Electronics Repair (sci.electronics.repair) Discussion of repairing electronic equipment. Topics include requests for assistance, where to obtain servicing information and parts, techniques for diagnosis and repair, and annecdotes about success, failures and problems.

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Default Flourescent lamp switch

The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just a
momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4 terminals on
the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must be a cheaper
source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the hole can be
enlarged.

Thanks.


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On 5/3/2018 8:16 PM, Tom Del Rosso wrote:
The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just a
momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4 terminals on
the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must be a cheaper
source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the hole can be
enlarged.

Thanks.



That's a special purpose switch that combines the function of a
glow-starter and on/off. Not a common hardware store stocked item. I've
an old 15" tube desk lamp like that and it has an inductor (coil)
ballast in the base. Are you certain yours doesn't have an inductor or
electronic ballast? I've never seen a fluorescent lamp fixture without
one. As for the bum switch - one alternative to a new switch would be
to wire in a glow switch, space permitting, and replace the defective
switch with just an on/off one. You might have to extract the glass
envelope glow switch from its plastic or metal can. You'd also have to
determine the current rating of the required glow switch. Sincerely,
--
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On Friday, 4 May 2018 14:01:50 UTC+1, J.B. Wood wrote:
On 5/3/2018 8:16 PM, Tom Del Rosso wrote:


The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just a
momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4 terminals on
the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must be a cheaper
source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the hole can be
enlarged.

Thanks.



That's a special purpose switch that combines the function of a
glow-starter and on/off. Not a common hardware store stocked item. I've
an old 15" tube desk lamp like that and it has an inductor (coil)
ballast in the base. Are you certain yours doesn't have an inductor or
electronic ballast? I've never seen a fluorescent lamp fixture without
one. As for the bum switch - one alternative to a new switch would be
to wire in a glow switch, space permitting, and replace the defective
switch with just an on/off one. You might have to extract the glass
envelope glow switch from its plastic or metal can. You'd also have to
determine the current rating of the required glow switch. Sincerely,


A ballast is inevitably present.


NT
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On 04/05/2018 01:16, Tom Del Rosso wrote:
The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just a
momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4 terminals on
the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must be a cheaper
source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the hole can be
enlarged.

Thanks.



I had to replace the switch on my bench magnifier lamp (long ago
swapped-out lens with an ex-epidiascope bulging lens for bigger mag),
normal switch.
Does have ballast in the base and a starter "lamp" but I wonder if
excess current makes the switches fail more than usual.
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Mpfffff.... replace the silly lamp with an LED kit (there are half-a-dozen out there) for about the cost of that switch. And be done with it.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA


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J.B. Wood wrote:
On 5/3/2018 8:16 PM, Tom Del Rosso wrote:
The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just
a momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4
terminals on the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must
be a cheaper source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the
hole can be enlarged.

Thanks.



That's a special purpose switch that combines the function of a
glow-starter and on/off. Not a common hardware store stocked item.
I've an old 15" tube desk lamp like that and it has an inductor (coil)
ballast in the base. Are you certain yours doesn't have an inductor or
electronic ballast? I've never seen a fluorescent lamp fixture without
one. As for the bum switch - one alternative to a new switch would be
to wire in a glow switch, space permitting, and replace the defective
switch with just an on/off one. You might have to extract the glass
envelope glow switch from its plastic or metal can. You'd also have to
determine the current rating of the required glow switch. Sincerely,


There could be something in the base, but it's hard to open. It does
look like the power cord goes all the way to the top so I assumed there
was nothing in line.

Alternatively, can you add a starter that allows use of a plain switch?



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On Sunday, 6 May 2018 00:12:13 UTC+1, Tom Del Rosso wrote:
J.B. Wood wrote:
On 5/3/2018 8:16 PM, Tom Del Rosso wrote:
The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just
a momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4
terminals on the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must
be a cheaper source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the
hole can be enlarged.

Thanks.



That's a special purpose switch that combines the function of a
glow-starter and on/off. Not a common hardware store stocked item.
I've an old 15" tube desk lamp like that and it has an inductor (coil)
ballast in the base. Are you certain yours doesn't have an inductor or
electronic ballast? I've never seen a fluorescent lamp fixture without
one. As for the bum switch - one alternative to a new switch would be
to wire in a glow switch, space permitting, and replace the defective
switch with just an on/off one. You might have to extract the glass
envelope glow switch from its plastic or metal can. You'd also have to
determine the current rating of the required glow switch. Sincerely,


There could be something in the base, but it's hard to open. It does
look like the power cord goes all the way to the top so I assumed there
was nothing in line.

