Author Topic: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations  (Read 8495 times)
dor123
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Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « on: February 27, 2011, 01:24:21 PM » Author: dor123
According to what i understood, since in HF fluorescent installations and electronic HID installations, overheating of the electronic ballasts shouldn't be a problem like in energy saving CFLs (Where the ballast and the tube are in the same case, and most of the heat on the ballast is because of the tube and not radiated from the ballast itself), the main reason for the relatively short life of electronic ballasts is high voltage surges (Lightning, operating of motors and compressors in electrical appliances and switchings in power plants and Transfer Station etc...).
Also, electronic ballasts are actually more durable against mains variations then magnetic ballasts (+15% voltage variations in the mains voltage is enough to fry all types of magnetic ballasts, while this do nothing to electronic ballasts).
So why installations of HF fluorescent lighting and electronic ballasted HID lighting aren't equipped with a surge protection for each fixture/lantern to dramatically prolong the life of the electronic ballasts and therefore reduce the maintenance?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 04:15:22 AM by dor123 » Logged

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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 03:21:58 PM » Author: Lampwizard
Most electronic ballasts from reputable brands for fluorescent and HID lamps  have some kind of internal mains voltage surge protection by means of an MOV, often combined with a surge arrester. In most cases these devices will prevent internal power semiconductors (transistors, diodes) from being damaged by (brief) overvoltage / surges.
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 03:30:17 PM » Author: dor123
@Lampwizard: however they haven't a protection against high voltage surges that caused by lightning and operation of electric motors, compressors or high wattage consumers (Such as electric appliances).
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 04:30:15 PM » Author: Medved
Lighting induced pulses are of very high voltage, but indeed decent surge protection could handle it.
But there is one type of overvoltage source, that is very difficult to handle: Hard short on another phase, when the neutral wire is common.
This is causing high voltage drop on the Neutral conductor, the drop on the Neutral will then be up to 50..70% of the phase voltage (depend on exact wiring cross-sections) plus some inductive kick upon the fault disconnection.
This lead to ~30..50% overvoltage, that last for few line cycles (before the fusing actually break that fault). This is usually above triggering voltage of protection varistors, but carry way too much energy, so or cause open failure of these varistors (so the electronic is not protected anymore) or fire the ballast fuse (most frequent and the only failure of decent quality ballasts - it still render them inoperative, as replacing the fuse mean internal repair).
This mean stressing the DC bus voltage easily to 500V, what is already killing for many NPF (or with passive PFC) ballasts (those use 500V rated MOSFET's).
Ballast using an active PFC stage (those with wider then +/-7% voltage variation rating) usually use ~410V nominal DC bus voltage, what ask for 600V devices, so as consequence these more likely survive the overvoltage (they should safely withstand ~550V on the DC bus).

Magnetic ballasts are severely saturated in such condition, but as it last for short time, their huge thermal mass ensure, then the temperature does not rise significantly, so bottom line nothing dangerous for the ballast happened (but this event may still kill tubes as consequence of the ballast saturation and high peak current).
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 04:26:15 AM » Author: Lampwizard
Internal surge protectors can handle lightning surges up to a certain clamping current (typ. a few kA). These currents flow as a result of indirect lightning voltage surges. Clamping causes the surge voltages to drop from a few kV to only a few hundreds of volts once they reach the internals of a ballast.Same applies to surges from nearby, heavy inductive loads being switched off.

Nearby or direct lightning surges carry so much energy that the resulting clamping current reach 10s to 100s of kA. Clamping voltage will also be higher. As a result, almost any electronic ballast will be damaged since the internal MOVs cannot handle these clamping currents.

As Medved pointed out, sustained overvoltages (e.g. loose neutral) cannot simple be clamped. In this case, the resulting internal DC bus voltage should stay below the breakdown voltage of internal semiconductors. Most good ballasts use semiconductors rated for at least 600V.
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #5 on: April 30, 2011, 12:46:02 PM » Author: Luminaire
Some plants frequently experience electronic ballast failure from tap changing and power factor correction capacitor bank switching. They experience heavier stress than plug-in loads, because they're often on the same transformer as industrial machines (277v from 480/277).  Plug-in stuff like computers are behind another transformer that provides 208/120. 
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #6 on: October 29, 2017, 04:14:20 PM » Author: Lodge
@Lampwizard: however they haven't a protection against high voltage surges that caused by lightning and operation of electric motors, compressors or high wattage consumers (Such as electric appliances).

