Talk:Electrical ballast

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Lighting vs. general[edit]

The term Ballast is also used to denote any electrical component in a circuit that's used for current limiting reasons, do we need a disambiguation page here or would it be enough to add a comment to the article to this effect? Or even move this page (and it's associated links) to "lamp ballast" and create a more general article on electrical ballasts to go here? Astaroth5 18:13, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

After research have decided the practice isn't sufficiently documented as wide-spread to merit more than an additional sentance in the introduction, dispite it's common use by engineers. Astaroth5 12:21, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Electronic ballast[edit]

These are not really ballasts in the conventional sense of the word, but are power condtioning and starting circuits for flourescent lamps. They are known (erroneously IMO) as ballasts. So.. should they be on this page? I dont know where else we could put them. 8-?--Light current 03:16, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Language isn't always used the way the pursists might choose, and you're arguing against a completely common and universal usage of the term "ballast". If you don't think that "all black boxes that power fluorescent tubes are called ballasts", then I would challenge you to go into a professional electrical supply store and try to buy one of those things without using the word "ballast"; you'll be very hard pressed to accomplish your task, and if you succeed, the counterman will still hand you a device marked "ballast" and write "ballast" on your receipt. ;-)
And besides, even electronic ballasts usually contain a good old reactance ballast (although, as I mentioned in the article, it's usually a capacitor rather than an inductor).
Atlant 10:49, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, electronic ballasts can use reactance "bricks". Though they are much smaller due to the high operating frequency. 07:59, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

We need much more information about non-CFL electronic "ballasts". We need efficiency details comparing various kinds of fluorescent ballast -- numbers. And it is a shame the article has no links to more information about such things.- 13:35, 4 April 2007 (UTC)


I tagged this article with


because I think the article is unclear in a few particular ways. First, the opening paragraph is just one sentence which doesn't define the term. ("An electrical ballast is a device intended to control current in an electric circuit."). In general, I just don't get the sense that the article is trying to get directly to the point. Feel free to remove the cleanup tag when you like. —Ben FrantzDale 12:01, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

I did a bunch of cleanup (again) and removed the tag; please write again if you think there's still more to be done.
Atlant 12:26, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Good enough for me for now. Thanks. —Ben FrantzDale 14:53, 26 June 2006 (UTC)


Light current just edited back in the header "Explanation" saying "I still think we need a header here". I agree, but the reason I edited out the header was that I don't think that "Explanation" is the right word and I couldn't think of a good one to replace it. What the header should say is something more like "Rationale" or "Reasons for use" or "Countering negative resistance" or something. But "Explanation" sounds too vanilla to me.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Or know how to work a thesaurus? ;-)

Atlant 12:59, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
My other standby is : Description 8-)--Light current 13:18, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Maybe "Operating principle"?
Atlant 13:56, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Yeah but ads you said,:

What the header should say is something more like "Rationale" or "Reasons for use" or "Countering negative resistance" or something.

we are trying to explain why these devices are needed at all, Hence my Explanation or description (of the problem) style hdg!. Could have Necessity I suppose!--Light current 14:12, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Electronic ballasts[edit]

Are instant, rapid, and programmed start ballasts used for fluorescent lamps?

In general, is there any ballast type that avoids or best minimizes the power penalty from turning a lamp off briefly and then on again, rather than letting it run continuously? -- Beland 01:33, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

It might be informative to describe the most common formats, such as the T8 and T12 types mentioned here. Apparently the T12 ones are magnetic and the T8 ones are electronic? -- Beland 22:13, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

The lamp diameter doesn't determine whether to use a magnetic ballast or electronic ballast, although it is probably true that the highest-efficiency systems use T8 (or now, T5) lamps and electronic ballasts. But I certainly had a number of F30T8 lamps running from ordinary rapid-start magnetic ballasts.
Atlant 23:00, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

The Myth[edit]

Beland wrote: "In general, is there any ballast type that avoids or best minimizes the power penalty from turning a lamp off briefly and then on again, rather than letting it run continuously?"

The idea that turning the lamp off and on again later introduces a power use penalty is a popular myth. See any good fluorescent lighting article. Tabby (talk) 05:58, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Efficacy section[edit]

The section on efficacy really belongs in a more general article about electric lighting, and should only be linked here. Suggestions for where it belongs?--Theodore Kloba (talk) 21:53, 16 June 2008 (UTC)


It seems like some of the sections, for instance, the Reactive Ballast section, could stand to be moved to its own page and updated with some basic circuit diagrams/more 'technical' information. Does anyone agree? As it stands, the information given is very, very rudimentary compared to many of the more technical EE articles on wikipedia. I could start to write some stuff, but my expertise isn't really in power electronics. (talk) 04:59, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Digital HID ballasts[edit]

Is it just me, or does the section on Digital HID ballasts read like an add from UNIDO Electronics? (talk) 23:18, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Oh, if it's pink, and comes in a tin, it's spam all right. But I'm not going to start a rewrite until i can find some discussion of so-called "digital" ballasts, which once again, is a term I've only found here. You'd think with all the trade rags that cross my desk in a month I'd have seen more discussion of these...but not so. --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:42, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Latest additions which I've tagged as needing reliable sources are from Accendo Electronics Limited. I've deleted the company article since it was just promoting their products, but I don't know enough electronics to tell whether the new content should be removed or not. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 18:35, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I have been looking for Web references this morning and so far have only found pot growers; this is disheartening and doesn't support the claims made in the article. The pot growers complain their lamps last only 6 months on digital ballasts, which flies in the face of what is claimed to be a benefit. Still looking for a good reliable Web reference or book reference. --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:52, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Digital HID (DHID) ballasts[edit]

A Digital HID (DHID) lamp ballast is a ballast that uses microprocessors to control and regulate a High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamp. The firmware provides control algorithms to supply varying lamp currents during start-up and during lamp operation. The firmware controls the initial voltage strike to the bulb to start it and then controls current in the bulb for the most efficient operation of the lamp.

