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Electronic starter

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phanta

New Member
Hi all,

Does any one know the circuit of Electronic starter, which start neon lamp use magnet ballat. It can start lamp quiky and longer live for neon lamp.

Thank.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
A neon sign uses a high voltage of about 12,000V to light. It doesn't have a starter.
Some fluorescent tube lights in some countries use a starter.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Aren't starters brief pulses of higher voltage to get things started? The voltage required to start the arc and sustain it are different.
 

dch222

Member
I think the starters used in flourescent lights are no more than bi-metal stips which are heated to open contacts to interrupt the current during starting. This together with the inductive ballast causes a high voltage arc to start the lamp. Once running the starter is bypassed.
 

Hero999

Banned
Fluroscent tube starters don't produce high voltages.

A starter is just a small tube filled with argon or neon with a bi-metal strip for one of the electrodes. When the gas is ionised the bimetal strip closes the contacts, when it cools down they open, by then the fillaments on the ends of the tube are hot and if it opens when the waveform is at peak voltage then the inductive kick back from the ballast will also help ignite the tube.

You can buy electronic starters to replace the mechanical type but there's no point in building the circuit because they're cheaper to buy.
 
A maker of electronic starters for fluorescent tubes is OKI

They are available in the UK from QVS. (They can also be bought from Maplins). They are more expensive than a glow bulb

I've found they're particularly good with longer tubes (1500mm or more) which start much more reliably when its cold. Also the starter lasts much longer than a glow bulb type which I find I was having to replace often on a 1800mm tube in the attic.

Not everybody is convinced about the starters additional cost over a glow bulb, pointing out that some tubes are not that expensive.

btw a glow bulb makes a cheap flasher for a gls lamp
 

Hero999

Banned
Electronic ballasts are gradually becomming more popular. I wonder what they'll do when no one wants their starter anymore.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
My fluorescent tubes have never used a starter. I turn on the power, the inductive ballast heats the filaments at each end continuously and they light.

They fail to light when a filament is burned out but the tube is usually black at the ends when that occurs.

The filaments are what fails and they waste a lot of power.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
audioguru said:
My fluorescent tubes have never used a starter. I turn on the power, the inductive ballast heats the filaments at each end continuously and they light.

They fail to light when a filament is burned out but the tube is usually black at the ends when that occurs.

The filaments are what fails and they waste a lot of power.
He, He! - poor little 110V mains people! :D

Perhaps it's why the USA is the worlds biggest waster of power?.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
3v0 said:
In the US and perhaps Canada (not sure) you only see starters in very cheap fixtures or aquarium hoods. I am not sure how long this has been the case but I am thinking 20 or 30 years.
On 230V mains the starter briefly activates the heaters, then once the tube is lit they turn off - heater failure is a VERY rare occurance (I'm not even sure if I can remember seeing one or not?), and I repair quite a lot of flourescent light fittings.
 

Hero999

Banned
I would think that starters are common in the US on smaller fittings that use shorter tubes and therefore require a lower voltage,for example 8" tubes have a running voltage of about 60V.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Electric stoves in Canada have a small fluorescent tube at the top with a starter.
 
There used to be fittings available in the UK that were 'instant' start. These were more expensive.
They had taps for each of the tubes heaters and would start up almost instantly. The heaters stayed powered up while the tube was running. Tube life was shorter - the ends would blacken. Slimline tubes wont work with these ballasts

The most common fittings used inductive ballast in series with the tube. The heaters were connected in series through the glow bulb starter. At switch on, the tube would flicker before finally starting. Its very rare that the tube would start first time. Slimline tubes will work safely with these ballasts even though they're being overdriven (1200mm will receive 40W rather than the designed 36W)

The tube ends will glow without the tube starting if the starter goes short circuit.

If the starter is faulty, the tube can be started by shorting the pins in the starter socket, waiting untill the tube ends are glowing (2 - 5 secs) and removing the short - works every time !

Electronic ballasts are starting to get more popular especially for high power and high output tubes and for cfl.

The quality of cfl ballasts is variable: some light the tube immeadiately while others will heat up the filaments before lighting.
 

maslow

New Member
Rapid-start fluorescent lamps contain electrodes (filaments) at either end of the lamp. They can be identified by bi-pin bases. These electrodes are preheated for at least one-half second. Once the electrodes are brought to the appropriate temperature, the arc is struck and the lamp produces light. Instant-start lamps have single-pin bases, so there is no opportunity for preheating the electrodes. Instead, the ballast applies roughly three times more voltage to the lamp than a rapid-start system.

This jolt of electricity can be detrimental to the life of the lamp's components, especially the electrodes. Therefore, instant-start lamps typically have a rated life of 15,000 hours versus 20,000 hours for rapid-start. These figures are based on three hours of operation per start. In the past, many lighting systems were designed on the basis of 12 or more hours of operation per start. At that rate, both lamp types approach the same life -- 29,000 hours.

Incidentally, rapid-start lamps can be operated by instant-start ballasts. In this case, the life of the rapid-start lamp is derated to 15,000 hours at three hours per start. Instant-start lamps cannot be powered by rapid-start ballasts since there is only one pin at each end of the lamp. (Preheating of the electrode requires a complete loop of electricity, hence the filament and bi-pin base.)

Typically, rapid-start lamps maintain the electrode heat during normal operation. This consumes an additional three watts of power not converted into light. Instant-start lamps do not require electrode heating. Therefore, an instant-start lamp and ballast combination can slightly reduce energy use. This is a similar technique to using a hybrid (heater cutout) ballast.

Well now, that is theory. I coldn't buy rapid starters in my country.
I will thanks to everybody who can post me electric shema of electronic balast driver for T8 lamps,
like this: http://news.thomasnet.com/fullstory/473148
 
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audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I think the Canadian government has banned local manufacturing and importing of old Rapid Start fluorescent light tubes and inductive ballasts. When they are gone in the stores then they are gone forever and people must replace the existing fittings with modern T8 tubes and electronic ballasts to save electricity. The new tubes don't fit into the old fittings.
 
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