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Lamp ballast product information

All gas discharge lamps require a ballast to operate. The ballast provides high voltage to initiate the discharge. It also acts as a resistor to regulate the electrical current in a circuit. The lamp ballast is required to make the lamp work properly. They are commonly used to start the lamp and allow the electricity to flow continuously in the circuit. The lamp ballast system performance varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

The ballasts vary in complexity. They can be as simple as series of resistors and used with the small neon lamps. The remote-controlled electronic ballasts used with fluorescent lamps. Typically ballast performs the following functions.
• It starts the lamp and bulb by causing an arc.
• Limits the operating current.
• Improves the efficiency of the lamp.
• Controls the other functions.
• Keeps the current regulated and controlled inside the lamp or bulb.
• Reduces the energy costs.

Normally there are following three types of the ballasts that are used with the high intensity discharge light. These include electronic ballasts, digital ballasts and magnetic ballasts.

Electronic ballast
The electronic ballasts are used to control the electric current within the HID bulb. An Electric ballast is a device that is used to reduce the amount of current in an electric circuit. The electronic lamp ballast uses the solid state electronic circuitry. The advanced electronic lamp ballasts allow remote control monitoring through LonWorks, DSI, DALI and DMX-512.

Digital ballast
A digital ballast produces more light and utilizes less energy.

Magnetic ballast
It is also known as coil ballast it is also used in coordination with the sodium and metal halide lamps.

The ballasts are used in the situations where loads do not regulate its own current. The ballasts are commonly used when the electrical device or electrical circuit presents negative resistance to the supply. The ballasts provide the proper operations of the devices. The ballasts can also be used to reduce the current in the positive-resistance circuit.

The ballasts are designed to optimally operate the lamps. Some ballasts can operate more than one type of lamps. The fluorescent blasts are manufactured for the following three main types of the fluorescent lamps.

Instant start operation lamp - electrodes are not heated prior to operation. The ballasts for the Instant Start Operation Lamp are designed to provide the high starting voltage.

Rapid start operation lamp - electrodes are heated prior or during operation. The ballasts transformers provide low voltage to electrodes.

Preheat operation lamp - electrodes are heated prior to initiating the discharge. A start switch permits the current to flow through each electrode. The starter switch cools down and triggers the supply voltage to the arc tube. The lamps of less than 30 watts are operated in the preheated mode. The lamps operated in the preheat mode are more efficient than the lamps in other modes as separate power is not required to heat up the electrodes.

The rapid start is the most popular mode of operation for 4-foot 40 watts lamp. It provides the smooth starting, dimming capability and long life.

Energy efficiency
The fluorescent lamps are efficient in converting the input power to light. The following three ways can improve the efficiency of the fluorescent lamps ballast system.
• Operate the lamp at high frequency.
• Reduce the ballasts losses.
• Reduce losses of the lamp electrodes.

The energy efficient ballasts exploit these techniques to improve the lamp ballast system efficiency. The electrical circuits of the ballasts are carefully designed to improve the efficiency of the electrical ballasts. One of the most important elements of lighting is the ballast factor.

Temperature effects
Temperature has significant impact on the life expectancy of the ballast and related components. It is important to operate the ballasts in the required temperature.

The lamp and other types of ballasts should be installed and operated in compliance with the NEC (National Electrode Code). All the installations, maintenance and inspection of the ballasts and lightening fixtures should be done when the power is off. The ballast fixture should be grounded to ensure the safety, proper startup and radio frequency interference.

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