AC (Alternating Current)
Current which flows in one direction and then the other, continuously switching back and forth.
Also called focus lighting or directional lighting, it is used to highlight and bring attention to specific objects or areas.
An aluminium coating on a reflector lamp that reflects light and heat out of the front of the lamp, opposite to a dichroic reflector.
The common lighting that is used to light up an entire space.
The unit of measure for electrical current. Watts (power) = Volts x Amps (current).
ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
ANSI is the regulatory body which coordinates voluntary standards for the physical, electrical and performance characteristics of lamps, ballasts, luminaires and other lighting and electrical equipment. Please refer to this link for all our certifications.
Codes assigned by ANSI to ensure mechanical and electrical compatibility among similarly coded lamps from one manufacturer to another.
The particular use of a lamp in a given situation or design.
In a discharge or fluorescent type lamp, the arc consists of an electrical conduction through a gas in an applied electric field (between the electrodes).
The length of the electrical discharge is equal to the distance between the electrode tips.
This feature is available on almost all Standard electronic linear ballasts. The feature allows ballasts to automatically restart lamps after relamping without having to reset power mains.
Average life is the time at which 50% of the original installation of lamps is still operating, keeping in mind the original installation is of a large number of the same lamps. In essence, 50% of lamps will exceed their average life rating, while the other 50% will not.
A ballast is primarily designed to perform three critical tasks:
• Deliver the proper voltage to start or ignite the lamp(s)
• Regulate the electric current flowing through the lamp(s)
• Compensate for variations in line voltage
Ballast Efficacy Factor (BEF)
BEF is the ratio of ballast light output to input power. This is used to compare different ballasts on a light output to power consumption basis. The comparison only holds true for ballasts operating the same number and type of lamps. The formula for calculating BEF is: BEF =Ballast Factor x 100/Input Watts
Ballast Factor (BF)
BF is the relative light output of a lamp operated on a given ballast compared to a lamp operated by a laboratory reference ballast. For example, a BF of 0.80 would produce 80% of the lamp’s rated lumens (light output).
Electronic ballasts are typically available in three BF ranges:
Low (LBF): > 0.85 Normal (NBF): 0.85 – 1.00 High (HBF): < 1.00
A lower BF will use less energy (watts) while reducing light output. A higher BF means higher energy consumption with increased light output. To calculate the ballast factor for any ballast:
BF= light output of lamp operated on commercial ballast / light output on lamp operated on reference ballast
Fluorescent lighting fixtures produce a vibration (a slight buzzing sound) that originates in the core and coil assembly of magnetic ballasts. The buzzing sound can increase based on a variety of factors, including:
• The fashion in which the ballast is mounted in the fixture
• The design of the fluorescent lamp fixture
• Reverberating characteristics of the ceiling, walls, floors and furniture
• Ballast size: generally, the larger the ballast, the more humming it generates
To help sort through the variations, all ballasts carry a published sound rating of A, B, C, or D. These sound ratings are based on measurements of average ambient noise levels during conditions of normal occupancy. An “A” rating is the quietest rating (20 - 24 decibels) and a “D” rating is the loudest (37 - 42 decibels).
A ballast has electric energy losses; this energy loss, is energy which is not transformed into light, but rather it is dissipated in the ballast.
The beam angle, measured in degrees, defines the light pattern around the beam's central axis for which the luminous intensity is half that of the maximum luminous intensity.
Beam Spread (Approximate)
Beam spread is the term which describes the beam angle of a reflector lamp. Beam spreads include flood, narrow flood, wide flood and very wide flood as well as Spot, Narrow Spot and Very narrow spot. Every beam spread has an associated beam angle.
Black Light (BL) / Black Light Blue Lamps (BLB)
These lamps produce energy in the near UV or UVA range (peaking at 370 nanometers) and are available in BL (Black Light) and BLB (Black Light Blue). BL lamps must be used with external glass filters that transmits near ultra violet but absorbs the visible light produced. BLB lamps do not require the use of external filters since they have tubes made of filter glass which absorbs light but transmits UV rays. Both electrical and physical characteristics are identical to regular fluorescent lamps.
