How to Replace the Starter for a Fluorescent Light

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Fluorescent light fixtures sold in hardware stores as of 2010 are a little different than the ones sold a decade ago. Today's fluorescent fixtures feature electronic starting ballasts, while older versions used an independent starter to kick-start the light. In these older fixtures, a non-working light could often be repaired by simply replacing the starter instead of the ballast. You can easily tell if your fluorescent fixture has a starter as it will have a small silver (or white) cylinder directly behind the tube.

How to Replace the Starter for a Fluorescent Light
(James Strobel /Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
Step 1

Turn off the power to the fluorescent light by turning off the circuit breaker or the light switch.

James Strobel /Demand Media
Step 2

Remove the fluorescent light's cover lens if it has one, using the screwdriver if necessary.

James Strobel /Demand Media
Step 3

Remove the fluorescent tube by giving it a half-turn until its pins align with the slots in the sockets. When the pins are aligned, pull the tube straight down, releasing the tube from the sockets.

James Strobel /Demand Media
Step 4

Grasp the starter with your fingers and give it a 1/4 clockwise turn. Once it unseats, you can pull it straight out.

James Strobel /Demand Media
Step 5

Plug in the new starter and give it a 1/4 counterclockwise turn. It will snap in place.

James Strobel /Demand Media
Step 6

Replace the fluorescent tube by sliding the pins straight up into the socket's slots and giving the tube 1/2 turn.

James Strobel /Demand Media
Step 7

Replace the fixture's cover lens if it has one and turn the power back on to the light.

Tips & Warnings

  • If replacing the starter and the fluorescent tubes do not fix the non-working light, the ballast is likely the problem.
  • When working on a ladder with fluorescent tubes, use caution as it can be easy to accidentally bang the tube, causing it to break.
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