Ballasts & Transformers


How Does a Ballast Work?
All fluorescent and high intensity discharge (HID) lamp types require the use of a ballast. The basic tasks of a ballast include:
  1. Provides the proper voltage to establish an arc between the two electrodes of the lamp
    (Starts the Lamp)

  2. Regulates the electric current flowing through the lamp to stabilize light output
    (Runs the Lamp)

In some fluorescent lighting systems, the ballast also provides a controlled amount of electrical energy to preheat or maintain the temperature of the lamp electrodes at levels specified by the manufacturer. This is to prevent electrode filaments deteriorating prematurely and shortening the lamp life.

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Controllable/Dimmable Ballasts
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 - ROVR?, Mark 7?, and Mark 10?.
Mark 10™ - Powerline electronic dimming ballasts for Linear Fluorescent, 4-Pin CFL, and T5/HO Lamps are the full-range electronic dimming ballasts for fluorescent lighting systems. Capable of continuous dimming from 100% to 5% or from 100% to 1% for T5/HO.  Flexible and easy to install because they require no additional wiring, Mark 10 Powerline ballasts combine the long life and energy efficiency of fluorescent technology with the controllability and full-range dimming capabilities of incandescent systems.

Mark 10 Powerline ballasts are ideal in such applications as conference rooms, offices, auditoriums, educational facilities, hotels, restaurants, and department stores as well as other new construction or retrofit installations where dimming is desired.

Mark 7™  - 0-10V series of dimmable electronic ballasts for Linear Fluorescent, 4-Pin CFL, and T5/HO Lamps represent an affordable, flexible, and versatile dimming solution for a broad range of commercial, institutional, and retail applications. Ideal for energy management systems, Mark 7 0-10V ballasts offer full range continuous dimming and fully support sustainable (green) design. Continuous dimming from 100% to 3% or from 100% to 1% for T5/HO.  The dimming interface is through the use of two additional low voltage wires, not used on the Mark 10.

Mark 7 0-10V ballasts are ideal in such applications as conference rooms, auditoriums, educational facilities, hotels, restaurants, and department stores as well as other new construction or remodel installations where dimming is desired.

ROVR™  - Digital addressable controllable fluorescent lamp ballasts are fully compatible with the DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) protocol, enabling two-way communications with individual lighting fixtures equipped with DALI-compliant ballasts. ROVR ballasts offer an unprecedented degree of design flexibility, allowing users to set up any fluorescent lighting configuration they desire with numerous distinct dimming performance settings. Continuous dimming from 100% to 3% or down to 1% on T5/HO. Offering the ability to track and evaluate lighting systems as well as easily accommodate any moves or changes in the lighting configuration, ROVR ballasts fully support sustainable (green) design and are compatible with controls offered by numerous manufacturers.

ROVR is ideal in applications such as conference rooms, educational facilities, auditoriums, hotels, and restaurants.

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Electronic Fluorescent Ballasts
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.

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Encapsulated Ballasts
In this configuration the capacitor is mounted separately in the luminaire, as is the ignitor (where required). Typical applications are installations requiring minimum ballast noise, including indoor installations such as offices, schools and retail stores. For a given application the encapsulated core & coil ballast also operates about 10 degrees Celsius cooler then the open core & coil.

F-Can Ballasts
F-Can ballasts are also UL-Listed for indoor use and are commonly used with recessed downlighting fixtures to minimize inherent ballast noise. F-Can ballasts are stand alone products encased and potted in larger fluorescent ballast-style housings. Each ballast unit has an integral auto-reset thermal protector, which disconnects the ballast from the power line in the event of overheating to protect the ballast and prevent melting and dripping of the asphalt fill. All ballasts include the capacitor within the housing. All models for high pressure sodium, and medium and low wattage pulse start metal halide ballasts also include the ignitor within the housing.

HID Ballast Kits
Ballast kits contain the proper capacitor, ignitor (where required), mounting bracket and hardware and installations instructions all packed in one convenient shipping carton. This eliminates the hassle of loose components and has the added advantage of some of the components being pre-wired. These kits are available with the popular Quadri-volt (120/208/240/277V), Single voltage 480V, or the 5-TAP (120/208/240/277/480V) series of ballasts.

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Indoor Enclosed
Indoor enclosed ballasts are UL-listed for indoor use where the ballast must be mounted remotely from the luminaire. These ballasts are typically used in applications where the luminaire may be mounted  in a area with very high ambient temperatures. The ballast can mounted remotely in a cooler location. The case contains the core and coil ballast potted in a heat-dissipating resin within the ballast compartment. The capacitor and ignitor (where used) are also included within the case.

Magnetic Fluorescent Ballasts
Because ballasts are essential to fluorescent lamp operation, they have been available for as long as the lamps they start and regulate. Throughout most of their history, fluorescent ballasts have been electromagnetic. As a result of their design, these ballasts are also called “core & coil” ballasts.

The primary component of an electromagnetic ballast is a core of stacked steel laminations around which insulated copper or aluminum coils are wound. This core & coil design functions both as a voltage transformer and a current-limiting choke. As heat produced by the ballast’s operation can eventually break down the insulation around the coils and cause failure, the core and coil is “potted” in insulating material such as asphalt to conduct heat away from the coils. This assembly is usually housed in a steel case.

The capacitor of an electromagnetic ballast improves its power factor, so it can utilize energy more efficiently. An electromagnetic ballast that is equipped with a capacitor is considered to be a high power factor or power factor corrected ballast.

Electromagnetic ballasts are available as Preheat, Lead Lag, Series Sequence and Rapid Start designs.

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Outdoor Weatherproof
Outdoor weatherproof ballasts are designed for remote mounting outdoors under all weather conditions. They may also be placed inside a pole base, but care must be taken to avoid areas prone to flood situations as weatherproof ballasts are not water-submersible. They must also be mounted base (nipple) down, with a drip loop for the wiring, when exposed to weather. A core & coil, with capacitor and ignitor (where required) are firmly mounted to the heat-sink base. This assembly is then protected with an aluminum cover, gasketed and bolted to the base. The most common applications are billboard, road sign lighting and some outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis courts.

Postline Ballasts
Lantern-type, post-top fixtures mounted on slender poles often require ballasts which fit in the poles. Postline ballasts include a special elongated core & coil encased and potted in high temperature resin in cylindrical housings of a diameter to accommodate being placed within 3” or 4” diameter poles. The capacitor and ignitor (where required) are included within the housing. Postline ballasts are often supplied with hanger chain for mounting and a spring clip designed to press the ballast against the pole wall for added heat sinking.

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Sign Ballasts
Magnetic sign ballasts are designed to provide low temperature starting – down to –20F for the fluorescent lamps they are running. Their UL Type 2 Outdoor listing allows for greater flexibility in sign design and for all outdoor applications. There are thirteen versions ranging from 1 lamp to 6 lamps or 4’ – 12’ to 24’ – 48’. Most are available in 120V or 277V.

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