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What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 6th 12, 10:47 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 185
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts

What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts for florescent shop
lights and other straight tube fixtures? I know these ballasts are
being sold more and more to replace the old iron core magnetic types,
but what's going on inside of them? Obviously there are semiconductors
and other electronic components. I would suspect that a capacitor
discharges to start the bulbs.

I tried to google a schematic, found several showing how to wire them
(same as the old style ballasts), but none show the innards or a
schematic that explains how they work.

I also wonder how durable and reliable they are compared to the old
ones? Electronics are often more likely to burn out from power line
surges caused by lightning and load surges. Since surges occur in all
electrical systems, are the electronic types as durable as the old coil
wrapped around iron ("transformer") types.

Thanks

Ads
  #2  
Old May 7th 12, 04:37 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,886
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts

wrote:
What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts for florescent shop
lights and other straight tube fixtures? I know these ballasts are
being sold more and more to replace the old iron core magnetic types,
but what's going on inside of them? Obviously there are semiconductors
and other electronic components. I would suspect that a capacitor
discharges to start the bulbs.

I tried to google a schematic, found several showing how to wire them
(same as the old style ballasts), but none show the innards or a
schematic that explains how they work.

I also wonder how durable and reliable they are compared to the old
ones? Electronics are often more likely to burn out from power line
surges caused by lightning and load surges. Since surges occur in all
electrical systems, are the electronic types as durable as the old coil
wrapped around iron ("transformer") types.

Thanks


You got bridge to make dc, mosfets to switch at high frequency, inductor
and caps.
More efficient but probably less reliable, but ballasts break too.

Greg
  #3  
Old May 7th 12, 01:02 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 658
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts

On Sunday, May 6, 2012 3:47:02 PM UTC-5, (unknown) wrote:
What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts for florescent shop
lights and other straight tube fixtures? I know these ballasts are
being sold more and more to replace the old iron core magnetic types,
but what's going on inside of them? Obviously there are semiconductors
and other electronic components. I would suspect that a capacitor
discharges to start the bulbs.

I tried to google a schematic, found several showing how to wire them
(same as the old style ballasts), but none show the innards or a
schematic that explains how they work.

I also wonder how durable and reliable they are compared to the old
ones? Electronics are often more likely to burn out from power line
surges caused by lightning and load surges. Since surges occur in all
electrical systems, are the electronic types as durable as the old coil
wrapped around iron ("transformer") types.

Thanks


From the ones I have installed...they are at least as reliable. The 4 ft-4 tube ones are 125-270volt. So they must clamp the voltage. The lasts ones I received were even smaller now. Although as long, maybe slightly bigger than an inch square.
  #4  
Old May 7th 12, 03:31 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 71
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts


wrote in message
...
What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts for florescent shop
lights and other straight tube fixtures? I know these ballasts are
being sold more and more to replace the old iron core magnetic types,
but what's going on inside of them? Obviously there are semiconductors
and other electronic components. I would suspect that a capacitor
discharges to start the bulbs.

I tried to google a schematic, found several showing how to wire them
(same as the old style ballasts), but none show the innards or a
schematic that explains how they work.

I also wonder how durable and reliable they are compared to the old
ones? Electronics are often more likely to burn out from power line
surges caused by lightning and load surges. Since surges occur in all
electrical systems, are the electronic types as durable as the old coil
wrapped around iron ("transformer") types.

Thanks


The circuitry is fairly basic: RF filter, surge protection, ac-dc power
supply, inverter (dc to high-frequency ac), current limiter (fluorescent
ballasts are constant-current devices) and starting circuitry.

The surge protection feature has been included since the 1980s when the
first electronic ballasts were used in buildings. Whole buildings were
converted, lightning struck and whole buildings went dark with ballast
failures. One manufacturer went bankrupt trying to honor warranty
replacements. Doesn't take too many of those to get the attention of the
industry.

No, the new electronic ballasts don't appear to be as durable as the old
"core-and-coil" types -- not much to go wrong with a wire wrapped around a
few steel plates; but just like a TV or any other electronic device, the
circuitry is reliable depending upon the manufacturer. A bonus is that
lamps are more efficient and last longer on electronic ballasts. I built a
house 10 years ago with indirect fluorescent lighting in most of the rooms.
There are 20+ ballasts. So far, one lamp has failed -- no ballast failures.
And, last year set a new record for rain and lightning storms in the area.

Just like any other electronic device, I think heat and capacitor wear out
are or will be the cause of most electronic ballast failures. CFL bulbs are
good examples of that.

Tomsic


  #5  
Old May 7th 12, 04:27 PM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 3,108
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts

gregz wrote in news:1216010132358050972.266977zekor-
:

wrote:
What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts for florescent shop
lights and other straight tube fixtures? I know these ballasts are
being sold more and more to replace the old iron core magnetic types,
but what's going on inside of them? Obviously there are semiconductors
and other electronic components. I would suspect that a capacitor
discharges to start the bulbs.

