How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Jason Your Own Question

Jason
Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3616
Experience:  Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
Type Your Electrical Question Here...
Jason is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have an old desk lamp, two 18" bulbs, and a push-button on/off

Resolved Question:

I have an old desk lamp, two 18" bulbs, and a push-button on/off switch (one red button, one black). It has two ballasts in it.

It's not working, and I suspect it's the ballasts? What do you think?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.

Jason :

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Jason :

Do you have a volt meter with two leads and a numeric display?

Jason :

If so, we can verify that power is going into the ballasts. If it is, and they are not putting out power, it's pretty safe to say the old ballasts are shot.

Jason :

If you don't have a meter, I would go ahead and install the new ballasts, since you've already purchased them.

Jason :

There are only a few other possible causes:

Jason :

Power not making it through the switch,

Jason :

Bad contact in a socket,

Jason :

Or a loose connection somewhere in the fixture

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.

I received a message from a site Administrator, saying you were unable to view the chat format. So I've changed your question to the Q/A format. Here's what I've posted so far...

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Do you have a volt meter with two leads and a numeric display?


If so, we can verify that power is going into the ballasts. If it is, and they are not putting out power, it's pretty safe to say the old ballasts are shot.


If you don't have a meter, I would go ahead and install the new ballasts, since you've already purchased them.


There are only a few other possible causes:


Power not making it through the switch,


Bad contact in a socket,


Or a loose connection somewhere in the fixture

 

 

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
How do I connect the ballasts?
Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Hi Kent. Sorry about the technical difficulties.

Are you able to post photos here?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Thanks for working through it...I can try! What do you need a picture of?


 

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
If possible, I need to see the old ballasts, and the new ones. One photo, or multiple photos will work for me.

Thank you for your patience.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Is there a way to do this online - this is on my phone.
Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Sure. If you log on to www.justanswer.com, then click "My Questions" in the upper right corner of the page, you should be taken to a page that has a link to this conversation.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

OK...I'm on the computer...getting pics...

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Sounds good. Just post when ready.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Old


 

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Surprised that it's only two wires, but have seen that before on very old fixtures.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Did you get the pic of the new?

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for posting the photos. Are both of the old ballasts already completely removed from the fixture? I did get both photos.



Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Yes, they are both out.

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Can you post a photo of the inside of the fixture, where the ballasts were previously located? If possible, please post the part number for the new ballast as well. Thanks again for your patience in getting this resolved.



Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Info on new ballasts:


GEM120PH120


Magnetic ballast 200H2


120 Volts, 60 Mz


PC:89711


 


Pic coming

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Brown wire at base from outlet.


 


There are green, black (equal thickness) and thinner blue wires.


 


Each green is attached to a black with wirenut.


 


Two blues are completely loose.


 


Two blues are attached to a black.


 


One brown is attached to a black.


 


One brown is loose.


 


The switch has six connections.


 


 

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
OK, this could be a little tricky, with so many wires. But I don't think it will be terribly difficult. If you can access the sockets, you should be able to trace one wire from each that goes to a small round, canister shaped component. That's your starter, or igniter. Old fluorescent fixtures used these, but they are now built in to the ballasts. If you need to see a photo of one, let me know.

If those are in place, we can proceed to the next step. Can you confirm that and let me know?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Am working on it...I think I can follow you.


 


Thanks so much!

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
How many wires coming from the switch do not have a wire nut on the end of them? In other words, how many are open on the end opposite the switch, ready to be connected to another wire?

It's a little difficult to tell from the photo.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

I don't find any canister shapes anywhere. The wires just go to the "sockets" the fuoresent lights go into.


 


All but one have a wire nut.

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Did you remove the old ballasts, or did someone else take them out? If you removed them, how many wire nuts did you remove?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

I removed them. I took it to a lamp shop, but they never got to it, so I'm trying this approach instead. I know all the parts are here, since when I first started to look at it, it is all the same.


 


I have removed four wire nuts.


 


 

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Still studying the photo you posted of the wires in the bottom of the base. I am pretty sure about some of the connections, but not all. Each of the small blue wires should connect to a black on each ballast. It won't matter which black wire on either ballast. That would give you two splices, with one black and one blue in each splice.

There is a combination of two wires twisted together in the center of the photo, toward the bottom. One is black and the other is blue or green. Did you change anything with that connection? Did it have a wire nut on it previously, with at least one more wire included in the splice?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

All good questions. I'm not sure...in all the moving it around and all, I'm not sure what it was like originally...sorry. I should have paid better attention.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

All wires did have nuts on them at one point.

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
No worries. Let's try a different tactic. As a side note, would it be safe for me to assume none of the splices I see with wire nuts are original from the factory? Or, at least some of them have been changed?

Please tell me how many wires are coming through the hole into the base, below the switch. I need to know the colors of these wires as well.

Optionally, if you have made many wiring changes with the splices that currently have wire nuts on them, you can disconnect everything and straighten each wire, so I can trace it to the point that it exits the photo.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Some are original, but I can't be sure.


 


Thanks again for all your help!


