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ELECTRONIC BALLAST MISCONCEPTION

 
Since early 2000¡¯s, electronic ballasts have been gaining momentum in the lighting industry as they are believed to be more energy-efficient than ordinary magnetic ballasts. While this view has become a common belief, recent research has shown that this view is only valid when electronic ballasts are compared with old-type magnetic ballasts. More importantly, this belief is no longer correct because a new generation of ¡°Ultra low-loss magnetic ballasts¡± is now available.
 
The lifetime of electronic ballasts is limited by one component called electrolytic capacitor which contains electrolyte liquid that vaporizes at high temperature. Electrolytic capacitors are therefore highly temperature-sensitive with lifetime reduced by half for every 10¡ãC increase in temperature. The lifetimes of the 4 most common types of electrolytic capacitors are shown in chart below. Under typical operating temperature, the electrolytic capacitors inside the electronic ballast functions from a few months to a few years only. Their short lifetime, non-biodegradable and toxic chemicals will be a major environmental concern.

So energy-saving technology is not necessarily ¡°Green¡±.

 
 
H. Chung, N.M. Ho, Wei Yan, P.W. Tam & S.Y.R Hui, ¡°Comparison of Dimmable Electromagnetic and Electronic Ballast Systems - An Assessment on Energy Efficiency and Lifetime¡±, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, Dec. 2007.
 
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