OK, I've heard from people here and some
personal experience, about fluorescent
fixture/lamp problems and that many are
due to poor quality fixtures. My
neighbor called a few days ago with a
problem. He had 2 single lamp 4'
fixtures. He installed both and one
would not light until you touched the
glass tube with your finger. I told him
that I had seen this before and that
others have seen similar problems on
alt.home.repair usually due to "bad"
fixtures. He told me he had already
changed it out the fixture twice. I
told him to try a different fixture from
a different place. He did .... the same
problem. He found that putting a small
piece of wire around the glass in the
middle of the tube and connecting it to
fixture ground (not neutral) solved the
problem. What give here? Anyone have
any ideas? BTW, he did try several
different tubes. All tubes worked in
the one "working" location but not in
the problem location.
I've seen this happen with a variety of fixtures, when tubes had a
light film of dust and the area was very humid. Generally, cleaning
the tubes thoroughly solved the problem.
Interestingly, some U-shaped fluorescent tubes have a narrow foil strip
along the side, apparently to deal with such startup probs.
I think that's usually a symptom of a poor or missing
earth connection for the fixture. Most fixture
instructions mention that it's necessary, and how the
fixture metal must be within a certain distance from
the grounded box or some other part.
It's also true that high humidity can give bulbs a
problem starting. I've noticed lately that the bulbs
in my shop are dimmer when the humidity is exttreme as
opposed to when I run the air there. They start fine,
but they're not as bright and they don't get brighter
as they burn, as they do in a cold environ.
Now if my fire alarms would quit reacting to the
humidity; I'm tired of cleaning them one at a time!!
<G> Yeah, I know; next time they ALL get cleaned!
I can relate to this problem. In theory running your hand up and down
the tube moves electrons on the bulb, helping it to establish the
glow. I am going to try washing/drying my tubes to see if that makes
a difference. Maybe I'll try rubbing them with a anti-static dryer
sheet or wiping them with a rag dampened with fabric softener.
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