Electrical ballast

An electrical ballast is a device placed in line with the load to limit the amount of current in an electrical circuit. It may be a fixed or variable resistor.

A familiar and widely used example is the inductive ballast used in fluorescent lamps to limit the current through the tube, which would otherwise rise to a destructive level due to the negative differential resistance of the tube's voltage-current characteristic.

Ballasts vary greatly in complexity. They may be as simple as a resistor, inductor or capacitor (or a combination of these) wired in series with the lamp; or as complex as the electronic ballasts used in compact fluorescent lamps and high-intensity discharge lamps.

An electrical ballast is a device which limits the current through an electrical load. These are most often used when a load (such as an arc discharge) has its terminal voltage decline when current through the load increases. If such a device were connected to a constant-voltage power supply, it would draw an increasing amount of current until it will be destroyed or caused the power supply to fail. To prevent this, a ballast provides a positive resistance or reactance that limits the current. The ballast provides for the proper operation of the negative-resistance device by limiting current.

Ballasts can also be used simply to limit the current in an ordinary, positive-resistance circuit. Prior to the advent of solid-state ignition, automobile ignition systems commonly included a ballast resistor to regulate the voltage applied to the ignition system.

Series resistors are used as ballasts to control the current through LEDs.

This page was last edited on 19 March 2018, at 19:30.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_ballast under CC BY-SA license.

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