Weird light bulb issue: lights going off after a while

(oops, originally I wanted to open this in Technology :s )

I thought knew the basics about fluorescent lights, like for example what it means when they need a while to turn on. But the lighting in my apartment has me scratching my head.

There are 3 light bulbs (fluorescent, but small/round) in one “holder”, plus another light bulb in a seperate holder on the other side of the room.

Normally (until recently) when you press the light switch for certain numbers of times, it switches between different states:

  1. 2 + 1 lamps on
  2. 0 + 1 lamps on (first 3 lamps have some kind of very dim extra light in the socket on, though)
  3. 3 + 1 lamps on
  4. 1 + 1 lamp on

And if, after waiting a few seconds, you press the switch once, everything goes off.

Weird enough logic for me, and seems overkill anyway… but now a while after turning on (a minute or so, seems getting shorter to just seconds now) you hear a slight “click” sound and the lighting stuff switches to the mode 2) I described above. That is, unless you select mode 3) - in this case all lamps will be on indefinitely. So only modes 1) and 4) are “broken”.

The fact that 3) works OK makes me wonder if maybe it’s not simply a too aged light bulb, but instead something else. My hope is that someone knows this kind of “light control logic” and can comment on where to have a look…

change the starter as your first test (cheap, they do wear out, and they do get affected by constant humidity)

It’s ghosts. I would ignore them, myself, but you can hire Taiwanese exorcists pretty cheap, and it’s quite a spectacle. :2cents:

Your neighbors and their neighbors are cutting into the foreigners power supply. Better watch out for those power bills this summer.

Sorry, I should have written it clearer, but I didn’t see any starters there. The light bulbs are round, and they have a socket like normal light bulbs… that’s why I figured the starter (or something equivalent) probably is within the light bulb…

Time to start the all-night video, man…

Hmmm… so far I got along pretty well with the ghosts here, simply by me not believing in them, and them probably not believing in me either :stuck_out_tongue: But I know someone here who believes to be possessed, maybe that person can kinda double check the ghost theory :wink:

I think it’s the circuitry in your light fixture that’s broken, olm.

We have five different fixtures similar to yours, and none of them give us any trouble. Maybe we have paid our proper respects to the ghosts in our house, though.

By the way, but bulbs he’s talking about are called something like compact fluorescent bulbs. They have the same screw fixture as incandescent bulbs.

Thanks, that would be my guess as well. Any idea where the circuitry is located? The light switch? The… uhm… thingy that holds the sockets? anywhere else to look?

I think you’d have to probably replace the whole light fixture (the thing on the ceiling that holds the sockets). I’ve tried asking an electrician if they can be reprogrammed to give me a different sequence, but he said there’s really nothing he can do about it. So it may not be easy to fix one either.

I’m not sure how much a new one would cost you.

Just for fun, have you tried switching the positions of the different bulbs to see if that makes any difference? At least it’s quick and doesn’t cost anything to try.

I guess I am going to disassemble (and possibly reverse-engineer :wink:) that light fixture. Maybe there is some logic box in there that i can get replaced.

Thanks everyone, I’ll report back if I have anything useful, maybe someone has similar issues in the future…

I have one bulb that won’t come on anymore at all.

If in doubt you can call out a plumber. That’s what everyone else does.