Fluorescent Not Starting At Initial Turnons ?

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Hello,
Put up the typical four foot (2 bulb) fluorescent light over my workbench. Bought at HD.
Sometimes it takes, literally 3 or 4 tries turning the AC switch on and off before it lights and stays lit. Other times, rarely, it'll catch on the first turn-on.
Is this, likely, a bulb(s) problem or something wrong (like made too cheaply) a Ballast problem.
Is this a typical problem ?
I see they don't use or have those little "Starter" small tubes anymore. I guess this really dates me.
If a defective Ballast, best to dump the whow thing and buy another, at Lowe's this time, or are the Ballast themselves (cheaply) replaceable ?
Any thoughts would be appareciated.
Thanks, Bob
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Robert11 wrote:

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wrote:

    It sounds like you lack a good ground. Make sure the fixture is properly electrically grounded.
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Irrelevant. There isn't one ground wire in my house (built in 1956) and all my flourescents work just fine.
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Don Klipstein wrote:

For what reason? Makes no sense unless the neutral is bad.
--
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Don Klipstein wrote: ...

Just how does it decide which end???
The bulb isn't tied into the ground, only supply/neutral.
...
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dpb wrote:

OK, I went and read up on these-here new-fangled thingies...I see now; the age of the house and church is apparent when there are no rapid-start fixtures in sight so I'd never actually looked into them for no need to...
Your explanation is sorta' about the mark but not directly to the actual construction/operation as to make any sense but after reading some online detailed discussions I now see what they consist of...
So, ok, grounding is indeed important for newer (current-day) fixtures...
I'll be jiggered, so to speak... :)
--
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In most 120V North American fixtures, one end of the bulb (or the "low one" of a "series pair") is tied to ground via neutral if the wiring diagram on the ballast is obeyed, even if the fixture is not grounded. In USA, 120V circuits have "neutral" being a/the "grounded conductor". (And the "safety ground" is the "grounding conductor", usually tied to the "grounded conductor" at the breaker box, and "hot" is the "ungrounded conductor" with full 120V with respect to "ground".)
The other end (of the bulb or of a series pair thereof) gets full voltage of the line and any "inductive kicks", or full voltage of a voltage-boosting ballast (such as the 120V-North_America-"traditional" dual-F40 "rapid start magnetic ballast" and North American 120V "trigger start" ballasts).
Grounding the fixture means that until the bulbs start conducting, assuming their surfaces do not conduct along their lengths due to hygroscopic dirt, that the electric field gets concentrated in the gas around the "ungrounded end" electrode, and such concentration of electric field gets the gas in that region of the bulb to "break down".
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On Sep 15, 7:22pm, snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

Make sure all the covers are in place for the same reasons Don gave, the grounding is that important. I once left off a reflector because it was a pain to put back on while standing on a ladder and thinking it was unimportant. I wasted a weekend working on my shop lights trying to get them to work. The reflector was part of a ground plane for the lights.
Jimmie
Jimmie
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gas discharge tubes, and they work something like a xenon strobe - which will not fire untill the "trigger" is energized - and the "trigger" is not inside the tube.. The capacitive coupling of the tube to groud reduces the amount of voltage required to fire the tube,
It is a well known fact among electricians and knowlegeable homeowners that a bad or missing ground can make a flourescent fixture difficult to start - particularly if cool or danp.
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    Try it, you may like it.
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Then you too are one lucky son of a gun, or perhaps you still have the old units with neon starters?????
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No. All are electronic ballasts. The old magnetic ballasts were removed three years ago after I got sick of the buzz. (the upstairs units were original too, ~50 years on them). 6 upstairs controlled via a solid-state relay, 6 in the basement controlled via normal switches. Not a single problem.
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wrote:

What switch? One built into the fixture, or a switch you wired to the outlet. If the former- I'd suspect the switch first. To test it- once the fixture is on, unplug it and plug it back in. If that seems to work, even if the fixture is cold, then the switch is bad.
"Lights and stays lit"? Do you man it actually lights- then goes out? That's a switch. Or does it just flicker? That's more likely the ballast.

The cheap fixtures have super cheap ballasts. I'd replace the ballast.

Lowe's & HD buy where they can get the best deal-- neither has some magic way of buying good stuff cheaper than the other. This week HD has the deal- next week it is Lowe's.
Good ballasts can be had for $10-20. [$5 if you want to buy a lot of 6-10 on ebay]
Jim
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I have had really bad luck with Lights of America brand. If it that is what you have return for a different brand. If you have another brand I would just try returning for replacement.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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On Mon, 14 Sep 2009 05:24:39 -0700, "Roger Shoaf"

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Try brushing your fingers down the length of the tubes, it has always worked on cheap shoplights for me.
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beecrofter wrote:

I have been having the same trouble and found that brushing my fingers down the length of the bulb works. (sometimes)
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