Florescent Light does not start when Humidly is high

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by DonL, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,819
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Hello All,

    I would like to Thank Terry Love for the cool Forums on this web site. (Send Him Money)

    I have a Florescent fixture in my kitchen that will not light up when the Humidity is high, a Big problem in the Houston area where it is mostly Humid.

    It is a Two Tube 40 watt each (80 watt), 48 inch, auto start (Or Auto don't Start like this one).

    Does any one have a engineering fix for this problem ?

    The fixture is not that old and I would like to make it work, when I need to use it.

    Thanks for any input that you may have.

    Have a Great day.

    DonL
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,830
    Location:
    New England
    How old are the bulbs? Have you tried turning the bulb in its socket to ensure the connection is good and not corroded?
  3. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,819
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Hello jadnashaua,

    I replaced the bulbs twice with different Brands, just to make sure and same thing. They make a Good connection
    because the filaments in the ends of the tubes Glow, Just no Go.

    Thank You for the reply.

    DonL
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Hard to correlate that to humidity. I would suspect the ballast.
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    3,819
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Yes jimbo , I agree that maybe the ballast has low output voltage. The fixture is not that old.

    When it does not work I look at the Humidity level and sure enough it is above 50%.

    When the Humidity is less than 50% it works just fine.

    I have seen Temperature cause problems, but this is new to me.


    DonL.
  6. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Messages:
    392
    I've seen the humidity thing. Its probably a cheap/bad magnetic ballast that can't put out enough voltage to establish an arc except under ideal conditions. Brand new fixtures can exhibit this problem. Also, make sure the fixture is grounded. Fluorescent lights need the ground because the metal light fixture is actually part of what helps establish the arc in the bulb.

    I'd recommend a new electronic ballast, however there is a trick to making a weak ballast work; Tape a thin strip of foil along length of the back side of the bulbs. Do not allow the foil to touch the ends of the bulb. The foil and the glass tube form a capacitor to help establish the arc.

    -rick
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  7. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    Location:
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    Thank You drick,

    That is something similar that I thought might work, but have not tried it.

    The Fixture is grounded, Made sure to connect the ground when I installed it.

    I was going to put a wad of aluminum foil between the fixture and the tubes, but the strip sounds like a better Idea.


    Thank You Much

    Have a Good Day.

    DonL
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Cheap imported fixtures have a reputation for earyly ballast failure, because they chines don't do electrical things very well
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I agree on cheap import stuff. The price was not that cheap.

    It is hard to get good stuff in these parts now a days.

    DonL.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  10. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Hello Drick and the group,

    Today it was very Humid here in Houston, so I decided to try the Rick Foil Trick.
    and it worked !!!

    The tubes take about 4 seconds to light up, but that beats not working at all.

    Thank You Rick, The Rick Trick worked. Nothing like Been there Done that...

    Have a great day.

    DonL
  11. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    So that tops it. Lets buy Chinese disposable junk fixtures with ballasts made of garbage and fake UL labels and then glue foil on each bulb so it works. Got time for that?

    And heaters that need new plugs, thermostats, elements and tip over switches right out of the box.

    I think our electrical inspector dollars should be spent at the DOCK and not on homeowner bob that added an outlet in his garage.

    The Germans would not let that trash off the boat - they redirect it to the idiots in America and the dollar stores.

    http://www.americanfluorescent.com/afl_content.cgi?id_num=1
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2011
  12. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,819
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Good afternoon ballvalve and the group,

    The Lighting fixture has been working every day now, After applying the Presidential Solution.

    For Your Information this fixture is made by Lithonia Lighting and is model 3200 Wrap Light (Crap Light, LOL), Made In Mexico.

    Says it is made for (2) F40T12, F34T12 or F25T12 Bulbs, I am using the 40 Watt bulbs, Not sure if the others may work better.

    I never leave on on unattended so it should not be a problem.

    I bought it and it set in the box until the warranty ran out be before I installed it, Or I would have taken it back.

    Have a great Day.

    DonL.
  13. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Lithonia sold its soul in the consumer market years ago. Mexicans can be trained to make garbage by American thieves also.
  14. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Hello ballvalve,

    I agree.

    Mexicans are hard workers, and good people.

    But I say let them do what they are good at, Growing weed and other garden crops. (I love watermellon from there, 50 cents if you speak spanish)

    Let the U.S. make electronics and cars, So that we can screw them up in our own country...
  15. calitrano

    calitrano New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    You guys are great!!! Up here in Buffalo, New York its mid July and it gets pretty humid... i have two 40 watt fluorescent fixtures that came with the house... neither one is working , so i ripped a piece of aluminum foil stuck it behind the bulbs between the fixture and the bulb itself and wham! works like a charm...
    just afraid of any fire danger? Its all safe right???
  16. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,819
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Welcome To Terry's Forums calitrano,

    Its all safe right??? That depends on who you ask.

    In my case I am here in the kitchen where my cheap fixture is located.
    I do not leave it on unattended.

    Who really knows if the fixtures were safe before the mod.

    They are UL listed but that means nothing, UL tested or approved may be better, not so sure, now a days.

    As long as your foil is not to close to the ends of the tube then you should be fine.


    Have a good day.


    DonL
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