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T8 Installation: How to Bypass Existing Ballast

By Bernee on 04/20/2017


When selecting LED linear light tube, many of us will notice the caution listed on certain models of the product package: “Ballast bypass required. Please consult a licensed electrician of unfamiliar with the installation.” Removing the existing ballast in order to allow new LED lamps works in the lighting fixture isn’t a very complicated task, but a few mistakes can also turn the whole happy-lighting renewal into a renewal nightmare.


Before we get started, if you are not familiar with the electrical system or lack the experiment and expertise of electrical devices installation, it is strongly recommend seeking help and services from a professional licensed electrician to conduct the renewal as there are dangers involved.


Okay, let’s get started; here are some step summaries that will help you to remove the existing ballast in your T8 fluorescent fixture and make it suitable to work with non-shunted T8 LED linear light tube.


Step 1: Turn off power at breaker box

Turn off the light switch of the fixture you’re planning for the renewal doesn’t mean the electric flow is totally off. The safest way to ensure that the electric flow is off is to find the breaker box and determined the breaker switch that controls the power in area of the installation. This will ensure that your kids, helpful Aunt Mary from next door or your friendnemy doesn’t accidentally flip the switch on while you’re routing the wires and kill you.


Step 2: Find your ballast

For most T8 lighting fixture, the ballast is covered by a case with the T8 light tube on top of it, this means that you’ll have to take the light tube out and unscrew the case to get to the ballast. Remove the cover, case, lens or light tubes that’s in-between your access to the ballast and set them aside.


Step 3: Cut the attached hot wire and the neutral wire

Hot wire, normally the black or red wire carries the electric power to the lighting fixture; neutral wire aka the white wire the complete the electric circuit back to the electric panel. Once you find the hot wire, the neutral wire will be on its side. Cut these wire close to the ballast as they are the input wire that deliver the power to the fixture. Leave the length of wire (from fixture) longer in order for attachment to the main power lines (from the building).


Step 4: Cut the socket lead wires

The socket lead wires (red/blue in color) are the wires that located on the other sides of the ballast; it is connected to the wires that are going out of the ballast to the socket (non-shunt sockets for LED T8 tube). These are the wires that provide power to the linear light tubes.


Summary: Cut all the wires that kept the ballast in the lighting fixture within 2” of length.


Step 5: Remove the existing ballast

After undergo all the steps above and successfully cut the wires that are connecting the ballast, you can now unscrew the ballast and remove it from the fixture. Keep the remaining ballast wire tidy, curl them up and tuck it away.


Step 6: Make wire connection

Strip the colored wire insulation off the remaining wires around 1” of length. Make wire connections accordingly: Black (hot) input wire to black (hot) output wire, white (neutral) input wire to white (neutral) output wire of the fixture. Wire connection is achievable through using push-in connectors or wire nuts to complete the circuit of power.


With all the hard work, your ballast removal is now completed. For those of you that are still using the older magnetic ballast in your lighting fixture, you might have to the separate starter device and remove it along with the ballast. If you’re still not certain about the removal, once again we recommend you to consult a licensed electrician to help you out.