flourescent light dies, revives. loose?

This is one of those long tube flourescents. 2 weeks ago I thought the bulbs were dead but when I was opening up the cover they came back on. I thought I wiggled something that was loose and that was the end of the story. But now they're out again. Could it be that something is loose or is this the way flourescents die - some times on some times off?
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It can be any number of things: weak lamps, ballast, bad sockets, poor ground. If the lamps are old, try some new ones first

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It is either the tubes of the ballast. Tubes are cheapest and easiest to try.
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Third possibility- could be the feed wires in the housing above the reflector. Many flourescent fixtures are real cheap POS's. I have had to open up and fix connections in several over the years. A couple were so crappy looking when I opened them up, that all I could do was shudder, throw in dumpster, and go buy a new one. Had a couple in the basement here, just last yeart, that were leaking 60hz into the metal of the reflector- that tingly sensation when you touch it? Being a sometimes damp basement, and a laundry room to boot, I decided I could afford to replace them. Be especially wary of any homeowner-installed fixtures.
aem sends...
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are the bulbs darker on ends at all? this is a sign of age and if they darken sure sign of trouble replace bulbs
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aemeijers wrote:

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Don Klipstein wrote:
<snipped>

Izzat the kind of starter which has a little hole in the top you can see the neon glow thru?
I can believe that light coming in through that hole could produce a photoelectric effect which could trigger ionization in a nearly defunct starter.
I just reminded myself that in the early days of the cold war I made a "geiger counter" out of little more that a couple of "B" batteries and a NE51 neon bulb biased just below its ionization threshold. Radioactivity would cause it to fire off and cause a "click" in a pair of headphones. <G>
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Yup, although I usually see a purplish glow, maybe argon. But I did once see a starter with neon.

I have seen a few that are defunct enough to get cranky that way without even having been used a lot. Some have radioactive material added to them to help here, and I remember when some 2-pin ballastless compact fluorescents (starters also built in) came in packages saying they had so many picocuries of whatever it was they used. Those were some of the ones of types PL-9 / F9TT, PL-13 / F13TT, and the like.

Some neon lamps had krypton-85. Others had a "Penning mixture" mixture of neon and argon that started more easily and had lower voltage drop, but glowed more dimly (and oddly of a different color but not towards the color of argon - they glowed a less reddish shade of orange). Neon glow lamps that had neither feature often got cranky and flickery once they got lots of operating hours, and when they did that they worked better in bright light.
As for why no fluorescent lamp starters that simply work as easily as neon lamps? I think there is some extra "black art" in getting the starter to not bypass current around the lamp, or not bypass all of it, when that inductive kick occurs, but the starter has to start at line voltage.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:
...

I would not limit it to those two. It is often the contacts at each end of the lamp, or a bad ground or any other reasons.
I would suggest that if the lamps are old (Usually show darkening at the ends of the tube) they likely need to be replaced anyway so that would be a good place to start.
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Joseph Meehan

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