How to Bypass a Ballast to Install LED Tubes

How to Bypass a Ballast to Install LED Tubes

If you are trying to retrofit a fixture from fluorescent to LED lamps, you may need to bypass the ballast for this purpose. In theory, the instructions for how to bypass a ballast are simple enough. However, it is recommended by many manufacturers to have a professional perform this step. If you are comfortable with your abilities and have experience in this area, you may be able to take a DIY approach. However, it is important to note that if you do not feel confident taking on this task, you need to call a professional. Electrical shock can cause severe injury and death when a novice attempts more than they can handle. Therefore, please use caution when performing this task.

1. Shut off all power

This can’t be stressed enough! You should never work on any wiring or internal elements with electricity in the unit. Turning off the switch isn’t enough either. You need to make sure that the switch is off, the breaker is off, and there is absolutely no power to the unit at all. If you are able to work on the fixture with it on a table instead of in the housing of the ceiling for added safety that would be the best way to perform this task.

2. Find the ballast

In most fixtures, the ballast will be behind the tubes and a metal cover that you will need to remove. Never try to work around the lamps since it will hinder your visibility. Remove all lamps and ballast covers for easy access.

3. Find the right wires

You will need to cut the hot wire which is the wire providing power to the fixture. This wire is usually red or black. It will be located next to a neutral wire, usually white, which you will also need to cut. Make sure you cut them close to the ballast, leaving the longer ends for attachment to the power source. At the other end of the ballast, you will find the socket lead wires. These wires are usually red or blue. These wires connect the ballast to the unshunted socket.

4. How to remove the ballast for LED

Now that the wires are cut, you can remove the ballast. You can either completely remove the ballast or choose to cap the wires to make sure there is no electrical power provided to the ballast.

5. Connect remaining wires

From here, you will need to connect the hot and neutral wires from the fixture to the wires in the ceiling power source. Make sure there is no electricity present prior to performing this step! Once this step is complete, you will have removed or bypassed the ballast completely and can now install your lamps.