How can you tell the difference between magnetic and electronic ballast?

Asked By: Federica Chetana | Last Updated: 5th February, 2020
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What's the Difference between an Electronic Ballast and a Magnetic Ballast? Electronic ballasts alter the flow of electricity in the light bulb by using a series of induction coils that are separated from one another. In contrast, magnetic ballast uses 1 induction coil and not a series.

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Similarly, can I replace a magnetic ballast with an electronic one?

Older fluorescent light fixtures utilized a magnetic ballast to control the flow of electricity through the light bulbs. If you have an older fixture, you can switch from a magnetic ballast to an electronic ballast in a few minutes with some basic hand tools.

Similarly, what is a preheat magnetic ballast? Preheat start is a magnetic ballast technology that is used exclusively with preheat start lamps. Starting voltage for the lamp is about 600V for a 4 ft T8 lamp. This method maximizes energy savings but decreases lamp life due to the reduction in the life of the electrodes (10,000 to 15,000 on/off switching cycles).

Also Know, how do I know which ballast to get?

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 long do electronic ballasts last?

about 20 years

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How much does a ballast cost?

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.

Why do electronic ballasts fail?

Causes of Ballast Failure
Premature ballast failure is often caused by the surrounding environment. 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.

Can a bad ballast cause a breaker to trip?

If the primary winding in the ballast goes bad they almost always trip the breaker, unless there is a fuse installed just ahead of the ballast. After checking all of the wiring, as you have been directed to do, the last chip is a bad ballast.

How do I know if my t8 ballast is bad?

5 symptoms of a bad fluorescent 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.
  8. Switch to an electronic ballast, switch to T8 linear LED.

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 do I know if I have a t8 or t12 ballast?

This will reveal a lot about your current fluorescent tube and usually indicate if the bulb is T8 or T12. If no markings are available, the size in diameter of the tube is the easiest way to determine the type you have installed. T8 tubes are 1-inch in diameter and T12 tubes are 1 1/2 -inch.

Can you mix magnetic and electronic ballasts?

There is no problem with replacing the magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts, one at a time, light fixture by fixture, just keep track of the type of lamps that are specified on the label of the new electronic ballasts which will most likely be the T8 type lamps.

How do I wire a 2 way ballast?

How to Replace 2 Lamp Series Ballast with Parallel
  1. Connect each of the individual blue wires from the parallel ballast to each pair of the lampholder individual wires (red and blue).
  2. Connect the common red wire from the parallel ballast to the yellow pair of lampholder common wires.

Can you change a ballast with the power on?

When the ballast fails, the bulb will flicker or fail to light. Although changing a ballast is safer with the power off, sometimes it is impractical, such as in a crowded store or office space, and you must replace the ballast without cutting the power. Fluorescent bulbs need ballasts to regulate the power.

How do you bypass a ballast?


Cut the socket lead wires.
The socket lead wires (most likely red and blue-colored wires) are located on the other side of the ballast and connect to wires going out of the ballast to the sockets (which should be non-shunted sockets for T8 LEDs). These output wires provide the power to the lamps.

Do electronic ballasts need starters?

No Starters Required
Magnetic ballasts required a starter to get the lamp lit, electronic ballasts do not require a starter.

Are electronic ballasts better than magnetic?

In addition to not flickering and being quieter than magnetic ballasts, electronic ballasts are preferred because it has many other advantages. They are smaller in size and weigh less. Also, if you want to replace your magnetic ballast with an electronic ballast, this is cheap and relatively easy to do.

How many types of ballasts are there?

There are two lamp families that work with a ballast: fluorescent and HID. 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.

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.

What is an electronic ballast used for?


An electronic ballast (or electrical ballast) is a device which controls the starting voltage and the operating currents of lighting devices. It does this through the principle of electrical gas discharge.

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.

What is the difference between a rapid start and instant start ballast?

Rapid-start ballasts have a separate set of windings which provide a low voltage (approx. 3.5 volts) to the electrodes for one second prior to lamp ignition. A starting voltage somewhat lower than that of instant ballast (typically 405-550V for F32T8 lamps) is applied, striking an electrical arc inside the lamp.