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My house is almost 6 years old and I have a fluorescent light fixture(T12, 2 tubes, 48 inches) in my garage ceiling that recently will not work. I thought maybe the fluorescent lights needed changing and so I replaced them. It worked for a a day or two and now it doesn't work at all. After replacing the old tubes and I first turned the switch on, I could see a small dimmer of light that flicked on at the end of the tube but now it doesn't do it at all. Is it the ballast? the starter? should I replace the whole unit?
 

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Make sure the bulb is seated properly. Some bulbs have an index mark on the metal end.

If they worked once I assume the fixture is grounded.

It sounds like you should try new starters. You may need a new ballast but a whole new fixture sometimes costs the same [but the new fixture may ask for 90°C wire and you may have 60°C wire].

I guess there is some remote chance it is the sockets [the tombstones] but checking this is difficult.
 

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Sounds like the bulbs are not seated correctly in the tombstones (bulb holders). A new ballast will cost more than a new fixture. That may be your only recourse. Replace it.
 

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This happened to me- same fixture, same location. Try cleaning the bulb's contacts and reinstalling/ reseating them. Apparently the humidity (in my case) had something to do with the problem.
 

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FLOURESCENT TROUBLESHOOTING
-blinking or dim: cold drafts hitting lamp
-dim: dirty bulb
-slow starting in high humidity: dirty lamps or low supply voltage
-short lamp or starter or ballast life, lamp won't start: miswired ballast (for a two lamp fixture, both ends of the same lamp must glow when you short the starter connections).
 
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