Quick swap HF ballasts!

Topics relating to lighting control gear, including magnetic & high frequency ballast and ancilliary devices such as starters, ignitors and switchgear.
User avatar
Tom
ATL Admin
Posts: 865
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:39 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Pre 1993 Thorn
Area of interest: Fluorescent and Discharge Lighting
Oldest item: One of a few pip top lamps!
Location: Oxfordshire
Contact:

Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Tom » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:34 pm

Love or hate them, with the imminent ban of ballast and starter switch. Upon switch-on, the starter closes and preheats the tube's cathode filaments. Upon opening, the magnetic field within the ballast collapses, causing a voltage pulse which strikes the tube. This is often repeated twice or more, causing the distinctive blinking at startup.">switchstart, HF is here to stay which only means even more dead ballasts to replace which will become a daily event for most sparks!

So why not make ballast replacement a quick and easy job like changing a starter? Surely having to disconnect/connect up 6 to 18 wires is no fun whilst 20 foot up a ladder?? I'm thinking along the lines of ballasts with multi pin connectors similar to those found on computer hard drives or those ISO connectors you get on car stereos? Surely some form of standardised connector for HF ballasts, one for power, the other according to single, twin or multiple lamp outputs. Simples!!
I LOVE LAMP!

User avatar
Paul
ATL Admin
Posts: 1277
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:19 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Thorn
Area of interest: Fluorescent battens and Thorn Vintage
Oldest item: 1890's Carbon Lamp
Location: Oxfordshire
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Paul » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:55 pm

How about just making them as good if not better than magnetics!?!

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Kev » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:25 am

@Paul that is not going to happen. I think they are actually going to become worse as time goes on as production moves to CHINA as Philips already have.
Besides there is SHED loads of little componants and stuff in a HF ballast, All it takes is for one of them to fail and thats that. Where as a block of iron with some wire wrapped around it is going to be pretty hard to beat lol

Lampwizard
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:16 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Philips color 27
Area of interest: fluorescent lamps HID lamps lamp gear
Location: Western Europe

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Lampwizard » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:53 pm

If an electronic ballast were to be as reliable/robust/longlasting as an electro-magnetic ballast then it would be too bulky and too expensive and no-one would buy it.

Most customers don't care about say a 30-year lifetime anyway; for them a rated lifetime of 40,000 ... 50,000 hours is good enough because at that time the whole lighting installation will be refurbished/replaced anyway.

What doesn't help either is the constant price erosion of electronic gear in general. You get what you pay for so the less you (want to) pay, the less quality you get (downgraded individual components, production in less-quality minded production environments etc etc ). The result is that electronic ballasts fail fairly quickly compared to their electro-magnetic brethren. But not all HF ballasts are bad and even reputable brands have made excellent series/batches that easily last 100,000 hours and more of operation.

And definition as well as statistics also play a role for electronic ballasts: 40,000 hours lifetime doesn't mean that 100% of ballasts will still work after 40,000hrs. The fineprint might will tell you for example that 10% the population will be dead by then (failure rate). So if you have a building with say 10,000 ballasts installed that are rated for 40,000hrs/90% survivors and are operated for 10 hours a day and 365 days/year then already after 1 year you can expect almost 1% to have failed. That translates to roughly 100 ballasts/year that need replacement.

Servicable/replaceable ballasts sounds like a nice idea but I don't see it happen; electronic ballasts are considered commonality throwaway parts nowadays, only good for the recycling scrapheap.

I personally like the electro-magnetic ballasts for their robustness and reliability but I'm afraid that the common ones will soon be exctinct. And what I like about electronic gear is the lack of flicker, deep dimming capability as well as the advanced power electronics circuitry itself that's inside the ballast. I still remember the first time I held a twin TLD58W electronic ballast in my hand; I was amazed that this little linear lightweight could drive two of these lamp withour any effort, having gotten used to big, bulky electro-magnetic gear.

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Kev » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:36 pm

@Lampwizard check out my photos. Most of the ballasts i remove have origonal lamps. Don't believe everything you read as a lot of tridonics don't even last one lamp. Schools and other county run buildings can nor afford to replace/refirb every 10 years so want them to last a lot more and they simply DO NOT DO THAT.
Granted some are good. Me and dan were only talking the other day about one particular HF install in a chain of shops i have done some work in and that dan has noticed the ballasts have done well in. They are Philips HF Performers from 1998 and they all still work. Tridonics do not do that. Either do the Helvars.
If you get 10 years out of a HF ballast you have done VERY well. I look after old Atlas Superslims and Grey sided PPs that are +50 years old and still going strong. There are a few places that have BC fittings still in use every day +14 Hrs. HF would never do that and thats what i don't like about it.
Also with most production moving from europe to CHINA and the ban of magnatic on its way i think the ballasts are going to get even worse!
As i work with different ballasts everyday i can only give people my personal experences!

Lampwizard
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:16 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Philips color 27
Area of interest: fluorescent lamps HID lamps lamp gear
Location: Western Europe

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Lampwizard » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:40 pm

Hi Kev,

your experiences as an installer/maintenance man provide good feedback how long brands and series last out in the field. It doesn't matter what the manufacturer claims: eventually the only proof will be the lifetime data in the field.

You will notice that certain brands are good while other are just low quality and also that some ballast series from good brands are good while previous or successive ones have much lower quality/lifetime. Newer versions of ballasts will keep on coming, either for the sake of just pure cost reduction (simpler, less robust circuitry, outsourced production in low-wage countries like China) so that decent money can still be made or to address known quality weaknesses in current ballast series. Keep in mind that competition is killing in ballast land: every penny is and will be squeezed out in order not to lose from competitors who are in the same game. The trick is to keep lowering prices while maintaining or even improving quality. Not too many manufacturers can keep up with walking this fine line. So you will keep on seeing a lot of variation in quality from brand to brand and from series to series.

