Electronic ballast acts as a kind of trigger mechanism, ensuring stable operation of the fluorescent lamp. The use of this device is relevant for insufficient electrical load or in the absence of restrictions on current consumption.
Conditions for connecting, starting and burning a fluorescent lamp
A fluorescent light bulb is a glass flask filled with an inert gas with the addition of a small amount of mercury. The tube contains electrodes that supply voltage of a certain magnitude. The generated electric field provokes the appearance of a discharge and, as a consequence, a current.
The resulting bluish glow is almost imperceptible to humans, since it belongs to the invisible color range. The emitted ultraviolet radiation hits the lamp cover containing phosphorus compounds. As a result, rays are formed that are in the visible part of the spectrum.
When you turn on the fluorescent lamp, an avalanche-like increase in current is observed, which provokes a decrease in resistance. Therefore, it is impossible to connect such a consumer directly to the network. For effective and long-term operation of the bulb, it is necessary to prevent overheating of the electrodes. For this, a ballast or throttle is used. It produces additional load when it is not enough in the network, which limits the amount of current.
Basic characteristics of ballasts
Ballasts - ballasts - are of two types: electronic and electromagnetic.
The unit works thanks to the inductance of the inductor. It is built into the circuit in series with the lamp.
A starter is also needed to turn on the light. This is a small lamp-like device from the discharge category. Inside it are bimetal electrodes.
The starter is connected to the device in a parallel way.
In the presence of electromagnetic ballast, the fluorescent lamp operates as follows:
- When voltage is applied, a discharge appears in the starter. As a result, the electrodes are heated, as a result of which they close.
- Operating current increases several times. This process limits only the internal resistance of the inductor.
- Against the background of the growth of current indicators, the lamp electrodes are heated.
- When the starter cools, the circuit opens.
- The processes that occur lead to the appearance of a relatively high voltage. As a result, the source is “ignited” inside the bulb.
When the lighting device goes into normal operation, its voltage will be significantly lower than the mains voltage, which is not enough to activate the starter. Therefore, it is in open form and does not affect the functioning of the lamp.
In the presence of electromagnetic modules, the inclusion of lighting devices takes a relatively long time. During operation, this time is constantly increasing, which is a significant drawback of products. Such light sources flash during operation, so they are not recommended for use in residential premises. They are also quite noisy and consume a lot of electricity.
Electronic ballasts (electronic ballasts) are a kind of voltage converters. There is no starter in the device diagram.To understand what electronic ballasts are for LED or fluorescent lamps, it is necessary to understand the principle of its operation.
Before applying ignition potential lamps to the cathodes, they are heated. At the same time, the high frequency of the voltage supplied to the device increases its efficiency and prevents flicker. Also, an oscillation circuit can be involved in the ignition process. It enters into resonance until there is no discharge in the bulb. This leads to an increase in voltage and an increase in current, which provokes the heating of the cathodes.
Ballasts for compact lamps
More recently, fluorescent lamps adapted to standard shades appeared on the market. This allows you to use them as lighting devices in rooms of any purpose without replacing the fixtures.
Ballast of compact lamps is located inside the cartridge. Therefore, their repair is theoretically possible, but in practice is not carried out.
Advantages and disadvantages of electronic ballast
Electronic ballasts have a number of undeniable advantages:
- The lamp with electric ballast starts up very quickly - within 1 second after switching on.
- Electronic ballasts generate a frequency of 38-50 kHz. Therefore, lamps with electronic ballast are free from such negative aspects as flickering and image distortion.
- The service life of devices with electronic ballasts is doubled.
- If a luminescent device with electronic ballasts fails, it immediately ceases to generate alternating voltage. This significantly increases the safety of the product.
- The use of electronic ballasts for LED lamps makes it impossible to start them cold, which prevents erosion of the cathodes.
- Similar devices work silently. Therefore, they are allowed to be used in rooms where people are for a long time.
The advantage of electronic ballast for fluorescent lamps is called a simple wiring diagram. Also, such a device is classified as energy efficient. Moreover, its efficiency is 95%, which is a pretty good indicator.
Electronic ballasts for fluorescent lamps are more expensive than their electromagnetic counterparts. Also their disadvantage is called a high probability of failure during power surges.
Recommendations of specialists for choice
When purchasing ballast pay attention to the power of the module. It should correspond to a similar indicator of the lighting device. Otherwise, the device will not be able to function normally.
When buying ballast, you can not focus only on its cost. Electromagnetic devices are cheaper, but they are less effective. The high cost of electronic devices is leveled out by their excellent characteristics.
Ballast selection by manufacturer
When buying a throttle, you should focus on the reputation of the company that produces it. A Chinese product will not always be able to meet the expectations of users. Experts recommend buying devices from brands whose products are time-tested and confirmed by positive customer reviews.
High-quality ballasts have a sturdy case made of plastic, resistant to deformation and the action of critical temperatures. They are rated IP2. This means that foreign objects whose size is larger than 12.5 mm cannot penetrate the device.
A sign of good ballast in a lamp is its smooth start. There is always a slight pause between turning on the device and the appearance of lighting. In its absence, the throttle circuit is simplified, which reduces the lamp life.
Popular electromagnetic ballasts
Electromagnetic chokes made by E.Next are very popular among users.The manufacturer supplies high-quality products that meet international standards. The company provides a guarantee on its products and provides service support.
No less in demand are the products of the well-known European manufacturer of electrical equipment Philips. Such products are positioned as energy efficient and reliable. When using them, it is possible to correctly adjust the load, which positively affects the operation of the lamps.
Best electronic devices
Electronic chokes are modern products with optimal features. Similar products are produced by the German company Osram. The cost of ballasts from this company is higher than their Chinese counterparts, but lower in comparison with Philips and Vossloh-Schwabe products.
Horos modules belong to the budget category. Despite their low cost, they have optimal efficiency and are characterized by low energy consumption. At the same time, the ballasts of this company increase the quality of work of lighting devices and eliminate the delay when turned on. When using them, you can completely forget about the flickering of lighting fixtures.
Popular on the market is the products of a young but promising company Feron. It provides customers with products of European quality at affordable prices. Feron ballasts protect lamps from power surges, eliminate flicker and save energy. The lighting produced by the devices is soft and uniform.