How to Wire Ballasts


Fluorescent lights, as well as some other high-powered lights, are fitted with a ballast. The ballast controls the flow of electricity to the light, keeping it even and consistent. When a light begins to hum or flicker regularly, it is likely that the old ballast has gone bad, or the wiring needs to be redone. Replacing a ballast requires a bit of rewiring. Check the price on the ballast before getting into the project; sometimes replacing the entire light mechanism is cheaper than replacing the ballast.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Nut driver
  • Wire cutter
  • Wire stripper
  • Ballast
  • Wire nuts
  • Turn off the circuit breaker controlling the light you need to work on.

  • Remove the tube from the light by twisting it counterclockwise and sliding it out.

  • Remove the cover to the ballast located on the end of the light. Take out the screw holding it in place with a screwdriver or nut driver.

  • Cut all the wires several inches away from the end of the ballast with a pair of side-cutting pliers.

  • Unscrew the nut holding the ballast in place with a nut driver. Hold the ballast in one hand to keep it from falling.

  • Strip 1/2-inch of insulation from the new ballast wires as well as the old ballast with wire strippers.

  • Hold the new ballast up and secure it in place with the nut driver.

  • Attach the same colored wires together by twisting wire nuts clockwise around the exposed ends.

  • Replace the cover to the ballast and reinsert the light. Turn on the power at the circuit breaker and test the light.

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  • Photo Credit Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images
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