Bypass aquarium light switch

I have an old aquarium with a 36" fluorescent bulb. The switch is the type where you press it once, with no need to hold it down, and the light comes on. AFAIK, there is no way to connect this lamp to a timer, because the swi tch must be pressed to light the bulb.
Now, the switch seems to be dying. So I have 2 questions:
1) If I bypass the switch, will a wall timer light the bulb? That would be nice, because it would save a bit of anxiety when I go out of town for a wh ile, because I would not have to leave the lamp on 24/7. Or will it just co ok the ballast/starter to hell?
2) If the above is not possible, what sort of switch do I need to replace t he existing one, which is a "click on click off" sort of switch rather than one that you just hold down until the lamp lights?
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On 3/6/2014 9:18 PM, Nicholas Kriho wrote:

Some fluorescents, when you push the button, it activates the starter preheater. Might work with the switch bypassed, might not.
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Take the two wires that are connected to each other when the switch is depr essed, and connect them to the two terminals of a regular plug-in fluoresce nt light starter of whatever is the correct wattage. That is probably 30 w atts for a 35" bulb. The two wires I am taking about go one to each end of the bulb.
Then cover the wires and starter with electrical tape and try to keep it dr y. You may also be able to buy a starter socket at a large electrical supp ly store.
Don't mix up the other wires going to the switch, they are probably the mai n 120V power switch. Google flourescent light starter switches and you may come up with some info, or just do what I say here.
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On Thu, 6 Mar 2014 18:52:22 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net"

I'm confused. I thought he was to take the two wires from the switch and put them on the two terminals of a regular plug-in fluorescent light starter, or (see below) on a socket which the starter will fit into.
But your last sentence above says the wires go to each end of the bulb. That's a third choice. And do you mean they go to each end of the bulb NOW, or they will when he's done.
Either way there seems to be a contradiction.

Don't just try. Do it. I don't think my light ever got wet, but if my 8" oscar had tried, he could have done it. I don't think guppies could however. If there is a chance the electrical parts will get wet, even by the fish flopping around, use silicon tape (hard to find and expensive but well worth it**), pull it very tightly until it stretches to about 3 times its length, keep it tight while applying it, especially at each end, and overlap it of course, and by the next day it will one waterproof blob. The lines where one layer is over another will have almost disappeared, and soon they will be gone.
**It looks like black electrical tape and the roll is the same size, except every roll I've seen has had a white plastic thing that it is wrapped around, not the grey/brown carboard tube used for electric tape. And the tape has a paper backing on one side, which might be hard to see if the whole thing is wrapped. .

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On Thu, 6 Mar 2014 18:18:18 -0800 (PST), Nicholas Kriho

Footnote**
Well, afaik, you can't do that or they would have used that kind of switch in the first place. Since what came with it new was a "momentary" on switch, there are plainly other wires going to the bulb and there are probably other parts too like a ballast or a starter.
I offer the same objection to your suggestion 1.
What you need is a momentary On switch that can be powered from your timer. Since they make everything, I'm sure they make that. I have used 12 volt timer modules that will do almost any combination of on and off, including momentary on, but I'll have to think or look for something that takes 110 volt input and has 110 volt output. Someone will probably beat me to it.
Another possibility might be to find a fixture that uses the same size bulb, but has a on/off toggle switch, that stays on until flipped back and stays off until flipped forwards, rip the guts out of it -- I think they made such fluorescent lights -- and install the guts in your aquarium lamp. And then do either one or two.
**If you're willing to do 2, why not just replace it with the kind of switch it has. Unless your plan after you do 2 is to then do 1??
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Nick,
Why can't you turn the light switch on and then use a timer?
Dave M.
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On Friday, March 7, 2014 8:39:47 AM UTC-6, David L. Martel wrote:

Because once the timer turns it off, it stays off. Trust me, this is the fi rst thing I tried to do. The button has to be pressed each time in order to turn the light back on. That is what the starter actually does, and as mic ky points out above, I need some kind of momentary switch.
Now fwiw, one guy in another group suggests replacing the switch itself wit h a timer. I am unsure of whether this sounds feasible, but here is what he says. Note that he is addressing the use of the type of switch that you HO LD DOWN, which is not quite the one I have in my hood.
Any comments?
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Go to the hardware store and pick up a starter (that little metal can thing) and a socket for it (which will have a place to snap in the can and two wires hanging off it). Make sure you get the right sized starter for your lamp. It is usually printed right on the sides of the can (wattage to use with). The little can will cost you less than a buck and the socket shouldn't be much more than that (maybe $1.49 or something).
Now to convert. This is REALLY easy. All you have to do is remove the switch you hold down and put the starter in it's place. That's it. Actually many switched will have more than two wires to them. One set is the actual on/off part, the other two will be the momentary part of the switch (they connect when you hold down the switch). Get a meter to test which ones are which. The starter replaces the momentary part of the switch.
Go to the hardware store and pick up a starter (that little metal can thing) and a socket for it (which will have a place to snap in the can and two wires hanging off it). Make sure you get the right sized starter for your lamp. It is usually printed right on the sides of the can (wattage to use with). The little can will cost you less than a buck and the socket shouldn't be much more than that (maybe $1.49 or something).
Now to convert. This is REALLY easy. All you have to do is remove the switch you hold down and put the starter in it's place. That's it. Actually many switched will have more than two wires to them. One set is the actual on/off part, the other two will be the momentary part of the switch (they connect when you hold down the switch). Get a meter to test which ones are which. The starter replaces the momentary part of the switch
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That's what I was trying to say in my earlier post, you did a great job of explaining how to do it.
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On Saturday, March 8, 2014 9:00:55 PM UTC-6, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

Thanks hr, I appreciate your input. Sorry I was not able to suss it out at first.
Also, why TF was this thread flagged? That is weird.
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