Lighting Ballasts

A lighting ballast helps to safely start and operate lamps such as HID and fluorescent lamps. They provide it with the correct voltage for start-up and the running of the lamp.

How do they work?

Without a ballast to limit it is current, within seconds a fluorescent lamp would overheat and burn out. The ballast briefly supplies high voltage to establish an arc between the two lamp electrodes. Once the arc is established, the ballast quickly reduces the voltage and regulates the electric current to produce a steady light output. For more information on how it works, you can consult our complete Lighting Ballasts Guide.

Types of Ballasts

The most common types of ballasts are magnetic and electronic, and they come in several start technologies to suit different purposes.

  • Magnetic Ballasts – These ballasts are located inside your light sockets between the plug and the light bulb and the power cable. They convert mains electricity into a correct voltage to start, make sure that you always match the wattage of the ballast to the wattage of the lamp.
  • Electronic Ballasts – These ballasts alter the flow of electricity in the light bulb by using a series of induction coils that are separated from one another. They change the frequency of the electrical current without changing the voltage. While magnetic ballasts in fluorescent lamps work at a frequency of 60 Hz, electronic ballasts greatly increase that frequency of 20000 Hz. This high frequency ensures you will not see the lights flickering and will not hear a buzzing sound.

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