DIY Doctor

Strip Lights issue

Postby theactorscentre » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:56 pm


Was wondering if anyone could help.

(Posted on here a couple of hours ago, yet cant find post!)

The office I work for uses strip lights. We have about 10/12 of them fitted on a hanging chain, paired up on a plastic holder- sorry I'm rubbish with technical terms.

This morning, I noticed 4-5 of them not "quite" turning on, that is to say that the end were lighting up, but not the whole lamp.

Is there any quick fiz for this, or is electrican required?

Many thanks.
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Simply Build It

Postby ericmark » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:18 am

The florescent tube has a limited life. And as it gets older the light output goes down and in the end it will not start. However to start the tube one has to heat up the electrodes either end (Except with HF) and then switch to a high voltage discharge to start the process.
There are three components (except for HF) the tube, the inductance (which both gives high voltage to start and limits current when running) and the starter. The starter switches between heating and striking and once it gets old can fail.
So likely the tube has failed but also likely if it's been that way for any time the started will now also be faulty. So likely cure is to change tube and started which are both plug in units so does not need an electrician.
Now the HF system is very different. The inductive control is very voltage dependent and to work correct the voltage must be within very tight limits. Too high and it uses too much power and too low and it will not start. Plus it flashes at 100 Hz which can also cause problems. With the HF system the voltage latitude is far greater and at around 2 Ghz there are less problems. The units cost more but tubes last longer and all in all saves money.
Although with the old system changing a started can extend the life of the tube it is often short lived and really the answer is to change the tube. If that works great if not change starter as well. It is rare for the ballast to go and tube and starter is quite cheap. But one has to select correct tube and starter.
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