I'm replacing ballast on a lamp and need to connect wires to 4-pin socket.

I tried to pull the wires gently and it did not work. What is the safe way (in terms not breaking) to do so?

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Would you add the make/model and perhaps a picture of the host lamp? And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 20:54
  • I use molecular pin extractors but that is specific to that brand and there are 2 maybe 3 sizes of pins each takes a different size extraction tool those look square. Have you considered splicing as the pins are usually crimped to the wires and normally require replacement, butt splicing may be the way to go here. A photo looking directly in the back and front would help a bit more @jack might be correct but most of the connectors I work with are crimp or solder that are similar.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 21:50

2 Answers 2


After discussing With jack and looking at the photo again I realized that is a CFL with a separate ballast. I was thinking disconnect not connection to the lamp in that case I would cut the wires off close to the ballast and splice. I have used wire nuts but with small solid wire and low current this is one place I use lever locks or push in stab splices have never had them fail in a fluorescent fixture and LED’s draw even less. I changed to lever locks as who knows some of these fixtures have been required 3X so far in their life with lever locks the connectors are a bit more but if another rewire is needed they will save time and money..


You can remove the wires by inserting a small screwdriver or awl in the slot of each wire and separating the brass or silver clip holding the wire in place. Then pull the wire to remove it. This is very similar the the backstabs on toggle switches. The problem you'll run into is that your socket is not meant to be reused after removing the wires because the clips have been bent to remove the old wires. Check with the manufacturer for a new socket or get your ballast from the manufacturer with the socket already installed.

  • Do you think those are stabs? I was thinking crimps, if stabs i think you are right but cannot tell from the photo.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 21:52
  • @EdBeal I've seen so many both ways. Pretty common with fluorescent fixtures. Either way, would need a new socket.
    – JACK
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 22:36
  • The fixtures I used to use have push button releases I do see local disconnects but all the ones I use are fairly small and can’t be removed. As an additional note for several years if a ballast fails I convert the fixture to LED’s most folks have T8’s and T12’s the T8 LED Retro fit lamp I use can be single ended or double ended 120-277 and they work with most ballasts but I usually remove the ballast and rewire the fixture unless in an office area where a lamp was flickering or went out then I pop the lamps in and rewire the fixture later or have the night shift do it.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 3:46

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