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Re: fixing light fixtures

tsuh yang in NY has a light that won't work and knows it's not the
bulb.  What next?

> can they be easily
> fixed?  

Probably.  In this order, inspect the wall socket & make sure it works
-- try with a test lamp or radio.  No power?  check the breaker or call
an electrician.  Test any devices (extension cords, timers, etc.)
between the wall socket and the light.  Replace if not working. 
Inspect the light's plug and make sure it is inserted firmly and fully.
 If the light uses a starter can (a small aluminum can about the size
of your thumb that will be mounted on or near the lamp but only if one
is used -- not all flourescent lamps use them).  To remove the starter
can, push it in and twist it counter clockwise.  The starter (just a
bimaetallic strip and mini-heater) is worth maybe a buck.  You can test
it in another lamp or just get a new one -- it's only a buck.  

Next you need a little more skill and comfort with things electrical: 
Open up the lamp and inspect for any obviously lose wires or corrosion.
 Clean and tighten any connections needing it.  If none of the prveious
steps fixed the problem, you probably need a new ballast.  Note the
markings on the ballast (voltage, watts and note the kind of bulb it
was used on).   Common sizes can be had at many hardware stores.  Less
common ones need to be obtained through the light manufacturer, lamp
stores, or electrical supply stores.

If you are not totally comfortable with any of the steps, then either
leave the task to someone who is, if you are lucky enough to know such
a person or can afford an electrician.  Otherwise, replace the light.

Let us know how it turns out.

Hope that helps,
Scott H.

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