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Compact Fluorescent Lamp Will Only Switch on at Second Attempt?

Postby JRA63 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:53 am

This is a bathroom light fitting with a 4 pin compact fluorescent lamp. The problem started last winter when the pull switch sometimes needed to be operated for a second time to get the lamp to come on. It then cleared up in the summer but started again this winter. I tried a new bulb but it would only come on at the second attempt. I have just fit a new ballast but the problem is still there. The pull switch was changed over a year ago when the original jammed. I've checked all the connections in both the light fitting and the switch and they seem to be OK. Any suggestions or do we need to buy a new light fitting?
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Postby proptech » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:20 pm

Hi JRA63

This sounds very much like the fitting. But, that's only a guess, and guessing is not the way to deal with electrical faults. If I was there, I would want to test that circuit to ensure all was well before changing it. In view of you having a problem in the past with the switch, it would, I think, be wise to get an electrician to check this out. Safety first !
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Postby ericmark » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:20 am

Fluorescent tubes do not last for ever and my first thing would be to simply replace the tube.

There are two basic ways to start a fluorescent tube very high voltage from a HF starter or heaters and a pulse with higher than normal voltage from a inductance which normally a starter to generate the pulse.

However with some standard lamps the on/off switch is used instead of the normal starter and a special double contact does the same job as the starter.

If the switch was not swapped like for like but standard switch replaced the special this could cause the problem. However I have only come across a hand full of lamps using this method and I could not draw out exactly how it works.
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Postby JRA63 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:10 pm

Thanks for the prompt replies. Having been away for a few days I've only just had chance to have a look at the light and switch. From what both replies said it seemed the likely solution was to do with the electric wiring so I checked all the wiring connections on both the light and the switch. I found that the red wire going into the switch had been nicked where the electrician who fitted it had taken the cover off the end of the wire. It broke off when I went to refit it so I refitted correctly and success, the light comes on at the first attempt again. Thanks again for setting me on the right track.
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