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What Ballat Resistors are Used for ?

Author: Apogeeweb
Date: 3 Aug 2021
 3138
resistance

Catalog

Ⅰ What is a Ballast Resistor ?

Ⅱ Types of Ballast Resistors

2.1 Fixed Resistors

2.2 Self-Variable Resistors

Ⅲ The Working Principle of  Ballast Resistors

Ⅳ Ballast Resistor – Uses and Applications

4.1 Ballast Resistor in Fluorescent Lamps

4.2 Ballast Resistor for Automotive Applications

4.3 Ballast Resistor in a LED Circuit

Ⅴ Symptons of Failture Ballast-Resistor

Ⅵ Frequently Asked Questions about Ballast resistors

 

Introduction

 

 “Ballast” is generally considered as “something that provides stability in English dictionary.  ” Thus, when we refer to an electrical ballast, we are referring to an electrical device that is important in maintaining the stability of the electrical circuit. However, you might be wondering how it provides stability. Depending on the circuit in which they are used, some electric ballasts limit current while others limit voltage. By doing so, they reduce the risk of overvoltage or overcurrent in the circuit, thereby improving system stability.

 

The complexity of electric ballast varies greatly. It can be as simple as a resistor, capacitor, inductor, or a combination of these, or as complex as the electronic ballast found in fluorescent lamps.

 

 

Ⅰ What is a Ballast Resistor ?

 

A ballast resistor is an electronic component that is usually used to regulate the current in a circuit. Some devices, such as fluorescent lamps, can exhibit negative resistance characteristics, and an increase in current will result in a decrease in voltage. Negative resistance can cause damage to the power supply or equipment. Ballast resistors are usually connected in series with the negative load, taking advantage of the fact that all components in the series circuit receive the same current. Some ballasts are just series resistors, while others use capacitors and more complex components.

 

Figure1: complex components

 

Ⅱ Types of Ballast Resistors

A resistor is a current-limiting electronic component that can reduce circuit voltage and current. Ballast resistors are classified into three types: fixed, variable, and reactive.

2.1 Fixed Resistors

This genre of ballast resistors have a fixed resistance. A high resistance value is primarily taken considered for most applications. This genre of ballast resistor is commonly used in simple circuits with low-powered loads such as neon or LED lamps. This fixed resistor is also applied to control the ventilation fan speed. It employs a fixed ballast resistor with two center taps. The fan speed selector switch detours portions of the ballast. Therefore, the entire ballast resistor is suitable for full speed, while no section of the ballast resistor is suitable for the low speed.

2.2 Self-Variable Resistors

These ballast resistors have the property of resistance in response to changes in current, such as an increase in current increasing resistance and a decrease in current decreasing resistance. Incandescent lamps frequently use these ballast resistors. As the current through the lamp increases, the ballast resistor heats up, and the resistance rises with the temperature, as does the voltage drop across the resistor. When the current is down, the temperature of the ballast resistor decreases as well, as does its resistance and thus the voltage drop.

 

The benefits of using this type of ballast resistor are that it provides more precise current control than a suitable fixed resistor. Another benefit is that the power lost in the resistive ballast is decreased because a smaller section of the overall power is lost in the ballast when compared to a fixed resistor.

 

Ⅲ The Working Principle of  Ballast Resistors

 

When 220V 50HZ AC power is applied to the switch closed circuit, the current flows through the ballast, and the lamp filament starter heats the filament(The starter was turned off in the beginning. The gas arc discharge in the jumping bubble in the starter caused the bimetallic sheet to heat and deform due to the application of an AC voltage greater than 190V, and the two electrodes were close together to form the filament heated by the passage.) Because there is no arc discharge when the two electrodes of the starter are close together, the bimetal cools and the two poles separate. As the ballast is inductive, when the circuit is suddenly interrupted, 600V is generated at both ends of the lamp for about 1ms. The pulse voltage is -1500V; the exact voltage value depends on the type of lamp. When the lamp discharges, the voltage at both ends drops immediately. At this point, the ballast limits the lamp current on the one hand while also supplying power on the other. There is a phase difference of 55° to 65° between the voltage and the working current of the lamp in order to keep the secondary starting voltage of the lamp stable.

