fluorescent tube blows main breaker on turn-off

Every once in a hundred turn-offs my 40w fluorescent tube fixture recently bought and installed in my hallway blows the apartment main breaker. Couple of times it even caused the safety door switch on the front load washing machine (operating at the time) to stick/weld contacts to the point I couldn't open the door thus necessitating a major washer disassembly job.

Seeing a choke in the fixture brought to mind a possible voltage spike if the tube is turned off at the AC peak. It 's just that I have never experienced such problem. Maybe it's a special balast design (made in Hungary and very cheap). I have some MOV's in the junk box. Any ideas if they would solve the spike problem? These were acquired some 30 years ago when GE brought them out (which I hope is not a problem) but they are rated 130V AC. Now I live in a 240V country - can I place them in series ( with a couple of say 50k equalizing resistors across)?

Tnx for ideas ( I know i should junk the thing but I like problems I can solve with stuff I hoard and never use).

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Replace it. Seriously. Soon.

Reply to
Homer J Simpson

I don't think we have enough here to really help you much.... Some points to ponder:

Why is the branch circuit breaker not tripping? Are you using the branch breaker as an on/off switch? Is this the same branch as the washer? (probably not?.) What size is the main breaker? Branch? What brand panel? (Some are not worth owning...) Is the 40W fixture grounded? (And if not, is the washer clearing the fault?) If 120/240 1-ph service, is your neutral bonded to ground past the panel? (Should not be!!) Is there any metal connection between the washer and the light fixture?

This sounds like a fire waiting to happen. I too recommend you hunt this problem down and fix is ASAP. mpm

Reply to
** Groper Alert !

** Errr - is that a combined breaker and ELCB unit ?

Bet it is.

** Pure coincidence.

** Just fit a capacitor of say 1uF ( must be 250 volt AC rated or class X2 ) across the fluoro power input.

........ Phil

Reply to
Phil Allison

Probably a GFI breaker (required for the wash machine) and something hinky in the grounding of the fluorescent fixture (like an instant on that didn't have a convenient ground for the reflector).

But there should be a lot more useful data to arrive at a conclusion.

MOV's probably won't help - the best they can do is short the line when a spike comes along. They can be used in series, not that it will fix anything.

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