Author Topic: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts?  (Read 563 times)
WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
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Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « on: May 08, 2024, 04:19:48 PM » Author: WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
While looking at Japan’s HID lighting portfolio, I have noticed that they definitely have an amazingly large selection of mercury vapor retrofit lamps that encompass nearly every HID lighting technology ranging from high pressure sodium, white high CRI high pressure sodium, quartz metal halide, and even ceramic metal halide! Additionally, multiple manufacturers such as National/Panasonic, NEC, Mitsubishi, Iwasaki, and Toshiba made these lamps!! The amazingly large selection of mercury vapor retrofit lamps that Japan offers makes it tempting for me to import them for my own collection. Why was there a need for Japan to design a self-starting mercury vapor retrofit lamp for nearly every HID lamp technology and why did most other countries largely develop dedicated ballasts different from mercury vapor ballasts and external ignitors for the other HID lamp technologies instead of self-starting mercury vapor retrofit lamps like Japan did?

Here is a video that clearly shows the wide variety of mercury vapor retrofit lamps available in Japan if you want to see what the lamps look like warming up:

https://youtu.be/rAfEUeZFNUI?si=sjJJysqTAwcFarUC

In the video, you can see a mercury vapor lamp, a high pressure sodium retrofit lamp, a quartz metal halide retrofit lamp, and a ceramic metal halide retrofit lamp all being used on the same mercury vapor ballast.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2024, 04:42:41 PM by WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA » Logged

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Re: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « Reply #1 on: May 08, 2024, 06:16:36 PM » Author: HIDLad001
Probably because the vast majority of their HID street lighting is mercury vapor, and municipalities want other more energy efficient options that will work on the existing gear without needing to change anything.
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Re: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « Reply #2 on: May 08, 2024, 06:27:21 PM » Author: WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
I am also wondering why the selection of self starting mercury vapor retrofit lamps in other countries was more limited like in the USA or the EU countries and why the EU decided to ban high pressure sodium retrofit lamps.
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Re: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « Reply #3 on: May 08, 2024, 06:42:54 PM » Author: Mandolin Girl
@ HID Lad, more than likely, and with all new installations of MV banned, it's the only logical thing for them to do.  :wndr:

@ WWHID, they banned them because they could...  ???
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Re: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « Reply #4 on: May 08, 2024, 06:44:05 PM » Author: WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
In Japan, I still see the mercury vapor ballasts still being produced, but only the lamps have been banned.
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Re: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « Reply #5 on: May 08, 2024, 06:46:22 PM » Author: WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
For example, here is an example of a Japanese 400W mercury vapor ballast that is still being made:

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/lighting/support/products/detail.php?ItemNo=H4TC1A51
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Re: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « Reply #6 on: May 09, 2024, 02:46:37 AM » Author: AngryHorse
Hmm?, problem is, adapting every HID type into what are effectively multi vapour lamps must have an effect on life and efficiency?
Having separate lamps and gear means you can specifically concentrate on making ‘that’ lamp technology the best it can be?
Something that confuses me though, as the primary inventor of the LED filament lamp it makes me wonder why the Japanese are still producing discharge lighting at all?
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Re: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « Reply #7 on: May 09, 2024, 03:47:55 AM » Author: WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
Interestingly, here is a comparison of spec sheets of electrically interchangeable Iwasaki lamps compared to the base mercury vapor lamps:

400W mercury vapor:

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/discon/HF400X/10/0001890.pdf

360W high pressure sodium retrofit with thermal starter:

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/discon/NH360L/10/LN410351B.pdf

360W deluxe high pressure sodium retrofit with thermal starter:

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/discon/NH360DL/10/LN410393B.pdf

360W high pressure sodium retrofit with FEC ignitor:

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/NH360LS/10/0000884-2.pdf

400W quartz metal halide retrofit with glowbottle starter:

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/discon/M400LE_BUP/10/L430003A.pdf

400W quartz metal halide retrofit with FEC ignitor:

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/M400LSH_U/10/0000816.pdf

400W high CRI daylight quartz metal halide retrofit with glowbottle starter:

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/M400DL_BUDP/10/L430075.pdf

360W ceramic metal halide retrofit with FEC ignitor:

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/M360CELSP-W_BUD/10/GL09P10-2.pdf

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/discon/M360CELS-W_BUD/10/0001669-2.pdf

https://www.iwasaki.co.jp/data/discon/M360CELSH-W_BUD/10/KLS410030-1.pdf
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Re: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « Reply #8 on: May 09, 2024, 04:38:34 AM » Author: James
The core reason is because the Japanese have different numbers of red/green/blue receptors in their eyes than Caucasian people, which means that they cannot see blue light so well.  Everything looks more yellowish to Japanese people, hence they appreciate natural daylight and high colour temperature light sources to be able to see colours correctly, and the colour rendering properties of light sources are far more important to them.

For outdoor lighting this resulted in an early preference for high colour temperature lamps, ie mercury.  Even phosphor coated mercury was not so universally welcomed, because of its lower blue component.  This trend continued long after the invention of HPS and metal halide lamps.  Whereas most other countries adopted those energy-efficient sources, Japan enjoyed plentiful low-cost energy from its extensive nuclear programme and simply did not need to use more efficient outdoor lamps.

When the energy crisis happened, they had little choice but to begin developing HID retrofits that would work on the massive installed base of mercury ballasts.  Hence the quick adoption of HPS retrofit lamps that had already been developed in the USA, UK and Holland.  But the Japanese hated the dull orange glow of HPS and quickly began work on developing higher CCT versions based on deluxe/white sodium and metal halide technologies.  The people in other countries are less concerned with colour rendering when replacing mercury lamps which are already considered by us to have poor colour properties due to their blue-white light.  Hence many of these retrofit lamps remain unique to Japan.

By the way, the HPS retrofit lamps in EU were not banned without sense.  It is because their life and efficacy is far lower than conventional HPS lamps and this is often further decreased since they tend to be used in extremely old mercury luminaires with poor light output ratio and inefficient old ballasts.  By banning them an enormous energy reduction has been achieved in Europe, due to the need to finally upgrade those ancient luminaires to more efficient technologies.

The reason why HPS lamps require different ballasts than mercury is partly due to the fact that their lamp voltage rises during life, whereas mercury remains fixed.  System efficacy is at an optimum when lamp voltage is a little over half the mains voltage, determined by the shape of the reignition voltage peaks of the arc on each half-cycle.  If HPS lamps are used on mercury ballasts, their life is quite short.  But regular HPS lamps that start out at lower voltages will have very long lifetimes.  However, connecting a lamp of lower voltage to a ballast designed for a higher voltage lamp causes ballast overheating, premature failure, and reduced electrical efficiency.  Hence a range of new ballasts having different electrical ratings was introduced with HPS lamps.
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Re: Why does Japan have so many HID retrofit lamps for mercury vapor ballasts? « Reply #9 on: May 09, 2024, 04:58:43 AM » Author: WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
As far as I have been told, I am aware that the different power factor of high pressure sodium lamps compared to mercury vapor lamps does help to reduce ballast overheating somewhat. Additionally, I have been under the impression that on HX autotransformer ballasts and simple series choke ballasts, a rising arc voltage drop from a normal high pressure sodium lamp might help compensate for ballast overheating in those situations if I am not mistaken.
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DISCLAIMER: THE EXPERIMENTS THAT I CONDUCT INVOLVING UNUSUAL LAMP/BALLAST COMBINATIONS SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED UNLESS YOU HAVE THE PROPER KNOWLEDGE. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY INJURIES.

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