Definition - What does Digital Ballast mean?
A digital 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 digital ballast regulates the voltage a high-intensity discharge (HID) light or compact fluorescent light receives so that the bulb doesn’t overheat and immediately explode.
Digital ballasts use the latest technology in microprocessors to regulate and monitor the voltage a bulb receives. As such, they are considered the latest and greatest type of ballast available to indoor growers.
All HID bulbs require the use of a ballast. The ballast can be bought separately or as part of a complete lighting system package.
MaximumYield explains Digital Ballast
Magnetic ballasts have been around for years and basically use an electromagnetic system to regulate the voltage of the lighting. They are bulky, inefficient, and produce a lot of heat.
Electronic ballasts were a great improvement over magnetic ballasts. They don’t use a heavy wire and steel core; instead they rely on electronic components to regulate the voltage a bulb receives.
A digital ballast is an improvement over electronic ballasts as they integrate the latest computer technology, which makes them much smaller, able to operate at a much cooler temperature, and far more efficient.
A digital ballast also allows the growers more flexibility in controlling and regulating the voltage the lighting system receives. Using a digital ballast, growers are able to monitor and adjust the voltage of their lighting system instantly between 400W to 1,000W, which has an effect on the actual usable light a plant receives. This means growers can dial in the light intensity they wish their plants to receive at any given time. However, the ballast’s output should precisely match the electrical requirements of the light it regulates.
Digital ballasts are still quite expensive, but they are worth the extra investment when it comes to savings overall. Most ballasts are designed to operate up to around four lights at a specific voltage.