Our kitchen ceiling fixture is driving us crazy. Its the kind that
uses two compact fluorescent bulbs (rectangular shaped). It has
worked fine for a few years but recently has been really hit or miss
as to whether it fires on or not. It wouldn't come on for two days
(we don't leave the switch in the on position, though, just keep
trying it) and then suddenly this morning it turned right on foor us,
then later it wouldn't turn on again. How do you troubleshoot these
things? I put a new bulb in last night but it didn't work. I checked
the wiring on the fixture and the switch and everything is connected.
If it is part of the fixture itself, is it fixable or not worth it?
Make sure the metal body of the fixture itself is grounded. Lack of
grounding there can cause hard starting.
If it is grounded, and you can test for and find line voltage at the
power leads coming into the fixture when the switch is on, then change
out the ballast.
There isn't much more that can go wrong, bulb sockets usually don't fail
unless they're abused by someone forcing a bulb into place.
Guilty as charged....I saw only the words "rectangular shaped" and
thought that was describing the shape of the whole fixture.
If they are CF bulbs you are correct of course.
And, if that's the case, it does sound like the problem is either a bad
switch or a "loose disconnection" in the wiring. <G>
You should still check the connections and the switch. If the
connections were poor (high resistance), you could have too low a
voltage at the fixture. That might explain the intermittent nature of
Most likely a bad ballast, a short in the fixture, maybe a broken wire.
Slight chance of a poor connection arcing. If it is the ballast, then I
would replace the ballast immediately or before further use of the fixture
- the ballast could possibly now be a fire hazard.
See if removing the bulb makes the buzzing stop - that indicates a bulb
with a built-in starter (typically 2-pin base) with a shorted starter, and
that can cause the ballast to overheat.
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
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