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Fluorescent Lights Not Working

This is a guide about fluorescent lights not working. Replacing the florescent bulbs in the fixture is the first thing to do, but sometimes the ballast needs to be replaced.


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By 0 found this helpful
September 22, 2010

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


September 22, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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September 22, 20100 found this helpful

I thought my bathroom fluorescent light bulbs had simply burned out one day. We purchased new bulbs, but it was the same. I thought it was a bad set of bulbs, so we bought two more, but the same thing happened.


You can see that the electricity is getting in there, the bulbs just don't want to light up. Is there something wrong with my fixture (even though the juice is obviously getting in there) or is there something I can do to clean the connectors?

By allisonk from Honolulu, HI


Fluorescent Lights Not Working

There are basically 5 things that can go wrong: power, lamps, sockets, ballast, and starter. I don't know how you tell that power is getting there, but that obviously that isn't it. You replaced the lamps twice so that isn't it. Assuming the lamps are seating well in the sockets when you put them in that shouldn't be it.

So that leaves the starter, not all fixtures have them, but if yours does it looks like a miniature tin can and twists into a socket. They are usually available at hardware stores for under $5, but make sure you get the correct replacement, there are several different types for different types of lamps.


The last thing would be the ballast. It is fairly easy to replace if you have some electrical skills and can be bought at some hardware stores and most lighting stores. For a small type fixture it should cost under $15. (04/10/2010)

By Dave

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April 9, 20100 found this helpful

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


Fluorescent Lights Not Working

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

By anne

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 cettina

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 David M.

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 Ann

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December 13, 20090 found this helpful

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


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

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

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July 3, 20050 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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