Alternatively, can you add a starter that allows use of a plain switch?


yes if you can fit it in there somewhere.
Glowstarters are widely available, perform poorly but work. The glowswitch is far smaller than the plastic container.
A relay with brief time delay makes a much better starter.


NT
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On Friday, May 4, 2018 at 10:34:40 AM UTC-4, wrote:
Mpfffff.... replace the silly lamp with an LED kit (there are half-a-dozen out there) for about the cost of that switch. And be done with it.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA


Great recommendation.
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On Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 12:32:50 PM UTC-4, Tom Del Rosso wrote:

Are those designed to work in series with a ballast?


Some do, some come with a bypass that fits into the starter socket. Depends on which you choose. I prefer the latter as the system is more simple in place. But that option costs a buck or two more.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA

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On Monday, 7 May 2018 11:41:41 UTC+1, J.B. Wood wrote:
On 05/06/2018 01:57 AM, tabbypurr wrote:

Glowstarters are widely available, perform poorly but work. The glowswitch is far smaller than the plastic container.
A relay with brief time delay makes a much better starter.


Hello, and I have to take issue with your "perform poorly" remark. Glow
switches (aka "starters") have been around for decades and are very
reliable. And if they're reliable and work, how do they poorly perform?


they greatly reduce the life expectanc of tubes and are unpleasant on the eye during starting.

In a traditional fluorescent lamp (hot cathode type) fixture with a coil
ballast the lamp may pulse a few times before the gas discharge path is
established. The ballast performs the functions of both a current
limiter and providing a temporary voltage boost to establish the gas
discharge path. When the glow switch disconnects after the lamp
filaments have been heated there may not be enough of a voltage boost to
fire up the lamp because of when this occurs on the AC cycle. Usually
no more than a couple of start repeats are required and that's why the
lamp pulses. In any event glow switches are quite reliable and cheap to
replace when required. Sincerely,


Not so. For a project I tested the strike rate using switch contacts instead of a glow starter. It was 100%. The reason glowstarters extinguish the lamp is purely because they're horrible glowstarters - excluding the few cases where the lamp extinguishes itself due to it failing.


NT
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https://www.homedepot.com/p/Aspects-32W-Equivalent-Warm-White-T9-Dimmable-LED-Retrofit-Kit-RFKIT32/207056638?cm_mmc=Shopping|THD|google|D27L+Light+Bu lbs&mid=sR70QFjjy|dc_mtid_89037lm25188_pcrid_22784 1299674_pkw__pmt__product_207056638_slid_

https://industriallightingfixtures.o...placement.html

https://www.amazon.com/Circline-Circ...n%3A6105692011

Why? Waste? Your? Time?

what is the fascination here with moribund or already dead horses? By shifting to 'modern technology' - at least in this case - not only is one reducing landfill (however many mercury-containing lamps) but reducing energy used and increasing reliability. A cheap thing that one uses 10 of is not so cheap as that bit-more-expensive-thing that one uses 1 of.

The fixture in question is not a valuable museum-piece, but a tool. And the idea is to continue using it as a tool, rather than tossing it into landfill.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
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wrote in message
...
On Friday, 4 May 2018 14:01:50 UTC+1, J.B. Wood wrote:
On 5/3/2018 8:16 PM, Tom Del Rosso wrote:


The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just
a
momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4 terminals on
the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must be a cheaper
source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the hole can be
enlarged.

Thanks.



That's a special purpose switch that combines the function of a
glow-starter and on/off. Not a common hardware store stocked item. I've
an old 15" tube desk lamp like that and it has an inductor (coil)
ballast in the base. Are you certain yours doesn't have an inductor or
electronic ballast? I've never seen a fluorescent lamp fixture without
one. As for the bum switch - one alternative to a new switch would be
to wire in a glow switch, space permitting, and replace the defective
switch with just an on/off one. You might have to extract the glass
envelope glow switch from its plastic or metal can. You'd also have to
determine the current rating of the required glow switch. Sincerely,


A ballast is inevitably present.


Nope - some cooker hood lamps just have a big resistor.



