Since the invention of light by the famous scientist, Edison, several improvements have been made in the area of lighting. Several lighting sources and systems have been led spotlightsinvented. Edison gave the world the very first incandescent bulb after he made several attempts. His invention saw the world depart from the use of candles and kerosene lamps. His invention also awakened the giants in the minds of many other scientists. Several variations of incandescent light bulbs were invented after that of Edison. Lots of improvements have actually been made in the area of light.
Many years after the invention of incandescent light bulbs, fluorescent tubes were also invented. In the early 1950s, they become very popular. Over the years, such lighting sources have continued to be modified. Today, we have several variations of fluorescent tubes in diverse shapes. Apart from this many other lighting sources like Halogen bulbs and HIDs have also been invented. Again,LEDs have also been introduced. They actually came to the fore in the early 2000s. They are said to be very efficient since they consume less energy.
In any case, we’ve heard a lot about various lighting sources like bulbs or fluorescent tubes as discussed above. However, such bulbs or tubes are not used by themselves. They require specificled panel light infrastructure to operate. They require ballasts and electricity to function. This brings us to the discussion on lighting systems.
In the first place, we’re going to be examining ballasts which form a greater percentage of lighting systems. By way of definition, ballasts refer to circuits that limit the current flow in most fluorescent bulbs or tubes. Several ballasts actually correspond to different types of bulbs. Many of them are run in different ways. There are ballasts meant for fluorescent bulbs only. There are also the types meant for LEDs. We’re going to be discussing them one after the other.
Ballasts for Fluorescent tubes
The ballasts meant for fluorescent tubes are quite different from other types meant for LEDs LED Track Lightingand other light sources. Actually fluorescent tubes do have unique voltage and current requirements. They are not just powered directly through AC line. Rather, the AC line powers ballasts which are simply electronic circuits meant to serve the fluorescent tubes. Once the ballast of a typical fluorescent is powered by the AC line, it goes ahead to power the fluorescent tube.
There are two variations of fluorescent ballasts. They include “instant start” and “rapid start” . Both of them run in specific modes. The major difference between them is seen in the way their filaments are treated. Actually, a filament is used in providing electrons to the plasma arc. The filaments in rapid start ballast are preheated. Power is applied to the filaments as they warm up to 1100K before they can actually begin to emit electrons. This usually makes them to be more durable. The only problem here is that they do consume more power in the process. On the other hand, the instant start ballast doesn’t have preheated filaments. More power is saved as a result of this but the downside is that, the filaments’ lifetime together with that of the tube is much shorter.
Meanwhile, most ballast meant for fluorescents don’t work with dimmers. If you want to dim any fluorescent, you have to buy a special type of ballasts that work with dimmers. Once the tube is dimmed, the plasma arc that heats the filament makes the heating process lesser. In most cases, the temperature of the filament can be maintained when a dimming ballasts is used.
Again, another difference found in fluorescent ballasts is that some of them are electronic while others are magnetic. The magnetic type showcases as a large piece of iron in the form of a transformer. It comes with a large capacitor which helps in limiting the current that goes into the fluorescent tube. Such ballast runs on a line frequency which makes it to be very heavy and large. On the other hand, electronic ballasts comes with a switch mode power supplies. They are usually lighter but they still have the same mechanical size like the magnetic ballasts. They usually run above 20 KHz due to their sizes. They also don’t make noise.
Ballasts for LEDs
Most LEDs just like fluorescent tubes are not compatible with AC line. However, the future is yet to tell as some of them may also become compatible with AC line. As of now, many of the LEDs require ballasts to work. The ballasts convert the AC power which in turn power the LEDs. Such ballasts meant for LEDs led high bayare designed in a variety of ways. They also have unique variations depending on the type of LEDs in use.
Lighting Systems and Temperature issues
The discussion on lighting systems will not be complete without making mention of temperature issues that relate to them. Most incandescent bulbs operate at thousands of degrees. In most cases, they are not sensitive to environmental temperature. However, LEDs and fluorescent tubes are quite different.
Most fluorescent tubes take extra time to start especially when there’s cold. For instance, in winter season, you’re likely to see a fluorescent tube in your garage struggling to start as a result of the cold weather. It has to take extra time before coming up. However, some fluorescent tubes have special ballasts that is designed for winter season. The ballasts helps in powering them up in cold situations without wasting too much time.
Again, most Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) have problems with high temperature. If a CFL is attached to a ceiling fan, its temperature can easily arise thereby causing it to fail in most cases. This is why CFLs are not generally recommended for personal use.
LEDs on their side also have similar temperature problems. Their ballasts are usually sensitive to cold weather. If they happen to get hot, their light output will be decreased. This may also affect their lifetime. They may even suffer untold mechanical problems as they are used in the process.Related Products:
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