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Electronic Dimmable Ballasts
2012-11-23 08:33:23

Fluorescent lighting now uses electronic ballasts for essentially all new commercial lighting, largely because of energy legislation. Fluorescent lamps generate more lumens per watt when operated at high frequency and have no compatibility issues. HID lamps have two issues. There is no demonstrable LPW improvement at high frequency and they exhibit acoustic resonances that disturb lamp operation at the frequencies used for fluorescent lamps. As a result, the adoption of electronic dimmable ballasts has been slow.

The ballast provides the proper starting voltage, operating voltage and current to the lamp to initiate and sustain the arc. HID lamps have a negative resistance characteristic, which causes them to draw an increasing amount of current, hence need a current limiting device. The ballast provides these functions.Controllability and Dimmability is becoming an increasingly important factor in the industry as companies look to save energy, maintenance and time as well the ability to provide a customized environment for certain tasks as well as to their employees. Advance offers three families of electronic controllable ballasts. Most ballasts (except the electronic ballasts) used for Metal Halide lighting are of the CWA (constant wattage autotransformer) type. This is lead circuit ballast, and consists of a high reactance autotransformer (core-coil) with a capacitor in series with the lamp                                                                                                              

The most mature metal halide electronic ballasts operate low wattage (150 watts and less) metal halide lamps. The lower the lamp wattage, the higher the resonant frequency. Designers have opted for low frequency circuits that drive low wattage lamps with square wave current. The small size and light weight of low watt electronic ballasts fit retail track lighting applications very well. High wattage lamps have lower resonant frequencies, so ballast designs that operate lamps in the 100 KHz range and above work quite well. These ballasts have low losses, control/program lamp power, and are small and light. Dimming, in conjunction with the use of natural daylight, is a workable strategy with a shorter payback period.


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