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What is a ballast?

billybob

Active Member
I have a Home Depot (ballast) at home which outputs high voltage for a fluorescent lamp, but apparently there is another ballast, the kind for a Tesla coil. There are probably more definitions for a ballast. What is a ballast’s purpose in a Tesla coil and can I build one out of microwave oven caps like styropyro did on his Tesla coil?
Thank you,
Ben
 

MaxHeadRoom78

Well-Known Member
Ballast: To limit and stabilize.
In electrical circuits it generally does just that.
Particularly in the older florescent's that have a heavy wound ballast unit.
Max.
 

MacIntoshCZ

Active Member
I have a Home Depot (ballast) at home which outputs high voltage for a fluorescent lamp, but apparently there is another ballast, the kind for a Tesla coil. There are probably more definitions for a ballast. What is a ballast’s purpose in a Tesla coil and can I build one out of microwave oven caps like styropyro did on his Tesla coil?
Thank you,
Ben
I would reccomend you for begining to stay under 50V DC on primary. After some experience you can play with mains.
 

Diver300

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
The ballast in a fluorescent lamp has two jobs. One is to limit the current once the lamp turns on. The lamp's impedance at that point is quite low so an impedance in series is needed to limit the current.

The second job is to provide a high voltage pulse to ionise mercury vapour to turn the lamp on. The starter will short out when the lamp is turned on, and a current flows, limited by the ballast. When the starter goes open circuit, in about 1 seconds after turn-on, there is a voltage surge produced by the ballast and the rate of change of current. That voltage surge is what ionises the mercury vapour.
 

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