If you want to replace a fluorescent lamp in your home or office but don’t want to use a ballast, you have options. One is to use direct wire LED tubes, which are designed to connect directly to the fixture without a ballast. These are a great option for commercial businesses because they don’t cost much more than standard fluorescent lamps and last longer than the average fluorescent tube.
Another choice is to install a plug and play LED tube. These tubes are designed to look and fit just like a standard fluorescent bulb. They are also compatible with most fixtures.
First, you must determine if your fixture has a magnetic ballast or a separate starter device. If your fixture does have a magnetic ballast, locate it and remove it. If it has a separate starter device, find it and remove it as well.
Then, turn off the power to your fixture by switching the light switch to the “off” position. This will ensure no small children or overly helpful neighbors accidentally turn on your lighting while you are rerouting the wires to bypass the ballast.
To access the wiring of a fluorescent lamp, you need to remove the cover plate on the fixture. This cover is usually a piece of metal that fits into the center of the fixture. Its tabs will catch in slots on either side of the fixture, and you need to squeeze the sides of the cover inward to remove it.
Once you have removed the covering, you will see the ballast and its wiring inside. This wiring can get a little snarly, but all you need to do is follow the color scheme on the ballast to make sure you’re connecting the correct input and output hot and neutral wires.
In most cases, the input hot wires will be black or red and the output hot wires will be blue. The input neutral wires will be white. This is because the input and output wires are part of a full circuit connection, not just for supplying power to your fixture.
Next, strip approximately one inch of the colored wire off each of the input and output hot and neutral wires. This will give you a good idea of the lengths needed for each.
You should then connect each of these individual wires to their corresponding terminal on the fluorescent lamp socket. You will need a pair of wire nuts to secure the ends of each of these connectors to the sockets on the fixture.
Finally, screw the electronic ballast into place in the same spot as the magnetic ballast. If your fixture has multiple fluorescent lights, you may need to cut off the hot and neutral wires from each light so that you can attach them all to one set of hot and neutral wires on the electronic ballast.
If you’re still having trouble locating the ballast, you can always call a lighting technician for help. Many of these technicians are licensed to work with ballasts and can guide you through the process.