Ottlite Repair

What happens when your Ottlite fails? It may be the ballast, not the bulb

OttLite T81G5T, Wing Shade, Vision Saver, 18 Watt Floor Lamp.


The OttLite is a very expensive light for doing sewing and other such crafts. The light is “near daylight” in color and is well liked by hobbyists because everything appears so natural. When mine failed, I simply replaced the bulb. Nothing. It didn’t work. It turned out to be the ballast that was faulty, not the bulb. So how do you fix that?


The above photos will show you how I did it. I took a 23 watt compact fluorescent light (CFL) and removed the bottom part with a rotary dremel tool. There are 4 wires going to the lamp (2 for each end of the tube) and 2 more wires going to the mains supply.


I removed that “square thing” they had in the power line. Then, I cut an old extension cord in half and spliced it into the line. Presto! Everything worked.

The 23 watt CFL ballast had plenty of power to handle the 18 watt OttLite. By the way, any replacement lamp with a 4100 degree K rating will produce “daylight” light. You don’t need to be buying them at specialty stores for twice the cost.


Warning: If you break any fluorescent bulb, don’t inhale any of the mercury.


Richard Roocroft


January 2013


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