Mercury Vapor Light Troubleshooting – 9 Easy Ways

Mercury vapor lamps are gas lamps that discharge gas. They use an electric arc to produce light and this arc works through vaporized mercury. Mercury light bulbs include components such as a gas-filled glass chamber along with a protective glass bulb, electrodes, and a ballast. 

Now, these components are bound to dysfunction at some point. So, it is pretty normal that they might need troubleshooting.

But how to do mercury vapor light troubleshooting?

There are many ways to troubleshoot the mercury vapor light. You should check if the vapor bulb and its ballast are compatible. This is one of the recommended troubleshoots. The wattage rating of the bulb and ballast should match as well. Thus keeping different things in mind, you can troubleshoot mercury vapor lights.

Knowing this small bit of information may not quench your thirst. That is why we have discussed this matter in this article. If you can lend some time, then please have a read.

9 Ways to Troubleshoot Mercury Vapor Light

We understand that facing issues with mercury vapor lamps can be annoying. So here we are with the steps of mercury vapor light troubleshooting.

Way 1 of 9: 

Sometimes if the light fixture is not okay or the circuit breaker switch is turned off, the light may not work.

So, make sure to keep the light fixture, okay and the circuit breaker switch is turned on. If there is any blown fuse, replace it. Also, plugin different appliances to test the outlet.

If you face any difficulty, don’t hesitate to call an electrician to check the home’s wiring.

Way 2 of 9:

Sometimes it may happen that the light bulb is flickering, gets dimmed, or changes color. In that case, replace the bulb.

Make sure that you are installing the bulb following proper instructions. Otherwise, the bulb won’t work.

The light may show pink or blue tints after installation, which means there is a problem with the capacitor. In that case, replace the capacitor. After recent use, allow the bulb to cool down before turning it on again.

Way 3 of 9:

Make sure that your mercury vapor bulb is compatible with the ballast. Also, match their wattage rating. Otherwise, the light shuts off before getting warmed up.

For example, mercury vapor bulbs ranging from 175-400 watts are primarily compatible with metal halide ballasts of the same wattage.

So, do not forget to check this compatibility.

Way 4 of 9:

The ballast can get damaged, so inspection of the condition of the ballast is also necessary.

If there are blackened or charred areas, the reason may be ballast shorting out or overheating. The defect inside the ballast can also be indicated by swollen capacitors.

If you face any of these problems, consider replacing the ballast.

Way 5 of 9:

You can test the capacitor with an ohmmeter. For doing that, the ohmmeter should be set to the largest scale. Then attach the leads to the capacitor.

If the ohmmeter’s reading starts low and gradually increases afterward, then the ohmmeter is fine. However, if the meter still does not change from its initial reading, consider that the capacitor needs to be changed.

Way 6 of 9: 

There may be dirt and debris in the light, which blocks the photocell. As a result, the light won’t function properly. Also, the light may not turn on completely, or turn on and stay on continuously.

In this case, you should clean the photocell and you can use a soft rag for that.

Way 7 of 9:

There may be a problem with the switch. In that case, turn off the power switch and again turn it on several times.

If you are done turning the switch on and off numerous times, leave it off for some time. Then turn it on for the final time. After that, rest the light completely.

Way 8 of 9:

If a battery powers your light, consider checking it. Replace the batteries if there is any problem. All the components should get the appropriate power to function properly.

And for that, good battery health is necessary.

Way 9 of 9:

If your light is causing too much problem or has become too old, then it is wise to change the light.

There are a lot of options if you want to buy mercury vapor lights. We have selected some of them for you. Please have a look at them.

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We hope these suggestions will significantly help you.

Why is Troubleshooting Important?

Troubleshooting has some potential benefits. For the maintenance of failed products, troubleshooting is a great solution.

Troubleshooting allows you to find out the problem quickly as well as fix it immediately. Also, troubleshooting can help to find the core of the issue, and it helps in the long-term solution.

Troubleshooting also saves components from any future risks. Keeping track of the troubleshooting record helps to reduce future problems.

So, considering all the things mentioned above, troubleshooting is of great importance.


How long can mercury vapor lights last?

If used with the correct ballast and maintained well, a mercury vapor lamp can provide a long service life. In fact, you can use them for more than 24,000 hours or nearly three years continuously.

Can I replace mercury vapor light bulbs with LED bulbs?

Yes, the most efficient way to replace mercury vapor lights are LED bulbs.

Do mercury vapor light bulbs burn out?

No, mercury vapor lamps have rapid lumen depreciation. So, they continue to burn on but never burn out.

Do mercury vapor lights consume a lot of electric energy?

Yes, if you compare with newer HID lighting, mercury vapor bulbs are not so energy efficient.

Which colors are available in mercury vapor light?

Sodium vapor and mercury vapor lamps are available in yellow and bright blue light, respectively.


Troubleshooting mercury vapor light is not that difficult. You can do it on your own with the right knowledge along with the right equipment.

We tried to give you a clear idea of how to troubleshoot mercury vapor light in this article. However, if you are unable to perform all the things, don’t hesitate to take assistance from experienced individuals.

So that was all from us regarding mercury vapor light troubleshooting. Have a good day.