Figure2:  the working principle of  a ballast resistor

 

Due to its simple structure, inductive ballast, as the first type of ballast to work with fluorescent lamps, has a relatively large market share. However, on account of its low power factor, poor low-voltage startup performance, heavy energy consumption, stroboscopic and many other shortcomings , its market is gradually being replaced by electronic ballasts. The energy consumption of inductive ballasts: 40W (lamp tube power) + 10W (inductive ballast self-heating consumption) is equal to the total power 50W consumption of the whole set of lamps and lanterns.

 

An electronic ballast is a converter that converts low frequency alternating current power to high frequency alternating current power. Its basic operation is as follows: after passing through a radio frequency interference (RFI) filter, full-wave rectification, and a passive (or active) power factor corrector (PPFC or APFC), the industrial frequency power supply becomes a DC power supply. The output of high-frequency AC power of 20K-100KHZ is added to the LC series resonant circuit connected to the lamp via the DC/AC converter to heat the filament, but the lamp is "discharged" into the "on" state and then enters the light-emitting state. At this point, the high-frequency inductor limits the current increase, ensuring that the lamp tube receives the voltage and current required for normal operation. Various protection circuits, such as abnormal protection, surge voltage, and current protection, temperature protection, and so on, are frequently constructed to improve reliability.

 

Ⅳ Ballast Resistor – Uses and Applications

 

Ballast resistors are most commonly used to adjust the current to a negative resistance load. They can also be applied in other contexts. Fixed ballast resistors are common in low-power devices like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and neon lights. LEDs are a positive resistive load that can benefit from ballast resistors.

 

4.1 Ballast Resistor in Fluorescent Lamps

 

Fluorescent lighting, as we all know, is a popular and efficient lighting system. However, there is a disadvantage to using this type of lighting system. When directly connected to a voltage source, it heats up very quickly. This situation is due to the lamp's uncontrollable current draw as soon as its operation.

 

A ballast resistor, connected in series with the lamp, is applied to the circuit to prevent overheating caused by excessive current draw. Therefore, the function of ballast resistor is to regulates the current and reduces the voltage.

 

However,  for the lamp to light up, an arc has to be formed between its two electrodes. This necessitates a high starting voltage that is nearly equal to the supply voltage. The ballast resistor provides the required voltage during startup, and then immediately after an arc is established, it reduces the voltage while also regulating the current flow.

 

Figure3: application in fluorescent lamp

 

4.2 Ballast Resistor for Automotive Applications

 

Ballast resistors are generally included in the ignition kits of automotive machines such as automobile engines. Such devices are often called Ignition Ballast Resistors because of their application. The application of this device reduces the possibility of coil failure. It is connected between the ignition coil's primary voltage source and the coil stud. This connection helps to reduce the coil voltage and coil current, so the coil does not get as hot as it would without it, extending the coil's life.

 

However, a high voltage equal to the primary voltage source is required to start the ignition engine. As a result, a jumper wire is frequently connected to the ballast resistor. This jumper wire provides the voltage required to start the engine.

 

 

Figure4: application in automotives

 

4.3 Ballast Resistor in a LED Circuit

 

If the source voltage in an LED circuit is greater than the rated voltage of an LED lamp, the LED may be damaged. It is strongly advised to connect a ballast resistor in series with the lamp to avoid this case.

 

By connecting the ballast resistor in this manner, the voltage across the LED is down to a tolerable level. The circuit diagram for the same is shown in the figure below.

 

 

Figure5: application in leds

 

 

The following formula is the value of resistance of the ballast :

R = (E – Vf)/IF

Where: R= resistance of the ballast resistor

E = voltage source

Vf = forward voltage of the LED

IF =Forward current of the LED.

