In article <1149833782.998441.263680@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Uriah
>Someone told me that if you leave a burned out fluorescent bulbs in
>their fixture with power applied you eventually damage the fixture.
>Then if you put a bulb in it will burn it out in a second.
Ballast damage is unlikely but I have known it to happen. Damaged
ballasts usually make themselves known very quickly - usually by not
working at all.
More likely trouble from keeping a burned out fluorescent lamp operating
is if there is also a starter - and that can wear out the starter.
Bad bulbs are hard on starters and bad starters are hard on bulbs. But
if you replace the bulb and only the ends glow due to a bad starter, the
bulb suffers only minor to minimal damage if you pull either the bulb or
the starter upon recognizing that this is happening.
If the ends of the bulb glow *brightly* and the bulb does not start, it
gets more urgent to pull at least one. Otherwise the ballast can
overheat. Although UL testing supposedly means that the risk of a fire
starting from this is negligible or "acceptably low", I know of one
ballast that started a fire that way - in an elevator in an apartment
building that I lived in before.
If there are no starters and a replacement bulb does not start, check
1. Fixture is properly grounded. This sometimes affects starting by
affecting the electric field distribution within a bulb that is trying to
2. The bulb ("lamp") is of a type that the ballast is rated for.
3. Corroded connections, loose wires, etc.
After that, in my experience most likely the ballast died. And in my
experience, they die from at least mainly old age more than from
attempting to run burned out bulbs. They are designed to not die from
burnouts occurring when it will be many hours or days before maintenance
workers do anything. Any ballast manufacturer designing a ballast likely
to be used in commercial buildings I consider incompetent if the ballast
is unable to survive working with a burned out bulb for months.
- Don Klipstein (don@xxxxxxxxx)