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Old 06-03-2010, 11:41 AM   #1
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Need some basic info re fluorescents


Is there any way to look at a fluorescent (say, in a 2-bulb fixture which will not go fully on) and see if it is good or bad? Any easy way to test a fluorescent tube (e.g. with a VOM)?

ALSO, I have some fluorescent fixtures which require me to run my hand along the tube for a foot or so before they will turn on. This has to be a common problem. What causes it, and how do you fix it?
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:55 AM   #2
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Could be one of two or three things. Tubes, ballast, or if an older fixture, starters. Newer fixtures don't have the starters, so it would be one of the first two. Tubes are cheap, so the first step would be to replace them, both of them, and see if that fixes your problem. If you replace one, and the other was bad, it would still make your new one act up.

If two new tubes don't fix the problem, replace the ballast with one that matches the one in your fixture. Sometimes it would be cheaper to simply replace the fixture, depending on the ballast you need. You can usually buy the new ballasts at any home center. Best idea is to take the old one out and take it to the store to find a match.
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Old 06-03-2010, 01:03 PM   #3
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High humidity and dirt on the tubes can also cause hard starting. Poor or non-existant grounding will affect the startup also.
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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:15 PM   #4
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Simple fixes/diagnostics for fluorescents


Jim Port:

Do you think there is any benefit to running some emery cloth over the contacts when I replace one fluorescent (assuming the other one is good)?
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_allthumbs View Post
Is there any way to look at a fluorescent (say, in a 2-bulb fixture which will not go fully on) and see if it is good or bad? Any easy way to test a fluorescent tube (e.g. with a VOM)?

ALSO, I have some fluorescent fixtures which require me to run my hand along the tube for a foot or so before they will turn on. This has to be a common problem. What causes it, and how do you fix it?
'Advance' makes ballasts and they had several detailed fluorescent troubleshooting charts running to several pages on their website.
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