Electronic ballasts for T8 and T5 lamps, are another element that can help you save energy. As per our latest entry, the ballast are part of a retrofit kit, and an essential part. And why is that? This is because of how a ballast works. An electronic ballast function essentially as a switching power supply, this is how almost all computer and laptops power supplies work. That is why it’s energy consumption is almost imperceptible or has very low or almost none energy consumption.
There are two types of electronic ballast, instant start and rapid or programmed start. Instant start ballast are the most efficient ballast in the market and the type that we recommend almost all of the time. It starts the T8 lamps by giving them a high inrush current to excite the lamps elements (mercury, argon gas, etc), these are the ones that produce the light output. Rapid start or programmed start electronic ballast work a little different, to start a lamp they maintain the anode and cathode of the lamp heated at all times, and when you switch the lamps on, they start the lamps. This preheat of the anode and cathode of the lamps, causes that this ballast consumes more energy than the instant start ballast. Remember that all T5 lamps use programmed start or rapid start type of ballast.