# Flourescent starter rating puzzle

I bought a pack of two flourescent light starters this weekend, and bought
myself a puzzle into the bargain.
They are General Electric starter switches type 155/500 and the rating is
shown as 4 to 65W in big characters.
It also has three symbols on the pack:
- a warning triangle with a ! in the middle (okay, important stuff here).
- a little drawing of a strip light with 4W - 65W across it and a big
comforting tick (just what I want for my 10W and 30W fittings).
- another little drawing of a strip light with 50W across it and a big
cross against it (Eh?).
How come that it will do 4 to 65W but not 50W? What am I missing, and
what does it really mean?
Phil
Does it really say "4 to 65W"? Or "4/65W". If the latter then perhaps it means 4ft 65W.
Edgar
In article , "Phil B" writes:
50W is not a standard fluorescent lamp that I'm familiar with. However, starters are really rated by the tube running voltage and the mains voltage, not by the tube power rating. It may be that a 50W lamp (whatever that is) has too high a tube voltage due to the tube geometry and the starter would continue trying to start it even after it was started.
In BS EN 980:2003, that means RTFM
Colin Bignell
In article , Edgar writes:
Which wouldn't be much use, as there's no such tube.
4-65W is a standard starter rating. (Used to be 4-80W, but 80W tubes are no longer made by anyone AFAIK.)
I though it meant 'and learn to spell fluorescent' as well.;-)
8>> Does it really say "4 to 65W"?
So does 4-65W really mean it's supposed to work on tubes for anything between those wattages? Are there 4W tubes that need starters like this? Or does the 4 signify something else entirely?
I confess I've never thought about it before and jumped to a conclusion.
Edgar
In article , Edgar writes:
Yes. A 4W tube is 6" long and 5/8" diameter.
Thanks. I'd never have guessed that. Not the tube size but that it would use one of these starters.
Edgar
In article , Edgar writes:
Well actually the 4,6,8W tubes don't work brilliantly with starters and series ballasts on 240V mains. The mains voltage is capable of starting the discharge before the filaments have been fully preheated, which wears the tube if it's switched often. Also, the low current means the starters themselves take longer to operate. So they're OK where the lamp is not switched often. Otherwise, better to use electronic ballasts with them.
8>
So they might be used in display cabinets or something like that. Which reminds me of a tiny cafe in Wigtownshire about 25 years ago where they had a tall glass tower with turntable shelves for displaying home made cakes. I think it had lights at each level positioned vertically up one corner. The refrigerator was thumping away, the turntable kept going clunk whizz and one of the lights was flashing. Nice place and good cake though.
In my experience fluorescent tubes have been so reliable that I've never thought about them until now. If one fails I just replace tube and starter and carry on. I must have been lucky to pick up the right combinations. Thanks Andrew.
Edgar
It has a dash (or minus) sign. 4-65W on the big label, 4W - 65W with the tick against it. I'm pretty sure it means anything in the range 4W to 65W. Phil
Agreed! Phil
8>>
Yes. Andrew has put me straight!
Edgar
In message , Edgar writes
If you were an electrician back in the '70's you would have occasionally come across Thorn(Atlas) 5' slim batten fittings with 50Watt 1inch tubes, (most tubes were 11/2inch). these may have been a series capacitor circuit like 6' and 8'. I can't remember, it's so long ago. but they had a special starter (155/501?) and you couldn't use a universal type.
Thanks Neil, that makes sense! Phil
The message from andrew@a20 (Andrew Gabriel) contains these words:
Very true
And even then they're fussy and may not start at all :-(

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