I tried to google a schematic, found several showing how to wire them
(same as the old style ballasts), but none show the innards or a
schematic that explains how they work.

I also wonder how durable and reliable they are compared to the old
ones? Electronics are often more likely to burn out from power line
surges caused by lightning and load surges. Since surges occur in all
electrical systems, are the electronic types as durable as the old coil
wrapped around iron ("transformer") types.

Thanks


You got bridge to make dc, mosfets to switch at high frequency, inductor
and caps.
More efficient but probably less reliable, but ballasts break too.

Greg


I took apart a cheapo dollar store 60W CFL(spiral type),and the ballast was
a 2 transistor circuit with a tiny ferrite core transformer and a couple of
electrolytic caps configured as a voltage doubler,that rectified and
doubled the input line voltage. this was all in a space the size of a new
dollar coin.

The input V is rectified and doubled to around 300-320 VDC,then the
transistors switch the DCV through the transformer to generate the higher
AC voltage to power the FL tube. The tube filaments are in series across
the transformer output and are energized at cold start by the high
impedance across the tube until the arc discharge begins.the arc
effectively shorts out the filaments,so they don't burn up during normal
operation.

I doubt that throwaway CFLs will have any surge protection.

I suspect that the wear items for an electronic ballast will be the
electrolytic caps,as they are in other power supplies and electronic
circuits.

--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
at
localnet
dot com
  #6  
Old May 7th 12, 10:51 PM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 3,108
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts

Peter wrote in :

On 5/7/2012 10:27 AM, Jim Yanik wrote:
wrote in
news:1216010132358050972.266977zekor-
:

wrote:
What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts for florescent
shop lights and other straight tube fixtures? I know these
ballasts are being sold more and more to replace the old iron core
magnetic types, but what's going on inside of them? Obviously
there are semiconductors and other electronic components. I would
suspect that a capacitor discharges to start the bulbs.

I tried to google a schematic, found several showing how to wire
them (same as the old style ballasts), but none show the innards or
a schematic that explains how they work.

I also wonder how durable and reliable they are compared to the old
ones? Electronics are often more likely to burn out from power
line surges caused by lightning and load surges. Since surges
occur in all electrical systems, are the electronic types as
durable as the old coil wrapped around iron ("transformer") types.

Thanks

You got bridge to make dc, mosfets to switch at high frequency,
inductor and caps.
More efficient but probably less reliable, but ballasts break too.

Greg


I took apart a cheapo dollar store 60W CFL(spiral type),and the
ballast was a 2 transistor circuit with a tiny ferrite core
transformer and a couple of electrolytic caps configured as a voltage
doubler,that rectified and doubled the input line voltage. this was
all in a space the size of a new dollar coin.

The input V is rectified and doubled to around 300-320 VDC,then the
transistors switch the DCV through the transformer to generate the
higher AC voltage to power the FL tube. The tube filaments are in
series across the transformer output and are energized at cold start
by the high impedance across the tube until the arc discharge
begins.the arc effectively shorts out the filaments,so they don't
burn up during normal operation.

I doubt that throwaway CFLs will have any surge protection.

I suspect that the wear items for an electronic ballast will be the
electrolytic caps,as they are in other power supplies and electronic
circuits.

Nothing like good old planned obsolescence. How much would it really
cost the manufacturers to substitute electrolytic caps with somewhat
higher power ratings? I'd gladly pay an additional $0.20 - $0.50 per
CFL or fixture for substantially longer mean time before failure.


the caps in there are 105degF 250V caps,seem to be rated fine.
electrolytics DO have a finite lifetime,usually several thousand hours of
operation. But the CFLs often are in "hot" environments that shorten their
lifetime. That's why many are not rated for "base up" operation;the ballast
receives the heat from the fixture.

switcher power supplies usually put a fast rise waveform across the
caps,that have high harmonics and generates a lot of internal heat.
electrolytics lasted a lot longer at 60Hz frequencies and sine-wave
operation.

--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
at
localnet
dot com
  #7  
Old May 8th 12, 06:07 AM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 185
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts

On Mon, 07 May 2012 15:54:21 -0400, Tony Miklos
wrote:

Nothing like good old planned obsolescence. How much would it really
cost the manufacturers to substitute electrolytic caps with somewhat
higher power ratings? I'd gladly pay an additional $0.20 - $0.50 per CFL
or fixture for substantially longer mean time before failure.


As long as electronic ballasts are lasting (fairly long in my opinion)
I'd bet they are already using a high quality cap where it really
counts... on the high frequency circuits. Electrolytic caps often
suffer from ESR, and the only place this is normally a problem is the
high freq switching circuits and if they where using cheap caps there,
the life of a ballast may be only a year or two. I'm having much better
luck with el cheapo "lights of america" brand ones. No complaints here.


Is this bad capacitor thing "planned obsolescence"?
It must be. That's all I hear in the last decade. Computers, and other
electronics, ballasts, and the list goes on.......

