Finicky Fluorescent Light

Our kitchen ceiling fixture is driving us crazy. Its the kind that uses two compact fluorescent bulbs (rectangular shaped). It has worked fine for a few years but recently has been really hit or miss as to whether it fires on or not. It wouldn't come on for two days (we don't leave the switch in the on position, though, just keep trying it) and then suddenly this morning it turned right on foor us, then later it wouldn't turn on again. How do you troubleshoot these things? I put a new bulb in last night but it didn't work. I checked the wiring on the fixture and the switch and everything is connected. If it is part of the fixture itself, is it fixable or not worth it?
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I'd start at the switch. Just being connected is a good start, but maybe the switch is intermittently faulty. It could happen. Tom
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Jeffy3 wrote:

Make sure the metal body of the fixture itself is grounded. Lack of grounding there can cause hard starting.
If it is grounded, and you can test for and find line voltage at the power leads coming into the fixture when the switch is on, then change out the ballast.
There isn't much more that can go wrong, bulb sockets usually don't fail unless they're abused by someone forcing a bulb into place.
HTH,
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

    Don't compact fluorescent bulbs contain their own ballast??

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Ken wrote:

Guilty as charged....I saw only the words "rectangular shaped" and thought that was describing the shape of the whole fixture.
If they are CF bulbs you are correct of course.
And, if that's the case, it does sound like the problem is either a bad switch or a "loose disconnection" in the wiring. <G>
Jeff
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On Fri, 01 Jun 2007 16:17:44 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

Me too. He should have said cf if they are cf. You're not guilty.

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On Fri, 01 Jun 2007 16:17:44 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

Never mind. He did say cf, in full words.
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Ken wrote:

Are the bulbs screw base or pin base? Most pin-base ones, and all pin-base ones that I have seen, lack ballasts and require external ballasts.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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Some CFL's are not self ballasted. If yours is not then the ballast(s) need to be changed. See figure 1 on the attached website.
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On Jun 1, 9:34 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Oopps...here is the web site.
http://www.homeenergy.org/archive/hem.dis.anl.gov/eehem/94/941114.html
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On Jun 1, 11:35 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Thank you all. I'll continue my investigation, although it's been working fine for 3 days now, but I am sure it won't be long until it acts up again!
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On Jun 1, 11:35 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I'm not sure what I am looking at in figure one. My bulbs do look like the ones in that picture though, although the base is sideways, not up or down.
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On Jun 1, 11:35 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Now the light has stopped working again, and this time it was making a loud buzzing sound from the fixture. I assume this effectively rules out the wall switch
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Jeffy3 wrote:

    You should still check the connections and the switch. If the connections were poor (high resistance), you could have too low a voltage at the fixture. That might explain the intermittent nature of the lamp.
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Most likely a bad ballast, a short in the fixture, maybe a broken wire. Slight chance of a poor connection arcing. If it is the ballast, then I would replace the ballast immediately or before further use of the fixture - the ballast could possibly now be a fire hazard.
See if removing the bulb makes the buzzing stop - that indicates a bulb with a built-in starter (typically 2-pin base) with a shorted starter, and that can cause the ballast to overheat.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:
SNIP HAPPENS

Nice reference. Thank you, that went into my bookmarks.
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