Electrical Wiring in the Home/Fluorescent Light switch


QUESTION: I have an old beer sign from the 50's with a 8 " tube .It has a push button switch (preheat type). I have lots of other signs in my bar that are plugged in & turned on & off by a wall switch. I want to change this particular light so it can turned on & off with wall switch also. The question is can I eliminate that push button switch and wire in the appropriate size starter , so I don't have to hold that button in ? Thank You

ANSWER: johnfoos          absolutely      as long as you keep the voltage run at the right distance, the current limits on the switch to match,   you can do whatever you want,   

Why not shunt out the original switch  so if someone wants to put it back they can,  then all you need is line voltage to what was the plug?

Just a thought     but some people want these cool old signs original  and that would  be one way it could be put back to original    or maybe it is not valuable enough to worry about, but the simple way is to shunt out the original switch,,   wire the plug into a wall switch  You can decide if the existing wire is in good enough shape to reuse    and you are using it so  ...

Yea  just make sure anything you do matches the current limits on the sign or match wire size for wire size,   voltage should not be a problem unless it is a long long run to the wall switch,  past that it is amps      keep everything in the amp range and go for it,      

Very  cool project what all kinds of signs do you have?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

inside light
inside light  

inside light
inside light  
QUESTION: I think I have every old beer that was around the midwest in the 50's & 60's . Tin & lighted signs. I have to many to go around & turn on & off individually. I have two I want to change. The one I'm starting with has an 9" 6 watt tube .Stamped on the switch is Fluor Start Switch 20 watt  125 volt ac  125 dc . On the ballast is 4/6/8/watt 155amp 60 hz. Looking at wiring diagrams online look like I would be cutting only one wire, but there are  2 wires going in the switch & 2 coming out. Mr. Babbitt this is where you come in, which wires do I need to put starter between??  attaching image hopes this helps . This sign is for me not worried about resale I'll leave switch in just want to by pass it.. Thank you so much.

Like most things,  every engineer has a better idea, meaning there is really no set standard wiring scheme other than this one for a single flour,



The reason the rating is 125 ac  125 dc is they are so vintage you could power them with either, BUT I see a transformer and we all know transformer dc by induction through a transformer is not possible, and it also says 60 HERTZ and dc has no hertz    so no matter what they put the switch in,   it would handle 20 watts either ac or dc  and the amps are missing but you have the voltage of 125   amps times volts = watts       

  so to make this simple,      if there are two wires to the switch   and you want to avoid holding in the starter for that time because you have too damn many,    [kinda like me and my guitars  we are slaves to our toys]  why not put a double pole switch in the circuit then you can switch both wires one at a time,   surely the combination is one wire on, one wire to fire the arc,  then release  ..........................    and that does that?

I couldn't tell much from the switch picture,  but again  if you don't know which one to switch switch both, one on switch other,  if that dont work the opposite should  it works now right?   



It has to be a pretty straight forward scheme  one provides c0nstant and one is an intermittent to fire an arc,  

NOW BE CAREFUL WITH THESE     I have no idea what the secondary voltage is but enough to get your attention,      

I too thought when I had photos this would be pretty simple but I cannot really tell what is what,

How about this,    remove switch,  put ohm meter on each color    push button,    watch meter,   that will tell you what is switching and what is not,  but it almost looks like black to me,     but that is a guess,       take a look at that last link   it seems to be the better one,          


let me know how it goes and if you get confused,   tell me where and we will figure it out,  

About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Will Babbitt


Electrical issues of all types, wiring, control, appliances, components, specialty in Electric MOTOR or APPARATUS trouble shooting, electric motors, electrical problems, single phase, three phase, DC, capacitors, elevator MG-Sets, modifications, reverse engineering, VFD Drives, single to three phase convertors. Repair of most any electrical/mechanical/electronic apparatus, OEM, AC, DC, Industrial Applications, Three phase, single phase failure mode, determining the root cause of the equipment failure BEFORE failure repeats, Antique appliances, electric motors, fans, ceiling fans, base mount fans, poor equipment performance, Modifications, habitual failures, vibration, redesign, obsolete issues, collectible items restored, rewinding. Owner of EMR Repair Inc www.emrrepair.com More information on electric motors, under Engineering/Motors Ask about any electrical or mechanical problems in the home, office, or even at your work. B2B or business to business CONSULTING I can do but it would be a much more complex issue, that would require a significant amount of time. repair@mearservice.com from there we can discuss and begin work on about anything. Industrial electric motors, controls, troubleshooting, vibration, alignment, any type of industrial or commercial electric/electrcical equipment For the home owner, renter, apartment if you have odd things going on, describe to me, photos are normally very helpful, appliances, heating and air conditioning issues, light switches, installation, DIY PROJECTS FOR THOSE NOT EDUCATED IN ELECTRICAL, we can do some things, but for safety and sanity reasons, I may refer you to a local electrician, and help you find one, help you with pricing and even speak directly with anyone you hire if you have issues,


Over thirty years with a major repair and sales company, VP of Operations, and former owner of my own specialty repair shops, MEAR Services local to Kansas City Missouri EMR Repair Inc., located in Kansas City Missouri, 2014 sold both businesses to JCI Industries, Lee's Summit Missouri wbabbitt@jciind.com Evaluation and repair of electrical/mechanical apparatus. Electrical and mechanical repairs, trouble shooting including, vibration and balance issues. About.com provides this service, and the huge costs to provide help on about any subject. They provide the servers, the people to vet the experts, costs that would be the same as operating a good sized business, They should be appreciated for what they do, the huge costs and the great help they provide for free, Electric motor questions, can be answered here but there is a dedicated category that has other experts to help and add to a solution. Other common questions, are noises in the walls, breakers tripping, devices not starting or shutting down for no apparent reason, smoke alarms buzzing, thermostat change outs, or sizing wire or needing information for a new project, but anything can be resolved, anything, with enough effort and patience, DIY, with electrical is possible, but in most cases the use of a simple ohm meter or volt meter is needed, they can be purchased at any hardware store for a few bucks. If you have smoke, or smell smoke, don't be writing me, call 911 the Fire Department has no problem looking for smoke smells, better then spraying water on a blazing fire. DO NOT GET CAUGHT INVESTIGATING AND TRAPPED IN A BASEMENT LOOKING FOR A BLOWER FAILING< As to the tip jar, it is up to you, it is appreciated, every expert spends out of pocket that I know, we spend on IP time, computer wear, printing documents, books, and of course our time, but if we prevent a $400 service call, we did well,

Former IBEW, EASA, IEEE, UL, ..............


10 plus years, various Technical Schools, followed by Industrial College Credit and non Credit Courses, electronics courses, experience in most any electrical apparatus, electric motors and generators, AC OR DC, fractional to above 5000HP, other electrical apparatus, slip rings, sleeve [plain] bearings, lubrication, identification-no data plate, control components, service and sales. I have continued night schools for decades, the list is extensive. I have been in the business of repairing most anything with wires or mechanical parts for decades, I have some helpful hints and directions you won't have to dig up. Or hopefully not have to pay a huge service call invoice to find.

Awards and Honors

Past/Present Clients
Federal Government, National Weather Service, NOAA, Commercial Power Plants, Major Vehicle Manufacturers, Printers, Other industrial and Commercial Businesses

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.