The main benefits of the Digital HID ballast are: saving of electrical energy and maintenance costs over magnetic ballast HID lamps; automatic loss-of-lumen compensation as the lamp ages (reduced tube darkening); produces up to 40% more lumens per watt than magnetic ballasts; increased life expectancy of the lamp compared to magnetic ballast; DHID ballast generates less heat, causes no flickering of the lamp, reducing air conditioning energy cost; 50% to 70% dimming of incoming power produces additional cost savings, with automatically controlled lamp dimming in unoccupied areas or as part of a daylight harvesting set up with controlled Lumen output.

The latest generation of DHID ballast types will offer intelligent and wireless connectivity with optional Lighting Management software. This means that every DHID ballast unit has bi-directional communication funtionality (receive/send data) and has a wireless connection to the central processing unit of the network. Additional benefits of the Wireless Digital HID ballast are: no need for 0-10V cables, flexible lighting network for easy re-grouping, monitoring of lamp settings and lamp status, burning hours, operational temperature, energy consumption and savings, automated lamp failure report, internet access to one or multiple operational networks, connectivity to a Building Management System and preventive maintenance.

DHID ballasts can be used to upgrade or retrofit existing lamp installations. In a retrofit, the DHID ballast can replace the existing magnetic ballast offering a most cost effective solution as the existing fixture is reused, and the magnetic ballast can be recycled. In some cases the total fixture can be replaced in order to upgrade the conventional HID system with Digital HID ballast, modern reflector and efficient lamp which may result in the most energy efficient (sustainable) HID lighting solution.

And they cure loneliness and are a good source of dietary protein, too. Come on, it's been months, there must be Wikipedia:Reliable sources out there. --Wtshymanski (talk) 19:21, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Efficacy is different from efficiency[edit]

It seems like people are mistaking the two. Efficiency is the ratio of input to output energy that can be directly compared, for example a motor's input power vs shaft power or an ultraviolet's input power vs output power.

Efficacy refers to ability to produce desired effect per unit input. Light outputs are measured in lumens and electrical input is measured in watts. Lumens is a unit of measure of light that is weighed to human eye response, so it can't be expressed as efficiency. A blue lamp and a red lamp with the same optical watt per watt input watt has the same efficiency, but different efficacies because the human eye sensitivity weighed lumen scale won't give the same weight to the entire spectrum.

Please don't change efficacy to efficiency without fully understanding the difference! Cantaloupe2 (talk) 09:37, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Reactive ballasts[edit]

Please add much more technical description of Reactive ballasts, and sources/links.- (talk) 04:11, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Link to archive of Talk:Digital ballast[edit]

The article Digital ballast was merged and redirected here by User:Scheinwerfermann. This is a link to the Talk page archive as it was before it was redirected here. Talk:Digital ballast/Archive 1 Jbhunley (talk) 17:50, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Ballast factor[edit]

So what do IEC standards call what ANSI calls "ballast factor"? (IEC 60923 and 60081 seem especiallly topical) And why is it important to conceal that some ballasts give more light than the test ballast? --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:10, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Based on IECs standards. ANSI is basically proprietary standards only used in America. There are some lamp type where they share the standards, but they're not equivalent. It's unnecessary to use the word "more" or "less". A 2800 lumen USA specification lamp means that it makes 2800 lumen when it's ran on an ANSI reference ballast under ANSI specified testing conditions. BF can be above or below 1.0 regardless of ballast type. Ballast can also be expressed as the current that is actually supplied to the lamp. "ballast factor" is not the word used globally to describe ballast specs. Remember, The west is not defined as the "entire world". Cantaloupe2 (talk) 01:22, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, ANSI standards seem to have some relevance to at least the North American market. Ballast factor in ANSI standards is not defined as current, but as light output. Its important because a lighting designer can choose lower ballast factor ballasts to save energy, or higher BF to increase light output, to some extent. It' s also a good point that certain electronic ballasts allow more light output than the reference ballast. --Wtshymanski (talk) 01:44, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
The way ANSI does it is not the way it is done everywhere. You fail to understand that higher ballast factor isn't something that is made possible because of electronic ballast. Cantaloupe2 (talk) 22:08, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
So how do lighting designers handle the problem of varying lamp performance due to ballast factor if the IEC standard seemingly doesn't recognize "ballast factor" as an effect on lighting? That would be interesting and encyclopediac. --Wtshymanski (talk) 19:41, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Added Analogy[edit]

Negative (differential) resistance is a relatively strange concept to try and understand, and it is integral to the concept of an electrical ballast. Analogies usually help people grasp concepts at an intuitive level before they understand them in a more formal way, so I aimed to give the reader an intuitive understanding of why an electrical ballast is needed that will most likely help them more appreciate the rest of the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dimnsionofsound (talkcontribs) 08:42, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

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