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Fluorescent Lights Not Working

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My bathroom light stopped working, so I changed the fluorescent out with a new one, but still it doesn't work. It only glows on one end after I touched it with my bare hands. What do you think is the problem?

By edylc from Hong Kong


Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Deanj09/23/2010

If you don't know what the starter is or located go to your local hardware store and ask someone in the electric dept. They will show you what it is and where it is located.

By Melanie Jackson [1]09/22/2010

As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, the starter could be the problem. If replacing that doesn't fix it, then you need to replace the unit entirely.

By Rob [1]09/22/2010

Have you tried changing the starter unit? That's the small cylindrical thing about one-and-a-half centimetres diameter across. If that is not giving a high enough charge to gas in the tube, it will not light properly.

By joeyhurt07/18/2010

The fluorescent light in my kitchen does not light when I put the switch in the on position. When I put the switch in the off position and put a black (hot) insulated wire on the terminal screws, the light was on. I replaced the switch but the light did not operate. What might be wrong?


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

My fluorescent light fixture is not working. When I first replaced the bulbs, I noticed that the new light was dimmer than it had been. In the next couple of weeks, I noticed that the light kept flickering. Now it is much dimmer.


RE: Fluorescent Lights Not Working 07/14/2005
Assuming that you HAVE tried re-seating the tubes to make sure that they are indeed properly seated, that sounds like a bad ballast.

Unless you are reasonably comfortable messing with electrical wiring, it's best to get an electrician to change the ballast. However, it's not really that difficult if you follow the instructions one step at a time.

1) Purchase a new ballast for that type of fixture

2) Arrange for good lighting up where the fixture is.

3) Test that lighting and make sure it stays lit when you turn the bad fixture off.

4) Arrange for a ladder or a table to stand on to comfortably reach the fixture.

5) Arrange for a helper to steady the ladder and to pass pieces to

6) Turn the bad fixture off and remove the tubes.

7) Unscrew the metal safety cover and remove it.

8) Draw a diagram of the wiring that you see.

9) Make sure that the ballast is an exact replacement with the same numbers and colors of wires.

10) Loosen the screw or wing-nut that holds the ballast and just let it hang by the wires.

11) Attach the new ballast securely

12) One at a time, switch the wires from the old to the new ballast

13) Double-check the wiring with your diagram

14) Make sure the little hat type connectors are good and tight and that you can't pull them off.

15) Replace the safety cover

16) Install the tubes and plexi-glass cover

That should do the trick.
Have FUN!

By DearWebby

Archive: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

My 2 bulb fluorescent light (one of three fixtures) in the kitchen was working. Then it would light and shut off, then light up again, then shut off. Now when I turn on my kitchen lights that fixture does not light at all. The bulbs have power to them, but are not lighting. I have tried to replace the bulbs. No luck. The fixture is almost 20 years old. Do I need a whole new fixture? Is this the same as replacing a ballast? Thank you for your help.

Karen from Orlando, FL

RE: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

First check the plastic or porcelain tube holders. If they are cracked or if the wires going into them, are loose, replace them. They are cheap. Also tighten the little top-hat connectors.

If none of that helps, draw a diagram of how the wires from the ballast are connected. You can draw it with a felt pen on the inside of the enclosure that holds the ballast. Then get a new ballast. If you can't get the old one out without taking the fixture down, see if you have room to put the new one in beside it. Mark where the screw holes need to be, then drill a 1/8 inch pilot hole and run a self tapping sheet metal screw or a wood screw into the holes. Use the square socket (Robertson) screws like the electricians use. They are much safer.

Cut the wires from the old ballast about an inch from the ballast, so that you can still see the colors. Once you have prepared the mounting holes, attach the new ballast, and connect the wires according to your diagram. Have FUN! DearWebby (04/17/2006)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

Webby, I have replaced the ballast, the bulb (twice) and got three new starters - the bulb still will not work - when I switch it on it starts to work (flicker) and you can hear and see the starter working but the bulb will not light. Please help.

Answer: If the bulb, ballast and starter have been replaced, the only thing left is a mismatch between Rapid Start and Instant Start. All three have to be of the same type. If Rapid Start tubes are no longer available locally, it will be easier to just replace the whole fixture. (04/08/2008)

By Joe

Archive: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

My fluorescent light is not working. I replaced the 2 lights, but it is still not working. Only the ends of the bulbs flicker with light. I have verified that there is good power. What do you recommend?

By Jam from Phoenix, AZ

RE: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

You need a new ballast. (12/17/2009)

By A. Hastings7878

RE: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

I don't know what you call it in your country. Here in Malta we call it a starter. Its a little plastic tube thingy about 2 inches long. Very cheap to buy from a hardware store and even easier to replace. Just look for it in your light fitting and you will see it. It pulls out and you put another in. (12/18/2009)

By cett

RE: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

It could possibly the starter, about the size of a 35mm container. Or it could be the ballast. From your explanation I would look at the ballast being the issue. If it is the ballast you might just think about replacing the fixture, it could be cheaper than the cost to replace the ballast unit. The last ballast I had changed cost over $80 dollars at the local Home Depot hardware store. (12/18/2009)

By dwmoar

RE: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

Try replacing the starter first. In my case that was always the reason and much less expensive to try that first. Any hardware store can help you and usually have any size in stock. (12/20/2009)

By Deeli

Archive: Fluorescent Lights Not Working

I thought my bathroom fluorescent light bulbs had simply burned out one day. We purchased new bulbs, but it was the same.


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