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Magnetic ballasts /Testing

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  • Magnetic ballasts /Testing

    Tonight we had a problem in the building I manage. What the problem was we where only running at half the power.

    this was going on for about 4 hours. I immediately turned off all 3 phase equipment but seems I can’t get about 40 pot lights to come back on. I changed the lights out and nothing.

    This happened about a month ago again and I had our electrician in and sure enough when they changed out the ballast it work.

    My question is it true that there is no way to test a faulty ballast and what would make these ballasts quit on me?


    Thx In advance!

  • #2
    Re: Magnetic ballasts /Testing

    Originally posted by LOG_SPLITTER View Post
    Tonight we had a problem in the building I manage. What the problem was we where only running at half the power.

    this was going on for about 4 hours. I immediately turned off all 3 phase equipment but seems I can’t get about 40 pot lights to come back on. I changed the lights out and nothing.

    This happened about a month ago again and I had our electrician in and sure enough when they changed out the ballast it work.

    My question is it true that there is no way to test a faulty ballast and what would make these ballasts quit on me?


    Thx In advance!
    First thing what happend when you lost power it will show up either open hot conductor { not too bad to deal with it } or open netural { now this is serious crap to deal }

    Once you get open netural it don't matter if single or triphase supply whatever still on 120 volts will go up to either 208 or 240 volts ditto with 277 volts verison.

    Basic troubleshooting is change the lamp first and get the lamps from knowen working luminaire and test on that if won't lit up then check the supply voltage if none there then you have open circuit but becarefull it can go either way if open hot you will have to track it down a little to find it but with open netural this will get little trickier to trobleshoot this one but most common cuprit what I know most case useally loose or bad conneciton on netural side.

    To really test the Ballast there is not much you can test with flourscent verison due most electronic ballast verison do run at very high HZ and your test meter may not able read the proper voltage level at all with magatnic it not too bad but open circuit voltage from the ballast is pretty high all it depending on which type of ballast it have on it { the slimline is the highest open circuit voltage }

    But if it was HID that will be little easier to test it but all it depending on which type of ballast it is involded.

    Again check with knowen bulb or get new bulb first if fail to lit up then check the supply again I will remind becarefull with open circuit if you run into

    But if your HID luminiare do have ingitors { aka starters } some are interal with ballast some are exteral from ballast the exteral one are easy to deal with it also with capaiotor if they are open the luminarie will not lit up if shorted it will stay dim.

    { most case when the ballast take a dump I just get whole kit it easier and quicker than try to do one part and it work later have to deal with other parts so I do use the kit it will cover all the necessary items I need to get it done }

    A good note to pay attetion if you have Mercury Vapour ballast you are out of luck due the manufacter just crease { stop } the production not too long ago so to find it will be like shooting in dark.

    Merci,Marc

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    • #3
      Re: Magnetic ballasts /Testing

      Sorry for the high-jack:

      A co-worker recently had blinking lights in his home and ignored the issue for a while, not thinking much of it. When it failed to abate he called the power company, a tech came and pulled the meter immediately (he was totally indignant about having the meter pulled on Sunday at 1:00 PM CST; the nachos, queso and beer were suddenly a lot less appealing). Apparently he had a visibly loose neutral at the weatherhead. Can anyone explain to an interested layman how that causes drastically increased voltages?

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      • #4
        Re: Magnetic ballasts /Testing

        Since there is no return path to the neutral tap at the transformer, the only path for current to flow is out into leg "a" of your supply, through load or loads on leg "a" then through load or loads on leg "b" in your house. Lets say the entire load at a point in time was a 100 watt bulb on side a, and a 100 watt bulb on side b....then each load would see 120 volts drop. The problem is, the legs are never equal, so some excercises with ohms law and kirchoff's law show that some parts of your home can see excessive voltage.

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        • #5
          Re: Magnetic ballasts /Testing

          sorry for a crude drawing
          N = neutral
          H = hot



          Basically if you break neutral, your devices will complete a 220v loop if you have at least one plugged in on each side of the neutral within your house.

          In this example, tea kettle has very low resistance and will most likely cause the light bulb to burn out. Difference of potential (voltage) between each hot and the neutral is 110v, between 2 hots is 220/240. If it's a 3-phase power and you got 2 out of 3, voltage between phases is 208.
          Last edited by DRC-Wartex; 11-03-2009, 12:58 AM.

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