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What’s a HID lamp ballast?

HID ballast kits including Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium Lighting ballasts. Most magnetic HID ballasts are multi-tap, meaning they can be connected to several different voltages.

Here we display wiring diagrams for metal halide (probe start), metal halide (pulse start) and high pressure sodium HID ballast kits. Most magnetic HID ballasts are multi-tap, meaning they can be connected to several different voltages. Here we display wiring diagrams for metal halide (probe start), metal halide (pulse start) and high pressure sodium HID ballast kits.

HID lamp ballast Constant Wattage
Autotransformer HID lamp ballast
These ballasts also are called regulated or
autoregulator ballasts. The constant wattage
autotransformer (CWA) ballast consists of two coils on
a core of steel and a capacitor in series with the lamp.
CWA ballasts perform the basic jobs of current limiting
and voltage transformation. In addition, CWA ballasts
are always high power factor ballasts. They have
starting currents that are less than the operating current.
In regard to voltage regulation, CWA ballasts offer
significant improvements over reactor and lag auto
designs. CWA ballasts are designed to handle a +10%
line voltage variation. Over this range, they will maintain
lamp wattage within +5%, a four-fold improvement over
reactor and lag auto ballasts. They also can handle
sudden dips in line voltage without lamp shutdown. This
type of ballast is most commonly used in area, sports
and indoor HID lighting.

175 watt mercury vapor ballast diagram
Constant Wattage Ballasts
Also called isolated regulated-premium constant
wattage ballasts, this ballast design limits current,
performs voltage transformation and provides the best
lamp wattage regulation available. They are designed
to operate over a voltage range of +13%, maintaining
lamp wattage to within +2.5%. Constant wattage (CW)
ballasts have a high power factor and a lower starting
current than operating current. These ballasts are
similar in construction to CWA ballasts.
HPS Mag Reg
Also called reg lag, mag reg ballasts are used to meet
HPS lamp wattage requirements on systems having a
+10% voltage variation. These are high power factor
ballasts that have lower starting than operating current
requirements. The mag reg transformer consists of
three isolated coils on a core of steel.

To assure the HID lamp ballast is delivering the proper current under lamp
starting conditions, a measurement may be taken by connecting an
ammeter between the lamp socket center pin and the socket shell
with rated input voltage applied to the ballast. If available, a socket
adapter may be used.
1. Energize HID lamp ballast with proper rated input voltage.
2. Measure current with ammeter at A1
and A2
as shown below.
3. Readings must be within test limits shown on left.
When using a clamp-on ammeter for this measurement, be
certain the meter is not near the magnetic field of the ballast or
any steel member which might distort the magnetic field.
When short-circuit lamp current test results in high, low or no
reading, further checks should be made to determine whether
cause is attributable to improper supply voltage, shorted or open
capacitor or inoperative ballast. Checks may be made as follows:
 Supply Voltage Check
Measure Line Voltage. If ballast is multi-voltage unit, make
certain input voltage connection is made to proper input voltage
terminal or lead.
 Capacitor Check
Verify capacitor rating is as required and shown on ballast label.
 Ballast Check
Perform Open-Circuit Voltage test to ensure operation within the
RMS range shown in the table to the left.

 

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