What's wrong with my fluorescent light ballast

So, came into work the other day to find a two bulbs in one of my freezer cases not lit up. Pulled the bulbs, checked them in another socket and they lit just fine. So, we know the bulbs work. I pulled the ballast and start looking for a new one. Found an identical one online. As you can see, it’s pretty expensive. I call in a favor and the next day a buddy hands me 3 free ones. 1 identical one, two that are slightly different. I put the identical one in last night. Nothing. This morning, coincidentally, we were having some work done on that freezer so I asked about it. He said, based on the fact that the ballast wasn’t warm to the touch that as long as it was getting power it was likely a bad ballast and since it was used that’s entirely possibly. I should take this opportunity to mention that the refrigeration company I work with also works closely with the guy that got me the ballasts. These are all what you would call ‘good people.’ No fly by nights, no scammers. All people that we have been working with and trusting for decades.
Anways. I showed him the other ballast and he said that it’s the newer version and I should drop it in. So, I just did that. Still nothing. I double checked that it’s getting 120V. Checked and rechecked the bulbs. Checked continuity from each wire to each socket. Nothing seems to be shorting to ground. I’d be really surprised if I got three bad ballasts in a row.
The only thing I can think of is that the day before this happened we had someone doing some work on another part of the freezer and I’m wondering if he bumped of jostled something that may have come loose later on after he left. But that seems like a long shot.
Anyone have any ideas?
I’ve got an electrician friend coming in to help me troubleshoot it, but I’d like to get it taken care of on my own if possible. I’m just out of ideas…short of dropping in another ballast. It’s a PITA to get to the ballast and a bigger PITA to swap it since I don’t use the connectors, I have to cut them off, strip the wires and wire nut them on…after removing all the wire nuts from the old one.

No ideas, but I once got so frustrated in putting in a flourescent light that I called the GE (or Phillips) help desk to rant. Fortunately, I still kept my head about me and began my call by saying

“I’m extremely frustrated and pissed off, so I’m going to yell a bit. Don’t worry about it, you can’t fix it, just sit back and enjoy yourself because this is going to be One Of Those Calls. But I need to rant and it’s your company that’s on the box.”

The guy at the other end says “OK, let her rip” and I was off… A couple of minutes later I was finished, my rage spent, and I said “OK, I’m done.”

Laughing “Dude that was awesome.”

Anyway, I regard flourescent lights and ballasts as one of Mankind’s Most Awesomely Badly-Designed Products, and I hope the guy who invented the fuckers isn’t finding heaven as pleasant as he hoped.

15 years later, I still feel the rage…

Turns out it was the ballast…and the one before that…and the one before that, but the last one worked. That’s what I get for putting in used ones, but I saved $180.

I worked for a department store chain in the 80’ ans 90’s. The Assistant Chief would save old ballast when there was a remodel. I would only use the old ballast on easy to reach light fixtures. I would throw out 3 and use 1 untill they were all gone. And one out of every three would not work. Only use used ballast when it is easy and your have no budget.