What Is A Light Ballast

What does a ballast do on a light?

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.

What are the signs of a bad ballast?

2. Look for warning signs that the ballast is failing. Buzzing. If you hear a strange sound coming from your bulbs or light fixture, like a buzzing or humming noise, that’s often a sign your ballast is going. Dimming or flickering. No lights at all. Changing colors. Swollen casing. Burn marks. Water damage. Leaking oil.

How do you tell if a light fixture has a ballast?

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.

What does a ballast do for LED lights?

A ballast regulates the current that’s coming at a lamp. It gives an initial burst just to get things going, then it makes sure the electric current is controlled and steady. A ballast for Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights is not required – instead a driver is required.

Do I need an electrician to replace a ballast?

Yes. In fact, you really need a locking device to replace the ballast. – An electrician replaces the ballast on a fluorescent lamp. He uses a switch on the wall to turn off the fluorescent light.

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.

How do you know if it’s the bulb or ballast?

Take out your current bulbs and replace them with the new bulbs. If the bulbs fail to light up, then 9 out of 10 times the ballast is culprit. If the ballast is good, an analog multimeter has a needle that will sweep to the right across the measuring scale. If the ballast is bad, then the needle won’t move.

How much does it cost to replace a ballast?

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.

How long do ballasts last?

According to the Certified Ballast Manufacturers Association, the average magnetic ballast lasts about 75,000 hours, or 12 to 15 years with normal use. The optimum economic life of a fluorescent lighting system with magnetic ballasts is usually about 15 years.

Do all fluorescent light fixtures have ballasts?

All fluorescent bulbs require a ballast. All compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs require a ballast, which is often integrated. All HID bulbs require a ballast, which is sometimes integrated. No LED bulbs require a ballast, although some are engineered to work with an existing ballast.

What causes fluorescent lights to flicker?

In your lighting system, the ballast regulates the current flowing to the fluorescent lights and provides the voltage needed to start the lamps. The ballast takes in electricity and then regulates current throughout the bulbs. This is why a degrading ballast will cause the fluorescent lights to flicker.

How do I know if I have a magnetic or electric ballast?

Method One – Use your smart phone camera Stand under the light or a place close to the light and point your cell phone camera at the light. If you can see some strong dark strips flickering in your camera, it must be a magnetic ballast based light. Otherwise it should be an electronic ballast based light.

Is an LED driver the same as a ballast?

LED drivers (also known as LED power supplies) are similar to ballasts for fluorescent lamps or transformers for low- voltage bulbs: they provide LEDs with the electricity they require to function and perform at their best. LED drivers also protect LEDs from voltage or current fluctuations.

Can you replace fluorescent lights with LED lights?

Yes, you can replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes or LED-integrated fixtures. If you just want to replace the bulbs, you can use plug-and-play, direct-wire, or hybrid LED tubes. Plug-and-play tubes are the easiest to install as they do not require any rewiring to the fixture.

Can I remove ballast for LED?

Hybrid linear LED lamps are able to work both as a plug and play – with the existing ballast – and, once the ballast peters out, you can remove it and have the lamp run off of line voltage.

Is it hard to replace a ballast?

The ballast takes in electricity and then regulates current to the bulbs. You can get a new ballast at a hardware store or home center and install it in about 10 minutes. However, buying a ballast can be expensive, so consider pricing a brand-new fixture for comparison.

Why are my new fluorescent bulbs not working?

If a fluorescent tube neither lights nor flickers when switched on, first check to see that the fixture is plugged in and that no fuse has blown or circuit breaker has tripped. If this does not help, try wiggling the tube gently in its sockets by rocking it back and forth and from side to side.