Magnetic ballasts regulate the electrical current passed to the bulb - A higher current is required on startup while a lower current for typical operation. The magnetic ballast ensures a long life of bulb. For more info on Magnetic Ballasts and how to use them, read our buyer’s guide below.
Magnetic ballasts are over 60 years old as a technology, working as a physical ‘choke’ on the electrical current as it rises, ensuring it doesn’t keep increasing which could damage the bulb through burning it out. Magnetic ballasts can be inefficient due to the losses in energy wasted as heat. More recent developments have given us digital ballasts, that are lighter, more compact and more energy efficient.
Despite Digital ballasts being superior to magnetic ballasts - Magnetic ballasts are still very popular amongst our customers; Particularly those embarking on a hydroponic project for the first time as well as larger scale set-ups on a budget.
The main benefit of magnetic ballasts over digital ballasts is the lack of radio frequency interference (RFI) - magnetic ballasts produce none while digital ballasts do produce RFI - particularly in cheaper digital ballasts due to a lack of shielding.
As long as you match the wattages of ballast to your bulb you can run any type of HID lamp with magnetic ballasts, including metal halide (mh), High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or finishing bulbs - You’ll just need to swap the lamp out to provide your plants with the perfect spectrum to suite their stage of growth.
If you’ve got more questions about how to implement Magnetic Ballasts in a hydroponic garden or if you’re unsure if they’re right for you, email us or call our specialist team on 0800 085 7995 who can advise you on Magnetic Ballasts within a horticultural environment.