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Help diagnosing fluorescent tube light problem

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by Traveller, 20 Oct 2013.

  1. Traveller

    Traveller

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    Hi All.

    I have read up on this issue but the the behaviour of the light is still confusing.

    The specs are as follows.

    Tube - Sylvania Luxline Plus White Deluxe F58W/835 T8 (pins are about 11-13 mm apart)

    Various starters tried:-

    Vask Components VKS10 13w, 25-65w, 4-8w, 15W, 18-20W, 28W, 38W 2D, 80W, 220V-240V

    Red/Grey F58, single, 220-240v, 80-125W

    Starter FS-U, single, 220-240v, 4-65W

    I am not 100% sure because I cannot remember well, but I think this is how it went:-

    Light worked fine with the Vask starter. One day, only the ends of the tube lit and it blinked at intervals. Starter was replaced with the Red/Grey starter and the very first time the light was switched on after replacing the starter, it came on fine, however, the next time it was switched on, the problem occurred again. The tube was replaced but the exact same thing happened. It worked first time but not on consequent occasions. The FS-U starter was used and the light was left on for several hours when first switched on. After this, it worked fine for several weeks and now it has reverted to the same problem.

    So, we have tried changing the starters and the tube and some combinations worked for some time but where does the problem lie? Light case/fitting or wiring (or inappropriate starter)? Yes, I have read that lights with starters are about 15-20 years old, however, our light was bought new from a shop only a few years ago. It is not that we've been using the same light for 20 years!

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. riveralt

    riveralt

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    It could be your ballast that is going going gone.
     
  4. pjcomp

    pjcomp

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    Fluorescents have basically three active components - tube, starter and ballast. If you've replaced two that leaves the third. You could open it upand check the wiring, but from your description of events I think a loose connection or fried wire is unlikely.

    PJ
     
  5. Traveller

    Traveller

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    Thanks for the replies, riveralt/pjcomp.

    So is it just the ballast part inside the metal casing that needs to be replaced and not the whole fitting? What do I need to look for in a ballast to ensure I buy a compatible one? Would a newer electronic ballast work with the old casing/fitting?

    Thanks.
     
  6. riveralt

    riveralt

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  7. 333rocky333

    333rocky333

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    I would just start with a new tube and a new starter together.

    It sounds like most of the time you had a mismatch which has affected one or other and when you had the correct combo the damage was done.
    The only starters suitable are
    4-65w or 4-80w
    basically 58 falls between the two figures with the dash between which is quoted on the starter

    As for switchstart fittings there still sold in the uk but AFAIK banned in the eurozone now
     
  8. Iggifer

    Iggifer

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  10. 333rocky333

    333rocky333

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    I went off them when they changed and I used the 70w ECO ones in a store relamp, most of the fittings wouldnt strike.yet when BG fitted were ok
    I find BG the best, they also make a lot of the wholesalers own brand ones.
    SB ones i dont rate as they tend to crumble up with heat
     
  11. Iggifer

    Iggifer

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    I have personally found BG to be the absolute worst starters.

    Perhaps I just had a bad experience but I got a box of them from Eddies and maybe 1/4 of the box would strike.
     
  12. viewer

    viewer

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    A new fitting will cost under £15 (you already have the tube). Is it worth getting ballast and starter to save less than £5?
     
  13. Traveller

    Traveller

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    Thanks for all the helpful advice.

    With all the discussion here about the quality of the starter, I decided to buy a starter from a posh lighting store and try that. It's a brand called Crompton. I fitted it yesterday and it seems to be working so far. Only one day yet so won't know if it solves the problem until it's lasted a while.

    Riveralt, it is someone else who would have been disconnecting the fitting, so I have no idea what make the ballast is. I didn't really look at what make the fitting was.

    333rocky333, I thought 'switchstart' fittings meant the ones which used starters, which I thought were the old, non-available ones, however, when I looked around at B&Q, Wilkinsons, etc, the all the fittings had holes for starters in them!

    Iggifer/333rocky333, I am trying a Crompton one at the moment. If that fails also, thanks for the the Philips/BG suggestion.

    Viewer, I will go with your sensible suggestion if it is indeed a ballast issue.

    Thanks everyone.
     
  14. 333rocky333

    333rocky333

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    Crompton is whats known as a branded starter
    ie a good reputable make, just like philips or bg

    usually i do tube and starter same time as a pair but maybe you will be ok,

    chokes as used with swichstart, what your calling [Ballasts] usually work or fail or blow the lamp entirely, theres not usually an intermittent problem

    Switchstart is indeed a starter fitting and still have a few years left here i reckon, unless we join the euro
     
  15. plugwash

    plugwash

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    Right, the traditional way to do a flourescent light was to have a large inductor (the ballest) and a switching device (the starter).

    The starter contains a small neon bulb and a switch in series. When you first turn the light on the switch in the starter is closed and current flows through the ballest, through the filiments of the tube (heating them up and therefore making the tube easier to strike) and through the neon bulb in the starter.

    Then the starter heats up and the switch opens. The sudden disconnection along with the inductive ballast creates a large voltage spike across the tube which starts it.

    Traditional ballests are still the cheapest option so they are what you will find in the DIY sheds.
     
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