01-24-2012, 10:12 AM
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In order of most likely to least likely,
Ballast! is first. The older magnetic ballasts sometimes just did, and sometimes did when they were on the way out the door. For this there is no fix but to replace the fixture, or just the ballast.
It could be the starter, if it has one. Frankly, the new electronic ballasts with no starter are the cats meow, and they are not terribly expensive. I wouldnt be opposed to doing a photo tutorial...
Very rarely, but it can possibly be, the bulb. Try removing the bulb, checking the ends for corrosion, and putting it back it nice and snug. You never know.
Food for thought when servicing older aquarium lights. I have fixed, modified, and resurrected many over the last few years. They all have one thing in common... when they get old, they are terrifying! I have a 48" strip light which has 2 24" T8s in it.. I replaced a starter not long ago but couldnt get the starter out. I took it apart to find the whole ballast, AND the socket for the starter was just a pure ball of rust. They werent even grounded! a new electronic ballast and maybe new bulb ends are in the future for that little strip, im just lucky I never got zapped.