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Electronic Fluorescent Ballasts
2012-11-21 09:08:43
Electronic ballasts provide the necessary voltage to start the lamp and regulate the current through the lamps after ignition, much like an electromagnetic ballast. The electronic ballast, however, operates the lamp at a frequency of 20 kHz or greater rather then the 60 Hz operation of electromagnetic and hybrid types. This takes advantage of increased fluorescent lamp efficiencies at these higher frequencies. This high frequency operation is accomplished by using electronic circuitry which generally results in a more efficient, smaller, lighter, and quieter ballast design than the standard electromagnetic ballast.

A fluorescent lamp ballast is an electrical transformer. Fluorescent lamps require different voltages at different places in the lamp in a standard rapid start system. There are small filaments at the end of the lamp that require low voltage (approx. 4 volts) to aid in starting the lamp, this is called cathode voltage. The lamp also requires a higher voltage (200 volts or higher depending on lamp type) from end to end on the lamp to operate, this is called arc voltage. The ballast transforms line voltage 120 volts to these requirements. The ballast limits the amount of current that the lamp can draw. This prevents the lamp from drawing too much current and failing.

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