flourescent lamp fixture

My lights are not coming on full power. I guess they are kind of flickering, trying to turn on but they don't. I just went upstairs (it's a kitchen "Floriday" fixture) to try them and they flickered for about 3 seconds and then came on full power. I turned them off to repeat the process and they would not come on full. What does this mean? I checked visible wire connections and they are good.
Thanks
edee em I know the truth is out there but I like to stay in...
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wrote:

    Is this one fixture? How many lights in the fixture? Could you describe the fixture?
    Are you sure the fixture is properly grounded?
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

sound slike a really old fixture witha bad starter?
nate
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are these 2' or 4' fixtures, one-light or 2-light?? Some ballasts require that both bulbs be good to light, others have two independent ballasts, one for each bulb. Have you tried new bulbs?
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Thanks for the replies!
The fixture is 2' x 2', it has two u-shaped tubes. I see one ballast but nothing resembling a "starter". I would say the fixture is about 20 years old. I tried fresh bulbs but the same thing happened.
Ed

are these 2' or 4' fixtures, one-light or 2-light?? Some ballasts require that both bulbs be good to light, others have two independent ballasts, one for each bulb. Have you tried new bulbs?
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If both bulbs were replaced with known good ones, and they come on dim/flickery, and you know they are compatible with the ballast, chances are the culprit is the ballast.
If you replace the ballast, make sure the new ballast and bulbs are compatible with each other. There are several different wattages for 4-footers (including U-bent ones 2 feet long). The 32 watt 1-inch-dia. and the 40 watt 1.5-inch-dia. bulbs are not electrically interchangeable.
Another thing I have noticed: 34 watt bulbs in my experience are more likely to be "cranky" than other wattages of 4-footers. Also, some ballasts for F40 are only rated for use with "true 40 watt" ones and could overheat and/or have shortened life with 34 watt ones.
If you replace the ballast, best bet is to get a good 32 watt electronic one such as Sylvania "Quicktronic" or the like from an electrical/lighting supply shop. And my favorite bulbs are ones with 835 or SPX35 color (3500 Kelvin, CRI in the 80's - highest available without compromise of light output).
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On Jun 7, 1:41pm, snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

Does using an electronic ballast require the use of different tubes than using old fashioned 'regular' ballasts in good condition? Reason to ask is that I have a batch of used fluorescent fixtures, in excellent condition except for a few scratches, from renovations at a school. (They would have been dumped if had not taken them). Most, but not all of the tubes were missing/broken so replaced with same type, which for these fixtures equipped with electonic ballasts, are the thinner and IIRC are T10 type. But experimentally the older fatter 34 or 40 watt tubes will also work; but might overheat the 'electronic' ballasts???? Any advice welcome. TIA terry
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stan wrote:
<SNIP to here>

The thinner ones usually used with electronic ballasts are T8.

Check the ballasts - see if they are rated for both 17 and 32 watt "lamps". (In which case they will be T8.)
If so, then the ballasts are safe to use with T12 40 and 34 watt lamps - since such T12 lamps have voltage drop between that of 32 and 17 watt T8 lamps.
However, since 40 and 34 watt T12 lamps/bulbs want more current than T8 ones get, the T12's will be underpowered. When underpowered, "true 40 watt" lamps/bulbs *usually* work OK but there is a slight chance they will "act cranky" or have shortened life. 34 watt ones may more easily "act cranky" or have shortened life.
One more thing to watch for - using lamps that the ballast is not rated to work with is "use of electrical equipment other than as directed". Even when such misuse is safe, your fire insurance company might give you grief if the misused electrical equipment starts a fire.
If the ballast is rated to run 32 watt lamps but not 17 watt ones, it will probably still be safe with 40 and 34 watt ones - but this is *not guaranteed*.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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One thing I just remembered about replacing an old-fashioned ballast with an electronic one:
With electronic ballasts, bulbs that are in the process of failing tend to get very hot at one or both ends. I have known this to overheat the "sockets"/"lampholders"/"tombstones" if those were not made to take the heat from ends of bulbs in the process of croaking while running on an electronic ballast.
This "end heating" sometimes gets even worse still when the last remaining working bulb running on an electronic ballast is singing its swan song.
If you replace the ballast (rather than the whole fixture), you probably want to get sockets / lampholders made for or pulled from a fixture that has an electronic ballast.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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wrote:

    I would start by checking to make sure the fixture is properly grounded. A poor ground can cause problems with the function of these fixtures. Also I have found that many of that type of fixture suffers contact problems so you may need to clean or replace the sockets.
    As already noted a bad lamp can prevent the second lamp from functioning in some fixtures.
    Do the lamps have dark areas at the ends? Do you know how old the lamps are?
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My old flourescent lights did the same thing so I changed the ballasts. After that it works real smooth. The newer electronic ballasts are better than the old technology, and ballasts do wear out after a while.
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And you never thought about The bulb, or, The starter.
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I don't understand your post. Is it a comment on the simple things I should have checked or is it a "poke" at my signature? In any case, I did mention bulbs and the starter in my second post on the thread. Please clarify if I've missed something.
wrote:

And you never thought about The bulb, or, The starter.
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