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Thread: Repairing the Aquarium Flourescent Light

  1. #1
    Registered Member Ardan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    3 (100%)

    Default Repairing the Aquarium Flourescent Light

    Repairing the aquarium flourescent light

    If your fluorescent light on your aquarium is not working or is flickering, maybe this will help you.

    Always unplug the light before working on it!!!!!

    • Are the ends of the bulb blackened? If so it may just need a new light bulb.
    • If the light is flickering, it may need a new “starter”. This is a round cylindrical plastic or metal object, usually accessible from the same side of the light as the bulb. To remove the “starter” twist it about one half turn counterclockwise. Observe the lettering and numbering on it, such as FS-4. Replace it with one with the same numbers. These are available at the hardware store for only a couple dollars in the lighting/electrical section.
    • If the light continues to flicker after replacing the “starter”, then the ballast is probably at fault. This is accessible by FIRST unplugging the light!!, then removing the screws from the underside of the fixture. This will get you to the switch, a bunch of wires, and the ballast. Replace the ballast with a similar one, using the same voltage, such as 120 volt, and with the ballast for the same number of bulbs. It will state this on the new ballast, (example, for “one lamp”, or for “two lamps”). It will also state the “bulb wattage” on the ballast (such as 40 watts, listed as 40T12, the 40 is the watts, the T12 is the type of bulb, this is written on the fluorescent bulb also).
    In my case, I purchased a “rapid start ballast” that does not use a starter. I eliminated the starter in the fixture. Cost about $13.00, available in the lighting/electrical department.
    I followed the “wiring diagram” on the new ballast, matching the wire colors on the ballast to the ends of the lamp sockets.
    4. The incoming wires on a 110 volt wire are
    a. white or neutral wire that went to one end of the lamp socket
    b. black or hot wire went to the switch and from the other side of the switch to the
    black wire on the ballast
    c. the green or ground wire went to a screw on the fixture housing.
    On the ballast, there will be different color wires, such as blue, red, white, black. Black goes to the black wire as stated above. In the wiring diagram it will show which end of the bulb the other color wires will go.
    5. If the bulb is “blown out” it is possible that the ballast has failed and is putting out
    too much current. In this case do not first try a new bulb, as it will just ruin the
    new bulb. A new ballast is probably needed.

    If you do not have any experience working with electricity it may be best to have someone who has experience do this project, or replace the whole unit.

    In the following pictures are the inside of the fluorescent fixture showing the wires, switch, and ballast.
    In the other picture is a burned out bulb (not the black ends), a “starter” (the silver cylindrical object), and a new ballast in the package.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Re: Repairing the Aquarium Flourescent Light

    these guys sell replacement parts for fluorescent lights


    they also have a nice guide on how to build a fluorescent fixture

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