How to Do a Voltage Test for Fluorescent Fixtures

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Fluorescent fixtures not only enhance the decor of your house, they also save you money because they are cheaper to operate than incandescent light bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs use a gas and electricity to create illumination, while a regular bulb uses heat, which costs more to power. The amount of illumination in the fluorescent bulb is controlled by a ballast that is connected to the fixture. If your fluorescent fixture is not working properly, use a multimeter, also called a volt ohm meter, to check the fixture's voltage to determine if the problem is the ballast or another component.

Things You'll Need

  • Multimeter
  • Screwdriver

Turn off the power to the circuit that powers the fluorescent fixture.

Remove the fluorescent light bulb from the fixture. The bulb is held in place by tombstones, which also facilitate the transfer of electricity to the bulb. Turn the bulb counterclockwise and carefully lift it from the fixture. Place the bulb in a safe place.

Detach the cover that protects the ballast. Typically the cover is secured with screws. Some colored wires are revealed that connect the ballast to the fixture.The colors are blue or yellow for power and white for neutral.

Turn the setting on the multimeter to "Ohms." Touch one probe to the white wire and the other to a colored wire. The meter will display a direct short or continuity. If no reading is displayed, there is a problem with the ballast. Replace it as soon as possible.

Test the wires connecting the tombstones to the fixture. Pull the tombstone off the fixture. In some fixtures, they are secured with screws. Touch the probes to the power and neutral wire. If there is no reading, the problem is with the tombstone wires. Check the wires to ensure they are secure. Reattach all the components of the fixture when you are finished testing.

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