Ballasts for Fluorescent Lamps, CFLs, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium
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Fluorescent Light Ballast
The ballast is the part of your fluorescent light that allows the energy to enter the light bulb and make it give off light. It moderates the amount of energy that is allowed in to the bulb, which keeps it from getting much energy and burning out when you turn it on. This is a important part of your fluorescent lighting fixture. There's six basic types of ballasts used in fluorescent lighting: magnetic and electronic. Choosing the right one for your needs can save you money.
Magnetic ballasts were the first types used in fluorescent lighting. They use steel discs and wire (aluminum or copper) to control the amount of energy. This configuration usually produces a hum when in use that can be heard six times the light is turned on. This hum is not caused by the magnetic ballast itself, this is because operate at 60Hz, which can be heard by the human ear. They also have a twisted to cause a flicker in the light when in use.
Electronic ballasts are a much newer idea, they use a circuit board to regulate the amount of energy that is allowed to enter the bulb and operate at 40Hz to 20Hz, which is high of a frequency to be heard by the human ear. This means that they do not cause that annoying audible hum when in use. Because the flow of energy is more regulated by the circuit board, they also do not have the flicker that magnetic ballasts cause.
Now onto the important factors: saving energy and money. Choosing the right ballast for your fixture is important and can save energy, which in turn saves you money. Magnetic ballasts are inexpesive to produce, which makes them cheap to buy. Consequently, because electronic ballasts are a tiny more expensive to produce, they are also more expensive to buy. So does this mean that you will save extra money purchasing fluorescent light bulbs with magnetic ballasts? No, it does not ! It is possible for you to to save a tiny amount of money immediately, but in order to experience constant long term savings, you ought to look at electronic ballasts.
Electronic ballasts regulate the energy used to operate the fluorescent light bulb much more exactly, and use less energy to produce the same amount of light. This means that it will cost less to run the same amount of lights. Pick wisely!
Replace Your Fluorescent Ballast
Changing a fluorescent lamp is a simple task, however the ballast is more challenging. In case you are uncomfortable working with electricity , your best bet is to call a qualified electrician. In case you are more a technically inclined do-it-yourselfer then here are 7 helpful tips.
1. Turn off the power to the lighting fixture. To be positive complete safety it is best to turn off the electricity at your breaker box.
2. Place the ladder under the fluorescent fixture securely and remove light cover (not all fixtures have covers). There might be screws or you may must basically apply some pressure to sides of the fixture cover depending on the design.
3. Carefully remove the bulbs from the fixtures and safely put them in a safe place where they won't get broken or shatter.
4. Remove the ballast cover and put it in a safe location like on the ground or work bench. It is ALWAYS best to take the fixture down and complete your project in a safe and secure surroundings.
5. Remove the hot wire (usually black or red) and replace the wire nut for safety. Then un-wire the neutral wire (usually white) and then ground wire (usually green or raw copper) and replace the wire nut for safety.
6. Use a screw driver and remove the ballast from the fixture. Snip the wires leading to the fluorescent sockets, recalling to leave to wire nut them back together. Strip the wires about 1/2" on the ballast as well as the socket. Make positive you write down where each wire goes.
7. Replace the elderly fluorescent ballast with a brand spanking new ballast. Then basically wire nut the wire connections again. Follow your light fixture manual for replacing the fixture to the ceiling or wall.
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Exit & Emergency Lights
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Hard To Find Bulbs