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
CSA marks mean a product has been tested and meets applicable standards for safety and/or performance, including the applicable standards written or administered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), and others. CSA works closely with the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI), the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), Health Canada, provincial regulators, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to promote standards for consumer safety in North America and around the world.
Candela (cd) /Candlepower
The measure of luminous intensity or brightness in a given direction, in luminous flux. It is also known as “foot candle”.
The capacitor is a very important part of the ballast and its function is often overlooked or forgotten. Both oil-filled and dry-film capacitors are used with ballasts, neither of which contains PCB’s. Oil-filled capacitors come in metal cases which contain a dielectric fluid. The maximum case temperature for an oil filled capacitor is usually 90°C. Oil-filled capacitors are available in ratings up to 525V and for higher wattage HID ballasts, they are the only choice. When installing an oil-filled capacitor, it is important to follow UL regulations, which requires clearance of at least 3/8 inch above the terminals. Dry film capacitors come in a compact, light weight and cylindrical non-conductive case. They do not use a dielectric fluid and are temperature rated for 100°C. Dry film capacitors do not need to be grounded, and do not have any special clearances above the terminals.
Number of units packed in a master case.
Cathodes are found at the end of the lamp and are coated with emissive materials which emit electrons. Cathodes are usually made of coiled-coil or single-coil tungsten wire.
Center Beam Candlepower (CBCP)
Often measured in candelas or foot candles, the CBCP is the luminous intensity of light at the center of a reflector lamp, measured from a specific distance.
Chromaticity is defined by two colour coordinates (x and y) which specify an exact point on the chromaticity chart. It identifies the hue and saturation of a colour.
Class P Thermal Protection
In accordance with the National Electrical Code (NEC), all canned and potted electronic fluorescent ballasts require built-in Class P Thermal Protection. This protection is provided by a switching device that shuts down the circuit if the ballast temperature rises to 105°C or greater.
Core and coil
The core and coil type consists of either one, two or three copper coils depending on the circuit type. These coils are on what is called a core (or “stack”) of electrical grade steel lamination. The coils are assembled to core sections which are then surface-welded together using typically automatic welders to insure consistency
Colour Rendering Index (CRI)
CRI is the ability of any given light source to represent colours in objects. It is based on a relative measurement which rates light sources on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher the CRI, the more natural the colours appear.
Colour Temperature or Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT)
A low colour temperature implies warmer colour (more yellow/red) light while high colour temperature implies a cooler light (more blue). The standard unit for colour temperature measurement is expressed in Kelvin (K). See colour temperature document at the following link for more details.
Crest Factor (Lamp Current Crest Factor)
Crest factor is the ratio of the peak current value divided by the RMS current value. High current crest factors will reduce the life of the lamp. Many STANDARD electronic types of ballasts have low crest factors.
cUL/UL approval signifies that the equipment has been certified by the U.S. based Underwriters Laboratories Inc. to the CSA Safety Standards for Electrical Equipment.
Underwriters Laboratories® is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing standards for safety for more than a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with 20 billion UL Marks appearing on 66,000 manufacturers' products each year.
UL promotes safe living and working environments by the application of safety science and hazard-based safety engineering and supports the production and use of products which are physically and environmentally safe.
Daylight (Full Spectrum)
See colour temperature section for all information
Also knows as a “cool beam” reflector, a dichroic reflector has a special dichroic coating that directs heat out the back of the lamp allowing for a cooler beam radiated from the front of the lamp.
Efficiency of a light source, expressed as efficacy, is the rate at which the lamp is able to convert electrical power (watts) into light (lumens), measured in terms of lumens per watt (LPW).
The efficiency of a light source is about the amount of electrical energy required to produce a given amount of visible light. A more efficient lamp will produce more light from a given amount of energy.
The process by which lamps produce light by creating a permanent electric arc in a gas.
ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratory)
ETL is the North American standard for safety by which some LED lamps need to be verified.
EMI (Electromagnetic Inference)
Electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI) are unintentionally generated power that has a potential to interfere with other devices operating at high frequencies, such as radios, televisions or medical equipment. EMI/RFI levels are regulated by the FCC, and are usually reduced by filters, suppressor or other devices.
ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.
FCC - The "Federal Communications Commission" has specific requirements for electronics devices that limit the amount of electronic interference they can produce when operating.
