Electronic Ballasts!

last updated 12/11/2006

Fluorescent lamp ballasts powered by low voltage DC.

Mercury lamp ballast powered by 12 volts DC. This electronic ballast is a homebrew one that puts out DC of nearly constant wattage. This powers mercury lamps and gives an unusually rapid warmup. Build at your own risk - this may try your patience. Requires custom or homebrew ferrite core inductors.

Circuits for powering xenon strobes from low voltage DC. Some of these require only parts available from Radio Shack and do not require coil winding. Build at your own risk.

A fluorescent lamp ballast circuit from Sam Goldwasser's site, repairfaq.org.

Links to Other Sites with Electronic Ballast Info:

Sam Goldwasser's Schematics at repairfaq.org, including many inverters to power fluorescent lamps from 12 volts DC.

Sam Goldwasser's Schematics - mirror at upenn.edu.

Jonathan Smick's 50 watt metal halide ballast works from 12 volts and uses mainly Radio Shack parts. Includes .GIF schematic and catalog numbers for the Radio Shack parts. One capacitor is unavailable at Radio Shack but should be easy enough to get. Homebrew transformer winding is required, using stuff available at Radio Shack.

I have yet to test this myself, but the circuit and description lead me to think this actually works.

Also works with mercury lamps with no changes needed. Works with fluorescent and sodium lamps and charges xenon strobe capacitors with minor changes.

Unitrode makes an IC used for electronic ballasts for HID lamps. The .PDF datasheet and application note for their UCC3305 give info on making a 12 volt DC ballast for the 35 watt automotive xenon-metal halide lamps. I consider this info not quite complete for all versions of this lamp, especially the D2S and D2R.

From Sam Goldwasser, (sam@stdavids.picker.com): Try IR's web site. There are at least four app note type documents on HF F-lamp ballasts. I don't know what they have to say about dimming, however.

http://www.irf.com/technical-info/designtp/irpllnr1.pdf
http://www.irf.com/technical-info/designtp/irplcfl1.pdf
http://www.irf.com/technical-info/designtp/dt95-3.pdf
http://www.irf.com/technical-info/appnotes/an-995a.pdf

(These are in PDF format and require Adobe's Acrobat Reader to read. -Don)

Other links provided by Sam Goldwasser:

http://www.irf.com/
http://www.lambda.com/
(Link reduced by Don to their home page 7/21/2001 due to file removed or moved by Lambda with no forwarding)
http://www.accesscom.com/~nerdx/
(I did just check and find not working 7/22/2001 - Don)
http://www.powerint.com/
http://members.aol.com/ridleyeng/index.html
http://www.smpstech.com/
http://www.zetex.com/
(Link reduced by Don to their home page 7/21/2001 due to file removed or moved by Zetex with no forwarding)

Update by Don:

Some really interesting stuff by International Rectifier!

Includes part numbers and schematics for fluorescent lamp ballasts, etc.

Several schematics of 230V integrated ballast compact fluorescent lamps, from Pavel Ruzicka in Czechoslovakia.

CAUTION - This subject matter involves hazards including but not necessarily limited to high voltage. Building electronic ballasts is recommended only if you already have electronic project construction and electronic repair experience.


Written by Don Klipstein.

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