Back in the 1960's and 70's I worked on electronics as a hobby and did
repairs. Much of the stuff was old vacuum tube stuff and early
transistor stuff. I *rarely* had to replace caps. It was normally a
tube, transistor, bad connection, or a bad potentiometer. When a cap
went bad, the device did nto stop working, just there would be hum in
the speaker from a weak filter cap. Much of the stuff I worked on was
20 or 30 years old. In fact I still have a 1940's tube type shortwave
radio and it still has the original caps and works well.

You'd think that with our technology that caps would be BETTER than they
used to be..... instead they're junk. If they want to keep putting
these foreign made junk caps in our electronics, maybe everyone should
stop buying the crap until they begin using good caps. I'm sure they
can make good ones......


  #8  
Old May 8th 12, 06:22 AM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 11,417
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts

On Mon, 07 May 2012 23:07:22 -0500, wrote:

On Mon, 07 May 2012 15:54:21 -0400, Tony Miklos
wrote:

Nothing like good old planned obsolescence. How much would it really
cost the manufacturers to substitute electrolytic caps with somewhat
higher power ratings? I'd gladly pay an additional $0.20 - $0.50 per CFL
or fixture for substantially longer mean time before failure.


As long as electronic ballasts are lasting (fairly long in my opinion)
I'd bet they are already using a high quality cap where it really
counts... on the high frequency circuits. Electrolytic caps often
suffer from ESR, and the only place this is normally a problem is the
high freq switching circuits and if they where using cheap caps there,
the life of a ballast may be only a year or two. I'm having much better
luck with el cheapo "lights of america" brand ones. No complaints here.


Is this bad capacitor thing "planned obsolescence"?
It must be. That's all I hear in the last decade. Computers, and other
electronics, ballasts, and the list goes on.......

Back in the 1960's and 70's I worked on electronics as a hobby and did
repairs. Much of the stuff was old vacuum tube stuff and early
transistor stuff. I *rarely* had to replace caps. It was normally a
tube, transistor, bad connection, or a bad potentiometer. When a cap
went bad, the device did nto stop working, just there would be hum in
the speaker from a weak filter cap. Much of the stuff I worked on was
20 or 30 years old. In fact I still have a 1940's tube type shortwave
radio and it still has the original caps and works well.

You'd think that with our technology that caps would be BETTER than they
used to be..... instead they're junk. If they want to keep putting
these foreign made junk caps in our electronics, maybe everyone should
stop buying the crap until they begin using good caps. I'm sure they
can make good ones......

MOST are now better than they were 10 years ago. There was a batch of
counterfeit electrolyte out there from guess where - it starts with ch
and ends in a.

Capacitors from even the best manufacturers ended up affected.

That crap has worked its way out of the system -more or less.

No telling what is in some of the cheap crap coming out of there today
- but at least now the problem is known.
  #9  
Old May 8th 12, 07:21 AM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,724
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts

I'm open to ideas. Is the poor quality a plan to get us to buy more items,
as they don't last as long?

How much cap would a crap cap cap, if a good cap could crap cap?

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled Picofarads.

Six thick sticks, twixt six thick thumbs?

Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
www.lds.org
..

wrote in message

You'd think that with our technology that caps would be BETTER than they
used to be..... instead they're junk. If they want to keep putting
these foreign made junk caps in our electronics, maybe everyone should
stop buying the crap until they begin using good caps. I'm sure they
can make good ones......




  #10  
Old May 8th 12, 05:00 PM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 853
Default What's inside of these modern electronic ballasts

On 5/8/2012 12:07 AM, wrote:
On Mon, 07 May 2012 15:54:21 -0400, Tony
wrote:

Nothing like good old planned obsolescence. How much would it really
cost the manufacturers to substitute electrolytic caps with somewhat
higher power ratings? I'd gladly pay an additional $0.20 - $0.50 per CFL
or fixture for substantially longer mean time before failure.


As long as electronic ballasts are lasting (fairly long in my opinion)
I'd bet they are already using a high quality cap where it really
counts... on the high frequency circuits. Electrolytic caps often
suffer from ESR, and the only place this is normally a problem is the
high freq switching circuits and if they where using cheap caps there,
the life of a ballast may be only a year or two. I'm having much better
luck with el cheapo "lights of america" brand ones. No complaints here.


Is this bad capacitor thing "planned obsolescence"?
It must be. That's all I hear in the last decade. Computers, and other
electronics, ballasts, and the list goes on.......

Back in the 1960's and 70's I worked on electronics as a hobby and did
repairs. Much of the stuff was old vacuum tube stuff and early
transistor stuff. I *rarely* had to replace caps. It was normally a
tube, transistor, bad connection, or a bad potentiometer. When a cap
went bad, the device did nto stop working, just there would be hum in
the speaker from a weak filter cap. Much of the stuff I worked on was
20 or 30 years old. In fact I still have a 1940's tube type shortwave
radio and it still has the original caps and works well.


Yes old technology was easy on caps, especially a simple filter cap
from a big old analog power supply. Today's tiny switching power
supplies push caps to their limit. Sure they could use different style
caps, maybe mylar would last longer, at about 50 times the price and 100
times the size.
 




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