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Fluorescent ballast product information

If you have fluorescent lighting in your home you likely have what is called a ballast, especially if you have six or eight foot fluorescent light fixtures. The ballast is used to provide the power that is needed to light the fluorescent fixture to provide light. A ballast is not something that most people ever have to replace, but if you have been using the same fixture for more than five years you may have to replace your fluorescent ballast. You can replace the ballast yourself if you would like, but you need to be careful as you are dealing with a lot of voltage when you replace a fluorescent ballast.

To replace your fluorescent ballast you need to start by not only turning off the switch to the light but turning off the breaker to the light. This is important because you are dealing with the input voltage of 120 volts and the output voltage from the ballast of at least 600 volts! You may find when you get in there that it is actually not the ballast but the bulbs that need to be replaced. If you look at the end of the bulbs and they are black you can likely just replace the bulbs and be in working order. If the ends are not black and the new bulbs do not work, you may need to replace the fluorescent ballast.

If you determine that you need to replace the ballast you will need to start by removing the tubes. Next you will need to find the metal taps that are usually near the middle of the fixture and turn them so that they are perpendicular to the length of the fixture. Now pull the fixture toward you, it should come away from the ceiling and you will need to set this part aside for later use.

Next locate the ballast and then follow the wires that come from it until you find wire nuts that connect the wires. Not finding wire nuts? You will simply need to cut the wires about 12 inches from the center of the fixture on each side. You'll want to either remove the nuts or cut the wires for the red, white, black, and blue wires.

After you have cut all the wires you will need to unscrew the bold that holds the ballast to the fixture. You'll need two hands for this because if you don't hold onto the ballast while you unscrew it will fall to the ground. When you have removed the ballast you will want to take it with you when you go to your home improvement store. You will want to purchase a replacement fluorescent ballast, ensuring that you buy the right voltage, length, and type of bulbs that you have in your fixture as this will make a difference when you are selecting a ballast.

Bring your fluorescent ballast home and install it, basically doing everything in reverse. Take care when reattaching the wires, ensuring that the red and blue wires face one end while the black and white face the other. Cut the wires, allowing them to overlap by about six inches and then strip a ½ of the insulation off of the wires. You will want to connect the wires with wire nuts, blue to blue, red to red, and so on. Make sure that you replace the taps back on the end of the fixture, replace the tubes, and you're done! You should be able to turn on the light. If the light doesn't turn on, you should check out the wire nut connection as this can be a common source of a lighting problem with newly installed ballasts.

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