You must have been in this situation. You flip the switch and the fluorescent light above your head doesn’t come on. Or, it comes on after a moment. Or, it comes on and flickers.
When it doesn’t come on, you take a look. Sometimes, moving the bulb or outlet somewhat causes it to illuminate. Other times … nothing. This may be due to a bulb burnout, even for long-lasting fluorescents. It can also be an issue with the starter.
Fluorescent light bulbs don’t light the same as LEDs or incandescents. They contain a vapor that, when ionized, gives off ultraviolet light when ionized. The UV light creates particles which glow a white or yellow. Do do this, a fluorescent light starter is required.
The starter runs on an open-closed switch. When power does not flow into the light fixture, the circuit remains closed. Only after the switch is flipped and current begins to move do the filaments at each end of the tube activate. This heats the contacts. When enough heat is generated, the switch opens. At this point, the particles are illuminated and the bulb lights.
Therefore, if a bulb does not light, even when brand new, the issue could be the starter. Without the capability to open the circuit, the ability to heat the filaments fails. This is also one reason why a bulb may be half lit in its casing.
What do you do in these situations? You purchase a new starter. Many companies, like HH Fluorescent, specialize in these types of parts. What you need to provide is information on the light fixture. This assists them in getting you the proper replacement piece.
From there, you need to determine how to get it installed. Hiring an electrician to perform this task is highly recommended. They have the skill and tools necessary to take care of it in a timely and safe manner.
However, if you wish to tackle this on your own, take these precautions. First, make absolutely sure you have shut off power to the affected area. Next, wait a bit to allow all of the excess energy to dissipate. Third, ground yourself in case of a stray shock. Finally, team up with someone to make the repair.