The fairly new (few months in service) FEIT Electric 15 watt tube (F15T8) 18 inches long just started flashing in our 35+ year old 30-inch VentAHood. I changed the starter for a GE one in an opened package so I am not sure it is a new starter. The tube starts but then flashes off and back on repeatedly.

  1. What about trying another new tube and a known new starter? Maybe this fairly new tube is defective.

  2. Could I change to a drop-in replacement LED, if there is one? Presumably a drop in replacement would require a functioning ballast. How would I know if the problem is the ballast?

  3. Have not opened it up to see what kind of ballast. What are the possibilities?

Underside of VentAHood


Lamp fixture now working again with a new GE brand fluorescent tube and GE starter. It was almost certainly a worn out FEIT tube that simply didn't last as long as the tubes I was used to.

I took the fixture down from the hood intending to rewire it for direct to the tube LED. The ballast was a magnetic ballast with only two leads, both black, resistance 23.5 ohm. I was not able to locally source a direct wire LED tube in this size so I put the fixture back together, bought a new tube, and it is working.

The only LED tube available locally in this size was a GE color adjustable for "direct replacement", i.e., with a working ballast. I was not sure that it would work with the type of ballast in this fixture and not sure how to deal with the external starter.

The ballast is powered continuously when the lamp is turned on and not just when the starter is working. We spend our waking hours in the kitchen/den of this 1970 open plan house and have been in the habit of leaving the hood light fixture on continuously 18 hr/day as part of the kitchen lighting. I thought turning it off and on during the day would put more wear on the components than leaving it on continuously, but from now on I only intend to turn this lamp on when we need light on the surface burners.


1 Answer 1


If the bulb and starter are new-ish, that leaves the ballast as potentially up to 35 years old and thus long past due for replacement. Feit is not a particularly well-regarded brand, but the odds point to the ballast, still. But if you'd like to stay florescent and want to try a new tube, you'd have a spare if the new tube does not solve the problem and you replace the ballast.

Getting an LED replacement that needs a ballast to work would not be the best idea, IMHO. A ballast bypass (120VAC, or 220-250 elsewhere in the world) LED replacement would be a better bet if going that way.

A ballast from the 1980's is most likely a magnetic ballast; the fact that there's a separate starter makes that a virtual certainty. If replacing the ballast, an electronic ballast with no starter would be normal these days. That's some vary minor rewiring, though how easy it will be in your hood depends on the hood designers - generally those are more awkward to work in than a typical light fixture.

  • I'd definitely move away from fluorescent. FYI, bypassing a ballast with a conversion kit is not rocket science. It's all color-coded. Don't let that intimidate you.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 22 at 15:01
  • Looks like two screws and some fiddling with the metal tube holidng the wires would free the light housing. What is involved in ballast bypass selection and installation? Is it the case that even a working magnetic ballast would not support a drop-in LED? Commented Jan 22 at 15:02
  • If the ballast is working, it will work with a working florescent bulb, or a working LED designed for use with a ballast. Since the ballast appears to be the most suspect part here, committing to a drop-in LED means you may yet end up needing to replace the ballast (at additional cost over the cost of the LED) to make THAT work, while a ballast bypass LED means you don't have to buy a ballast to make the LED work if the current ballast is, as seems likely, toast.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 22 at 15:46
  • 1
    If using a bypass bulb, you can remove the ballast. Whether the replacement LED tube is single or double ended depends on what replacement LED you buy, as they are not all the same. Check the specs before purchase.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 22 at 23:26
  • 2
    The best bet is always to check, rather than assume. If the original bulb had heaters they will be separate contacts - if not they could be separate contacts anyway, or they could be shorted.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 23 at 0:22

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