Author Topic: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps  (Read 2470 times)
riverlights
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Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « on: November 04, 2019, 10:59:22 PM » Author: riverlights
How can I know if a lamp is self ballesting from the item specifications on the lamp itself?
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WestinghouseCeramalux
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Re: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « Reply #1 on: November 11, 2019, 06:32:48 PM » Author: WestinghouseCeramalux
How can I know if a lamp is self ballesting from the item specifications on the lamp itself?
SBMV's always have the voltage given on the etch. For example: 160W/120V; 450W/277V etc. Standard mercury vapor lamps have no voltage given, just an ANSI code number. Why?...because the secondary voltage from the ballast is standardized.
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Re: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « Reply #2 on: November 28, 2019, 11:23:30 AM » Author: Mandolin Girl
Here is an example of what you need to look for.  Smiley
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Re: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « Reply #3 on: December 01, 2019, 01:34:48 AM » Author: Medved
Unfortunately I've seen regular MV and some fluorescent lamps having "230V" printed on them, yet these were really the standard lamps needing the ballast to operate (well, the "logic" behind probably was the series choke ballast input voltage to be the stated 230V; what is really nonsense for a lamp spec, it is the ballast business to specify its input voltage). So the presence of the "voltage rating" is not 100% reliable indicator of a selfballasted lamp either.
But it happened so far only on very cheepeese products...
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Re: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « Reply #4 on: December 02, 2019, 09:03:44 AM » Author: WestinghouseCeramalux
Unfortunately I've seen regular MV and some fluorescent lamps having "230V" printed on them, yet these were really the standard lamps needing the ballast to operate (well, the "logic" behind probably was the series choke ballast input voltage to be the stated 230V; what is really nonsense for a lamp spec, it is the ballast business to specify its input voltage). So the presence of the "voltage rating" is not 100% reliable indicator of a selfballasted lamp either.
But it happened so far only on very cheepeese products...

Anytime I see the voltage given on a lamp that requires a ballast, I just laugh and put the lamp back on the shelf.  Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: February 12, 2020, 10:34:43 PM by WestinghouseCeramalux » Logged

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Re: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « Reply #5 on: February 12, 2020, 02:46:31 PM » Author: migette1
Take a little look, self ballasted lamps will have a filament near the arc tube, if coated try shining a light from torch and try to make the filament out.Just a thought putting a multi meter across the base you should get an ohms reading where as normal it would show as  open circuit, correct me if wrong?
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Re: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « Reply #6 on: February 16, 2020, 03:04:22 AM » Author: AngryHorse
Interesting idea Peter, but it would still show an open circuit would it not?, as the filament forms no part of the circuit until the arc had struck an current flow can get back to neutral? Wink
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Re: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « Reply #7 on: March 04, 2020, 04:46:40 AM » Author: Medved
Take a little look, self ballasted lamps will have a filament near the arc tube, if coated try shining a light from torch and try to make the filament out.Just a thought putting a multi meter across the base you should get an ohms reading where as normal it would show as  open circuit, correct me if wrong?

The filament: But be aware some designs used a short piece of incandescent filament wire in lamps requiring ballast as an oxygen fuse, to protect against UV when the outer bulb breaks (the filament normally glows, but once it comes in contact with oxygen from the atmosphere, it burns so breaks the circuit). The SBMV have the filament really long, with a few support wires (it is to be rated at nearly the full mains voltage, after all; the fuse uses to be rated at just barely 2..5V or so, so really very short).

And the ohm-meter method works only for 120V lamps, not for the 230V ones. The reason is, the 120V lamps are of preheat start, so a bimetal starter contact shorts out the arctube and keeps just the preheat filaments in series with the ballasting filament (so the circuit is complete when cold). After power ON, the auxiliary filaments preheat the cathodes, so the main arc may strike.

The 230V designs use the regular auxiliary probe start burner design (from standard burners these differ only in the current and voltage rating, otherwise their concept is the same), so the circuit is open at low voltage, same as a regular SBMV.

By the way the filaments within the arctube ends is another "giveway" of that lamp being a 120V SBMV. No other MV uses filaments inside of the arctube, they use just the auxiliary probe with a series resistor.


I think the most reliable method would be to "google" the type number. Even when really some obscure outdated type, google usually will give some usable hint (e.g. just the region, so you know what to look for - preheat filaments for 120V SBMV or long ballast filaments for 230V SBMV,...)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 04:50:00 AM by Medved » Logged

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Re: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « Reply #8 on: March 16, 2020, 03:37:11 PM » Author: HomeBrewLamps
Anytime I see the voltage given on a lamp that requires a ballast, I just laugh and put the lamp back on the shelf.  Roll Eyes
I have one! It has actually lasted for years.

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Re: Self ballesting Mercury discharge lamps « Reply #9 on: March 16, 2020, 03:48:06 PM » Author: sox35
Anytime I see the voltage given on a lamp that requires a ballast, I just laugh and put the lamp back on the shelf.  Roll Eyes
It was common on British mercury lamps in particular many moons ago, see the end flap of the box of one of my MA/V lamps:

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