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DIY Home Repair: Light replacement advice

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zzm9980
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DIY Home Repair: Light replacement advice

Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 20 Oct 2012 2:29 pm

(can't find the last DIY topic - I suspect it may have been moved to the jokes forum)

Hi,

So last night the kitchen light went out, and the circuit breaker flipped. I figured simple troubleshooting at first, so I bought a new bulb this morning. First time I turn it on, *flash* it goes and circuit breaker flips again.

I now suspect the problem is this white box (is this the 'ballast'?):
Image

Yes, the black marks (and it did smell burnt last night) gave it away.

So first off, would those DIYers here also proceed to assume this is the next step to replace? What is this thing called? Will the DIY Fixit shop carry these, or will I need to go somewhere else? Am I legally (fire insurance,whatever) allowed to replace this myself, or do I need to contact a certified HDB repair person?

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 20 Oct 2012 6:03 pm

Yes, that's an electronic ballast, and yes, it's most definitely fried, and yes, most DIY shops carry them. It's easy to change the wires out.

Having said that, please notice how the ballast is fastened to the light base. You will see two small nuts. That means they are fastened to two small bolts, whose head is on the other side of the sheet metal base. Chances are they are quite stuck after rusting in Singapore for ten years. You might get lucky, and it is almost certain that you will need to remove the entire fixture to replace the ballast because the small bolts will rotate with the nuts as you try to take them off. And, unless you get a ballast that looks exactly like yours, the mounting holes may not line up which means you skip one bolt (OK, really), or drill a new hole in the base.

Ballasts all work the same way but don't always look exactly alike, so you need a bit of familiarity with wiring to ensure proper connections. In your photo, the black (hot) wire is connected directly to the starter (small canister near the light). You don't need to touch these wires. The neutral wire (blue) is connected to one side of the ballast, then the other side connects to the starter. You just need to make sure that if there are any markings on your new ballast, you connect the neutral to the correct side.

Frankly, I've given up on replacing ballasts... I've done it two times and the ballasts have failed within the year. I don't know if it is CCC (cheap China crap) or something else. No offense intended, and, that looks like a cheap fixture to me... I'd just replace the whole thing. At worst, you'd need to drill two holes in the new fixture if the mounting holes don't line up.

And may I suggest that the light switch be set to off for the entire duration of your activities... and if it makes you feel better, the breaker, although that is not really needed for a switched light circuit.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 20 Oct 2012 8:14 pm

Wow, thanks for the excellent detail. Definitely saved me some effort :)

It definitely a very cheap fixture. I'm loathe to spend a dollar more than I need to given the landlord I have, but I'll price out some fixtures probably too...

Thanks again!

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Postby nakatago » Sat, 20 Oct 2012 10:07 pm

I hate those kind of fluorescent lighting fixtures. Loose starters, wires that crumble because they were cooped up in heat by the diffuser and ballasts that take six arms to replace while you're reaching up and prone to lose your balance on a stepladder.

I'd like to say that it's really simple to replace a ballast but like Strong Eagle said, no ballasts are similar sized, they're difficult to fasten and chances are, another component would fail.

Replace it with a CFL? Too bad you don't own the place or LED.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 21 Oct 2012 12:39 am

While you are at it, you may as well get a new starter and starter holder as well, as the holder is sure to crumble and possibly the starter cover as well. I find a ballast lasts about 2 years and the starter assembly lasts about two ring tubes before it disintegrates.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 21 Oct 2012 4:28 am

Surprised no one else has pointed it out: this repair is your landlords liability to fix/fund.

Yes yes simple enough I hear you say, unless you - thinking you're helping him out - make some mistake and damage his revolting light fitting and he charges you to replace that TOO!

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 21 Oct 2012 10:29 am

JR8 wrote:Surprised no one else has pointed it out: this repair is your landlords liability to fix/fund.

