View Full Version : what is the point of a ballast?

The Reefer91
01/18/2006, 04:37 PM
i understand that it converts energy for use on your lights, but does that work for other lights? like, for example, if i get a VHO ballast that powers up to , i don't know, 110watts. does that mean i could install the ballast, and then buy a regular fluerescent strip light hood and run VHO bulb of 110watts in it?

The Reefer91
01/18/2006, 04:53 PM

01/18/2006, 05:07 PM
A ballast typically controls starting voltage, operating voltage, frequency, and current. When the mercury in a fluorescent vaporizes, the resistance within the lamp drops very quickly. You need something to keep things under control, otherwise the electric current just keeps going up until you get a short circuit and something melts, burns down, or a breaker trips. :D

No, you cannot really mix and match ballasts because every lamp has different operating characteristics. Having said that, some ballasts are designed to handle multiple types of lamps.

Also, there are physical difference between lamps. Like socket sizes and shapes. You can only mix and match similar lamps.

Here are some links..


01/18/2006, 05:10 PM
The ballast is the engine that makes it go...Now with that said, you wouldn't put a 4cyl in a full size SUV, and you wouldn't want a v-8 in a echo... You have to match them up. If you purchase that strip light the only thing you will be getting that is useful is the end caps.

01/19/2006, 02:15 AM
Actually based on the info you provided, you could do as you mentioned (use a VHO ballast and a VHO bulb in a standard flourescent fixture) however not much point in that because the stand. fixtures dont have reflectors and you will be losing a bit of light, not to mention they are much more susceptable to corrosion. If you dont want to pay for a fixture you can just wire it up with the proper endcaps (commonly available), get a decent reflector and bulb clips to hold them in place. Piece of cake. (however dont try using the standard ballast with a VHO)