Are all ballast the same?

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Magnetic ballasts vs.
And there are two types of ballasts in each family: magnetic and electronic. Magnetic ballasts are the older ballast technology. For the fluorescent family, both T12 linear fluorescents and two-pin CFLs use magnetic ballasts. Today, most fluorescent and HID lamps operate off an electronic ballast.

Subsequently, one may also ask, what are the different types of ballasts?

There are several different kinds of ballasts, but the three basic types are electronic ballasts, magnetic ballasts and digital.

Also Know, can a fluorescent light work without a ballast? Reverted question “ Can I make a fluorescent light work without a ballast?” yes, you can, but you need something to reduce the current as the bulb warms up. So, you can drive a fluorescent with a pulse width adjustable power supply, but this is what is in an 'electronic' ballast.

Also to know is, what is the difference between t8 and t12 ballast?

Fluorescent lights are tube shaped lamps with a chemical phosphor coating on the inside of the tube. The have small pins on each end that fit into the ballasts located in light fixtures. T12 lamps have a diameter of 1 ½ inches (or 12/8th of an inch.) T8 lamps are fluorescent lights one inch (or 8/8ths) in diameter.

How do you fix a ballast?

Start by flipping off the circuit breaker or unplugging the light. Remove the bulbs and open up the fixture as shown in Photo 1. There will be four to eight wires coming out of the ballast. Photos 2 and 3 show how to remove the old ballast from the fluorescent light fixture.

38 Related Question Answers Found

What is the purpose of a ballast?

In a fluorescent lighting system, the ballast regulates the current to the lamps and provides sufficient voltage to start the lamps. Without a ballast to limit its current, a fluorescent lamp connected directly to a high voltage power source would rapidly and uncontrollably increase its current draw.

How many hours does a ballast last?

It is economical to turn off fluorescent lights if they are not being used. According to the Certified Ballast Manufacturers Association, the average magnetic ballast lasts about 75,000 hours, or 12 to 15 years with normal use.

Do I need to remove the ballast to use an LED bulb?

LED technology does not require a ballast to regulate the amount of energy flowing to the lights. Additionally, removing the ballast will reduce energy usage and result in even great cost-savings as ballasts continue to draw more power than necessary.

How does a ballast work?

Simply put, the ballast is the heart of a fluorescent light fixture sending energy (pumping blood) through the lamp. A ballast provides the correct amount of voltage to start the lamps and regulates the amount of current that flows to them once they're on.

How much are ballasts?

A replacement ballast costs about $10-25 depending on capacity and brand. The bite is that an electrician trip charge (which includes 30 or 60 minutes work) is going to be $75-150 probably - for about 5 minutes work on each light fixture.

What are ballasts made of?

They're usually rectangular black boxes with wires coming out of one or both ends. Lighting ballasts for fluorescent light bulbs and HID lamps made before 1980 may contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

How do I know if my ballast needs to be replaced?

When you hear a buzzing sound coming from your fixture or the bulbs flicker or do not come on, check the ballast to see if it needs to be replaced. Turn off the fluorescent fixture's circuit breaker inside the breaker panel. Remove the lens cover from the fixture.

What causes a ballast to go bad?

Causes of Ballast Failure
Every ballast has an ambient operating temperature range and UL location rating. When it's too hot or too cold, the ballast can burn or fail to start your lamps at all. Heat combined with prolonged condensation inside an electronic ballast can cause corrosion.

How do I know if my ballast is instant start?

You can determine whether you have a compatible fixture in seconds. Simply turn the light on, then take a photo of the fixture using your smartphone or digital camera. If there are no dark bands on the resulting image, you have an electronic ballast that will work with direct drop-in LED tubes.

How do you know if the ballast is bad?

If your fluorescent lighting is displaying any of the signs below, it could be a symptom of a bad ballast:
  1. Flickering.
  2. Buzzing.
  3. Delayed start.
  4. Low output.
  5. Inconsistent lighting levels.
  6. Switch to an electronic ballast, keep lamp.
  7. Switch to an electronic ballast, switch to a T8 fluorescent.

How do I know if I have electronic or magnetic ballast?

Just point your cell phone camera at the lamp, and take a picture. If the image displays dark bands or stripes, your fluorescent lamp is driven by a magnetic ballast. A modern, electronic ballast drives the lamp at a much higher frequency, and a picture of these lamps will be clearly different, without such bands.

Can I put a plug on a fluorescent light?

Connecting a plug to a fluorescent light fixture is straightforward, but the terminals must be connected properly to avoid hazard from electrical shock. Attaching a plug to a fluorescent light fixture will allow it to be used in different locations.

How do you ground a ballast?

The mounting fasteners should make a good electrical connection between the ballast case and the metal of the lighting fixture. Use a star washer and scrape the paint from the ballast mounting tab to ensure a good connection. The fixture should be grounded back to the distribution panel using a dedicated ground wire.

What do the numbers on a ballast mean?

The most common types are T12, T8, and T5. The T stands for tubular and the number indicates the diameter in 1/8 of an inch. Lamp diameter is determined by ballast type.

Do I need to change the ballast for LED lights?

No LED bulbs require a ballast, although some are engineered to work with an existing ballast. You will find ballast-compatible, or "plug-and-play" LEDs that are designed to replace linear fluorescents, compact fluorescents, or HIDs. Incandescent and halogen lamps do not require a ballast.

Should I replace fluorescent with LED?

Yes, you can replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes or LED integrated fixtures. If you aren't ready to replace the fluorescent fixture and just want to replace the bulbs, you can use plug-and-play, direct wire, or hybrid LED tubes.

Can you use a t8 LED bulb with a t12 ballast?

T8 tubes are simply 1 inch in diameter versus the 1.5 inch diameter of T12 tubes. In an effort to make LED tube lights compatible with the internal dimensions of most fixtures, you will find that most LED tube lights feature a T8 or 1 inch diameter. They can indeed be used in T12 fixtures.