Everything You Need to Know About an Induction Ballast
The induction lamp has both advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages notwithstanding, the induction lamp technology is quite promising when it comes to productivity and energy saving.
One of the most significant benefits is energy efficiency. They also have a longer life compared to a regular fluorescent. The long-life can be attributed to the absence of electrodes. Besides, induction lamps can be used to light both small and large spaces, depending on the type of bulb you use.
One major disadvantage is bulkiness. The lamps are quite big compared to other standard bulbs. They are also subject to radio interference, which limits their functionality. The fact that it is still quite a new technology, it is costly to acquire.
How do Induction Lamps Work?
Having looked at the pros and the cons, it is essential to understand how an induction lamp works. The lamps, as we have earlier mentioned, don’t contain electrodes. Instead, an electromagnetic field excites the mercury particles, which are mixed with an inert gas such as argon.
When the mercury is excited, it creates an ultraviolet light, which is subsequently filtered by a phosphor to become visible light. Typically, an induction lamp comprises of three parts: the induction ballast, discharge tube, and an inductor. The weight has four sections, each serving a unique role. It has an EMI filter that filters harmonics from the alternating current. It also has a bridge rectifier, PFC circuit, and finally, an inverter.
To start with, the induction ballast creates a very high-frequency current, around 250 kHz for external lamps. The flow generated by the induction ballast is then conveyed through the electromagnet where an electric field is produced. The design of a particular lamp determines the number of turns a wire makes around the iron core.
The energy is then transferred to the mercury inside the tube through induction. Once the mercury is excited by the energy, it then produces UV light, which is filtered to give us visible light.
How to Detect a Defective Ballast
For fluorescent fixtures to work efficiently, they needs ballast. The induction ballast only gives enough voltage to start the fluorescent and then lowers the current once it has begun. However, sometimes, the ballast can be defective, calling for a replacement. All you need in this procedure is a screwdriver and a multimeter.
Before embarking on anything else, ensure that you turn off the fixture’s circuit breaker. It is usually situated inside the breaker panel. Once it is off, now go ahead and remove the lens cover. The lens cover either wraps around the fixture or is held by screws. In other designs, it can also slide in and out of the fixture body.
Once you have removed the lens cover, remove the bulbs from the fixture. Once again, the design determines how your fluorescent bulbs are attached to the ballast. For circular lamps, they will have a plug. U-shaped bulbs have tension springs while straight bulbs have sockets connecting them to the ballast.
Carefully remove the ballast cover from the fixture. Then check if your ballast appears burned, swollen, or shows signs of leaking oil.
Set your multimeter to the ohm setting, then insert it into the wire connector, which is holding the white wires together. Attach the rest of the probe to blue, red, and yellow wires from the ballast. Some ballasts may not have yellow cables.
If your ballast is defective, the needle of the multimeter will remain intact. However, if it is in good condition, the multimeter needle will sway to the right. Therefore, in case your ballast is bad, install a new one.
Then go through the procedure of putting everything back as it was, from the ballast cover, fluorescent bulb, and the lens. Once you have verified that everything is in its rightful place, switch the lights back on at the circuit panel.
Uses of Induction Lamps
Induction lamps come in three types. It is either an external, internal, or HEP lamp. This technology can be applied in various places, from tunnels highways to garage lighting. It is especially favorable for explosive areas.
Induction lamps are an excellent way to reduce the amount of money spent on energy due to their high efficiency.