How to access tombstone behind cover


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Old 12-22-15, 11:27 AM
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How to access tombstone behind cover

Hey folks, I'd appreciate some guidance. I have an old fluorescent ceiling fixture flush mounted into a ceiling in a closet. If it weren't inset into the ceiling, I'd just replace the whole thing, but it is, and there are two of them,so here I am.
The ballast is bad, so I researched it, found a suitable replacement, and went in to do the job. As soon as I rotated one of the bulbs, a piece of the tombstone on one end cracked off, so I need to replace that too.
My problem is I can't figure out how to get to it. It's behind a metal cover that looks like it comes off by compressing it one way or the other to release tabs, but I've tried that, and to do it seems like it would take a lot of force, so I thought I'd toss it out as a question and see if any of you have wrestled wth this issue before. I've attached a photo. It looks like there are two tabs at the bottom of the cover between the tombstones, and two outboard at the top. But I'm not sure which ones would be the ones to try to slip out- I'm thinking the bottom ones, but again, that seems to take a lot of force... So any thoughts/experience/technique would be most appreciated. Name:  image.jpg
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Old 12-22-15, 11:35 AM
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You should be able to remove that piece by pushing the top tabs, towards the end of the fixture & pull down. However, if you really want to replace the entire fixture, you should see screws somewhere in the middle of the fixture. Can you post a wide angled pic so the entire fixture can be seen?
 
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Old 12-22-15, 12:11 PM
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I can't seem to compress the cover enough to free up the top tabs- they seem too long. I can squeeze the thing to reveal the bottom tabs, but then can't grip it well enough to rotate it outward to free it up. I suppose I could try to shove a screwdriver into the crack but there doesn't seem to be a slot or a space intended for that, so I'd literally be jamming the blade in there and trying to make it work. Which may be where I wind up.
As for how the whole fixture is installed, there are a few places where metal tabs come through the reflector and are twisted slightly, but I don't know if those are intended to be untwisted to get access; it also looks like there are four screws that could be used to remove the whole fixture, but I'm not sure if that's what those are, or if I could find a suitable replacement that would be a drop-in...
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Old 12-22-15, 12:14 PM
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Here's how it is installed into the ceiling....
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Old 12-22-15, 02:47 PM
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The top two pieces of metal tab are the hinges. Put a screwdriver where the red line is and twist. When pushing the cover back in place....those two little ramps (blue arrows) allow the plate to slide and lock back in to place.

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Old 12-22-15, 03:19 PM
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I think that may be the way to go- FYI, in case this changes your thinking, there are two little metal tabs on the cover that are now "under" the "ramps" - and they are at a 90-degree angle to the cover - like the "ramps" aren't actually ramps, they are raised "pockets" into which the tabs lock. If I squeeze the cover hard, I can expose those- see the photo attached- which seems to have rotated after I attached it- sorry. So I think maybe I'll need to squeeze the cover, and while I'm squeezing it, try to wedge a thin-bladed screwdriver in the spot you indicated and try to get the cover to rotate out to free the tabs....
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Old 12-22-15, 03:43 PM
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The pic with the lens on the light doesn't do any good. How about a pic of the entire light without the lens, from the floor straight up?
 
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Old 12-22-15, 03:53 PM
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A photo of the whole light from below is attached. Name:  image.jpg
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Old 12-22-15, 04:14 PM
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An older fixture but very popular. Since it sits parallel to the joists..... there was a piece of wood attached between the joists. The fixture has screws in the end to hold it in place.

There isn't much available in recessed fixtures to replace that. You could put a surface mount fixture over it.

I'd rebuild it. Pick up two electronics ballasts and eight sockets and do them both with T-8 lamps.
 
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Old 12-22-15, 04:24 PM
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I've got the ballast and replaced the ballast in the other one without a hitch. Just need to get to the tombstone on the other one and I'll be good to go!
 
 

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