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"J.B. Wood" wrote in message
news
On 5/3/2018 8:16 PM, Tom Del Rosso wrote:
The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just a
momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4 terminals on
the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must be a cheaper
source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the hole can be
enlarged.

Thanks.



That's a special purpose switch that combines the function of a
glow-starter and on/off. Not a common hardware store stocked item. I've
an old 15" tube desk lamp like that and it has an inductor (coil)
ballast in the base. Are you certain yours doesn't have an inductor or
electronic ballast? I've never seen a fluorescent lamp fixture without
one. As for the bum switch - one alternative to a new switch would be
to wire in a glow switch, space permitting, and replace the defective
switch with just an on/off one. You might have to extract the glass
envelope glow switch from its plastic or metal can. You'd also have to
determine the current rating of the required glow switch. Sincerely,


You can get electronic starters, I was quite impressed. The muppet
electrician that fitted a "D" luminair in the bog, fitted the wrong
ballast - it took ages to strike from the get go and after a week, it was
turn the bog light on, go for a cuppa and wait for the light to come on. The
electronic starter still took a while, but it just blinked on instead of 10
mins flickering. An electronic ballast was about the same price as a tube on
eBay and lasted a while - but I bodged it with a bunch of candle style LED
bulbs rather than go through all that crap again. LED GU10 lamps are also an
option - and much better chance of getting cool white.

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On Monday, 7 May 2018 20:33:05 UTC+1, Ian Field wrote:
tabbypurr wrote in message
...
On Friday, 4 May 2018 14:01:50 UTC+1, J.B. Wood wrote:
On 5/3/2018 8:16 PM, Tom Del Rosso wrote:


The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just
a
momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4 terminals on
the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must be a cheaper
source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the hole can be
enlarged.

Thanks.



That's a special purpose switch that combines the function of a
glow-starter and on/off. Not a common hardware store stocked item. I've
an old 15" tube desk lamp like that and it has an inductor (coil)
ballast in the base. Are you certain yours doesn't have an inductor or
electronic ballast? I've never seen a fluorescent lamp fixture without
one. As for the bum switch - one alternative to a new switch would be
to wire in a glow switch, space permitting, and replace the defective
switch with just an on/off one. You might have to extract the glass
envelope glow switch from its plastic or metal can. You'd also have to
determine the current rating of the required glow switch. Sincerely,


A ballast is inevitably present.


Nope - some cooker hood lamps just have a big resistor.


....acting as a ballast. Let us know if you have something useful to add.
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wrote:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Aspects-32W-Equivalent-Warm-White-T9-Dimmable-LED-Retrofit-Kit-RFKIT32/207056638?cm_mmc=Shopping|THD|google|D27L+Light+Bu lbs&mid=sR70QFjjy|dc_mtid_89037lm25188_pcrid_22784 1299674_pkw__pmt__product_207056638_slid_

https://industriallightingfixtures.o...placement.html

https://www.amazon.com/Circline-Circ...n%3A6105692011

Why? Waste? Your? Time?

what is the fascination here with moribund or already dead horses? By
shifting to 'modern technology' - at least in this case - not only is
one reducing landfill (however many mercury-containing lamps) but
reducing energy used and increasing reliability. A cheap thing that
one uses 10 of is not so cheap as that bit-more-expensive-thing that
one uses 1 of.

The fixture in question is not a valuable museum-piece, but a tool.
And the idea is to continue using it as a tool, rather than tossing
it into landfill.


Yeah, I'll get one of those. But what will I do with the new tube I
bought A*WEEK before the damn switch went? FRAK!

Of course the new tube was only $10.



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On 05/07/2018 02:20 PM, wrote:
On Monday, 7 May 2018 11:41:41 UTC+1, J.B. Wood wrote:
On 05/06/2018 01:57 AM, tabbypurr wrote:

Glowstarters are widely available, perform poorly but work. The glowswitch is far smaller than the plastic container.
A relay with brief time delay makes a much better starter.


Hello, and I have to take issue with your "perform poorly" remark. Glow
switches (aka "starters") have been around for decades and are very
reliable. And if they're reliable and work, how do they poorly perform?


they greatly reduce the life expectanc of tubes and are unpleasant on the eye during starting.

