Definition - What does Magnetic Ballast mean?
A magnetic ballast is a piece of lighting equipment often used in small and large growrooms. There are three basic types of ballasts: magnetic, electronic, and digital. Like all ballasts, a magnetic ballast regulates the voltage a fluorescent light receives so that the bulb doesn’t overheat and immediately explode.
A magnetic ballast is a type of electrical power regulator used in fluorescent light systems. The ballast’s output should precisely match the electrical requirements of the light it regulates.
MaximumYield explains Magnetic Ballast
Magnetic ballasts are essentially an electromagnet housed inside a box where the electrical current is channeled into a single induction coil. This is used in conjunction with capacitors to reduce and maintain the voltage at a specific level.
Because magnetic ballasts work mechanically through wire and steel, they aren’t all that efficient and can produce a lot of heat. For years, magnetic ballasts were the only and best option for regulating the voltage of fluorescent lighting. But emerging technology has developed smaller, more efficient ballasts that can be used.
Electronic ballasts, for example, don’t require the heavy steel coil of a magnetic; rather, they rely on electronic components to regulate the voltage. Although sometimes considered similar to electronic ballasts, digital ballasts use microprocessors, which are even more efficient and can more closely monitor power and provide consistent power.
Digital ballasts also allow the user to adjust the wattage anywhere from 400W to 1,000W. Using digital ballasts, growers can get the most illumination out of a bulb and increase their lifespan. These benefits of newer ballast technologies are making magnetic ballasts a thing of the past for many growers.
However, magnetic ballasts are preferable in some cases because they’re not subject to outside radio inference and are extremely durable under a variety of conditions. They are also the cheapest option to go for when a ballast of some sort is required.