About Advance Ballasts and Fluorescent Lamps
Advance Ballasts that utilize fluorescent lamps usually come in two shapes: straight and u-shaped. Most fluorescent types are T5, T8, and T12. The T stands for tubular and the number provides the diameter in 1/8 of an inch. Lamp diameter is determined by ballast type. Therefore, a T12 ballast must use a T12 bulb. A T5 ballast must use a T5 bulb and so forth.
Fluorescent lamps utilize ballasts which help transform line voltage to the correct voltage in order to properly and safely start up the lamp(s). Modern fluorescent ballasts are usually compatible with both 120 volts and 277 volts while others are rated for only 120 volts. Some ballasts are only designed to manages 277 volts, which is common in industrial or commercial applications.
For reference, four common ballast types are available:
- Instant start electronic ballasts leverage higher starting voltages, typically about 600 volts to initiate to light the lamp’s electrodes faster, typically in fractions of a second! Given these ballasts dismiss largely the need for warming the lamps electrodes, a high energy efficiency is achieved. The disadvantage is that these ballasts fail more easily due to limited capacity for switching or powering on and off. Instant start ballasts are wired in a parallel configuration which means a single wire for connections to each end of a fluorescent lamp.
- Rapid or trigger start electromagnetic ballasts are used for the older T8 and T12 fixtures and wired in a series style configuration, meaning two wires are used to connect each end of a fluorescent tube.
- Rapid start electronic ballasts heat the lamps while transferring the initial voltage, typically around 500 volts to start-up the lamps quickly in typically half a second to a whole second. Electrode heating continues while the lamps are turned on and require a little more power, typically 2 watts per lamp on average compared to instant start ballasts mentioned above. In terms of longevity, they can manage 15,000 to 20,000 switch cycles before experiencing reliability issues. Like Rapid start electromagnetic ballasts these are also wired in series configuration.
- Programmed start electronic ballasts start slower compared to the above listed ballast types, in about second or two. They warm the electrodes in a managed manner before transferring starting voltage. While they have a slower start-up time, programmed start ballasts reduce electrode stress and increase lamp life for applications requiring frequent starting (situations requiring motion sensors). They can manage 50,000 switch cycles before showing signs of issues. Programmed start ballasts are wired inseries.
Fluorescent Tube Sizes
- T12 = 1 1.5 inch diameter
- T8 = 1 inch diameter
- T5 = 5/8 inch diameter
Advance Ballasts & Energy Efficiency
In terms of energy efficiency, T8 lamps with newer electronic ballasts utilize an average of 20-30 percent less energy compared to a T12 magnetic ballast. When a T12 magnetic ballast becomes inoperable it should be replaced with a T8 electronic ballast. T12 ballasts remain available, but are hard to find as T12 lamps are being discontinued. Used ballasts are sometimes available but those are risky bets given they may too fail.
How to Read Advance Fluorescent Ballast Labels 101 – An Example
Below you will see a label for the Advance IntelliVolt ICF-2S42-M2-LD ballast with some important information, including voltage, serial and product numbers, a lamp compatibility table, certifications, PCB information, and a wiring diagram.
In this example, the model number is ICF-2S42-M2-LD
For the purposes of replacing lamps, the compatibility table is very useful and demonstrates what type of lamps can be used with this ballast to avoid damage and incorrect ordering of replacements.
The table in the above image shows compatible lamps with this ballast:
- (2) CFTR 42W
- (2) CFTR 36W
- (2) CFTR 26W
- (2) CFQR 26W
The 2 in means how many compact fluorescent lamps can be accommodate (no more than 2), the numbers 42, 36, 26 refer to watts. The label also lists other compatible lamps.
In order to replace lamps for this ballast, the lamps should be compact fluorescent, either 26, 36, or 42 watts and matched
Typical warranty periods are two years for magnetic, four years for electronic, from the date of manufacture which is indicated somewhere on the ballast. Advance Ballast manufacture dates are comprised of a number that indicates the year and day of the year produced.
For example: 09100N073 means that the ballast was created in 2009 (09) on the 100th day of that year.
Advance HID Part Number Reference:
Example: 71A 60 9 2 -500DAEE
71A refers to the Ballast Type
- 71A = Core and Coil Ballast
- 72C = F-Can Ballast
- 73B = Encapsulated Core and Coil Ballast
- 74P = Postline Ballast
- 77L = Val-u-Pak Plus Replacement Ballast kit (includes lamp)
60 refers to the Lamp Type/Wattage/Ballast Circuit Code
9 refers to the Input Voltage Code
60 Hz Voltages
- 0 = 120V
- 1 = 208V
- 2 = 240V
- 3 = 277V
- 4 = 480V
- 5 = 120/240V or 120/208/240/277/480B
- 6 = 240/480V
- 7 = 120/208/240/277V
- 8 = 120/277V
- 9 = 120/208/240/277V
- A = 120/277/347V
- B = 347V
- C = 120/347V
- D = 120/240/347V
- E = 120/208/240V or 208/240V
- F = 277/480V, 277/347V, 277/347V, 277/347/480V or 347/480V
- H = 127/220V
- J = 220V or 220/240V
- Y = 100V or 100/200V
50 Hz Voltages
- M = 100/200V
- N = 120/220-240V
- R = 220/240V
2 refers to the Design Code
-500DAEE refers to the Suffix Code*
- -001DB : ballast replacement kit with dry capacitor and integral ignitor
- -001D: ballast replacement kit with dry film capacitor
- -001: ballast replacement kit with oil filler capacitor
- -500D: core and coil ballast with dry film capacitor
- -500: core and coil ballast with oil filled capacitor
- -510D: core & coil ballast with welded bracket and dry film capacitor
- -510: core & coil ballast with welded bracket and oil filled capacitor
- -540D: core & coil ballast with welded angle bracket and dry film capacitor
- -600: core & coil ballast (no capacitor)
- -610: core & coil ballast with welded bracket (no capacitor)
*Some ballasts have additional feature codes i.e. B=Integral ignitor, -P = thermally protected, -J = J-Box Mounting, -A = Aluminum Coil, -ML = “NOM” (with capacitor), -T = 120V Tap, -EE = EISA Compliant Ballast
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