Yes yes simple enough I hear you say, unless you - thinking you're helping him out - make some mistake and damage his revolting light fitting and he charges you to replace that TOO!



I have to pay the first S$150 though. I assumed if I brought in the landlord's handyperson they'd pad out the bill as close as possible to that S$150 without going over. Just like the Price is Right.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 21 Oct 2012 10:29 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:While you are at it, you may as well get a new starter and starter holder as well, as the holder is sure to crumble and possibly the starter cover as well. I find a ballast lasts about 2 years and the starter assembly lasts about two ring tubes before it disintegrates.


Yep, that little cap keeps falling off. I took the whole thing down this morning and will replace as much as possible.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 21 Oct 2012 1:22 pm

Well, I got it all back together for a decent price. $17 for a new ballast, new starter, and new bulb. This is from some light shop at Kallang Leisure Center. The Ballast is Made in France (Not sure if that is better or worse). Starter has a nice integrated cap that won't pop off, and is Phillips made in Holland. Bulb is Hitachi. Everything was pretty easy except trying to get it back into the ceiling. The last person left about a dozen holes, most of which did not line up with another in a pair. Also, they left *just* enough wire slack so everything would reach, not enough to be able to comfortably maneuver the thing around. I almost left the thing mounted with just one screw. Finally got the second one in, but at a slight angle; I don't think it's going to come out nicely.

As long as it lasts the next 10 months of this lease, I don't care though.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 21 Oct 2012 4:49 pm

zzm9980 wrote:I have to pay the first S$150 though. I assumed if I brought in the landlord's handyperson they'd pad out the bill as close as possible to that S$150 without going over. Just like the Price is Right.


Remind me to try and institute this kind of policy/excess on my London rentals! Lol!

Oh hang on...the tenant pay to repair the landlord's tat?... don't think so phhh! I know this clause is common in SG but has it been tested in court (as reasonable that the tenants bear the costs of maintaining fixtures and fittings above and beyond reasonable wear and tear?)

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 21 Oct 2012 5:41 pm

JR8 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:I have to pay the first S$150 though. I assumed if I brought in the landlord's handyperson they'd pad out the bill as close as possible to that S$150 without going over. Just like the Price is Right.


Remind me to try and institute this kind of policy/excess on my London rentals! Lol!

Oh hang on...the tenant pay to repair the landlord's tat?... don't think so phhh! I know this clause is common in SG but has it been tested in court (as reasonable that the tenants bear the costs of maintaining fixtures and fittings above and beyond reasonable wear and tear?)



If it wasn't so cheap and easy, I'd agree and fight it. I'd just rather not see the LL's agent more than I have to though.

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Re: Re:

Postby rajagainstthemachine » Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:04 pm

raymondmax wrote:the handyman from XXXX is skilful and offers reasonable prices. he might be able to help u.


Bullshit! It costs 30$ for the new thing and you'd need a stool and a screwdriver. How many ft's does it take a change a light bulb?
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late

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Re: DIY Home Repair: Light replacement advice

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 23 Dec 2014 6:45 am

It depends on how many masters from reputed universities they have. More masters, more fts required. :-"

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Re: DIY Home Repair: Light replacement advice

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 23 Dec 2014 9:02 am

Strange resurrection of a 2012 post however, there is still the ongoing cost of replacing those hideous fluorescent bulbs which in my past experience fail often. Plus taking them in and out stresses the brittle plastic in those old light units. In our place they began to disintegrate.

I bit the bullet and bought new light units from IKEA for every room and fitted long life low energy light bulbs. I have never touched them since. It was 45 dollars per light unit including the bulbs (2 per unit).

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Re: DIY Home Repair: Light replacement advice

Postby JR8 » Tue, 23 Dec 2014 10:37 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical ... c_ballasts

I was looking into the function of a 'ballast', and found the above. It was useful in explaining how it, the starter, and bulb work together... thot might be of interest to DIYers who aren't electronic engineers :)
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