FITTING A NEW STARTER
A fluorescent light should operate without trouble for thousands of hours. And after it’s been working normally, it’s very unlikely that it will suddenly fail completely to come on. If a fault does occur, look at the tube, because the way this reacts will point you to where the problem lies. Remember, it doesn’t have to be with the tube, it’s often with the starter.
Recognising starter failure: First make the basic check of inspecting the fitting to confirm that it is a switch starter type and not a quick start tube which doesn’t need a starter — a typical starter model is shown in the illustration. Then turn on the light and watch the ends of the tube. If both elements glow white but the tube doesn’t light you’ve got a faulty starter which will need to be replaced. But don’t confuse this with only one element glowing, as this indicates a fault with the respective lampholder. Similarly, if the tube flickers, or if it comes on and then goes off every few seconds, the problem is likely the starter. But a very old tube can sometimes show these symptoms.
1. Replacing the fluorescent light starter: If you think you’ve identified a fault with the starter, it’ll need to be replaced, as it can’t be repaired.
The starter socket is often located inconspicuously on the side of the casing towards one end. This enables you to remove it without having to take out the diffuser or the tube. On some small fluorescents, though, you may have to remove these in order to gain access to the starter.
2. Push the starter in slightly and then rotate it anticlockwise so that it is free to be lifted out. Replace it with one of exactly the same type. The commonest kind is a twopin ‘glow’ starter. Insert the new unit, push it fully home and then rotate it clockwise to lock it in position.