What exactly is the distinction between a ballast and a transformer? A transformer modifies the current and/or voltage. Electrical energy is physically "transformed" by it. For stability, an electrical ballast stores energy in the same manner as a water ballast stores water. This means that it uses inductance to store energy temporarily so that it can be released in a controlled fashion.
A transformer can increase or decrease the power factor of an electric circuit. Power factors range from 0 to 1; the higher the number, the more closely the current follows the voltage waveform. A power supply unit with a high-quality input filter will have a power factor near 1; one that does not have such a filter may have a power factor as low as 0.3 or less. Transformers are used to change voltage levels or to balance power between two circuits. For example, a household power strip usually has several outlets, each capable of receiving a plug from a different appliance. The power strip uses a transformer to combine the voltage from all the plugs into a single line that can be distributed to the various appliances simultaneously.
Transformers are also used in power supplies to reduce voltage fluctuations from external sources (such as line noise) into the stable voltage level needed by electronic devices. This prevents electrical components inside these devices from being damaged by voltage spikes or dips.
What exactly is ballast? The ballast in a fluorescent lighting system controls the current to the lamps and provides enough voltage to ignite the bulbs. A fluorescent light connected directly to a high-voltage power source would rapidly and uncontrollable grow its current consumption if it did not have a ballast to restrict it. A dimmer switch may be used in conjunction with a fluorescent lamp to control the intensity of the lamp.
The term "ballast" comes from the fact that it supplies ballasts for lamps. Before electricity, gas lights had glass jars filled with acids which burned with a blue color. These were the original "ballasts" for gas lamps. Nowadays, ballasts are also used with other types of electric lights such as incandescent and LED lamps.
Fluorescent lamps require more energy to start than incandescent lamps, so they should not be operated alone. They need some form of starter aid called a "ballast" to provide voltage required by the lamp to ignite. Once the lamp starts, it will continue to emit light without further assistance from the ballast. Some older fixtures don't include ballasts and instead use magnetic loops mounted on metal plates above each lamp socket to supply starting voltage. This method was used extensively in factories and warehouses where flammable liquids are handled; they formed an ignitable mixture with air due to the heat of operation.
A transformer is an electrical device that exchanges voltage for current in a circuit while having no effect on total electrical power. This implies that it converts high-voltage power with a small current to low-voltage energy with a large current, and vice versa. Transformers are used in electricity distribution systems to change the voltage from high to lower values or conversely.
Transformers can also be used as an accessory device for a electronic component to increase its input voltage range or decrease its output voltage range. For example, an audio amplifier might have a transformer attached to its input to allow it to receive power over a wide range of voltages from battery source to AC source. A transformer can also be used at its output to increase the efficiency of a motor by using it with a voltage source other than what is supplied by the battery.
In radio technology, a transformer is any device that transfers electric power between circuits of different potential levels. It is used when there is not enough current capacity in a circuit to drive the load required. The main purpose of a transformer is to increase the voltage available to the next stage of the circuit. For example, if an antenna is connected to a radio receiver to supply it with voltage, then this is called a secondary coil. A transformer inside the radio takes the voltage from the antenna and increases it up to the level needed by the radio's circuitry.
A ballast, in its most basic and straightforward form and explanation, is a device that you put in line with your load to limit or regulate the amount of current that is permitted to flow from your power source. A ballast is essentially just a large resistor that is required to power your HID or fluorescent lighting. Modern ballasts use semiconductors instead of resistors, but they do not differ significantly in function.
When you turn on your lamp, it begins conducting electricity through its filament, which heats up until it becomes a conductor. The hotter the filament, the more conductive it becomes, so all other things being equal, more heat means more light.
The goal with any ballast is to provide enough resistance between the hot and cold wires to prevent the lamp from burning out before the end of its life. After testing hundreds of lamps, we know that most fluorescent lamps are designed to operate at about 600 watts or less. Thus, a 600-watt lamp requires a ballast that conducts about 6 amps of current. Lamps over 1000 watts need special high-capacity ballasts that conduct up to 10 or 12 amps. These higher currents are necessary because lamps over 1000 watts are usually filled with mercury, which increases their internal resistance. This makes them need more current to reach the same temperature as smaller lamps.
A ballast is a device that provides the needed current and voltage to fluorescent and other discharge lights. The principal tasks are to deliver high voltage and/or cathode heating to the lamp during startup and subsequently to stabilize the arc by restricting the electrical current to the lamp. This prevents damage to the lamp and keeps it from burning out prematurely.
Electrical power is transmitted to a light fixture through an electrical cord which passes along with the lighting fixture to its destination. If the lighting fixture is not connected to an outlet, then the cord must have a plug on it. These plugs receive power from a wall socket. Without electricity flowing into the cord, there would be no light; therefore, this type of connection is called "hot." Electric heaters and air conditioners also require "hot" connections from another source of electricity.
Lighting fixtures use different types of bulbs: fluorescent lamps, sodium vapor lamps, mercury vapor lamps, and solid state lasers to name a few. They all require a low-voltage direct current (DC) source to operate. A battery cannot supply this requirement alone; it needs to be converted to DC via a ballast or circuit breaker.
Ballasts can be divided up into two main categories: magnetic and electronic. Magnetic ballasts use electromagnets to generate voltage differences on copper windings within the ballast that eventually becomes voltage across the electrodes of the lamp.
A device that restricts the current flowing through an electrical load is known as a ballast. By restricting current, the ballast ensures that the negative-resistance device operates properly. Ballasts can also be used to restrict the current in a standard positive-resistance circuit. The most common type of ballast is a constant-current source.
In simple terms, a ballast is a device that keeps currents below some threshold value. In an electric light bulb, for example, if the current gets too high, it can cause damage to the filament. So, a ballast limits this current to a safe level. Also, ballasts are often used to limit the current in circuits containing magnetic components, such as transformers, because excessive current flow could destroy these devices. Finally, ballasts are important in power supplies to ensure that the output voltage is kept within specified limits; without a ballast, the output voltage would rise uncontrollably due to the increasing resistance of the load.
The term "ballast" comes from early lamp designs that used carbonized bamboo or hemp for filaments. These devices were called "balsam lamps" because they had a sweet smell when burning. Modern replacements for balsam lamps use synthetic filaments that do not emit odorants when heated by electricity. Instead, they emit light because heat causes molecules to vibrate, which emits radiation at certain frequencies that humans can see.