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Electrical/fluorescent Light question

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I had a very strange thing happen the yesterday.  I was attempting to plug in a four foot twin bulb fluorescent fixture.  The extension cord that I was plugging it into has always been difficult to get the plug connected.  Usually with a little work it will go.  Yesterday I tried several times to plug it and had no success.  I then was going to grab the prongs of the plug compress them slightly to see if that would help.  Upon contact with the plug prongs I got one hell of a jolt AND one bulb violently exploded.  Can anyone explain what happened?  I know these thing have a starter and the old ones even had a ballast with a capacitor, but this only has a starter.  This is a few year old fixture with a grounded plug and the extension cord is grounded too.  Scared the hell out of me.

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I’d say your starter held some energy!  Ouch!


Once your fingers completed the circuit, it discharged.

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Yes, that is the only logical explanation but I sure didn't think that a modern day starter would do that.  I have never heard of that and never seen any type of warning.

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I woulda been a little shocked too!  :P


Yah, that was too easy - but I don’t know if I would expect it either.  I learned about capacitors a long time ago.  I haven’t heard of a starter doing that but they do pretty much the same work.


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New school instant start electronic lamps use a shot of high voltage to the the lamp going instead of the former filaments.  Could be a capacitor in there.  

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