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Troubleshooting Light Fixture and GFCI Outlet Issues

In my garage are 2 fluorescent light fixtures that suddenly won't turn on when I hit the single rocker switch that controls both fixtures (neither of them turn on now). I checked the circuit breaker, but it's on. There are 2 GFCI outlets in the garage, and they are both working (the red lights are lit). I tried changing the bulbs, but no luck.


Here's the strange part: When I turn off the circuit breaker, then flip it back on, both of those GFCI outlets POP off. I then have to manually push the little button to turn the red light back on. But if I flip the circuit breaker off then on again, POP, both GFCI outlets go out again. In the mean time, the 2 fluorescent light fixtures still don't work.

Anyone have any thoughts on what might be wrong?


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January 10, 20171 found this helpful

It is possible that the ballasts have gone bad in your fluorescent fixtures. There is a tester for lamps, but it is cost prohibitive for the home user. Your electrician may have one. You could also see if the lamps are good by placing them in a working fixture. If the lamps are good, your next step would be to have an electrician replace the ballasts (assuming you have power to the ballast when the GFCI is reset and the switch is on).

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January 10, 20170 found this helpful

I do not believe it could be the ballast as you say there are 2 light fixtures that are not working.

You did say you checked the circuit breaker and it was on - does that mean that you did not flip it off and then on again? My son always tells me that is the first thing I have to do.

I hope you can find an easy inexpensive solution but - if not - do you know anyone who "knows" an electrician that might have an answer as that might be your best solution - otherwise - you may have to bite the bullet and call an electrician.

I hope someone else comes along with a better answer.

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January 11, 20170 found this helpful

So this is strange... I was about to swap out the switch to see if maybe it was the culprit when I remembered that our garage has a SECOND switch that also works both of the light fixtures (we never use that switch so I had forgotten all about it). Anyway, I flipped THAT switch and guess what? The lights went on. Wow. So I went back to the "bad" switch and flipped it, and guess what? It worked. What the heck? Strange, right?


The only thing still bugging me is that when I flip the circuit breaker off then back on again, both of the GFCI outlets in the garage still pop off -- which is making me think that something still isn't right. Anyone know what the problem might be?

Thanks again...

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