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Flourescent lighting problem

I just installed a new lighting system on my tank and tonight when I
came home the lights were not on. I opened the lid and just barely
touched one of the tubes and they immediately went on. It's a DIY 2 20
watt lamp system with a standard tar ballast. It has a grounding plate
above the tubes, as someone mentioned this was needed. It runs via a
timer and normally would go on about 3 hours after I leave for work.
Perhaps there is an electrical whiz out there on the list who could
throw some ideas this way as to what to do.
    Thanks, Robin