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premature fluorescent failure

royboy's picture

I have a client who asked me, at the end of a job, if I could check out a why two sets of fluorescents seem to burn out bulbs prematurely and occasionally not operate and other times work again. one is a pair of cans with CF floods, the other is a pair of little undercounter lights with mini 1' tubes. I know enough to wire things properly but I'm not sure how to approach troubleshooting something like this.

they're both on the same circuit. opened the switch box that they are operated out of to see if there might be a loose connection. nothing obvious. I haven't traced the run but it may well be accessible in the basement.

could a loose connection cause premature death in fluorescents? any other thoughts? I'd like to fix it if I can and save her the hassle of trying to get an electrician in for what seems like a pretty small job ...


(post #71594, reply #1 of 3)

I'm no sparky, so take this fwiw.  I would start by testing the voltage- it's not uncommon for voltage to be high or low by 10 volts, if you're either quite close or quite far from a substation.  That would probably do it. 

Another thing that comes to mind is the ballast for flourescent fixtures- often a cause of non-starting lights.  don't know how to test it except replacement, but I bet someone else here will know.



"When we build, let us think that we build forever.  Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone." --John Ruskin

"so it goes"


(post #71594, reply #2 of 3)

dirty pin contacts in the tombstones or the ballast are not up to or over spec out put...

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming

WOW!!! What a Ride!

Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #71594, reply #3 of 3)

Check the voltage on the circuit with the lamps on and off. Shouldn't vary and should be 120V +/- 5V or so. It's possible this is a shared neutral circuit with a bad neutral connection or some such.

Beyond that, the CFLs will have a shortened life if they overheat due to being in a confined space. Burns out the integral ballast.

Sometimes you find an oldy, moldy starter-type fixture for the conventional T12 tubes. Modern T12s don't last very long in an old starter-type fixture.

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