In a traditional fluorescent lamp (hot cathode type) fixture with a coil
ballast the lamp may pulse a few times before the gas discharge path is
established. The ballast performs the functions of both a current
limiter and providing a temporary voltage boost to establish the gas
discharge path. When the glow switch disconnects after the lamp
filaments have been heated there may not be enough of a voltage boost to
fire up the lamp because of when this occurs on the AC cycle. Usually
no more than a couple of start repeats are required and that's why the
lamp pulses. In any event glow switches are quite reliable and cheap to
replace when required. Sincerely,


Not so. For a project I tested the strike rate using switch contacts instead of a glow starter. It was 100%. The reason glowstarters extinguish the lamp is purely because they're horrible glowstarters - excluding the few cases where the lamp extinguishes itself due to it failing.


NT


Hello, and I fail to understand what you mean by "horrible". That glow
starters are old technology is understood but they're still cheap,
reliable, and in most cases easy to replace. That isn't to imply that I
would use them in a modern design with other choices such as electronic
ballasts/starters and cold-cathode lamps being available. And of course
we can go with LEDs as another poster mentioned.

One thing I didn't mention describing the starting process is
filament-heated cathode temperature at the instant the glow switch
opens. I would presume the lamp requires higher boost voltages between
the cathodes to establish the gas discharge path when the cathodes are
cooler. That makes startup more dependent on where on the AC cycle
current through ballast coil is interrupted by the starter. Since the
glow switch is a relatively fast-acting device the combination of
cathode temperature and ballast-provided voltage boost frequently isn't
sufficient to establish steady-state lamp operation during the initial
start attempt. Replacing the glow starter with a momentary-contact
pushbutton most likely enables the filaments to heat the cathodes to an
optimum temperature for starting and thus more likely start the lamp
first time. Sincerely,

--
J. B. Wood e-mail:

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On Tuesday, 8 May 2018 12:09:11 UTC+1, J.B. Wood wrote:
On 05/07/2018 02:20 PM, tabbypurr wrote:
On Monday, 7 May 2018 11:41:41 UTC+1, J.B. Wood wrote:
On 05/06/2018 01:57 AM, tabbypurr wrote:


Glowstarters are widely available, perform poorly but work. The glowswitch is far smaller than the plastic container.
A relay with brief time delay makes a much better starter.


Hello, and I have to take issue with your "perform poorly" remark. Glow
switches (aka "starters") have been around for decades and are very
reliable. And if they're reliable and work, how do they poorly perform?


they greatly reduce the life expectanc of tubes and are unpleasant on the eye during starting.

In a traditional fluorescent lamp (hot cathode type) fixture with a coil
ballast the lamp may pulse a few times before the gas discharge path is
established. The ballast performs the functions of both a current
limiter and providing a temporary voltage boost to establish the gas
discharge path. When the glow switch disconnects after the lamp
filaments have been heated there may not be enough of a voltage boost to
fire up the lamp because of when this occurs on the AC cycle. Usually
no more than a couple of start repeats are required and that's why the
lamp pulses. In any event glow switches are quite reliable and cheap to
replace when required. Sincerely,


Not so. For a project I tested the strike rate using switch contacts instead of a glow starter. It was 100%. The reason glowstarters extinguish the lamp is purely because they're horrible glowstarters - excluding the few cases where the lamp extinguishes itself due to it failing.


NT


Hello, and I fail to understand what you mean by "horrible".


As I said:
they greatly reduce the life expectanc of tubes and are unpleasant on the eye during starting.


That glow
starters are old technology is understood but they're still cheap,
reliable, and in most cases easy to replace. That isn't to imply that I
would use them in a modern design with other choices such as electronic
ballasts/starters and cold-cathode lamps being available. And of course
we can go with LEDs as another poster mentioned.

One thing I didn't mention describing the starting process is
filament-heated cathode temperature at the instant the glow switch
opens. I would presume the lamp requires higher boost voltages between
the cathodes to establish the gas discharge path when the cathodes are
cooler. That makes startup more dependent on where on the AC cycle
current through ballast coil is interrupted by the starter. Since the
glow switch is a relatively fast-acting device the combination of
cathode temperature and ballast-provided voltage boost frequently isn't
sufficient to establish steady-state lamp operation during the initial
start attempt. Replacing the glow starter with a momentary-contact
pushbutton most likely enables the filaments to heat the cathodes to an
optimum temperature for starting and thus more likely start the lamp
first time. Sincerely,


as I already explained, my experiment & product showed that guess to not be the case.


