last updated Compact FluorescentsHow fluorescent fixtures space dimmedFluorescent Lamp and Ballast types

Fluorescent Dimming how Fluorescent Fixtures Work

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The ballast is developed into the lamp base. Such species can be used as a straight replacement for standard Edison Screw or Bayonet lamps. However, dimming performance is poor. Also "Dimmable" versions of the integrated CFL carry out not provide smooth dimming through a wide range.

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Non-integrated Compact Fluorescents have a different ballast, similar to a conventional fluorescent tube.

Dimmable ballasts are available for non-integrated compact fluorescents, and do carry out reasonable dimming performance.

Compact fluorescentsmustbe shed in at complete for 100 hours prior to dimming (see extr info below). Fail to do so will result in blackening and also premature fail of the lamp.

How fluorescent fixtures space dimmed

It is essential to realise when dimming fluorescents that it is impossible to create a smooth change between "off" and a level. Since light is created by a discharge through gas, similar to an arc lamp or neon tube, there will always be a "jump" in light level as soon as the tube at first strikes. The brightness come which the level "jumps" is identified by the ballast - check out the section listed below on dimmable percentages. Constantly remember as soon as dimming fluorescents, performance will certainly not be the very same as a traditional, dimmable, glow lamp.

Fluorescent fixtures room dimmed utilizing a unique dimmable ballast. This is due to the fact that standard ballasts frequently do not have actually the ability to keep electrode warmth to the level required for suitable gas excitation when input voltage is varied. When magnetic dimmable ballasts perform exist, nearly all dimmable ballasts this days are electronic.

Electronic ballasts differ the frequency in ~ which they run the lamps without an altering the electrode voltage and also are as such able to obtain a much more comprehensive range that dimming. Wherein magnetics were doing really an excellent to obtain lamp output down to 20-40%, electronic ballasts deserve to dim under to 1% on some models.


These are an extremely common ballasts and the most basic to install. They need a dimmed hot and a neutral (ground is understood) and are obtainable in 5% dimmed models from such suppliers asLutronandAdvance (Philips). They room installed and also controlled on one dimmer simply as you would an incandescent resource except that a bottom-end threshold is set. This setup keeps the lamps from running listed below their recommended voltage, staying clear of premature failure of both lamps and also ballasts.

2-wire ballasts space made in both forward phase and reverse step variants. Come dim a turning back phase ballast girlfriend will must use a reverse phase dimmer module such together ETC"s ELV10 dimmer in a compatible dimmer rack.


Important environment tips

that is a an excellent idea come "season" the lamps because that 100 hours prior to being dimmed. Although that is no longer forced by lamp or ballast manufacturers, that does have tendency to boost performance. The is recommended that a couple of spare fixtures be purchased and installed in the warehouse room to carry out a lamp burn-in area. The one exception to the over is compact fluorescent lamps which absolutely must be melted in because that 100 hours prior to dimming. Failure to carry out so will an outcome in blackening and premature desk lamp failure. Make certain the fixtures space adequately grounded. The lamp must be in nearby proximity to a metal ground plane in stimulate to mitigate flicker and increase lamp life. The distance should be 0.5" within +/- 0.25". Carry out not mix ballast or lamp varieties on the same circuit. Contradictory to popular belief, ballasts can connect with each other on the same circuit. The very same is true because that lamps together they carry out fire differently and also should never be blended within a fixture. Please usage the complying with chart to recognize the correct and so on dimmer module for her ballasts:2-wire (Forward Phase)2-wire (Reverse Phase)3-wire4-wire
120VAC (USA) D15 / D20 ELV10 D15F / D20F D15 / D20
230VAC (CE, Europe) ED15 / matrix iSCR Matrix iSine ED15AFRF/ procession Fluorescent ED15 / ER15
277VAC (USA) AD20 - AD20F AD20

ETC in the past developed some forward step modules that taken on low tons better, known as the L10 (110V) and also AL5 (277V). The L collection used MOSFET and IGBT technology to an ext accurately dim low wattage loads. Due to dimming manage improvements in the Unison DRd enclosure and Sensor CEM+/ CEM3 manage modules, this modules to be discontinued and also are no much longer needed.

How to track an and so on Legacy Unison system for dimming fluorescents

When configuring the dimming engine on a Unison processor, you re welcome verify the you select the exactly module kind and the appropriate load type. As soon as you pick fluorescent, you will be request what percent ballast you room using. The curve and also threshold will be collection automatically. It is argued that you collection the % level a tiny above the forced setting type the ballast manufacturer, by act this it will stop flickering in the future.

How to song an and so on Sensor system for dimming fluorescents

Sensor is quite a bit different in how it have to be collection for appropriate fluorescent dimming. Girlfriend must an initial set the curve you great to use. Many people pick Linear, yet there is a modified Linear as well that has actually a softer bottom finish of the curve. After ~ that, collection the Threshold to about 60% and measure the RMS voltage output for the dimmer in ~ its minimum setting. Girlfriend are searching for voltage to be 0.47 times the incoming heat voltage. If 60% is no correct, select another Threshold that is closer come the preferred output and also verify through the meter. Through this form of setup (let"s assume 60% Threshold) her fader will have actually a huge area of take trip (between 0 and also 59%) wherein nothing will certainly happen.

Other information

On heritage Unison systems, you can collection the zone to have a minimum level of 60, preferably of full and select the box labeled, "Use zero together off." This will offer your wall surface station fader finish control the the ballast across the entire variety of the fader and also still revolve off at the bottom of the fader travel. This is a really nice solution.

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When to run ballasts from a DMX manage console, take it time to regimen a profile to emulate the Unison programming, or record all her cues through those influenced channels in between 59 and full. That means a timed fade will certainly still run with every fluorescent and also non-fluorescent channels in parallel.