In our day to day life, we use electronic ballast to the fluorescence bulb in our houses as well as work-space. Several times we face problem-related to damaging the electronic ballast. You might have suffered such situations. You must have tried to know how to test an electronic ballast.
However, testing an electronic ballast is not a difficult task to do. One can quickly troubleshoot an electronic ballast with a digital multi-meter — all you need to know some basic concepts about the testing system and equipment.
In this article, we have tried to give a clear concept about how to test an Electronic Ballast with a Digital Multi-meter.
Before knowing the troubleshooting process, let’s know about electronic ballast and why we use it.
Table of Contents
What is an Electronic Ballast?
An electronic ballast is a device which is used to limit the current of a load such as tube light or fluorescence lamps. It is also called a starter because of its action. At the time of starting of fluorescence bulb, it needs more voltage. The ballast limits the current by increasing the energy for the lamp.
There are mainly three types of ballast. Those are
A ballast needs to connect in series with the circuit. Therefore, it works as an additional load resulting in limiting the current as well as increasing the voltage required to start the bulb or lamp.
What If We Don’t Use Ballast?
A big question might come to your mind that, what will happen in the absence of a ballast to the circuit. The answer is the lightening device may damage immediately or in the long run.
A ballast is a kind of resistor who resist the current in the electrical circuit. Without a ballast, the current in the circuit can be random. By this situation can cause the device to burn or damage. Moreover, it also decreases the starting time an electrical lightening device.
How Can You Detect A Bad Ballast?
Generally, a good ballast will work immediately as soon as the switch is turned on. On the other hand, a faulty ballast will not work correctly. If you face the underlined signs to weight, you should check the ballast.
1. The bulbs take more time to start,
2. Hissing noise at the starting time,
3. The lights are not turning On,
4. The views are blinking off and on,
5. The Ballast is burned and became black.
However, all these things are the ways to check a ballast physically. You might also test the ballast with a digital multi-meter.
Test a Ballast with a Digital Multi-meter
Testing a ballast with a digital multi-meter is the most convenient way to test an electrical ballast. It is less time consuming, and you can be even more sure about the ballast. However, before knowing the testing process, let’s know about a digital multi-meter in brief.
What is Digital Multi-meter?
A digital multi-meter has a monitor which shows the result in digital format, i.e., Digit or Number. In opposite to this in an analog multi-meter, it has a mechanical system. A digital multi-meter is more comfortable to operate than an analog one.
A multi-meter measures current, voltage as well the resistance and capacitance of a device or circuit. It also can check the continuity of a course. It can operate multiple functions. That is why it is called a multi-meter.
Let's talk about how to test an electric ballast with a digital multi-meter.
To test a ballast, we need the following things
1. A digital multi-meter,
2. An electronic ballast we need to check,
3. A lightening device to attach the counterweight.
You can follow the below-mentioned steps to test a ballast with a multi-meter. Remember, precautions are first as you are working with electrical devices, which generally hazardous.
Here I have discussed five steps on how to test an electrical ballast with a Digital Multi-meter.
1. Turn Off the Circuit Breaker
For any electrical works, you must ensure that the circuit breaker is in the OFF position. So, turn the breaker off at first. Be sure about the switch which one is connected with the devices you want to test.
2. Remove the Ballast
As the ballast generally connects with a bulb or lighting devices. Try to remove the bulb according to its settings because different machine has different installation process. For example, a round-shaped fluorescent bulb is connected to a socket along with the ballast. On the other hand, a U-shaped bulb is connected to spring tension, so you need to remove it by clockwise or anticlockwise turning.
Open the cover and unplug the ballast form the connection. However, different design has different sections to install the ballast.
3. Multi-meter Ohm Setting
Check the multi-meter ohm setting. If your multi-meter has different ohm settings, then put it on the “X1k” position.
4. Connect the Multi-meter Probe with Wire
Hold the white wires together and insert one probe of the multi-meter with it. Insert another probe with other wires generally red, blue, and Yellow. However, some multi-meter has only blue and red wire.
If the ballast is right in condition, it will show resistance in the multi-meter. On the other hand, if it is damaged or in bad shape, there will be no multi-meter rating, and you need to replace the ballast.
As soon as the testing has done, you are pretty sure what to do. If you need to change the ballast, do it and install in the same way. If the ballast is okay, then the problem may be in other devices. So properly reinstall the ballast.
Now, turn the power ON as well as the circuit breaker. That’s all you need to do.
All the things mentioned above can help you to fix simple problems in an electrical ballast. Again, it will also save your time and money, and you do not need to rely on an electrician or other people. However, always keep in mind that precaution first, so turn the power OFF before you do all of these.