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What does a Fluorescent Ballast do?

In all fluorescent lighting systems, the ballast performs three basic tasks:

  1. Provides the proper voltage to establish an arc between the electrodes.
  2. Regulates the electric current flowing through the lamp to stabilize light output.
  3. Supplies the correct operating voltage to provide the specified lamp operating current. Ballast map also compensate for supply voltage variations.

In rapid-start fluorescent systems, the ballast performs an additional function, providing continuous voltage to maintain heat in the lamp electrodes—at a level recommended by the lamp manufacturer during lamp operation. If electrode filaments of a rapid-start lamp are not continuously heated, they may deteriorate prematurely, shortening lamp life.

Lights by H&H offers T8, T10, and T12 ballasts online.

For information on when a LED that is replacing a fluorescent lamp needs a ballast see our LED wiring options page.



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