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Old 09-15-2011, 11:25 AM   #1
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Need help diagnosing florescent light problem

In my kitchen is a large (30"x30") ugly ceiling fixture with two U-tubes and what I think is a combo starter/ballast. There are no separate starters visible. When I first turn it on in the morning it does not start. I need to flick one of the switches (it is on a 3-way) on/off a few dozen times before it will finally completely light. Sometimes it partially lights or briefly flashes.

Here's the useful finding: once I get it lighted if I leave it on for a while and let it "warm up", it turns off and back on just fine, but if I turn it off and come back some time later it puts me through the original aggravation all over again.

Any suggestions on what I need to replace to get it working properly? Thanks.


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Old 09-15-2011, 11:32 AM   #2
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Try new lamps first.


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Old 09-15-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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Really? Everything I've read says the bulbs are the least likely problem. Then again they are also the easiest/cheapest thing to switch out so I'll give it a try.
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Old 09-15-2011, 01:10 PM   #4
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Not to say that the ballast could do the same thing but, aged lamps will restart more readily when physically warm.

In general, fluorescent lamps, even new ones, have a harder time starting when really cold such as outdoors in winter.
The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:04 AM   #5
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What you have is a dying breed. Rapid Start lamps and ballast. First off, your ballast is failing. Second, do yourself a favor and swap them out for electronic T8 Instant Start lamps and ballast.
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