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Guts of the Remtec Systems "No-Watt" fluorescent energy saver unit

Guts of the Remtec Systems "No-Watt" fluorescent energy saver unit

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This is the inside of the Remtec Systems energy saver unit. appears to be a little diode, a capacitor and a transformer in it. both blue wires from the ballast go in one side, then to the lampholder from the other side. Reds are not changed. Testing the fixtures with this in place, I can not tell a difference in performance or brightness. Its model number is BQ-4-30 for F30 and F40 rapid start lamps only. These were in nearly half of the 32 F40 and F96 fixtures I got today. they were being run with full power ballasts and energy saver lamps. All the ballasts work fine.

0623001756(2).jpg 0623001754.jpg 0517002136.jpg 0517002132.jpg

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Album name:DieselNut / Fluorescent ballasts
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Date added:May 17, 2010
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May 20, 2010 at 09:13 PM Author:
I think with 60Hz current the ballast can be made smaller. 50Hz ballasts usually have heavy cores even for CFLs.
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May 20, 2010 at 11:13 PM Author: Medved
The small black box look like thermal cu-out device...

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May 21, 2010 at 07:37 AM Author: DieselNut
Medved, it may be, but how would it work? The two wires on that end come from the ballast and the two on the other end go to the lamp. The other lamp's red wires are not touched. I still have not played with this thing, but I was assuming it was a diode, so the fixture could be run with one lamp.

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May 21, 2010 at 05:21 PM Author: Medved
I read trough the patent, there is indeed a diode, but i've not seen any in such boxy shape.
Based on the patent description, it is extra capacitor in arc current connected in series with the ballast's internal one (work only with lead ballasts), increasing the overall ballasting impedance, so decreasing arc current. The patent describe the usage of an electrolytic capacitor DC prebiased by the diode (so there would never be reverse voltage polarity on it). But using electrolytic on such place mean the capacitor would be overloaded (few uF/400V electrolytics are rated for n more then 100mA at 120Hz, what ean even less at 60Hz), so would fail very early.
But on this picture it more look like film capacitor, what would not need the diode (unlike the patent description). So again, the black box might be the thermal fuse - protect against fre, if the capacitor start overheating due to any reason.

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May 21, 2010 at 06:43 PM Author: DieselNut
I really do not know how the heck, or even IF these things work. The light seemed to start normally to me, even with the semi-cheesie (but full mercury) 34 watt lamps. I removed all but one pair of them (in a 4 lamp F40 fixture) that I will do some "tests" with. That fixture has the "low heat" Universal (brown label) ballasts in it.

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May 21, 2010 at 11:01 PM Author: Medved
I think it would make sense (and the purpose of installing them was) to reduce the lamp current (so system wattage consumption) to compensate for higher efficacy of present rare-earth lamps (so keep output the same as older halophosphates - as fixtures were originally designed, so to avoid over illumination, but keep light distribution). Reducing current is possible on RS ballasts without sacrificing lamp life, as these ballasts heat filament independently, so the lower arc current would not cause too low electrode temperature.

No more selfballasted c***

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Dec 27, 2011 at 02:08 AM Author: don93s
@DieselNut, if you have any of these you want to get rid of or trade, let me know.
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Dec 27, 2011 at 07:05 AM Author: DieselNut
I still have not touched them, so yea, we can do a trade if ya like! How many would you like?

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Dec 27, 2011 at 12:23 PM Author: don93s
I figured you wouldnt be using them, lol. But I was interested in using them for experiments and converting LPF ballasts to HPF or changing lamp current via different cap sizes. Maybe 4?
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Dec 27, 2011 at 01:17 PM Author: DieselNut
Ok. That sounds like a fun experiment! Pm me a reminder. We can figure out a trade. Got a helluva week going on.

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I love diesel engines, rural/farm life and vintage lighting!

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Dec 27, 2011 at 01:27 PM Author: Medved
@don93s: Changing lag phase NPF to the lead phase HPF ballast is not possible, it would require totally different transformer design.
With NPF you may only compensate the input power factor, but then such device is useless for you.
Moreover with lag ballast it would cause the actual lamp power to increase and overheat the ballast, as the reactance of the capacitor in this unit would subtract from the reactance of the leakage inductance of the ballasting transformer, lowering the total impedance in the current path, so increasing the current.
This device may be used ONLY in the lead phase HPF RS ballasts (those have already a capacitor inside in series with the arc).
To check, if the HPF ballast is of the lead type (so usable with this device) or lag type (so unusable with this), you could measure the resistance between wires corresponding to the opposite lamp ends. If you measure about 100Ohm or less, it is the lag type, so should not be used with this. If you measure 100kOhm or more, it is the lead type.

