An important part of the household fluorescent light is the starter. It is the small cylindrical cartridge like item you see sticking out from the side of a fluorescent light casing. When you switch on the light, you will notice the starter flickering a few times before the fluorescent light tube lights up. Problem starts when the starter flickers wildly but the light tube refuses to light up.
How A Fluorescent Light Starter Works
A fluorescent light starter is in simple terms, just a heat sensitive switch that is built to switch on and off at a very fast pace. The only purpose of the starter is to kick-start the light in the initial lighting up phase. If you refer to the wiring diagram of the fluorescent light, you will notice that the starter is located in between the wire connecting to both end terminals of the tube.
What happens is when electricity travels through the starter, it will pass current to the tube, which in turn charges up the filaments in the tube to provide the power to light up the gases in the tube.
Once this is accomplished , the starter contacts will open and will switch itself off due to the heat it has generated. After that, the starter’s job is done and it stays there until the next time you want to switch on the light again. Of course, all this happens in seconds. So in practice, you can actually remove the starter once the fluorescent light has lighted up and it will stay lit up without any problems.
You only need the starter to start up your fluorescent light.
Read this to understand the details of how the fluorescent starter works.
Why The Fluorescent Light Starter Flickers Wildly
As said, the fluorescent light starter is just a simple heat sensitive switch that opens and closes by itself. When it is cold, the contacts opens and when it is hot, the filaments inside the starter expands and the circuit opens. The flickers you see is the sparking due to this opening and closing of the filament contacts.
Under normal circumstances when the starter is in good condition which means the contacts inside the starter is still good, all it takes is a few sparks and the tube will be lighted up. The starter then goes dormant.
However, after prolonged use, the filament contacts weakens and it starts to lose it’s initial power. That is when even after flickering for a long time, the fluorescent light does not seem to be able to light up.
When the fluorescent light starter flickers wildly but the fluorescent light do not light up,, it is time to replace the starter.
How To Replace The Fluorescent Light Starter
Replacing the fluorescent light starter is very simple and straightforward that even a housewife can do it. All you need is a ladder tall enough to reach the starter and of curse a spare starter.
Get a good grip of the existing starter, twist it anti clockwise for half a turn and the faulty starter should dislodge itself from the starter holder.
Put the new starter in place and twist half a turn clockwise. You should hear a dull click when the starter locks into place.
Switch on the light and test out the new starter. The starter should flicker only once or twice before the lights up.