What Turns You On? A Guide To Fluorescent Ballasts

Fluorescent Ballast
Replacing old fluorescent ballasts? Adding new ones? The array of fluorescent ballasts is more diverse than ever before, so you’ve got to know exactly what you’re looking for. Whether you want to reduce the noise and flickering of your lights, prolong their rated lives, or save as much energy as you can, there’s a ballast out there for you.

But first, some fundamentals:

What is a fluorescent ballast?

It’s an electrical device used to power many kinds of fluorescent lights. The ballast supplies the right voltage to start and run the lights, and controls the current during operation. The right ballast should allow your lights to turn on quickly, and prevent annoying flickering or humming.

Which is the right ballast? (Magnetic vs. Electronic)

There’s an easy answer to this one. The U.S. Department of Energy phased out most magnetic fluorescent ballasts back in 2010. Electronic ballasts are more efficient and function in a more reliable way.

Let’s compare:

Magnetic ballasts: These use a core made of laminated steel plates, wrapped in a copper coil to regulate the lamp’s voltage by magnetic inductance. While magnetic ballasts are less expensive, they’re also less efficient, noisier, and heavier than electronic ballasts. Magnetic ballasts also don’t alter the frequency of electricity supplied to the lamps, so you can expect the lights they control to flicker.

Electronic ballasts: To function, these replace the older magnetic core with electronic components that increase the standard operating frequency of electricity from 60 cycles per second to about 20,000, or 20+ kHz. This reduces that pesky flickering that causes headaches and eyestrain. Compared to magnetic ballasts, electronic ones are lighter, quieter, more efficient, and they produce less heat. (more…)

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How To Make A Battery Operated Light Bulb

light bulb
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could make a light bulb light up without putting it into a socket? Turns out, there’s more than one way to power a light bulb. If you’re in the mood for a quick, fun experiment, I’ve found a way to power any regular old light bulb with a battery!

Here’s what you need:

  • One D Battery
  • A Light Bulb (With Screw-in Base)
  • Two Pieces Of Insulated Wire
  • Electrical Tape

Follow these steps:

1. Strip about 3/4″ of insulation off each end of your two wires. (more…)

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Are LED Outdoor Lights Bright Enough?

Outdoor Lighting On A Modern House Pegasus Lighting
In a word – yes.

Here’s why:

We’ve all had one of those free, or next to free LED flashlights that doesn’t give off enough light to help us see anything. So naturally, you might have some doubts about trusting LED lights to illuminate you exterior, especially at night. Unlike those cheap flashlights, LED outdoor lights – like floodlights, step lights, and landscape lights – are created for important outdoor use. So, they’ll generate enough light to brighten your stairs, driveways, porches, paths, and yards, just like any other outdoor lights.

To be sure that you’ll get lights you can trust to work and to stand out in the dark, just check how many lumens your current outdoor lights emit (halogen, fluorescent, etc) and make sure your new lights have a similar number. (more…)

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Pegasus Lighting Roundup: Lighting In June

Bay lights
Image via NYTimes

What do soccer balls, Mona Lisa, and explosions have in common? They’re all in this month’s roundup! Read on to see what’s been going on in the lighting world…

Lighting news…

In early June, not even three months after its premiere, the artistic light display featured on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge started to malfunction. Some LED lights were stuck on, and others were caught in the off position. After scrambling for a solution, the technicians discovered that harsh weather conditions were causing the problems…Read more.

On June 4, 2013, the Louvre debuted the Mona Lisa‘s brand new LED display lighting. The change was bound to happen sooner or later due to the EU’s ban on incandescent lights, but no one expected how good it would actually look…Read more.

Mona Lisa
Image via BusinessWeek

We hear a lot about LEDs these days, but is there a place in the market for their fancier, pricier cousins, the OLEDs? Organic light emitting diodes have yet to find a niche in the market, but if and when they do, they’ll have to overcome stiff competition…Read more. (more…)

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LED Maintenance: Give Your Lights A Long And Happy Life

LED Track Lighting
When you’ve just upgraded your lights to LEDs, your first thought probably isn’t, “What am I going to do when these things burn out?” LEDs can last for as long as half a century, and when you pay for an entire LED lighting upgrade, you should expect them to. However, after you get over the dazzle and gleam of your favorite new lights, it’s important  to know how their lives will play out, so you can best care for them.

This blog post will answer two questions: How do you know when to replace your LEDs? and, How should you care for them so that won’t happen for a long, long time?

1. How to replace your LEDs

The trickiest part of LED maintenance is knowing when you need to exchange your old lights for new ones. Unlike other light sources, LEDs will never burn out. Instead, they get dimmer and dimmer until they’re no longer useful, which is usually when they emit about 70% of their original light output. So the question is, how will you know when it’s time to replace your LED?

When it reaches its rated life at 35,000, 50,000, 60,000 hours, there won’t be any definite indication that it’s time to change your light bulb. Plus, depending on how and where you use your LEDs, they could last shorter or longer than the projected rated life. When they do dwindle to 70%, you might not even notice.

Here are some suggestions so you’ll never find yourself sitting in the dark with the lights on: (more…)

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8 Ways To Use Step Lights (Photo Inspiration)

Step lighting can take any staircase from dangerous and dull to safe and stunning. Whether you’re lighting stairs in the foyer or the basement, up to the porch or down to the patio, step lights add that perfect finishing touch.

If you’re thinking of adding stair lighting to any set of steps in your home, you may wonder what kind will look the best. For this blog post, I’ve pulled together 8 of my favorite step lighting photos that illustrate just how many ways you can use these handy light fixtures.

In the end, I’m sure you’ll agree that these are stairs worth staring at:

1. Shrouded Brick Step Lights

LED Step Lights At Home

These warm LED lights create the perfect atmosphere for breezy summer evenings on the porch.

2. LED Step Lights With Lenses

LED Step Lights Indoors

These sleek staircase lights add a beautiful layer of light to this basement, while also acting as safety lighting. (more…)

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