Project Garage Part II


F is for factor or more precisely, efficiency ratios. The power factor of a ballast measures how efficiently the ballast converts voltage and current supplied from the input power source into watts of usable power to the bulb. Fluorescent ballasts are identified as high power factor, normal power factor, or power factor corrected (low power factor). High power factor ballasts have a power factor of 90% and use a lower operating current. Lower power factor ballasts need twice the current for operation and allow fewer fixtures per circuit. Ballast factor measures the ballast’s ability to produce light from fluorescent bulbs. Magnetic ballasts can have a ballast factor of less than 100% while electronic ballasts can deliver greater than 100%. Ballast efficacy factor, or ratio of light output to power input, illustrates the ballast’s efficiency. Equipped with this information, putting it to use in the electricity aisle is a different story. The ballasts are identified as FSWWCCC-TDD. The cliff notes version of this clusterfuck of letters and numbers is:

 For instance, F40W-T12 ballast uses 40 watt white T12 fluorescent bulbs.

F Flourescent
SStyleNo letter indicates a straight tube
C is a circuline tube
U is a U-shaped tube
WWPowerNominal power in watts
CCCColorW = White
CW = Cool White
WW = Warm White
BL/BLB = Black Light
T Tubular bulb
DDDiameterDiamete of tube is 1/8″
T8’s are 1″ thick; T12’s are 1.5″ thick


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