A lighting ballast helps to safely start and operate lighting equipment such as fluorescent or HID lamps. They provide the lamp with the correct voltage at its initial start up and then adjusts the voltage input to maintain the safe running of the lamp during use. Our range of lighting ballasts includes electronic and electromagnetic products from some of the industry's leading brands, including Osram, Philips Lighting, Tridonic and our own RS PRO.
Without a ballast to limit its current as part of its circuitry, a fluorescent lamp would overheat and burn out within seconds, drastically reducing the bulb's operating life. The ballast counteracts this by briefly supplying an initially-high voltage that establishes an arc between the two lamp electrodes when the bulb is turned on, bringing the light to life. Once the arc is established, the ballast quickly reduces the voltage and regulates the electric current to produce a steady light output without overheating or overpowering the bulb, allowing it to remain lit without issue and therefore extending its performance life. For more information on how it works, you can consult our complete Lighting Ballasts Guide.
The most common types of ballasts are magnetic and electronic, and they come in several start technologies to suit different purposes.