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Replacement Electric Light Ballast | Lighting Transformers

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How to Replace an Electrical Electronic Fluorescent Lighting Ballast

Almost all fluorescent light fixtures are comprised of a lamp, a lamp holder, a lighting ballast, and internal wiring. Some forms of lamps also have starters as well. The ballast is used to initiate the voltage and electrical current that is necessary to light the lamp. However, over time, a ballast may wear out and need replacing. The light should first be turned off at the light switch and the circuit breaker. You will need to make sure that your replacement transformer is close at hand. Next, the metal tabs at the center of the light fixture should be turned so that they are perpendicular to it in length. It should fall away easily from the fixture. The action should be repeated on the other side.

It is important that you cut off all electricity at the breaker before starting this project. You should then check the electrical ballast with a voltage meter to make certain that there is no voltage within the feed wires. Then you should remove the wire nut. If there is not a wire nut, the electrical wires will need to be cut approximately 12 inches from the center of the fixture. You should continue cutting until all of the wires have been removed. Then you will need to remove the transformer by unscrewing the nut that fixes the ballast to the fixture and lay it aside. Be careful not to mix up the old one with your replacement unit.

You should take care to ascertain that your fluorescent light transformer is similar to the old one. You should take note of the wattage, length, and number of bulbs in the light fixture. In a light fixture that has more than four bulbs, there may be two or more ballasts unless stated on the ballast can operate 4 or more. The new ballast can be easily added to the fixture by reversing the steps that you took to remove the old one. It is important to make sure that your wires match one another correctly. You should trim the wires so that they overlap with the wires of the fixture by roughly six inches.

After you have installed the replacement electronic ballast, you should strip approximately half an inch of the insulation from all of the wires involved. Using the wire nut, you should match each wire to its color-coded mate. You can then reverse the steps that you used to remove the wire nut. Then, you should replace the new lamps and turn on the light to make sure that your handiwork has been successful. Please consult with a qualified electrician before starting any electrical project. offers this as information for education purposes only and is not responsible for injury or death cause by any information given within this article.

Electronic Fluorescent Ballast

The ballast is the part of your fluorescent light that allows the energy to enter the light bulb and make it give off light. It moderates the amount of energy that is allowed into the bulb, which keeps it from getting too much energy and burning out when you turn it on. This is a very important part of your fluorescent lighting fixture. There are two basic types of ballasts used in fluorescent lighting: magnetic and electronic. Choosing the right one for your needs can save you money.

Magnetic ballasts were the first types used in fluorescent lighting. They use steel discs and wire (aluminum or copper) to control the amount of energy. This configuration generally produces a hum when in use that can be heard once the light is turned on. This hum is not caused by the magnetic ballast itself, this is because operate at 60Hz, which can be heard by the human ear. They also have a tendency to cause a flicker in the light when in use.

Electronic ballasts are a much newer concept, they use a circuit board to regulate the amount of energy that is allowed to enter the bulb and operate at 40Hz to 20Hz, which is too high of a frequency to be heard by the human ear. This means that they do not cause that annoying audible hum when in use. Because the flow of energy is more regulated by the circuit board, they also do not have the flicker that magnetic ballasts cause.

Now on to the important factors: saving energy and money. Choosing the right ballast for your fixture is very important and can save energy, which in turn saves you money. Magnetic ballasts are fairly inexpensive to produce, which makes them fairly inexpensive to purchase. Consequently, because electronic ballasts are a little more expensive to produce, they are also more expensive to purchase. So does this mean that you will save more money buying fluorescent light bulbs with magnetic ballasts? No, it does not ! You will be able to save a small amount of money immediately, but in order to experience constant long term savings, you should look at electronic ballasts.

Electronic ballasts regulate the energy used to operate the fluorescent light bulb much more precisely, and use less energy to produce the same amount of light. This means that it will cost less to run the same amount of lights. Choose wisely!

Replace Your Fluorescent Ballast

Changing a fluorescent lamp is a simple task, however the ballast is somewhat more challenging. If you are uncomfortable working with electricity , your best bet is to call a qualified electrician. If you are more a technically inclined do-it-yourselfer then here are 7 helpful tips.

1. Turn off the power to the lighting fixture. To ensure complete safety it is best to turn off the electricity at your breaker box.

2. Place the ladder under the fluorescent fixture securely and remove light cover (not all fixtures have covers). There might be screws or you may have to simply apply some pressure to sides of the fixture cover depending on the design.

3. Carefully remove the bulbs from the fixtures and safely put them in a safe place where they will not get broken or shatter.

4. Remove the ballast cover and put it in a safe location like on the ground or work bench. It is ALWAYS best to take the fixture down and complete your project in a safe and secure environment.

5. Remove the hot wire (usually black or red) and replace the wire nut for safety. Then un-wire the neutral wire (usually white) and then ground wire (usually green or raw copper) and replace the wire nut for safety.

6. Use a screw driver and remove the ballast from the fixture. Snip the wires leading to the fluorescent sockets, remembering to leave enough to wire nut them back together. Strip the wires about 1/2" on the ballast as well as the socket. Make sure you write down where each wire goes.

7. Replace the old fluorescent ballast with a new ballast. Then simply wire nut the wire connections again. Follow your light fixture manual for replacing the fixture to the ceiling or wall.

Viola, you have successfully replaced your fluorescent fixture.