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My fluorescent shop light fixtures sometimes does not go on and sometimes the bulbs just flicker without giving much light. What's wrong?

I have new 48 light tubes but they only flicker when turned on

Posted by william nicholson on

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Steve Rothschild

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Fluorescent lights can be affected by cold temperatures, aging lamps, starter issues and more. Many older fluorescent lamps also don't like frequent on/off cycles. the technology is dated. Find a modern LED fixture that emits the light that you need. A decent LED fixture will last 50,000+ hours, will handle unlimited on/off cycles. If it is residential, shop at your local stores. For better commercial, industrial and sports lighting check out a company that specializes in LED light fixtures like Access Fixtures. https://www.accessfixtures.com/

Posted on Jan 05, 2022

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johnshelp

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If your shop is in your garage, and it is cold outside, the two-pin fluorescent tubes don't work very well. Garage lighting (fluorescent) should be the HO (high output) type. It operates on the same voltage. The tubes are not interchangeable. You need a HO fixture. If your shop is inside your house, then flickering tubes (assuming that you tried changing them out with new ones) indicate a bad ballast inside the fixture. You can either change out the ballast, or for almost the same price, replace the fixture.

Posted on Feb 04, 2015

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mark24354

Mark T

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SOURCE: The acrylic diffuser on the fluorescent fixture in

I recommend you buy a complete new fixture. If you can still find the same model, just install the lens and you are done $100 to $150. If you can't find the exact one, a lithonia lite UFC looks close. They are not difficult to install if you know how to turn off your circuit breaker and turn a screw driver. Price again, $100 to. $ $150 at a big box store. If you order it from a specialty lighting store, you might be able to talk them into free installation since you are paying a premium price. Basically, it will cost the lighting manufacturer the same to produce and ship a new lessor a complete fixture. You may as well save yourself the headache and play the same game as the manufacturer - just buy a whole new unit. Also buy local, these fixtures are not packaged to survive a fedEx shipment. Good luck -mark

Posted on Jun 05, 2011

riceski

Gary Rice

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SOURCE: Just installed two 40 watt 48" fluorescent tubes in our mobil home kitchen - they worked for a few minutes and then went to flickering dim only and no this isn't a dimmer switch unit.

Peggy - there are 'starters' on the unit called ballast - Those must be either replaced or you have a deeper problem. I am sure it is the starters. Please just take a pic on your camera - leave it there go to LOWES -- and show them - tell them you need to make it light and about them flickering etc. They will guide you to exactly what you need. Most are very easy to replace. Ask the man or woman at LOWES - they are very knowledgeable. Without seeing what type or brand you have I can't tell you more.
If they can't help you - come back and tell me more on the COMMENT section. I will be notified and read your comments there.

Thanks
Gary @ Fix Ya

Posted on Dec 09, 2012

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Under-counter fluorescent light wont turn on without multiple attempts and then turns off spontaneously after a bit.

If it is really a bulb not a tube, the starter is usually part of the bulb base. Starters don't do anything once the fluorescent tube (a bulb is just a coiled up tube) is lit and running.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Compact-Fluorescent-Bulb.jpg

With those symptoms I'd say Ray is correct, both need replacing.
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tip

Why Light Bulbs Burn Out So Quickly

The bulb package should have an average life expectancy printed on it. The typical light bulb is good for roughly 900 hours. At 10 hours a day that's three months. At 24 hours a day it's a little more than a month. If you have 25 bulbs in your house burning an average of three hours each day, a bulb will burn out every twelve days, on average. If you compute the average life of your bulbs and discover it's clearly less than the manufacturer's rated life, then you may have: 1-You may have over-voltage in your house. Occasionally this causes more serious problems. You can get a cheap multimeter at Radio Shack. If the voltage is 125V or higher, talk to the power company about it. 7 or 8 extra volts on a 120V line will cut the bulb life expectancy in half. If it's a slight over-voltage, you can buy special 125V or 130V bulbs, though sometimes they're hard to find.
2-Too high a wattage bulb in too small an enclosed fixture (such as a globe), the heat can't get out--the bulb burns too hot, leading to short bulb life.
3-Recessed lighting fixtures often get covered by attic insulation. This blocks the intended ventilation method--heat can build up around the bulb, causing short bulb life.
4-A vibration problem. Such as, bulbs under a heavily used stairway, on or near an out of balance bathroom or ceiling fan, or near a door that gets slammed, or kids upstairs jumping, etc. You can buy special shock resistant, also called "rough service" bulbs, for this situation, or try one of the new compact screw-in fluorescent bulbs.
Flickering. Intermittent electrical contact can cause flickering. It's like turning the light on-and-off constantly, and will reduce bulb life. It can be caused by a bad light socket, or a poor electrical connection somewhere in the wires leading to the light (most likely right at the fixture). Flickering can cause the bad connection to get hot and possibly start a fire. If you don't locate the cause of the flickering and it affects all or many lights, you could have a bad neutral connection -- a dangerous situation. Another indication of a neutral problem; as larger appliances (washing machines/dish washers) cycle, lights will get quite noticeably brighter or dimmer (minor changes in intensity are normal). If you suspect this problem have either the electric company or an electrician check it out.
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I change my bathroom vent light. Before light went out. When I would turn the light on. It just came on. Now with new light, it flickers then comes on. And my hall bathroom started doing it too once I...

