Flourescent Light Help, P

Gray:
GS> I live in an apartment with a really good maintenance man and management tht GS> will pay for needed repairs. Good!
GS> But none of us can figure out what is wrong with the light in one of the GS> bathrooms. GS> GS> It's flourescent, circular and has two "rings" of bulbs. GS> GS> At times, it can be turned off for a day and will come right back on. At GS> other times, it can be turned off and it will take up to an hour to come bak GS> on and that with flipping the switch on-off repeatedly. GS> GS> When it is "in a bad mood" [sigh], and the switch is flipped, sometimes it GS> will barely glow in each of the four "ends". On flipping the switch on-off GS> eight or ten times, the bulbs will "glow" a little bit more. Sometimes, the GS> light will come on, other times I have to go away for an hour or so and com GS> back and flip it again a bunch of times and, usually, it will come on then. Replacement of the switch and fixture makes troubleshooting really interesting! Have voltage readings been taken, comparing "good mood" to "bad mood"? (Use an analog meter, not a digital one.) My guess is there is a broken neutral (white wire), possibly in the switch box. Would sort of explain why flipping the switch sometimes fixes the problem: slight bit of mechanical motion/vibration.
Have you noticed any correlation to the temperature when it works/doesn't work? (Here a digital thermometer may be helpful.) Years ago a friend's parents' TV would sometimes had a collapsed picture -- the whack-to-the-side usually fixed. Ended up being a bad solder joint. Was only able to track down in the mornings when my apartment was cooler.
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
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some lights like that have a built in starter...just a guess. If you repeatedly turn it on or off over time you can burn the starter out.
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martin wrote:

Make sure the fixture is properly grounded, and make sure the bulbs are clean. These can afect the electric field distribution within a bulb that is trying to start - starting failure may not consistently occur. Also check that hot and neutral are not reversed (anywhere from the breaker box to the ballast).
If there are starters, try replacing them. Be aware that bad bulbs are very rough on starters and bad starters are very rough on bulbs. It is often recommended to replace bulbs and starters simultaneously.
Another thing: With many starterless but non-electronic 2-bulb ballasts, one bulb being bad knocks both out, either completely or into "dim glow", and whichever is brighter is sometimes actually the bad one - usually the bad one has severe darkening of one end (less frequently both ends). Dim glow is sometimes bad for a bulb - replace both if they have been doing "dim glow" for long and nothing else works.
If you are contemplating replacing the fixture or the ballast, use an electronic ballast and compatible bulbs, preferably 17 watt or 32 watt T8 (1 inch diameter) since these and even more so the ballasts for them tend to be better. My favorite color of these is "835" (or GE's "SPX35") - a "semi warm white" with color rendering index of 82-86, and a majority of the color distortions slightly in the direction of "more vivid than proper". Look in an electrical/lighting supply shop.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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