In this Instructable, I will guide you to replacing a blown tube in a CFL. Unfortunatly due to poor standards in safety in manufacturing, when the tube blows, it is likely to also blow the electronic ballast, so hopefully you won't have a dud ballast + bulb like mine. (Maybe it isn't a dud, maybe the connections are just dirty, who knows.)

This Instructable involves you playing with mains electricity, lead and minute amounts of mercury, which you shouldn't be exposed to unless you break the fluorescent tube. If you dislike either risk, I recommend you go and do something less scary, because I take no responsibility for any injuries, deaths, or people becoming stoopid.

This is probably also a fire hazard, because mains electricity is real good at messing up your whole day if you do something wrong

Step 1: Gather Parts/tools

* 2 CFL's. One with a blown tube, and another with a blown electronic ballast (preferrably of the same type) or even just a good tube without the electronic ballast

For this Instructable, you will need a minimal amount of tools:
* A flat-headed screwdriver
* A pair of pliers (needle nose pliers are preferred)

Step 2: Dismantle the CFL With the Blown Tube

Using your flat-headed screwdriver, unclip the top of the bulb from the base on both CFL's (If you don't already have the good tube seperated from the ballast)

Use your pliers to unwind the connections to the bulb (Or use your soldering iron to remove them, depends on what type of bulb you have.)

Seperate the bulb/tube from the PCB and the base, set the blown tube aside.

Step 3: Replace and Reconnect the Working Tube

Using your fingers, and pliers, wind the wire around the pins that are on the board (again, you may just use your soldering iron, it depends on the type of the lamp.) Try to use the pliers to tighten the connections, so you will most likely have a good connection. Check for any loose connections, and tighten.

Step 4: Assemble Base and Test

Make sure that you have any alignment pins in the right place, and push the two halves of the lamp together, you may hear a click, and your lamp should have a nice and relatively good tube. Time to test.

Be wary that you may have messed something up, so don't do this in the middle of a gas station, or your whole day will probably get messed up. Insert the lamp into a suitable socket with the came voltage/rating of the lamp. If you see smoke, turn it off. If something goes bang, turn it off. If nothing happens, turn it off. If you get light emitted from the tube, congratulations.

Chances are, you will probably 1) See nothing, hear nothing, or 2) See light.

Either way, you will have voided the lamp's warranty. :-P

Have fun, and be safe,

BTW, The ballast in my lamp seemed to have passed away aswell, so there are no pics of light, sorry.

For the prices these are now is this worth the effort and risk??<br />
<p>Of course it is. These bulbs are horrendously expensive thus saving a few bucks is always worth it. Especially since the alternative (LED bulbs) are several times more expensive than these.</p>
Most likely not. The main reason I done it was because I had the same 2 tubes, and also because I was bored. It also didn't even work in the end, so, it is most likely unneccessary to do this...<br />
the second tube looks burnt out. <br>
You should know that in those compact fluorescents there is tiny amounts of mercury which if it escapes due to broken glass falls to the floor/carpet and stays there, all the time evaporating at room temperature.<br><br>Take care not to break the glass.<br><br>I would throw the bulbs and not try to remove anything in case the bulb breaks. Put the bulb in a bag and put it somewhere it can be safe.
I'm not too worried about the mercury from the bulbs, I keep them in a box on my shelf, although if I ever do break one, I make sure to let my room air out a bit.
It's also worth noting that the ballast is a good source for spare parts, as long as you ascertain whether they are still good. The high voltage capacitors are good for tube electronics, and the remaining pieces can also be used in other projects. I usually salvage most of the parts. Also, the base itself is good for making LED lights with suitable homebrew circuitry...much simpler than a CFL ballast.<br>
Maybe your second blub was blown as well.. ? This would be good if the base went on you and the bulb on another.. nice little project
It is possible that the second tube was blown.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a high school student in Cairns, Queensland. Most of the time I am either at school, sleeping, doing stuff on my computer, making ... More »
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