It is often thought that handiness around the house with plumbing, electrical appliances, a little masonry here and there, is an ability that comes naturally to some and is denied to others. There might actually be just a grain of truth to this, but not more than a grain. What comes naturally to these people is not an ability with these things, but an interest in understanding the mysteries of the inner workings of many of the things around us. Interest is all you need. Interest can often be artificially implanted with the encouragement derived from a little success in a few beginner’s projects around the house. Take, for instance, a project about a failed fluorescent strip light. To troubleshoot and repair a non-working strip light installation is the perfect project to take up to initiate oneself into the world of handiness.
A fluorescent strip light is basically made up of up to three individual electrical components; the light tube, the ballast, and the automatic starter. Troubleshooting a malfunctioning strip light installation then comes down to eliminating problems in one or the other. Such an undertaking usually begins with a mental assessment of the steps involved and an assessment of the right tools, material, and equipment that you can learn from the ImpactDriverGuide by clicking here. Approaching a strip light problem, you will need only a few general-use electrical tools. It should be a good idea to put together a step ladder to reach the light with, a pair of Lineman’s pliers to cut wires to join them again, a line tester, and a wire stripping tool.
The first order of business should be to determine the nature of the malfunction. A problem light could exhibit the symptom of being lit up only on either end, of flickering intermittently, or of being completely dead. The first problem, the one of having the tube light up only on either end, occurs only in older installations that use a starter; a faulty starter causes this sort of problem. All you need to do is to replace this inexpensive part. A starter is a small inch-high cylinder that is found located on the fixture body; depending on the model of fixture you have, you might find you can readily access it or find that it is located underneath the tube. To replace it, find access to it by removing the tube or anything else you need to, and put in a replacement. This could just solve the problem.
If the problem is a completely dead light or a flickering one, the first step should be to check the tube for incorrect seating. With the light switch turned on, climb up to the light, gently grip the tube by either end, and carefully twist it a quarter inch either way. If incorrect seating is the problem then this action could correct it and let the tube light up. If this doesn’t help, the next step would be to look at replacing the tube, starter or the ballast, in that order. Each of these components can cause very similar symptoms; so your best bet would be to work through them one by one. If replacing a tube or the starter does not successfully resolve the issue, consider replacing the most expensive component of the fixture, ballast.
Make sure that the power supply to the light you wish to work on is turned off at the source, preferably at the circuit breaker stage. Remove the tube and any protective cover that restricts access to the ballast. Make sure that it is not too hot to handle and proceed to unscrew any fasteners that hold it in place. There are, you will find, six color-coded wires making their way to the ballast; the black and the white are the main power supply. Make sure that the power is indeed turned off by using your line tester on the black wire. When all seems safe, first remove these two wires from the ballast and protect them with a dead cap. You will need to have a new ballast of the exact same specification as the one you have removed, to put back in its place.
Cut the wires to free the ballast from the old fixture and fasten the new ballast in place. The new ballast will have color-coded wires just the same as the old one that you have taken out. Simply connect yellow to yellow, green to green, and so on, with the help of a wire nut each. Connect the main power supply, the black and white wires, to the similarly-colored terminals on the ballast; you should be ready to test your new installation now.
Being handy around the house gives us a special sense of empowerment; the funny thing is that most people somehow think to shy away from being hands-on in their lives. It is easy to know how rewarding a little work here and there can be though just a little success fixing things around the house.