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slow flourescents

i have a fixture with (2) 48" T8 32W bulbs that has started acting up. sometimes when i flip the switch on, the light doesn't come on for 30 seconds to a minute. there is another (identical) fixture on this circuit that works fine. i plan to open the troublesome fixture, and check all of the connections, but just can't seem to get around to it. also, since it works fine most of the time, i forget about it.
aside from a loose connection, what else could be causing this?
could the ballast be going?
could it be the wrong ballast in the fixture (i have not looked at that yet either)?
i don't know how old this fixture is, but it's been working fine for about 4 years, only changed bulbs once in that time.

thanks in advance

A. Spruce
Re: slow flourescents

Replace the bulbs first, this will likely cure the problem. If the problem persists, then worry about replacement of the ballast or fixture.

Re: slow flourescents

thanks spruce, but i should have added this info:
this delayed start only happened 3 or 4 times recently, the last time about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks ago, and the light has been fine since then, and was fine up until about a month ago.
when the problem occurs, the bulbs are totally dark, none of the flickering or dimness you normally get when a bulb is going. also, the lights then come immediately up to full brightness. again with no flickering. i can replace the bulbs, but then i'll have 2 questioable bulbs laying around.
does this added info shed any more light on the situation? ha ha

Re: slow flourescents

Has the temperature dropped? Florescents don't like cold weather.

Re: slow flourescents

You can also look for dark spots near the contacts - a sign that the bulbs are on the way out.

But I have a feeling that it's the ballasts. Why? because of your description.

Re: slow flourescents

houston: no temperature change - the fixture is in the laundry room with a constant temp of about 62 to 67 degrees - also, there is no problem with the other fixture 6 feet away.

dj: bulbs look fine - no discoloration anywhere

thanks guys - i'll keep an eye on things to see if anything changes, but all is working fine right now

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