It sounds like you have indeed bought fluorescent bulbs. manufacturers are encouraged to replace the incandescent bulbs with more energy saving fluorescent bulbs. They are made to look like standard bulbs so you need to look at the package carefully to see the difference. The Nu Tone and other special bulbs may still be available in the old filament style for a while but you may have to look harder or ask if they are still available. The amount of flicker often reflects the quality of the bulb. It will sometimes decrease over time.
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We have Lithonia 2 bulb fixtures in a recessed ceiling. We currently have 2 (25) watt bulbs in them. What wattage can I upgrade to ??

The ballast inside the fixture is rated to operate 2 25w bulbs. You can't put higher wattage bulbs in this fixture, unless you change the ballast. Sorry.
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Fixture not working after bulb change

"CFLs" Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (with built in ballast) must be labeled as dimmable to be used on a dimmer circuit.

Traditional fluorescent fixtures must have a dimmable ballast installed inside and can be used with standard fluorescent lamps.

Fluorescent lamps must be sized to match the ballast. CFL's are matched at the factory, but others are not. Older fluorescent lamp fixtures have a ballast inside. A type rating is to operate (2) 48 inch / 40 watt lamps. Newer fluorescent lamps are rated for 32 watts, and these will not work - or will have a greatly reduced life.

If you installed CFL's, the first thing I would do is install regular incandescent lamps and see if it works as expected. If not, something else is wrong - otherwise - make sure you've got the right lamps in the fixture.
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Very few flourescent lights have "starters" these days. If it does have a starter, it will be a visible cylindrical object usually located at either end of the fixture. More likely it's the ballast that is bad. Turn off the power and remove the cover to the fixture. The ballast will have a lot of wires coming out ot it. Take note as to where all the wires are attached, remove it, and take it to a hardware store or Lowes or Home Depot to get a replacement. Make sure it is an _exact_ replacement. Sometimes it's easier and cheaper just to replace the entire fixture as some of the older ballasts are expensive due to there being replaced by newer technology.
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Have 3- 13 watt mini spiral bulbs on fixture. When switch in auto mode, lights hum, flicker and not maximum brightness. When switched to on position, lights stop flickering and humming. Full brightness as...

-Replace the compact florescent bulbs with regular incandescent bulbs and see if problem continues.
-Lighting controls are made for different kinds of bulbs.
-Your package should say what the watt rating and type of bulb.

According to the PR180 manual:
-I am looking at the Leviton PR180 occupancy sensor manual, and the PR180 sell-sheet, and these documents say for incandescent and fluorescent (rapid-start magnetic ballast only).
-Compact fluorescent are supposed to have a magnetic ballast.
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-The manual does not say there is a minimum amount of wattage either. Some controls will not work correctly if the overall wattage is low. Your overall wattage is 39watts.

Read the product package (if this is a new installation and you have the package)
Try the incandescent bulbs.
If the PR180 is not your product, add a comment with product number and I'll look for information
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4-bulb flourescent fixtures flickers before coming on completely

The problem may be related to the balast unit in your light fixture. Check under the cover plate in the middle of the fixture and look for a rectangular (usually black) box. If it has any brown liquid leaking from it then it definately needs to be replaced. Read the label on the box and record the values. Take your stats to the local electrical shop and buy a replacement balast. Installation will require the breaker to be shut off to the circuit. Be absolutely sure you match the wires before attaching them together. Disposal of the old balast must be done through your local recycling center. The material in some of these is quite dangerous.

I would problably suggest contacting an electrician if you are at all uncomfortable with handling a re-wiring job. Good luck with your situation.

OpenSource13
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When to replace

Inside a fluorescent light, electricity is delivered to a ballast, which sends a spark through the mercury-vapor-filled tube (or bulb), creating light by activating phosphors that coat the inside of the tube. If any of the components are faulty, the light won't work right. Once you pinpoint the problem, most fixes are very easy. Remember to turn off the power first! Old bulbs blink off and on just before they die; repairs are often simply a matter of replacing the tube or bulb. This problem may also be occurring because of poor contact between the pins at the ends of a tube and the tube holders. If the pins are bent, use needle-nose pliers to straighten them. Clean up the pins and socket contacts with fine sandpaper, and brush away residue. Though gray bands at the ends of tube are normal, black bands indicate that the tube needs to be replaced. If only one end is dark, turn the bulb end-for-end. If the tube is new and these fixes don't work, you may have to replace the starter or ballast. Some fixtures ("A-rated") are quieter than others are, but most fluorescent lights have a slight hum. If the sound seems too loud-- or if you can smell electrical burning-- shut off the power. The ballast is probably either the wrong type, improperly installed, or defective. Replace it or call an electrician. Brand new tubes tend to flicker, as do bulbs that are cold. If an old tube still flickers after it has had a chance to warm up (or after you've warmed up the room), rotate it a couple of times in the tube holders. Try cleaning the tube's end pins. If it still doesn't work, replace it. If only the ends of the tube glow, either the starter or the ballast is defective. Replace the starter, then the ballast.
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