What Are the Different Types of Ballast?

••• MichelGuenette/iStock/GettyImages

Many different types of lightbulbs require the use of a ballast to properly function, but there are only a few different types of ballasts available to consumers. Each type of has practical applications.

Types

According to the California Energy Commission, electronic ballasts and magnetic ballasts are the two main types on the market. Adaptable ballasts are a specific type of electronic ballast.

Function

The Lighting Research Center claims that the basic function of any type of ballast is to regulate a lightbulb's input energy and provide starting voltages. A single adaptable ballast can be employed to operate several lamps of varying voltages.

Features

Magnetic ballasts can be bothersome to some people because they flicker upwards of 120 times per second. Electronic ballasts operate relatively quietly, nearly eliminate flicker and are more energy-efficient than magnetic ballasts.

Lightbulbs

Several types of lightbulbs, like high-intensity discharge (HID) lightbulbs including metal halide and high-pressure sodium lightbulbs, utilize ballasts to control energy input. Fluorescent lightbulbs also employ ballasts.

Applications

Electronic ballasts have wider applications and are often used to replace magnetic ballasts. However, high-output light bubs still require magnetic ballasts.

Related Articles

Electronic Ballasts vs. Magnetic Ballasts
How Do LED Lights Work?
How to Use a 9-Volt Battery to Power LEDs
What Are Infrared Heaters?
How Does a High Pressure Sodium Ballast Work?
How Do LED Lights Work?
Guide to Troubleshooting Photocell Sensors
How to Wire a Lighting Contactor
What Is an Electric Relay?
What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Diode Lasers?
What Is a Flyback Diode?
Difference Between Digital Inverter & Sine Wave Inverter
Uses of Resistors
LED Vs. CF Light Bulbs
What Is the Function of a Voltage Regulator?
How Does a Toroidal Transformer Work?
Regular Lights Vs. Laser Lights
How to Convert 12 Volt Alternator to 120 Volts
Types of Light Sensors
Substation Basics