HID ballast source Pixabay
HID ballasts are electronic devices designed to regulate voltage to the (High intensity Discharge) HID lamps. These lamps include the high-pressure sodium lamps and the metal halide lamps. Most of these lamps are designed for commercial applications, though some vehicles also tend to have them. They tend to deliver optimum lighting experience than the standard lamps.
Do you suspect that your old ballast is damaged and maybe needs to be replaced? Or have you bought a new ballast and you are not sure whether it is a perfect working condition? Testing is the only way out.
How To Test HID Ballast?
Here are the steps to follow when testing HID ballast.
Step 1: Unplug the HID ballast
You will need to unplug the ballast from its designated position so that you can test it. Wear an insulating piece of cloth when removing the ballast. This is not only to avoid contaminating it but also to keep you safe from a possible electric circuit. Constant contamination is likely to reduce the lifespan of the lamp.
Ensure that the power source is off then wait for the lamp to cool down. This will take up to 15 minutes. Most lamps will require you to simply pull them from their socket. After that, proceed to detach the ballast from the lamp. This step may require you to carefully analyze the wiring of the ballast on the lamp then disconnect them using a screw driver.
Step 2: Test the current and voltage of the ballast
The next step entails finding out the criminal properties of the HID ballast. You will need a functional multimeter to do this. Set it to the voltage and current settings. To test the voltage, you will have to connect the red probe of the multimeter to the red wire of the ballast. In a similar way, you will connect the black probe of the multimeter to the black wire of the ballast. Check the reading on the multimeter.
You will do the same when it comes to testing the current on the multimeter. Set the meter to the current settings then connect the probes to their respective wires on the ballast.
After conducting these two tests, check the specifications of the ballasts from the manufacturer’s manual. The readings that you have just taken should match the values indicated by the manufacturer. If not, this could eb a sign of a serious problem on your ballast and you should consider addressing it.
Step 3: Check the wires on HID ballast
Having tested the possibility of electrical fault, you should proceed to find out any signs of physical damage on the ballast. The most common culprit will be the wires. It is quite easy to do this, Physically inspect the wires to ascertain if they are damaged. Any sign of corrosion or cut should be handled immediately. For example, you should replace the damaged wires on the HID ballast.
The best way to test the wires is carrying out the continuity test. You will also need a multimeter to do this. Set the multimeter to the continuity setting then connect the probes to each wire. A beeping sound is a sign that the wires are in good condition and have passed the continuity test.
Step 4: Check the source of electricity
After inspecting the HID ballast and its component, you should backtrack and inspect the source of electricity. The problem could be on the source and not on the load(ballast and lamp).
Start by inspecting the circuit breaker if it has tripped or not. Reset it to the normal position then turn the lights on. In case of a damaged fuse, proceed to do a replacement.
From the source, you can check out the wiring system of the whole set up. This can be in the building and if the HID is in a vehicle, check out its wiring. Signs of wear, corrosion and other physical damage should be addressed immediately.
You should also test all other electric and electronic components on the circuits that run the HID lamp. The problem could be on the circuit and not the ballast.
Step 5: Replace the ballast
After all these steps you find out the ballast is faulty. The next sensible step will be to do a replacement. Replace with a new and high quality HID ballast tat will serve its purpose in the circuit.
Precautions to take when testing HID ballast
There are a number of safety precautions that you should take when implementing the above steps. Here are some of them:
- Turn off the power supply: This is a common requirement in many electrical procedures. You should do this to prevent the risk of electrical shock.
- Unplug the lighting fixture: You should unplug the fixture from its designated position so that you can have safe space for working.
- Leave the lighting fixture to cool: HID lamps tend to get hot after being in operation for some time. After unplugging, give it time to cool.
- Follow instructions from the manufacturer: Other than the instructions that we have discussed here, you should draw your reference from the manufacturer.
Additionally, you should wear protective gear when testing the HID ballast. These include insulating gloves, and safety goggles. And if you are not sure with the whole process, consider hiring an electrician to do the job.
There you have it! As you can see, the procedures and steps of testing HID ballast are not complex. Simply arm yourself with the basic tools and you will be able to do the job. Next time your HID lamps fail or show any signs of underperformance, don’t be in a rush to replace them. Do the testing by yourself to establish the source of the problem. From there, you can come up with the best solution.
And if replacement seems to be the only solution, ensure you buy from the best HID ballast suppliers in China. This way you can eb sure of getting the right ballast that will serve you for ages.
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