Conventional Ballast is magnetic,A magnetic ballast uses coiled wire and creates magnetic fields to transform voltage. A magnetic ballast does not change the frequency of the power to the lamp,it remains the same as the input power, in the United States 60 Hz.
Future ballast is electronic,An electronic ballast uses solid state components to transform voltage. It also changes the frequency of the power from 60 Hz to 20,000 Hz, or higher, depending on the ballast. Because the electronic ballast doesn??t use coils and electromagnetic fields, it can function more efficiently and cooler than magnetic. The frequency change also greatly reduces any flicker in the lamp due to burn in or improper power.
Conventional Ballast use a large spool of wire wrapped around a set of steel sheets to generate the high voltage and wattage required by HID lamps. Most Conventional Ballast use a metal or plastic canister known as a capacitor as part of the regulating system. These ballasts are heavy, rugged and built to last for many years in harsh weather conditions. magnetic ballast are certified by UL and CSA for electrical safety and fire protection standards.
They are designed to meet lamp operating standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These standards insure the lamp and ballast will operate correctly together. Metal halide and high pressure sodium lamps typically require their own separate ballasts for operation. There are switchable magnetic ballast that can operate both types of lamps requiring the user to flip a switch prior to operation.
Switchable ballasts are a compromise because they typically operate the HPS lamp to specification, but operate the metal halide lamp out of specification.A ballast is an electrical component used with a fluorescent bulb (or mercury vapor lamp or arc lamp) to conduct electricity at each end of the tube. It supplies the initial electricity to the bulb that creates light, and then it regulates the amount of electricity flowing through the bulb so that it emits the right amount of light.
High Pressure Sodium Conventional Ballast are replacements for solid-state electronic circuitry. They provide long lasting durability, low power losses and low noise levels. These high pressure sodium parts hae a pulse ignitor starting method. Available in voltages ranging from 120V- 480V. High pressure sodium lamp holders.
electronic ballast use semiconductors and microchips to provide the high voltage and wattage required by HID lamps. The inside of an electronic ballast looks very similar to the inside of a computer.
One or more circuit boards house mini capacitors and mini wire wound magnetic transformers. The use of these circuit boards allows for a light weight and produces less heat than a ANSI standard magnetic ballast. High wattage electronic ballast (anything above 250 watts) are not manufactured to meet lamp operating standards set by ANSI.
Standards have not yet been written by ANSI for electronic ballast compatibility with HID lamps. Because there is no ANSI standard all electronic ballast are made differently. This has resulted in inconsistent lamp performance on electronic ballast. Many electronic ballast are not properly ETL or UL listed for fire and electrical safety.
In addition to not flickering and being quieter than Conventional Ballast, electronic ballasts are preferred because it has many other advantages. They are smaller in size and weigh less. They are also great for the environment and your bank account because they are energy efficient and therefore lower your monthly energy bill.
You can also reduce the cost of hiring an electrician to wire and save on the installation costs with electronic ballasts since they can be used as a single ballast in 3 and 4-lamp luminaries.
Another advantage is that electronic ballast can be used in lamps that are in parallel and series mode. If one of the lamps goes out, this will not affect the other lamps even though all the lamps are using the same ballast.
Also, if you want to replace your Conventional Ballast with an electronic ballast, this is cheap and relatively easy to do.