fluorescent starters

a starter

Some older fluorescent fixtures and those under 20 watts often require starters, which are the small aluminum or plastic cans in a socket near one end of the lamp.

If a new lamp is operated with an old starter the new lamp will exhibit premature blackening at its ends due to sputtering of the emitter on the lamp electrodes. This leads to accelerated aging of the lamp and therefore to premature failure. For this reason the starter must always be replaced together with the old fluorescent lamp.

Guide to Starters.
Osram. [No date] Page 6.

When its starter fails the lamp won't ignite, but starters are easily replaceable.

photo of a starter

A starter socket.

Courtesy Leviton

Twisting a starter less than a quarter turn counter-clockwise frees it from its socket.

Starter types are numbered, with the prefix FS (fluorescent starter). The designation is printed on the can or stamped on its end. The type must match the wattage of the lamp.

Starter For use with
FS-2 F14, F15, F20 preheat fluorescent lamps
FS-4 F13, F30, F40 preheat fluorescent lamps
FS-5 F4, F6, F8 preheat fluorescent lamps
FS-12 FC12 Circline lamps when operated by preheat ballasts;
F22 T8 preheat lamps; F32
FS-20 F15, F20 preheat fluorescent lamps
FS-25 FC6(20W) and FC8(22W) Circline lamps when operated by preheat ballasts;
F25 and F18 T8 preheat lamps.
FS-40/400 F40 preheat fluorescent lamps
FS-85 90, 100

Most new fluorescent fixtures are either rapid-start or instant-start types that do not require starters. Some low-wattage desk fixtures and fluorescent lanterns require a person to be the starter by holding down a push button until the lamp ignites. The increasing use of electronic ballasts is making starters obsolete.

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