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Re: can anyone help me see the light?

>thing left was the fuse.  After using a screw driver to turn and remove the
>"fuse holder", the fuse stayed in the ballast.  It was close to the hole but
>not far enough to grab, I tried everything but couldn't get it out.  I
>pushed in on it to try to spring it out and it just went further into the
>hole.  The fuse holder will "grab" it and pull it back out closer to the
>hole, but not through.  We have removed the fuse before so I know it is
>supposed to come through. It is obviously moving inside there but won't come
>out.  It is either hanging on something, my fuse holder just magically
>stopped working correctly or Murphy's was kicking in early this week.

Hmm. What kind of fuse exactly? I am guessing probably a standard 1/4" x 
1.25" (AGC type) glass body fuse. I'm also going to assume you've already 
tried tilting the fixture and banging on it a bit. The easiest way I know 
of is to use a paper clip or a piece of some other kind of stiff but 
relatively small-diameter wire. The fuse body will be shaped something like 


With the [[[ and ]]] being the metal end caps, and the ==== being the glass 
body. There are little edges on the end caps that you can grab with the 
wire by inserting the wire alongside the fuse, and then twisting the wire 
so that the little "L" you need to bend on the end can grab at the edge of 
the end cap. You should be able to gently work the fuse out of the holder 
this way. BE SURE to do this with the POWER OFF! Otherwise you'll be 
lighting up your great room with *you*. Not fun.

You might also want to try mushing the fuse holder's cap's spring clip with 
some pliers to make it grab the fuse a bit more tightly.

>Any clues on what to do?  I've called Icecap twice but they must be closed
>for President's Day. Just visited an electrical supply house looking for a
>fuse puller but they didn't have anything that would work on this tiny
>little fuse.

They probably won't have a fuse pullers that will work from the end of the 
fuse. Most fuse pullers are intended to clamp on the center part of a fuse 
since that is how commercial fuses are mounted in most cases.

If the wire trick doesn't work, you can try using a screw with some 
superglue on the end to glue to the end of the fuse, or, as a last resort, 
a sharp tap to the fuse end using a hammer (and screw to get to the fuse) 
should shatter the glass fuse body allowing you to dig the fuse bits out 
*slooowly* over a *loooong* time. I don't recommend trying that until 
you've tried everything else.

Note that your fuse holder might have broken. If the fuse doesn't seem 
springy in the holder you might have a fractured fuse holder. This is also 
a cheap part to replace, maybe $0.50 to $1 at a surplus place like 
http://www.allelectronics.com, and even places like radio shack have them.

>Here are the particulars:
>Icecap electronic ballast for 250W Iwasaki bulb
>5A slow blow fuse
>one frustrated aquarist
>Daphne who is amazed at how dark her great room is!!

I suspect you probably either have a dead ignitor or a ballast that went 
short on you. If you put in a new fuse and a new bulb, and the fuse pops 
again, then you have a dead part somewhere. If it's an ignitor, it's a 
cheap and easy fix -- maybe $10 or so for a new part. A shorted ballast 
will be more expensive. The ignitor will be a cylindrical part inside the 
ballast housing, and is usually just a 10 microfarad (often abbreviated as 
10uF on the unit) AC rated capacitor. A dead ignitor usually won't blow a 
fuse though -- it will just result in the light refusing to start. I 
suggest you check to be sure your fuse actually blew before replacing ANY 
parts in the fixture though. Chances are that if the fuse blew (and blows 
again after replacing it), you probably have a shorted ballast that will 
need to be replaced. If the fuse DOESN'T blow and the lamp still won't 
light, then I'd suspect that you have a bad ignitor.

Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator