Since the invention of electricity, it has become an integral part of our lives. Almost all our activities both at home and in offices require one form of electrical appliance or another. One of the most beneficial aspects of electricity is light. Have you ever wondered how electrical lightning happens? One of the essential devices needed in generating electric light is the ballast.
What is UV Ballast?
A ballast is an electronic device that controls the current and voltage of an electric light circuit. This means that it prevents the lamp from destroying itself through a continuous, non-stop increase in current. It does this by regulating the amount of current that runs through the lamp.
Similarly, it gives the fluorescent the right amount of voltage it needs to establish current between electrodes. After that, it reduces but continues to ensure that there is enough voltage to keep the light on. Initially, ballasts used to function via magnetic induction. But the recent ballasts are electronic and are more packed than the former.
UV ballasts are used in UV bulbs. They are of different types depending on the need of the appliance. They come with specificities like the type and number of lamps they can control at a time. It also shows how much voltage it can hold at a given time. The link here https://home.howstuffworks.com/light-bulb.htm has more on the operation of a light bulb.
How UV Lighting Works
A fluorescent lamp has two electrodes; a cathode and an anode on each end of the glass tube. Once you connect the light to a power source, it causes an electric potential difference to generate across the cathode and anode of the tube. This tube is equally filled with inert gases (such as Argon) at low pressure.
A Combination of the pressure and the potential difference causes the gas molecules to disintegrate and give up free electrons, which carry current. This entire activity is referred to as ionization.
Now, the current passing through the tube heats the electrodes. Also, the increased temperature causes the mercury present in the tube to change from its liquid form to vapor. This gaseous mercury then collides with the molecules of the inert gases, thus, generating and releasing energy which becomes ultraviolet radiation.
The phosphor coating of the fluorescent then absorbs this radiation. This coating further re-emits the rays at a wavelength that is higher than that of the UV rays. This is the light that we see.
Application of UV Ballast
For this lighting process to happen, the UV ballast supplies the needed voltage to the circuit. Without it, the process will not be initiated, and the light will not come on. However, if the ballast were to supply this voltage without any form of control, the lamp will continue to take it up until it reaches breaking point.
The fluorescent ballast, therefore, provides an opposite resistance that regulates the voltage uptake of the circuit, thereby limiting the current. Note that the ballast does not stop the current. It only inhibits it. But because the alternating current supply to light constantly reverses itself, the current is only inhabited for a short time in one direction.
Types of UV Ballast
You can find the common types of fluorescent ballast used in lightning procedures below
This type is prevalent. It starts with a substantial voltage needed to initiate the system rather than a more gradual process. The advantage is that it saves energy compared to other types. However, it causes the lamp to spoil quickly. It is better to use it in appliances that will not turn on and off often.
Unlike the instant start, this type preheats the cathode and allows them to warm up before it lights up the lamp. It starts with a low voltage and increases gradually. It is of great advantage because if it’s work in parallel lamps. This means that if there are up to four lights using one ballast and two go off, the remaining two will not be affected. They will continue to work.
The programmed start works just like the rapid start. It allows the cathode to heat up gradually before eventually increasing to the amount that can generate light. This type warms the cathode at an even higher temperature. It is best used in appliances that will turn on and off often.
Even though ballasts have evolved from magnetic to electrical, they still work the same process and serve the same purpose. They are generally made to regulate the voltage and current that flow through the circuit of a lamp. However, electrical modification has advantages such as the ability to dim, efficient energy, and decreased flicker of light. You can find more here on the advantages of LED bulbs in your electrical installations.
The electrical model comes in different types that affect the lamp in varying ways. Deciding which one to use depends on the nature of the appliance with which it will work. The working process of the different types and the general function of UV ballast in lighting is discussed in this article.