I purchased a number of single and double 36W T8 fluorescent lamps as part of fitout of a new shed. These were purchased about the time of changeover from the older inductive ballasts to newer electronic ballasts, but the batch I purchased for the shed were the old style lamps with a gas discharge starter.
Starters are a common cause of failure of fluorescent lamps, damaging the lamp in the process.
For that reason, I researched fitting the new lamps with electronic starters.
The article Fast
electronic starters for fluorescent lights provided some
interesting research and based on the article, I obtained about 15
Turbio starters for around A$10 each. Part of the reason for selection
of the Turbio was the claimed 10 year warranty.
Of the first eight fitted, two have failed. In both cases the lamp flickers significantly for the first half hour of operation. If the starter is rotated anticlockwise in its socket, the flicker stops, so clearly the starter is causing the flicker. Although the lamps were less than a year old, two new Philips tubes purchased on separate occasions at the local supermarket were tried, and the results were the same. Replacing both starters with other Turbio starters eliminated the problem, so the conclusion is that the two starters were defective in just a few months of operation. For six of the eight lamps, they start reliable with no apparent flicker, even if there is a quite unsettling buzz during the few hundred milliseconds while the lamp starts.
I communicated this reliability problem with the supplier, PartsVault.com on their website contact page, but a timely response was not received. The warranty appears valueless, and the product appears unreliable. I would not consider buying from them again.
Another Australian seller, Fantastic Lighting, saw this story and kindly sent replacements for the faulty Turbio starters, and some OKO 6 starters to try.
The Turbio gives a no-flicker instant-on response, though as mentioned with a noticeable buzz for perhaps a third of a second. The OKO 6 starter is not as fast as the Turbio, sometimes flickers like a conventional starter, but is silent. The choice is a personal preference, for me the instant-on feature of the Turbio suits most of my applications best.
Thanks to Fantastic Lighting for stepping in an making good on the manufacturer's warranty.
(The author is an qualified licenced electrician with experience over decades.)
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