 


8 wires come down the neck of the lamp (four blue, four green)...there are two bulbs with a socket at each end (four sockets total) and a green and blue wire going to each socket


 


6 black wires, one coming from each of the connections on the switch


 


You want me to disconnect all the nuts and wires, etc.?


 


2 brown wires from power cord


 


 

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Since we aren't sure the currently spliced wires are correct, it wouldn't hurt to disconnect and straighten every wire. It does sound like the igniters are missing though. The lamp likely won't work without them. I'm assuming there is no room in the bulb area for an additional component. It would probably be best if I post a photo of what they look like.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

That's fine. The lamp was working. When it stopped working. I took off the bottom, and no parts were loose. That's why I thought it must be the ballasts.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Did you send the pic?

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Still trying to get it uploaded. One moment please.

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
graphic
Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
After you get all of the wires disconnected and straightened, can you post a new photo? Do you have an Ohm meter?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

No ohm meter...sorry.

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
If you are able to see all of the wires at the sockets, and can physically move them, so you see the other end move in the base, we won't need an Ohm meter.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

I can move the wires so I know which is at the base

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
OK, good. I would connect as follows...

One large wire from one socket to the brown wire from the cord that has the small "ribs" running along the length of it.

Then, from the other socket on the same end of the fixture, add the large wire to that set. That will give each bulb a neutral wire connection.

Please let me know when those connections are made. For now, we are going to bypass the switch, as we can add it in to the wiring later.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Brown with rib to both "large" (green) wires on the left sockets


 


There are three wires together, correct? Both the large wires from left socket attached to the ribbed, brown.

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Yes, that would be 3 wires in one wire nut. Now, find the other brown wire from the cord, and connect a black wire from each ballast to that wire. Again, this would be 3 wires in one wire nut... one brown, and a black from each ballast.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

One from each ballast to the other brown from wall outlet.

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
OK, great. Now, find the large wire from one of the sockets at the other end. Tie it to the remaining black on one of the ballasts. Then, find the last large wire, and tie it to the remaining black on the other ballast.

This should leave all of the switch wires unconnected, as well as all of the small wires coming down the neck of the lamp.

I would make sure the small wires from the neck are isolated from touching anything. Install the bulbs and plug the lamp in, being ready to unplug it quickly if necessary. The bulbs could react improperly if there are supposed to be ignitors.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Did all that. Plugged it in...nothing happened...is this correct?

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
I'm surprised it was working before, without ignitors. If you can get some, and install them in parallel to the bulbs, as the diagram for that ballast shows, I think that will solve the issue. The ignitors are selected based on the wattage of the bulb.

It will be easy to add them in, but you need the sockets that they go into as well. The sockets would have to be in the base of the lamp. Would you like information now on how the ignitors would connect to the fixture?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Don't know how it was working either...maybe the old ballast have some kind of built in ignitors? Sure. If you can send me whatever it would take and a diagram, I can probably follow it.


 


Thanks for all your help. I appreciate it.

Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
Here's a link to the socket...

http://www.atlantalightbulbs.com/ecart/10Expand.asp?ProductCode=125-7HHFL#page=description

If you hold down your left mouse button and highlight that text, you can right click it to open a window that has options such as "copy", "go to", etc. If you click copy, then right click in the address bar, and click "paste", you will see what the starter sockets look like. They aren't expensive.

You can get your starters from the same place. When you call to place the order, it wouldn't hurt to give them the information from the ballast, just so we get the right ignitors without a hassle.

You should have one wire from each bulb socket remaining... the smaller wires. From each set of sockets, assuming a set of sockets are two that both go to the same bulb, take one small wire into one side of the ignitor socket, and the small wire from the other bulb socket into the other side of the ignitor socket. This puts the ignitor in parallel to the bulb.

Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3616
Experience: Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
Jason and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jason replied 11 months ago.
I can post a link to a wiring diagram as well, if you think it will be helpful.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future. Jimmy Bagley, IA
< Last | Next >
  • You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future. Jimmy Bagley, IA
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Mike

    Master Electrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    1425
    Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mikepettinato/2009-9-4_41145_DSC005132.jpg Mike's Avatar

    Mike

    Master Electrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    1425
    Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/WI/WireitUp/2012-6-17_18212_Photo00006.64x64.jpg Jason's Avatar

    Jason

    Service Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    3278
    Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MI/MikeG2010/2012-6-7_192640_IMG01612.64x64.jpg Mike G.'s Avatar

    Mike G.

    Master Electrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    5318
    Proven Professional 45 years Experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AS/AssuredElectrical/2011-9-13_221243_me.64x64.gif AssuredElectrical's Avatar

    AssuredElectrical

    Master Electrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    2149
    Contractor-40 Years in the ElectricalTrade
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/electrifier/2008-12-16_200429_headbob1.jpg electrifier's Avatar

    electrifier

    Master Electrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    1454
    Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/rich03dungo/2010-3-17_101556_tshirt2.jpg Rich's Avatar

    Rich

    Master Electrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    1115
    Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/UR/urelectrician/2012-9-28_223652_JustAnswerPic.64x64.jpg Kevin's Avatar

    Kevin

    Licensed Electrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    993
    27 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 5 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector