I purchased a brand new fluorescent light fixture to replace my previous fluorescent light fixture (it was old and one of the ballasts was blown, so it half-worked).

After drilling the holes in the wall, mounting the fixture, plugging in the 3 wires (brown, yellow, blue into the appropriate sockets) and mounting the tubes, I turned on the circuit breaker to see if it was working right.

At the first second, there was a normal white fluorescent light. It then flashed and turned off.

I reset the wall switch to cut and restore power to the bulb, it then flashed an orange light very brightly on both sides of only 1 tube, the other tube was completely dark. It did this for about 3 seconds, then turned off completely.

Resetting the wall switch again did nothing. There was no visible light at all, maybe only for a split second after turning it on the 3rd time.

What could this be? Is the wiring in the fixture defective? It came pre-wired in the box, the only wires I connected were the 3 brown, yellow and blue wires.

  • 2
    Bright orange from the ends of a fluorescent lamp often signifies that the electrodes have overheated and are in the process of burning out. Mar 31, 2012 at 15:56
  • Since the fixture is brand new and sealed, why would this sort of thing happen? In Israel we have 220v electricity, maybe the fixture was meant for 110v (US)?
    – Elad Nava
    Mar 31, 2012 at 19:13
  • If you have brown, yellow and blue wires in the junction box and attached them to the same color wires in the fixture, then it sounds like a defective fixture. If the colors are different there is a possibility of wrong wiring. In the US, the better ballast are dual voltage 120/277v but I'm not sure that covers 208/220/240v.
    – lqlarry
    Apr 1, 2012 at 4:41
  • What causes something not to work? Socialism! May 2, 2012 at 17:35

2 Answers 2


It's most likely just a defective ballast in the new fixture. Failure rate of course varies brand by brand, but none of them are immune to having a wonky ballast fly through the QA process.

I keep replacement ballasts around just like replacement lamps. Since they are rather cheap in most cases, I'd buy one (to test), then keep a small stock for the various types of fixtures that you have.


Do you have another similar fixture where you can test these bulbs?

If you're sure your wiring is good, then it most likely will be the bulb.

Try reading this WIKI section on "End of Life" for flourescent lights, it may match up with your circumstances. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_lamp#End_of_life

  • Actually based on the description, it sounds like the bulb is now blown. Apr 4, 2012 at 1:20

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