NT


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There is no reason on this planet to maintain a starter-based fluorescent fixture as such.
a) It is an energy pig.
b) The lamps required contain a relatively large amount of mercury.
c) They are relatively short-lived.
d) There is an LED equivalent available for very nearly every vintage fluorescent lamp ever made in any quantity.

So, whether one type of Luddite-approved technology is better than another does not change the fact that it remains Luddite-Approved technology.

Now, in answer to Tom's question on what to do with his "new" lamp:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNYpxc6stMo

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
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On 05/09/2018 08:40 AM, wrote:
There is no reason on this planet to maintain a starter-based fluorescent fixture as such.
a) It is an energy pig.
b) The lamps required contain a relatively large amount of mercury.
c) They are relatively short-lived.
d) There is an LED equivalent available for very nearly every vintage fluorescent lamp ever made in any quantity.

So, whether one type of Luddite-approved technology is better than another does not change the fact that it remains Luddite-Approved technology.

Now, in answer to Tom's question on what to do with his "new" lamp:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNYpxc6stMo

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA


Hello, and aren't you the same Peter from over at
rec.antiques.radio+phono that I would assume appreciates having access
to that luddite tech such as vacuum tubes? I have a few antique soft
drink and beer advertising signs that use fluorescent tubes, coil
ballasts and starters. It's nice to know I can still inexpensively and
easily maintain them in original condition without having to rely on
used or NOS (at least for now) components. (I don't turn the signs on
every day so the lamps and starters tend to last a very long time.)
Antique and nostalgia issues aside, there are cogent arguments, as you
point out, for replacing the innards of an assembly with newer tech, if
feasible (cost of components, fits the footprint of the enclosure, etc.)
Otherwise dispose/recycle it and purchase a modern equivalent. Sincerely,

--
J. B. Wood e-mail:
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I think I distinguished between museum-pieces (used loosely) and tools. On more than one occasion, I have entrusted my life, health and dexterity to various tools, such that I would not wish to do so with Luddite-Approved technology. For the same reason that I use modern capacitors, modern resistors and similar when making repairs to vintage vacuum-tube equipment. But, I tend to use real tubes vs. modern solid-state devices - which exist in surprising numbers. At the same time there are occasions where I do use a modern solid-state device such as a VR-based plug-in ILO a 50A1 in a T/O, or a Weber "copper-top" rectifier ILO a 5AR4 so as to preserve scarce and costly original parts. But there is no modification to the original to do so.

Your signs are 'museum pieces'. A lamp is a tool. When I am working on my 'museum pieces', I want the best and most reliable tools I can afford. And I want my finished products to be safe, reliable and fit for present society.. I do not subscribe to the belief that the Louis XIV Chair with rotting-but-original fabric has any value as a chair, as it is useless as such. THAT is a true museum piece.

Horses for Courses.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
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On Wednesday, 9 May 2018 11:41:57 UTC+1, J.B. Wood wrote:
On 05/08/2018 05:00 PM, tabbypurr wrote:


as I already explained, my experiment & product showed that guess to not be the case.


NT

Hello, and I believe my last OP supports the result you are obtaining as
compared to operation with a glow switch. In your previous post you
have reported a cause and effect but no accompanying hypothesis of why
that result differs.


you must have quite missed my explanation then.

I have attempted to explain things using
established electrical theory ("theory" taken to mean "fact" in a
science/engineering context).


you guessed at the cause. It was a reasonable guess, but only a guess, and found to not be what's actually happening.

But my responses to your posts were
provoked by the disdain you have for glow starters. While glow starters
are arguably obsolete technology, you fail to demonstrate why they are
"horrible" and that's why I initially responded. So I would conclude
you have provided an opinion, unsupported by theory. I have nothing
further to add. Sincerely,



NT


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"Tom Del Rosso" schreef in bericht news
The switch mechanism cracked in my magnifying lamp. No ballast. Just a
momentary and a latching switch combined, that feed the 4 terminals on
the tube. The equivalents I find are around $20. Must be a cheaper
source. Physical shape doesn't matter much, since the hole can be
enlarged.

Thanks.



Had a similar lamp. The switch was relatively fragile and worned out fast.
At first a mounted a ordinanry universal starter that wordked for some time.
Then I replaced the old fashioned ballast by the eletronics of e fluoriscent
lamp. Worked for years as a charm. Starts fast and the tube lasts much
longer.

petrus bitbyter


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