What causes a light ballast to go bad?

Asked By: Imogene Cassen | Last Updated: 24th January, 2020
Category: sports sailing
4.8/5 (610 Views . 44 Votes)
Premature ballast failure is often caused by the surrounding environment. Heat and moisture are enemies #1 and #2 to your ballast. When it's too hot or too cold, the ballast can burn or fail to start your lamps at all. Heat combined with prolonged condensation inside an electronic ballast can cause corrosion.

Click to see full answer

Similarly, what are the signs of a bad ballast?

If your fluorescent lighting is displaying any of the signs below, it could be a symptom of a bad ballast:

  • Flickering.
  • Buzzing.
  • Delayed start.
  • Low output.
  • Inconsistent lighting levels.
  • Switch to an electronic ballast, keep lamp.
  • Switch to an electronic ballast, switch to a T8 fluorescent.

Also Know, how long do ballasts last? about 20 years

Just so, how do I know if my ballast needs replacing?

When you hear a buzzing sound coming from your fixture or the bulbs flicker or do not come on, check the ballast to see if it needs to be replaced. Turn off the fluorescent fixture's circuit breaker inside the breaker panel. Remove the lens cover from the fixture.

How much is it to replace a ballast?

A replacement ballast costs about $10-25 depending on capacity and brand. The bite is that an electrician trip charge (which includes 30 or 60 minutes work) is going to be $75-150 probably - for about 5 minutes work on each light fixture.

37 Related Question Answers Found

How do you bypass a ballast?

Cut the socket lead wires.
The socket lead wires (most likely red and blue-colored wires) are located on the other side of the ballast and connect to wires going out of the ballast to the sockets (which should be non-shunted sockets for T8 LEDs). These output wires provide the power to the lamps.

Do you have to be a licensed electrician to change a ballast?

Depending on the size of the replacement project, a licensed electrician isn't always necessary; however, if you don't have the proper tools or experience, it is a good idea to consult with a licensed electrician before attempting the replacement.

Do I need to remove the ballast to use an LED bulb?

LED technology does not require a ballast to regulate the amount of energy flowing to the lights. Additionally, removing the ballast will reduce energy usage and result in even great cost-savings as ballasts continue to draw more power than necessary.

What happens when a ballast goes bad?

When it's too hot or too cold, the ballast can burn or fail to start your lamps at all. Heat combined with prolonged condensation inside an electronic ballast can cause corrosion. Some people may suggest removing the parts of the ballast casing and cleaning the electrical board.

Can you change a ballast with the power on?

When the ballast fails, the bulb will flicker or fail to light. Although changing a ballast is safer with the power off, sometimes it is impractical, such as in a crowded store or office space, and you must replace the ballast without cutting the power. Fluorescent bulbs need ballasts to regulate the power.

Can a bad ballast cause a breaker to trip?

If the primary winding in the ballast goes bad they almost always trip the breaker, unless there is a fuse installed just ahead of the ballast. After checking all of the wiring, as you have been directed to do, the last chip is a bad ballast.

How does a ballast work?

Simply put, the ballast is the heart of a fluorescent light fixture sending energy (pumping blood) through the lamp. A ballast provides the correct amount of voltage to start the lamps and regulates the amount of current that flows to them once they're on.

How do you test a light fixture for electricity?

To test a fixture for power using a probe-type tester, you need access to the fixture's screw terminals or, if the fixture has wire leads, to the ends of the wire leads. Touch one tester probe to the hot (black or red wire) screw terminal, and touch the other probe to the neutral (white wire) terminal.

How do I know if my ballast is t8 or t12?

This will reveal a lot about your current fluorescent tube and usually indicate if the bulb is T8 or T12. If no markings are available, the size in diameter of the tube is the easiest way to determine the type you have installed. T8 tubes are 1-inch in diameter and T12 tubes are 1 1/2 -inch.

Why do my fluorescent lights not turn on?

A dead fluorescent can be caused by lack of electrical power (tripped breaker or blown fuse), a dead or dying ballast, a dead starter or a dead bulb(s). Check for power first then the starter (if applicable) and then the bulbs. When all else fails, the ballast should be replaced.

What is a ballast used for?

In a fluorescent lighting system, the ballast regulates the current to the lamps and provides sufficient voltage to start the lamps. Without a ballast to limit its current, a fluorescent lamp connected directly to a high voltage power source would rapidly and uncontrollably increase its current draw.

How many types of ballasts are there?

There are two lamp families that work with a ballast: fluorescent and HID. And there are two types of ballasts in each family: magnetic and electronic. Magnetic ballasts are the older ballast technology. For the fluorescent family, both T12 linear fluorescents and two-pin CFLs use magnetic ballasts.

What is the difference between t8 and t12 bulbs?

The number that comes with the T is used to denote the diameter of the fluorescent tube. Since the measurements come in eights of an inch, the T8 has an inch of diameter while a T12 comes in 1.5 inches. The narrower your choice of a fluorescent lamp is, the more efficient its energy output will be.

What are the yellow wires on a ballast?

you would normally have the yellow connected to one end of a bulb and the other end will be connected to either a blue or a red wire . it is basically one half of the source power circuit, yellow on one end, and either blue or red to the other end . The two wires provide the source power to light a bulb.

How do you test a fluorescent light?

Set a multimeter to the ohm (Omega symbol) setting, then touch one tester probe to each of the pins at the end of the bulb. If the tester shows a reading between 0.5 and 1.2 ohms, the bulb has continuity. Repeat the test at the other end of the bulb.

How do I wire a 2 way ballast?

How to Replace 2 Lamp Series Ballast with Parallel
  1. Connect each of the individual blue wires from the parallel ballast to each pair of the lampholder individual wires (red and blue).
  2. Connect the common red wire from the parallel ballast to the yellow pair of lampholder common wires.

Can I replace fluorescent tubes with LED?

Yes, you can replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes or LED integrated fixtures. If you aren't ready to replace the fluorescent fixture and just want to replace the bulbs, you can use plug-and-play, direct wire, or hybrid LED tubes.