Do FL starters go bad?

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Old 08-21-14, 11:38 AM
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Do FL starters go bad?

I have an overhead FL in the kitchen with 4 - 40W (4') tubes. From others I have seen, that's usually 2 starters, each driving 2 tubes in series. The tubes in it are fairly old (3-4 years or more) and, occasionally, one set won't light. If I reach up and touch one or both of the unlit tubes, they will light. I haven't replaced all 4 tubes yet just one of them as it was very dark at both ends but did not change the intermittent lighting.
Because of the erratic functioning, it made me start wondering if the starters could be bad. I had always thought they were solid forever but..............
Should I have replaced all 4 tubes at the same time (I'll have to buy some) to balance the starting load? I'm not very up on FL theory with the new starters.
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Old 08-21-14, 11:55 AM
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Fluorescent fixtures no longer have starters. First be sure it has a good ground and replace all of the bulbs at the same time.
 
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Old 08-21-14, 01:24 PM
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Ray, are you sure? I have a 2' fluorescent over my kitchen sink that I replaced several yrs ago. The new replacement has a little button/knob like protrusion on the backside. Here lately the light has been problematic like the OP's but if I tap that protrusion it will come on. My youngest son works at an electrical supply house and he told me it was starter and I could replace it for about $1

Not trying to say my son knows more than you [I'm sure he doesn't] just trying to learn more about my fixture that has the same symptoms.
 
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Old 08-21-14, 01:40 PM
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When I said 'starter', I mis-spoke. I know the new FLs don't have the old, 2-pin starter button. I know the new ones are some form of electronic 'kick' that fires the tubes. I just want to know if they can 'weaken' or go bad intermittently. I always thought they were pretty 'long term' solid. (?) This unit has the new style.
 
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Old 08-21-14, 03:09 PM
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Mark, I believe they are still found on fixtures less than 30 watts. I may have misspoken.
 
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Old 08-21-14, 03:15 PM
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I think it's just a 20 watt fixture. I'll find out for sure what it is and if it fixes the issue when I replace it .... but for now, it's easier to just tap it when it doesn't come on.
 
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Old 08-21-14, 03:16 PM
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Silver, it is not that uncommon for ballasts to fail but new tubes first. From what I have read even if they still work they loose brightness over time as the phosphors break down.
 
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