What also plays an important role is the thermal design of the luminaire. Some are just plain heat traps, causing the ballast to run unnecessarily hot. This will severely reduce ballast lifetime, even that of good, robust ballasts (elcap drying out, solder joint cracks). Many luminaire manufacturers are loath to change their (low-end) luminaire designs, thinking in 1960s electro-magnetic technologyterms. The result will be premature failure of the incorporated ballasts.

On the bright side: all these failing ballasts keep you working. If nothing ever failed, your job would be a bit boring...

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Kev » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:21 pm

Hi Lampwhizard

Thats why i like my job. I mean the majority of what i do is lighting however i am an electrician so i can get anything from a smashed socket to a whole wing of a school not working!
I think the ultimate goal for the ballast manufactures is to make a ballast that will do exactly 10 years then POP. Just like in one school...They have a series of 600x600 4X18W Fitzy fittings in the front reception. They were put in in 1999. Up until a about 4 years ago they had done really well. All still worked, About 20 of them. Since then pretty much everyone has died. So i have converted to switch start LOL
I can still remember thinking to myself all that time ago these have done well!

Lampwizard
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:16 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Philips color 27
Area of interest: fluorescent lamps HID lamps lamp gear
Location: Western Europe

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Lampwizard » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:25 pm

I can tell you that ballast manufacturers don't really pre-program ballasts to die after an exact number of x hours of operation. But sometimes you'd swear that they did :lol: Then again, if you look at the lifetime curve, you will see the number of failures to suddenly avalanche.

E.g.: check this document regarding TLEDs:

http://www.usa.lighting.philips.com/pwc ... p-6206.pdf

At page 2 you can see that they start dying pretty fast after 30,000hrs lifetime and 10,000 hrs later 50 % is dead. So if you have a bunch of these, you will notice that they all start to fail fairly quickly after another.

Another note: Philips USA have been pretty smart to compare the TLED with the F34T12 tube in this document. This 34W T12 tube is a dumbed-down 40W T12 "miser" and one of the lousiest, dimmest tube you can find in the US. No wonder TLED looks that good compared to this tube.

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Kev » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:37 pm

The osrams that i removed from the school Sports hall didnt even acheeve 30000 Hrs. What makes me laugh is that Philips make a TLD Extreme lamp that is 70000 Hrs raited thats longer than most ballasts LOL

Lampwizard
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:16 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Philips color 27
Area of interest: fluorescent lamps HID lamps lamp gear
Location: Western Europe

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Lampwizard » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:43 pm

70,000hrs? These numbers mean not much to me. How many still light up and what amount of lumens comes out after 70,000hrs? To me, it's a last-ditch commercial effort to make a bit more money out of an already out-developed product. And indeed, how many HF ballasts still work at that time? Silly.

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Kev » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:52 pm

http://www.ecat.lighting.philips.com/l/ ... 2784074_EU

Or here

http://www.lightonenergy.co.uk/Philips- ... xtreme.htm

Lol makes me laugh where it says HF is the perfered choice as these will outlive most ballasts!!!

User avatar
SuperSix
Posts: 660
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:01 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Fitzgerald
Area of interest: Fluorescent and Mercury Discharge Lighting
Oldest item: BTH 200W Carbon Filament Lamp
Location: Cambridgeshire
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby SuperSix » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:06 pm

HF the preferred choice? ballast and starter switch. Upon switch-on, the starter closes and preheats the tube's cathode filaments. Upon opening, the magnetic field within the ballast collapses, causing a voltage pulse which strikes the tube. This is often repeated twice or more, causing the distinctive blinking at startup.">Switchstart fittings still sell a lot more than HF!

It should be 70,000 hours to 50% failures or to 70% lumen maintencance, whichever comes first.

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Kev » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:10 pm

It should be about 50.000 Hrs to 100% failure for HF! lol I wish someone would make an 8 foot T8!

User avatar
SuperSix
Posts: 660
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:01 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Fitzgerald
Area of interest: Fluorescent and Mercury Discharge Lighting
Oldest item: BTH 200W Carbon Filament Lamp
Location: Cambridgeshire
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby SuperSix » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:19 pm

So do I! Apart from Sylvania, everyone's given up on 8' lamps. It should be possible to design a new 8' T8 with even higher efficacy than all the others but no one seems to be interested!

User avatar
Kev
Posts: 1184
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:32 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Atlas and CourtneyPope
Area of interest: Discharge and Fluorescent
Location: Cornwall
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby Kev » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:51 pm

Well we all know that the 8 foot 100W 840 is VERY efficient with 93 Lm/W Do you think a T8 Version would be even more efficient?? Maybe a 90W T8 8' If Thorn did make the 100W T8 We wouldnt have this problem! John says the T8s in the US are just as hard as the T12!

User avatar
XmasLightGuy
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:23 am
Area of interest: Linear Fluorescent
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: Quick swap HF ballasts!

Postby XmasLightGuy » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:58 am

8 foot 100W 840 is VERY efficient with 93 Lm/W

Comparing that to a 110w here, It would pass next year's lamp ban! ( <4500k requires 92 Lm/W )

-----
@kevxsi16v If i eventually get hold of a 8' HO T8 I'll have to test it on that switch-start ballast you sent ... just to see if it'll even light LOL (the stores here don't sell the HO T8's, just the normal output slimline ones)

User avatar
Jack_T
Posts: 273
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:56 pm
Favourite Manufacturer: Thorn
Area of interest: Fluorescent lighting
Location: Guiseley
Contact:

Postby Jack_T » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:04 pm

LOL the lamps will last MUCH longer than the ballasts?


Return to “Control Gear”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests