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Electrician Training Electrical Certification wiring recessed light fixtures Electrical Wiring Electrical Troubleshooting and Electrical Repairs wire outdoor light fixture Home Electrical Wiring Diagrams
wiring home generator and transfer switch wiring a 220 volt range cord outlet Wiring for GFCI Outlets Wiring Outlets and a Switched Outlet How to Installing and Wire Ceiling Fans and Remote Controls wire dimmer switch wiring diagrams for switches wiring a dryer cord and 220 outlet circuit breaker panel
Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Replace a Light Fixture Ballast


light fixture ballast

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Summary: Electrical Lighting Question: I have a fluorescent lights in our kitchen that quit working. I replaced the bulbs and the switch.




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Fine- very good. Ray from Bridgeport, Connecticut

Replace a Light Fixture Ballast



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Replacing a Light Fixture Ballast.

I have a fluorescent lights in our kitchen that quit working. I replaced the bulbs and the switch. They are okay and I have current in the black wire only at the light until I get to the electric ballast. At the electric ballast there is no current at the wires on the other side (red and blue wires). Do you think I need to replace the ballast and how hard is it for a beginner to do.
Thanks Adam.

Hi Adam - Great Electrical Repair Question!
First of all - one thing that will burn out a ballast is when the lamps are not changed when they start to flicker and get black at the ends. If this happens to both lamps chances are you will need to change the ballast, and unfortunately the ballast is much more expensive than just replacing the lamps.

Typically the average life span for lamps is about two years, depending on how often you turn the lights on and off, which will decrease the life of the lamp.

Replacing the ballast is really not very hard at all. Be very careful that the new ballast is the right replacement for your fixture lamps type and length and that the watts are comparable to the watts of your lamps. The first thing before replacing the ballast is to never change the ballast if the switch or power is on or you could get a nasty shock. If you have the correct replacement ballast the wire colors will match and if there are two wires of the same color it will not matter how you match them up.

You will need a pair of wire strippers for the smaller gauge wire and small wire connectors to make good tight splices. One pair of wires will typically be black and white which are for the 120 volt power coming in from your switch, the other wires go to the sockets for the lamps. Be aware that the wires that attach to the sockets can sometimes become disconnected but can be inserted back into their termination hole.

If a socket is damaged they can usually be replaced. These sockets are called tombstones by trade name because of their shape and can be found at any good hardware store or wholesale electrical supply house.

While inside the fixture, make sure that it has a ground wire that is attached to the frame of the fixture. The Lack of a attached ground wire can prevent your fixture from starting, especially if you are replacing a magnetic ballast.


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Wiring Home Electric Circuits
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How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
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Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.





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