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Forum topic by Christopher posted 1793 days ago 11903 views 0 times favorited 50 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Christopher

573 posts in 2505 days


1793 days ago

I have four flourescent lights in my shop and a couple recently started to flicker incessantly. I replaced the bulbs and it didn’t stop so I replaced the whole unit and it still does it! Now strangely, all the flourescent lights with the 40 watt long tubes in my house flicker on and off. Perhaps my lights have swine flu?


50 replies so far

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GMman

3902 posts in 2282 days


#1 posted 1793 days ago

You better have your main entrance check; you have a loose connection in your main box.
You can make a test yourself put your ear on the main box if you can hear a sizzling sound.

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GMman

3902 posts in 2282 days


#2 posted 1793 days ago

You can make the same test at your meter box too.

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Christopher

573 posts in 2505 days


#3 posted 1793 days ago

Thnak you GMman. I just did the test and I do hear a humming but no sizzling sound. I will look into it further tomorrow. Anyone else have any ideas?

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 2480 days


#4 posted 1793 days ago

Hi Chris

Up to the point of you saying all the lights with 40 watt tubes flicker I was ready to say it could be one of the following:
bad tube(s)
bad starter (if it has one)
bad ballast

When you said that all of them are acting strange, then I would suggest having an electrican look at the voltage that is feeding the lighting circuits. It could be that the supply voltage (for whatever reason) is not sufficient to operate the fluorescent fixtures.

-- Sam

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GMman

3902 posts in 2282 days


#5 posted 1793 days ago

Let me know if you found anything, one time I had a breaker that was making my lights dim down I had to repace it. I should say let us know.

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Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 2480 days


#6 posted 1793 days ago

GMMan is probably on the right track. That would account for a lower voltage. Please exercise extreme caution. I’m an electrical engineer and I take every precaution I can. Especially when things are acting strange, you don’t know what the person that was in there before you did was done correctly or slipshod.

-- Sam

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GMman

3902 posts in 2282 days


#7 posted 1793 days ago

I have 35 years with the Power company here and I have seen all kinds of problems,it could be at the feed to your service entrance from the pole to your house make sure to have it checked.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

882 posts in 2198 days


#8 posted 1793 days ago

Are you running old magnetic ballasts or new-fangled electronic ballasts? I don’t like electronic ballasts. They are more susceptible to noise. It is quite possible that when you replaced one electronic ballast, the new one generates enough noise to couple to all the other electronic ballasts and causes flickering in all of them.

One way to fix this is to decouple noise at each electronic ballast with a capacitor across the power line. Without getting into gory details, it requires intelligent choice of value and type of the capacitors to meet volatge requirements (code? I am not sure electrical codes even cover this). In the end, I don’t have any electronic ballasts in my house or shop (aside from CFL replacement for socketed incandescents and that’s an entirely different discussion).

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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GMman

3902 posts in 2282 days


#9 posted 1793 days ago

EEngineer I know what you mean but I would make some tests before going with all that expense and still may have the same problem,I would have my main feed check first.

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EEngineer

882 posts in 2198 days


#10 posted 1792 days ago

GMman – you are right. Check the power feed first. I went through a lot of this in my basement, however, and ended up replacing the damn electronic ballasts. Sam Yerardi brought up an interesting point, too. Mickey Mouse did a lot of wiring at my house before I bought it :)

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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TopamaxSurvivor

14552 posts in 2260 days


#11 posted 1792 days ago

Probably should check to see if the lamps and ballasts are compatible?

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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PurpLev

8475 posts in 2233 days


#12 posted 1792 days ago

just a thought – are your florescent lights controlled by a dimmer light switch? or a regular on/off switch? dimmers don’t work well with florescent lights (since florescent works off of gas, and not off of heat) and might cause them to flicker – or not work at all.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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TopamaxSurvivor

14552 posts in 2260 days


#13 posted 1791 days ago

Dimmers should stop them from coming on. While flickering is normal at the end of lamp life and can occur in the first 100 hours of new lamp life, it is odd that it all started at once. If the lamps are the proper ones for the ballasts, I would guess that there is some kind of “noise” on the line. It may even be being introduced by another person on the same power company transformer output. Probably the easiest way to check it would be hooking the light fixture up to a separate source of power. Like a generator if you are capable of doing that. Might be able to find a small power conditioner for computer use, but it would probably be cost prohibitive.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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TopamaxSurvivor

14552 posts in 2260 days


#14 posted 1791 days ago

OOps, forgot to menton, always replace the lamps in pairs. Use new with new and old with old.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7595 posts in 2637 days


#15 posted 1791 days ago

I have found that sometimes there is a bad contact with the prongs and a little wiggling/moving/turning, etc. will stop the bulb from flickering…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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