Re:Lighting electronics question

>I've experienced a variety of problems with florescent lights in the past
>few months and would like to know the cause and ways to correct the problem.
>These problems refer to rapid start lamps. Types of problems:
>1. Turn on the switch, lamps glow faint orange at the ends but do not come
>on. They come on after a few minutes (times vary and unpredictable) by
>2. Turn on the switch, nothing happens. Twist the bulb slightly and it comes
>on and lights fine.
>3. Turn on the switch, nothing happens. Touch or tap the metal hood and the
>lamp comes on and lights fine. This only happens with a T-8 Triton bulb.
>Regular T-12 bulb works fine.

I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I've had the same problems in
home-made fixtures whenever I failed to properly ground the ballast to a
metal reflector that was close to the bulb (as per recommendations printed
right on the ballast).  Also, regarding #3, I've always had problems
starting T-8 bulbs with standard rapid start ballasts, and the bulbs don't
seem to last more than a few months in such a situation.