Tubes or Light Fixture?

In my apartment (yes I know it's not a house) I have a flourescent fixture in the kitchen. A month or so ago (right when I moved in) when I'd flip on the switch, it would usually light up very very dimly. Sometimes if I reached up with my knife sharpener and gave it a light tap on one end, it would light up just like normal and be fine until I turned the lights off. I figured it was a loose tube or something, but I had no way to reach it to jiggle it back into the connector(s).
I bought a table, it came with chairs. Now I could reach it, but it behaved itself completely up until about three days ago. Now, when I turn on the lightswitch, both of the tubes (it's a 4-tube fixture with 2 tubes in it) glow orange on each end and that's it. Occasionally I get a flash of white light right as I turn the switch off, but that's all it will do. The apartments were built in 1975 and the fixture hums when I turn it on, so I assume it is a magnetic ballast instead of electronic.
Sew... Should I go out and buy some new tubes, or should I call the Maintenance guy? I'd hate to erroneously spend money, but I'd also hate to bring someone over just to tell me "go buy some new tubes".
Thanks.
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most likely bad lamps, take one out with you to store, and replace all 4...
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If the tubes look dark at the ends, then likely they need to be replaced. However it sounds to me more likely that they are not not making good contact with the fixture. Turn the fixture off, remove the lamps and then put them back in. See if that helps.
Now having said that, if I have a few extra dollars, I think I would replace that fixture with, as you apparently already know, a new with with electronic ballast.

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Joseph Meehan

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Ok, so I took the tubes out and looked at them, then put them back in.
Some notes: Only one has a dark spot (not all round the end of the tube, just one dark spot in the side). More importantly, the connectors that the tubes sit in are all black and melted looking.
I think this calls for a fixture replacement.
Thanks.
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phaeton wrote:

Hi, 4 lamp fixture? Then inner two and outer two work as pairs. One bad will make borh lamp stay off. They're cheap. Just replace them all. I like daylight lamps.
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Change the tubes and do the starters as well. Most tubes burn out because the starters are knackered. If the tombstones that hold the tubes in are burnt or distorted maybe fixture replacement is the cheapest/easiest!
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On Thu, 12 Jun 2008 22:14:48 -0400, "Joseph Meehan"

Maybe there are different types of electronic ballast but I was told they cause significantly reduced tube life. I had some electronic ballasted fixtures and they tubes were not lasting very long. I changed them all to magnetic ballast and the tubes are lasting 4 times as long.
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On Thu, 12 Jun 2008 18:44:35 -0700, phaeton wrote:

Go find a light fixture you like and ask your landlord if you could install it. You could always take it with you or leave it.
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