Blog

Here's what's happening.

ballast for led lights
Jan 08 2018

Do You Need a Ballast for LED Lights?

The water fountain spigot kind of acts like a ballast in this situation. A ballast regulates the current that’s coming at a lamp. It gives an initial burst just to get things going, then it makes sure the electric current is controlled and steady. Not getting the lamp’s shoes all wet. A ballast for LED lights is not required – instead a driver is required.

There are two types of ballasts we deal with for existing fluorescent lights- magnetic and electronic. The difference is the mechanism they use to transform the incoming voltage.

  • Magnetic ballasts – heavier than bad news on a rainy day. Average 3.5 lbs. These bad boys are also why you associate a “humming” noise with fluorescent lights – they have a transformer consisting of a magnetic core and wire wrapped around it.
  • Electronic ballasts – use solid state circuitry to operate – no hum. Lighter and more efficient, they have been encouraged by energy efficient legislation dating back to the late 80s.

Alright so now that we know fluorescent lamps are like toddlers that need their food blended before they can eat it, what about LED lamps?

LEDs are from the future! Surely they don’t need an archaic metaphoric blender!”, you say.  LED lamps and fixtures use a different type of power source, in what is referred to as an LED driver. 

Can LED lamps work off of existing ballasts?  Yes, if they have an internal driver than can work off that ballast.  Philips, for example, has designed a tube that is compatible with an existing electronic ballast. Cue buzzword plug-and-play. Super cost effective because it brings down the labor cost of changing the fixture.  This is referred to as a Type A lamp, and can come with a $4 to $5 Instant Discount.

Type A – ballast for led lights compatible


If you don’t have tubes that are compatible, then you will need an LED driver.  You do not need a ballast for LED lights, but instead a driver.  This is called a Type C application, with a tube and driver that work together.

Type C – Driver, not ballast for LED


Finally, there are hard wired fluorescent LEDs, which take 110v electricity right to the socket.  These lamps have a driver inside the tube.  These are called Type B applications.

Type B – Hard wire to socket


So, the moral of the story, kids….you’re going to need some way to control the current coming into your LED tube. It all depends on the type of tube ya got.

led-retrofitting

Categories

Popular Posts

Mar 25, 2018BY Verde

5 Reasons Why an Advisory…

In 2010, Verde Chicago was launched to help change the way the… [...]

Feb 06, 2018BY Verde

Are Smart Power Strips Worth…

Really there are two questions here regarding Smart Power Strips: Is it… [...]

Related Articles

Default Image3
Apr 04 2018

Energy Efficiency Makes Us Hoppy

Beer can be pretty energy intensive. Lifting a 16 ounce glass repeatedly...bicep really feels the burn, amiright... No but really kids - tons of energy input to create that delicious beverage that we love so…

Continue Reading >
Default Image4
Jan 11 2018

Where Are the Best Places for Linear LEDs in Commercial Offices?

Let me turn the tables a bit and ask you a question, buster. Do you currently have linear fluorescent fixtures in your office lighting? You do? Well badda bing bada boom, there you go. You…

Continue Reading >

Get An Energy Efficiency Assessment

Please fill out the form below and connect with an energy efficiency consultant.

Verde Energy Efficiency Expert 1801 W Berteau Ave, Suite 202
Chicago, IL 60613

T (779) 333-0821