fluorescent starters

Some older fluorescent fixtures and those under 20 watts often require starters, which are the small aluminum cans in a socket near one end of the lamp. 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 Preheat lamp
Wattages served
FS-2 F14, F15, F20
FS-4 F13, F30, F40
FS-5 F4, F6, F8
FS-12 FC12 Circline lamps when operated by preheat ballasts;
F22 T8 preheat lamps; F32
FS-25 FC6(20W) and FC8(22W) Circline lamps when operated by preheat ballasts;
F25 and F18 T8 preheat lamps.
FS-40/400 F40
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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