One two or four lamp ballast may even have combined outputs: Some lamps on the lead and some on the lag section. Then this device would not be as much usable, as the lag channel would have to remain on the original output level, so with the lead section reduced, each lamp would have different brightness.

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Dec 27, 2011 at 02:12 PM Author: don93s
Thanks for the info, Medved. I have noticed that some NPF ballasts do not successfully convert to HPF. As far a lamp/winding current, the size of the cap is very important. However, I have successfully converted a couple of NPF ballasts. They were of the rapid-start series for 20w lamps. In that case, I was converting a two lamp series into single lamp with a capacitor shunted where one lamp would go and seemed to work fine as long as the current didn't exceed the original value. The PF was over 90%.

The most interesting application, however, is to convert 800ma F48T12/HO ballast to 430ma standard output for F40T12. The higher OCV will allow these lamps to start in any environment. Also, with the oversize ballast, there is minimum heating and minimum ballasts losses I've noticed.
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Dec 27, 2011 at 02:27 PM Author: DieselNut
That would be a cool experiment! Does it still give a good EOL show? Will it start F40s down to -20F?

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I love diesel engines, rural/farm life and vintage lighting!

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Dec 27, 2011 at 02:57 PM Author: Medved
@don93s:
When doing such conversions from lag ballasts (so NPF), you should make sure, then the capacitor's AC voltage rating is at least twice the ballast OCV (there would be nearly such voltage on the capacitor; assume the arc current is the same as it was before)

When the RS ballast have too high OCV, it tend to start the lamps way before their electrodes heat up (sometimes even instantly), what reduce their cycle life. But then it, indeed, could make nice EOL show...

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Dec 27, 2011 at 04:21 PM Author: don93s
@Medved, yeah for sure I check the cap voltage rating. Another thing...since the cap is remote mounted, it doesn't have to tolerate the heat from the ballast. I have heard that the cap will tolerate higher voltage than is written if the ambient temperature stays low. Not sure though. I use 90 or 100 deg C caps.

@DieselNut, I imagine they can start in below zero temps but would be much dimmer than HO because the current is lowered. Also, the EOL can be awesome depending on the OCV. The ballasts I use have 360v OCV which means lamps will take a severe beating for extended time. If the OCV is 480v like some ballasts, the EOL will be short before vacuum loss but those start the best in sub-zero. Then some others have same OCV as regular F40 rapid start (280v), so EOL would be boring and they say +50F.
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Dec 27, 2011 at 04:28 PM Author: joseph_125
I have a couple of the F40 version and a bigger model for F96/HO lamps. They were made by a different manufacturer though.
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Dec 27, 2011 at 04:48 PM Author: Medved
@don93: Never count on that, unless it is officially rated so by the maker in the datasheet (then it is guaranteed, so relying on that is OK). And don't forget, then more you stress the component "on the edge", the shorter you get the lifetime.
Without knowing exactly what are the mechanisms of the weak spot degradations, you can never make such conclusions. I know about some cases, where actually the low temperature make the given overvoltage stress more dectructive (the cold material does not kick the degrading charges away as the high temperature does, so they accumulate, till causing destruction)

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Dec 27, 2011 at 05:39 PM Author: don93s
Cool...I will make sure that the cap has sufficient rating then.
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Dec 27, 2011 at 11:04 PM Author: DieselNut
We are a crazy bunch here, wishing for great EOL shows. I love it!
I have that Howard Industries ballast that will COOK a tube in as little as a few seconds and it is an electronic rapid start F40 ballast! Damn thing has actually impressed me, especially for an electronic ballast made in China! I have literally toasted nearly a dozen tubes back to back and the sucker never gets hot or croaks! I don't remember what the OCV is on it, but it seems to drive a tube to vacuum loss, with LOTS of orange flashes much faster than 32 watt IS/HF ballasts or slimline ballasts do!

Preheat Fluorescents forever!
I love diesel engines, rural/farm life and vintage lighting!

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Dec 28, 2011 at 02:58 AM Author: Medved
@DieselNut: But the EOL show is so beautiful...

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Dec 16, 2012 at 08:33 PM Author: ace100w120v
Those sound like interesting little devices for sure...I'd be curious to experiment with those...

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Dec 16, 2012 at 09:12 PM Author: DieselNut
@medved, absolutely!
@ace100w120v, I still have not taken the time to tinker with these things yet. I recently got some more lights from the same guy and most of them have these installed. I need to take one of the slimline type ones open and see what it looks like also.

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I love diesel engines, rural/farm life and vintage lighting!

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Dec 16, 2012 at 09:17 PM Author: ace100w120v
That would be interesting...

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