When it comes to lightning, there is not much to protect it from a direct strike other then insurance to remove and replace it, even MIL or FAA or NEC specs won't provide 100% protection from a direct lighting strike but they will help to mitigate the damages to critical systems..

But it's not hard to add a simple RC snubber to the lighting circuits and surge protection, but it might be easier to just move the lighting off the affected circuits and use a simple CVA transformer to provide the required protection and you can get a CVA from a few VA right upto several KVa with out much effort and for most installations they last basically forever no matter what you feed them, but when comparing the costs of a few ballast replacements to the cost of a good CVA it's normally cheaper to just replace ballasts as they fail..     
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 03:07:04 PM » Author: hannahs lights
I have 1 electronic fluorescent in my shack its a 36 watt single tube but the thing is its plugged into a normal socket on the same circuit as all my other stuff including a 1.5 Kw heater and several power supplys now I do have varistors and capacitors across the mains to my radio gear which is powered by the above power supplys do you think I need to worry about my electronic lamp?  The whole shack is supplied via a 1.5 mil cable from the house around 60 feet away
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 03:14:20 PM » Author: Mandolin Girl
I have 1 electronic fluorescent in my shack its a 36 watt single tube but the thing is its plugged into a normal socket on the same circuit as all my other stuff including a 1.5 Kw heater and several power supplys now I do have varistors and capacitors across the mains to my radio gear which is powered by the above power supplys do you think I need to worry about my electronic lamp?  The whole shack is supplied via a 1.5 mil cable from the house around 60 feet away

I would say that you're just about at the limit of what the 1.5mm cable can handle power wise. It's rated for 14 to 20 Amps  :o
« Last Edit: December 07, 2017, 03:16:54 PM by Miss Cuddly » Logged

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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 04:52:43 PM » Author: Rommie
I would say that you're just about at the limit of what the 1.5mm cable can handle power wise. It's rated for 14 to 20 Amps  :o
Power circuits here (on the ring main system) generally use 2.5mm cable, with a 30-32A breaker at the main box.
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #10 on: December 07, 2017, 07:10:12 PM » Author: hannahs lights
I think its ok the voltage drop is about 8 volts when the heater is on so not to bad. If you didn't realise I'm in the UK too so have the advantage of 240 volts mains
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #11 on: December 07, 2017, 07:12:08 PM » Author: Rommie
I think its ok the voltage drop is about 8 volts when the heater is on so not to bad. If you didn't realise I'm in the UK too so have the advantage of 240 volts mains
Ah, ok, I guess I'm used to the majority of people on here being from the other side of the pond :)
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #12 on: December 07, 2017, 08:07:21 PM » Author: Lodge
Your light will be fine, the large load, a heater is mainly restive so you won't get any high voltage spikes coming down the line just voltage drops or brownouts when the load switches on but the lamp will survive that for a long time but the Variac turning those on and off can be interesting.. 
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #13 on: December 07, 2017, 08:24:40 PM » Author: HomeBrewLamps
Your light will be fine, the large load, a heater is mainly restive so you won't get any high voltage spikes coming down the line just voltage drops or brownouts when the load switches on but the lamp will survive that for a long time but the Variac turning those on and off can be interesting.. 
Curious question... What would be the effects of a capacitive load on a power system?
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Re: Surge protection for electronic fluorescent and HID installations « Reply #14 on: December 07, 2017, 08:47:37 PM » Author: Lodge
Curious question... What would be the effects of a capacitive load on a power system?

Large capacitive loads normally involve large inrushes, and if they are very large they will do damage to switches or relays, but they are very easy to tame, you just add a Negative Temperature Coefficient thermistor ( NTC ) which starts off with a high resistance and as they heat up it drops allowing more current to flow, but this can make the charging time longer, but everything lasts
 way longer..

But most home users don't really use really large capacitive loads, maybe a few thousand uf in large power amps but those are not normally switched on and off and all the domestic switched mode supplies in home use have built in NTC's even those small wall wort cell phone chargers..     
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