Author Topic: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb?  (Read 2413 times)
108CAM
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Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « on: April 01, 2022, 01:21:38 AM » Author: 108CAM
I just received a replacement 50w MV ballast for my Sylvania B2222 but when I wired it up and tested it, nothing happened.
I can't tell if the ballast was DOA (Dead on Arrival) or if it's just a bad bulb. I was thinking about leaving it plugged in longer to see if anything happens but I don't know how long I should leave it plugged in or if the ballast is almost ready to explode into fireworks and I risk nucking a perfectly good bulb.
I've wired everything up and tested it in every way possible, replaced the ballast wires, checked the lampholder but every single time, nothing happened. No light emitted from the bulb. No 50hZ hum from the ballast. The breaker didn't even trip when I accidentally had the ballast and lampholder wired up backwards.
I'm fairly certain that the bulb still works because the arc tube isn't black.
I can't find the issue which means I don't know which action to take, either buying a replacement bulb or contacting eBay about receiving a faulty product
Any help would be great!
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AngryHorse
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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #1 on: April 01, 2022, 03:27:32 AM » Author: AngryHorse
Unusual for a ballast to be dead?, do a continuity test on it to be sure, lamp wise I’ve had a mercury lamp where the molly foil in the crimp was blown, this isn’t immediately noticeable unless you scrutinise the discharge tube, or it could have a bad start resistor, again something that wouldn’t look any different to look at the lamp?
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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #2 on: April 01, 2022, 03:47:31 AM » Author: High Intensity
I've had metal halide lamps that, despite being brand new, would not work under any circumstance, one was DOA due to a failed weld, another was DOA due to a bad starting resistor, and the last was DOA due to a bad gasfill.

So the lamp could very easily have some kind of issue, one that could not be visible to the naked eye, so i would try a different bulb before sussing out the ballast, especially if the ballast is a series choke ballast (2 terminal, wired in series with lamp), since they don't buzz unless the lamp works, or if they have an ignitor connected in one way or another.
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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #3 on: April 01, 2022, 07:13:02 PM » Author: 108CAM
I do have another bulb but the arc tube is blackened however it did show a sign of life when it flickered briefly on the old ballast.
I've attached a photo of both bulbs with the best angle I could get on the arc tubes
« Last Edit: April 01, 2022, 07:26:57 PM by 108CAM » Logged

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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #4 on: April 01, 2022, 07:26:37 PM » Author: joseph_125
Yeah, I would try a known good bulb first before suspecting the ballast, particularly if the ballast was new. Especially since it seems like both of the bulbs you tried were used. Sometimes issues such as blown moly seals can be caused by a previously shorted ballast and render a bulb dead even though the arc tube looks clear. If you have a 80w MV bulb lying around, I'd try that for a few minutes just to rule out the ballast. 

I haven't had any new looking HID lamps that were duds but I had plenty of fluorescents that were duds even though they looked brand new.

You got a multimeter on hand? If you know how to use one safely on mains power, I would check the lamp socket to see if you're getting the power.
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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #5 on: April 01, 2022, 07:29:21 PM » Author: 108CAM
I know I'm getting power because I bypassed the ballast and put an LED bulb in to test it which worked.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2022, 07:34:44 PM by 108CAM » Logged

Fluro starter pings combined with a 50hz ballast hum and blinking tubes is music to my ears.

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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #6 on: April 01, 2022, 07:31:22 PM » Author: joseph_125
The goal of the test I mentioned is to check to see if the power is going through the ballast. If you bypass the ballast, you won't know if power is going through the ballast.

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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #7 on: April 01, 2022, 07:34:50 PM » Author: 108CAM
I may try the 80w bulb as I don't feel comfortable using a multimeter on mains voltage
This test will only be for a few seconds because I don't want to nuke the bulb.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2022, 07:41:56 PM by 108CAM » Logged

Fluro starter pings combined with a 50hz ballast hum and blinking tubes is music to my ears.

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108CAM
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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #8 on: April 01, 2022, 07:45:39 PM » Author: 108CAM
The goal of the test I mentioned is to check to see if the power is going through the ballast. If you bypass the ballast, you won't know if power is going through the ballast.
I just tested it with an 80w bulb and still nothing. This makes me think the ballast is the issue. Could I have pushed the wires in too far and the terminals are making contact with insulation instead of wire?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2022, 07:56:04 PM by 108CAM » Logged

Fluro starter pings combined with a 50hz ballast hum and blinking tubes is music to my ears.

Rest in Peace Electronic Lamp Manufacturers of Australia
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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #9 on: April 01, 2022, 07:58:42 PM » Author: joseph_125
Hmm usually when you try a test like that, the bulb will fire up normally but it just won't fully run up. It could very well be the ballast. You could try doing a continuity test. Remove your ballast from the circuit, set your multimeter to measure resistance and see what you get. If you get a 1 on all resistance settings, IE infinite resistance, it's probably the ballast.

Might be worth checking your connections at the terminals too. It could be you're screwing into the insulation because you pushed the wires too far in.
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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #10 on: April 01, 2022, 08:04:01 PM » Author: 108CAM
I'll check the wires first then use the multimeter
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Fluro starter pings combined with a 50hz ballast hum and blinking tubes is music to my ears.

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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #11 on: April 02, 2022, 12:34:11 AM » Author: 108CAM
Here's a photo of how it's wired up
I still can't get it to work
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Fluro starter pings combined with a 50hz ballast hum and blinking tubes is music to my ears.

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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #12 on: April 02, 2022, 01:04:40 AM » Author: High Intensity
Oh yeah, that ballast is a series choke, so it won't make a sound unless the lamp works or otherwise does something, I think this also means you can do a continuity test of the ballast by swapping the MV lamp for something like a low wattage incandescent or CFL/LED lamp, since the ballast is a choke ballast, all it does is limit current, so putting a low wattage non-HID bulb shouldn't harm either the bulb or ballast.
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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #13 on: April 02, 2022, 01:18:55 AM » Author: 108CAM
I’ve been doing continuity testing on all the terminals and places where the wires are joined. I found a flaky connection on the brown wire and repaired it
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Fluro starter pings combined with a 50hz ballast hum and blinking tubes is music to my ears.

Rest in Peace Electronic Lamp Manufacturers of Australia
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Total incidents since joining LG: 17
Lamps accidently broken or smashed: 14
Ballast explosions/burnouts: 3

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Re: Bad Ballast or Bad Bulb? « Reply #14 on: April 02, 2022, 04:18:49 AM » Author: 108CAM
I've tried everything and can say it's likely a bad bulb
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Fluro starter pings combined with a 50hz ballast hum and blinking tubes is music to my ears.

Rest in Peace Electronic Lamp Manufacturers of Australia
1925-2002

Bring back the AJF Zodiacs!

Total incidents since joining LG: 17
Lamps accidently broken or smashed: 14
Ballast explosions/burnouts: 3

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