Monday, November 10, 2008

Fixing a fluorescent rod

A few years ago I bought an orange fluorescent rod, which, mounted behind my television cabinet, gives an orange ambient light. The other weekend, it broke down :(

Unfortunately, the original manufacturer (WOFI) stopped selling these a while ago. Makro where I originally bought the rod doesn't sell them anymore either. So I had a problem.
Velleman however has these rods in its products list, so I rushed to a local dealer, finding that he only had these in green and white (WTF?). So I still had a problem.
There's no way to open these rods, since the black ends are glued to the orange rod at both sides. So normally, there's no way to open these rods without breaking something. Fortunately the black end with the power cord on the rod I own came loose a while ago. So I decided to take it apart to see if there was a way to fix it.
Inside, there is a normal fluorescent tube of 56W (about 1.5 meters in length) powered by an electronic ballast. Normally, fluorescent lamps you find at home, are powered by a magnetic ballast and a starting switch. Electronic ballasts, however, are becoming more common (because they are less power consuming) but are more expensive than their magnetic counterparts.
There were 2 possibilities, either the fluorescent lamp or the electronic ballast was broken. Or maybe both :(
To test this, I took a working fluorescent lamp (used in my garage) and wired this to the electronic ballast (being very careful though). It worked, so I could conclude the ballast was still working and I only had to replace the broken fluorescent lamp.
So now, until the ballast fails, I have my ambient orange rod working again.


Tim Schraepen said...

I'm enjoying these stories :)
Why can't you just buy a white tube and paint it orange?

kennywest said...

That wouldn't be that much fun, would it?

kennywest said...

... and it would have been more expensive.
- A new fluorescent rod: €19
- Paint: ?
Replacing the fluorescent tube in the old rod cost €9 :)