholders will be 2-wire (non-shorting). That means you can use any modern T8 ballast (which matches your bulbs): instant-start, rapid-start or programmed-start.

  • Instant-start ballasts don't use the preheaters, and strike the arc with sheer brute force: a big voltage spike. This is hard on the tube, and will necessitate more frequent tube changes. (that's relevant if the tube is difficult to change).
  • Rapid-start ballasts do the same thing starters do; they use the pre-heater filaments before striking the arc, to ease wear and tear on the tubes.
  • Programmed-start ballasts preheat intelligently, actively monitoring tube conditions until the ideal arc strike. These are far easiest on the tube; the tubes can even outlast LEDs! However, this patient preheating can annoy; for instance at -20C they can take 4-5 seconds to start.

Keep in mind T8 ballasts won't feel traditional; they won't flicker at 100Hz, won't flash on and off at times, and won't perform horribly in the cold. Also, the T8 tubes will have good clean >80 CRI light.

  • I have installed these from robertson already, in combination with the current old starters and older tl bulbs. I've been trying to find a mini T5 bulb in led to go full led but they simply don't exist (yet). The diagram states they're electro magnetic starters. docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=https://s3.amazonaws.com/… Dec 20, 2019 at 19:54
  • @user3263070 if you found this answer helpful, please click the check mark so others know that it's been resolved. That helps make the system work better for everyone.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 24, 2020 at 11:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.