 

So, let's say you have an LED with a voltage rating of 4 volts, a forward current of 10 mA, and a voltage source of 6 volts. This means that the voltage across the LED should be 4 or less than 4 volts.

 

As a result, the resistance of the ballast resistor should be R= (6-4)/0.010 = 200 or greater.

 

Now that we've covered the applications briefly, let's look at the different types of ballast resistors on the market.

 

Ⅴ Symptons of Failture Ballast-Resistor

 

A ballast resistor is a device in your car that limits the amount of current flowing through an electric circuit. Because they did not have the benefit of circuit boards like most modern vehicles, ballast resistors are commonly found in older vehicles. Normal wear and tear can damage the ballast resistor over time, so there are a few things to look for if you suspect a bad or failing ballast resistor needs servicing.

 

1. Vehicle starts, then immediately goes out

 

The most obvious symptom is that the vehicle starts but then dies as soon as you remove the key. If this occurs, Your Mechanic's experts will be able to measure the voltage coming from the ballast resistor and determine if it needs to be replaced. They will inform you of the condition of your ballast resistor once they have read the voltage.

 

2. Not starting at all

 

The vehicle will not start if the ballast resistor is not functioning properly. Because it is an electrical system, it is best left to the professionals. The only way to get the vehicle running again is to replace the ballast resistor.

 

3.  Don’t jump the resistor

 

Some people attempt to jump the resistor, which means that the ballast resistor is ignored and the extra current is routed to the points. The points are not designed to withstand the additional voltage, causing them to wear out and fail prematurely. This will result in a much more extensive repair than if the ballast resistor was replaced at the start. Furthermore, because you are tampering with electricity, it can be dangerous, especially if you don't know what you're doing.

 

4.  Let the vehicle be

If your ballast resistor is out of work, your vehicle will not start and you will need to have it towed to a mechanic's shop. Because the professionals at Your Mechanic make house calls, you will be able to save money on towing. Furthermore, because the vehicle will not start, it is not a dangerous situation as long as you leave it alone. Do not attempt to bypass the ballast resistor and do not continue to try to start the engine. Allow the professionals to repair it so you can get back on your way.

 

Ⅵ Frequently Asked Questions about Ballast resistors

 

1. Is a ballast resistor necessary? 

If the coil required a ballast resistor when it was used with points, then you must still use the resistor. If it didn't, then no resistor is necessary. The ballast resistor keeps the engine running by preventing the engine from receiving full amperage from the ignition once started. 

 

2. Why do ignition coils need ballast resistor? 

In simple terms, the ballast resistor in a Mopar limits the amperage, or current flow, through the coil while the engine is running, thereby extending the life of the coil and breaker points of the distributor.

 

3. How do you know if a ballast resistor is bad?

To test your ballast resistor you need an ohm meter or multimeter set to ohms. Remove the connectors from both sides of the resistor. The ohms should read between 1.8 and 5 ohms. You should be getting 9 volts to the positive side of the coil.

 

4. What causes a ballast resistor to fail?

The resistance through the ballast resistor varies with current flow which varies with engine rpm. This naturally causes the resistor to expand and contract from heat. That's why they eventually fail.

 

5. Can a resistor wire go bad?  

The only way the wire will "go bad" is if it gets a break in it so it has infinite resistance (an open circuit).

 

6. Which circuit the ballast resistor is used?  

Ballasts can also be used simply to limit the current in an ordinary, positive-resistance circuit. Prior to the advent of solid-state ignition, automobile ignition systems commonly included a ballast resistor to regulate the voltage applied to the ignition system.

 

7. What is inside of a ballast? 

A magnetic ballast (also called a choke) contains a coil of copper wire. The magnetic field produced by the wire traps most of the current so only the right amount gets through to the fluorescent light. That amount can fluctuate depending on the thickness and length of the copper wire.

 

8. What's the difference between a ballast and non ballast coil?

 Basically, a non-ballast coil is designed to produce full spark output with 12 volts on the input (+ terminal). A ballast coil is designed to produce the same spark output, but with only 6 to 9 volts on the input.

 

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