Lighting Research Center Lighting Research Center
    Volume 7 Issue 4
June 2003    
ballast - A device required by electric-discharge light sources such as fluorescent or HID lamps to regulate voltage and current supplied to the lamp during start and throughout operation. ballast factor (BF) - The ratio of the light output of a fluorescent lamp or lamps operated on a ballast to the light output of the lamp(s) operated on a standard (reference) ballast. Ballast factor depends on both the ballast and the lamp type; a single ballast can have several ballast factors depending on lamp type. compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) - A family of single-ended fluorescent-discharge light sources with small-diameter [16-millimeter (5/8-inch) or less] tubes. electrodes - The structure that serves as the electric terminals at each end of electric discharge lamps. high-intensity discharge (HID) - An electric lamp that produces light directly from an arc discharge under high pressure. Metal halide, high-pressure sodium, and mercury vapor are types of HID lamps. luminaire - A complete lighting unit consisting of a lamp or lamps and the parts designed to distribute the light, to position and protect the lamp(s), and to connect the lamp(s) to the power supply. (Also referred to as fixture.) load shedding - The practice of turning off electrical devices during peak energy demand hours to reduce building energy use. rated lamp life - The number of hours at which half of a group of product samples fail. The rated life is a median value of life expectancy; any lamp or group of lamps may vary from the published rated life. Rated life is based on standard test conditions. rated light output - The sum of the initial rated lamp lumens of the lamp(s) that were supplied with the luminaire.
What products are available on the market?

Most adaptable ballasts that are available now can operate several different lamp types; all but one of the 12 manufacturers whose products NLPIP reviewed offer such a product. The ability to operate different quantities of lamps is less common; less than half of the manufacturers offer these types of products. About two-thirds of the manufacturers offer ballasts with adaptable input voltages. NLPIP found four manufacturers offering products that are adaptable in all three parameters (lamp type, lamp quantity and input voltage). Some companies have also begun offering adaptable ballasts for high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps; those ballasts are beyond the scope of this report.

Table 1 shows the availability of adaptable ballasts for fluorescent lamps from several ballast manufacturers. See the Resources section of this report for a list of manufacturer web sites where detailed product specifications are typically available.

Table 1. Adaptable ballast product availability
Linear lamps Manufacturer
Adaptable input voltage
K-Tronic Ballasts
Adaptable lamp quantity EBW Electronics, Inc.
Adaptable input voltage and lamp type Advance Transformer Co.
GE Lighting
Adaptable lamp type and lamp quantity Fulham, Inc.
Adaptable input voltage, lamp type and lamp quantity Ace Compact Electronics
Energy Savings, Inc.
Future Wave Technologies, Inc.
OSRAM Sylvania
Pompeian Manufacturing
Compact fluorescent lamps Manufacturer
Adaptable lamp type
EBW Electronics, Inc.
Reliable Ballast
Adaptable input voltage and lamp type Advance Transformer Co.
GFL Lighting Co., Ltd.,
Adaptable lamp type and lamp quantity Fulham, Inc.
Adaptable input voltage, lamp type and lamp quantity Ace Compact Electronics
Energy Savings, Inc.
Future Wave Technologies, Inc.
K-Tronic Ballasts
OSRAM Sylvania

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