Replacing a 4 Pin Triple Tube Fluorescent Bulb

So, the first 4-pin triple tube fluorescent bulb goes out. I’ve changed a lot of screw-in incandescent and CFL bulbs, but never a 4-pin bulb before. While high ceilings and recessed lights can result in an uncluttered look, this combination also requires the beckoning of a ladder instead of a standard folding chair to swap light bulbs.

With aforementioned ladder in hand, I climb up to inspect the light fixture. A quick glance shows that the baffle must be removed first. With no obvious ways to remove the baffle, I pull and pray. Fortunately, I guessed right. As it turns out, the baffle is held in place by two metal clips that provide tension against the recessed lighting fixture to hold it in place. Whew! I quickly remove the bulb and search for a replacement.

The defective bulb was a USHIO UFL-CF26TE/835 4-pin triple tube fluorescent bulb. I stopped by Lowe’s and buy a lot of Sylvania 4-pin double tube fluorescent bulbs. The next day, I returned all the Sylvania bulbs because the bulb would not snap in place. 4 pin is 4 pin right? Theoretically, all that should matter is the base and whether I’m using a double tube or a triple tube fluorescent bulb should not matter. Regardless, something was amiss. I’ve never experienced such a problem with a screw-in bulb before, incandescent or otherwise. So, I stopped by a lighting store and picked up a General Electric Biax T/E Eco 26W 4 pin compact fluorescent lamp. Thankfully, that one fit.

Light Bulbs Etc. has a chart with the different halogen, incandescent, and CFL light bulb base types. I just learned that there is more than one type of 4-pin base for CFLs. Who would have guessed? A later trip to OSH showed a surprising selection of pin type FEIT CFLs to choose from. Next time, I’m going there. They had more 4 pin CFLs in stock than the much larger Lowe’s. That surprised me.

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6 comments… add one
  • NewHorizon

    I discovered that somehow, I have an empty fixture. So after reading this blog entry, I thought I’d take a closer look at what I need before I shop by first taking out a working fluorescent bulb from an adjacent fixture.

    Now, I’m sitting here with an ice pack.

    Let’s talk about how hot they are when they’re on…?

    I was thinking they’re like regular fluorescent tubes: cool enough to change even if they’re on. But not so.

    Ouch.

  • Phillip Huy

    Yean, it is quite hot when it is on. More heat = more energy burned 🙁

  • Don Whitney

    I can’t remove the fluorescent bulb from the recessed light fixture. I pull down on the bulb and the base won’t move. There are two metal clips on the fixture on opposite sides of the bulb. When I try to pull the bulb out the fixture gets loose.

  • Don Whitney

    I can’t remove the fluorescent bulb from the recessed light fixture. I pull down on the bulb and the base won’t move. There are two metal clips on the fixture on opposite sides of the bulb. When I try to pull the bulb out the fixture gets loose. Do I try and adjust the metal clips?

  • Dynamic

    No, don’t mess with the clips – you have to wriggle the base back and forth and all around while pulling straight down. These bulbs are poorly manufactured and so they give off too much heat for the fixture, which causes the bulbs to fail prematurely and the base to corrode the fixture where the pins fit into the socket. Just wiggle and wriggle the base while pulling it straight down.

    I really hate this cheap Asian-manufactured crap they’re pouring onto us these days.

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