The filament is the principal light producing element in a lamp. Tungsten filaments are used in the construction of a lamp because of their flexibility, high melting points and slow evaporating properties at high operating temperatures. Fluorescent lamp filaments have an additional coating called an emission mix which increases the ability to emit electrons.
See Beam Spread
The phenomenon of fluorescence occurs when an atom of fluorescent material absorbs a photon (the basic unit of light) and immediately emits a photon of longer wavelength.
A unit of measure of the intensity of light falling onto a surface, one foot candle is equal to one lumen per square foot. It was originally defined with reference to a standard candle burning at one foot from a given surface. See also Lux.
It is the number of cycles of alternation in AC current per second, measured in Hertz (Hz).
Full Spectrum (Daylight)
Same as Daylight but with a CRI above 90. See colour temperature section for all information
Uncomfortable bright or reflected light which obscures vision
See infrared heat lamp.
A component of an LED lamp that serves a protective piece used to absorb and dissipate excess heat generated by the lamp and environment.
A unit of measure for frequency
An industrial or commercial space with a ceiling height greater than 25 feet.
High Power Factor
See Power Factor.
Hot Re-strike time
If power is interrupted to an HID lamp, even briefly, the lamp's arc will extinguish. The hot re-strike time, is the time it takes for the HID lamp to achieve 90% of full brightness (light output) after this power interruption.
IC rated (insulated contact rated)
Also known as “insulated contact” rated, when a fixture is IC rated it means that it can make direct contact with ceiling insulation.
Ignitors, often referred to as starters, are used in conjunction with a ballast to initially start the HID lamp. A high voltage pulse, typically in the range of 2.5 to 6.0 kV, is provided by the ignitor/starter. Ballasts that include an ignitor/starter are typically limited in the distance which they may be mounted remotely from the lamp because the ignitor pulse attenuates as the wire length between the ballast and lamp increases. For ballast-to-lamp distances greater than the capability of the standard published ignitor/starter ballast-to-lamp (BTL) distance, a long range ignitor/starter is required and is available from STANDARD. Ignitors are intended to function with specific ballasts. Always check ballast and ignitor compatibility prior to installation.
The amount of light that reaches a surface measured in LUX (lx) or foot candles.
Fixtures suspended from the ceiling distribute light mainly upwards, which is then reflected off the ceiling to create a soft and inviting environment. Indirect lighting minimizes glare on computer screens.
Infrared Coating (IRC) technology
Halogen IRC lamps use a halogen capsule coated with many layers of infrared film that transmit light. Visible light can pass through while infrared energy is reflected back to the filament. The reflected energy helps reducing the power needed to keep the filament burning, making the lamp more efficient.
Infrared heat lamp
Infrared heat lamps, also known as IR lamps, or simply heat lamps, are specially–designed incandescent lamps which produce mostly heat and little light. The spectrum of black body radiation emitted by the lamp is shifted to produce more infrared light. Most infrared heat lamps have a red front glass, to minimize the amount of visible light emitted but lamps with clear white glass are also available.
The number of lumens produced by a new light source.
Input Voltage (Supply Voltage)
The supply voltage required by the ballast. Ballasts can either be dedicated to one voltage, or multiple voltages. It is critical to connect a ballast to the input voltage as indicated on the ballast label. To do contrary will be certain to cause damage to the ballast.
Input Power (ANSI Watts)
Input Watts is a measure of energy used by the lighting system, in other words, it is the total consumed watts of the ballast and lamps it operates. This measure varies according to the type of ballast and lamp used in the system. Input Watts can be measured at the fixture using the appropriate meter, or by viewing the ANSI ratings as published by the ballast manufacturer. The ANSI ratings offer a measure of performance, which can be used to compare energy savings between various lighting systems.
Instant Start (IS)
Instant start ballasts are designed to ignite the lamp by providing a high voltage without the need of preheating the filaments. As a result, instant start ballasts are more energy efficient than other ballasts. They provide a reduction of two watts per lamp compared to rapid start ballasts. Offering longer remote wiring distances and easy installation, instant start ballasts are ideal for applications that have long burn hours and minimal on/off switching. Typically, 10,000 to 15,000 switch cycles can be expected before lamp failure.
Also known as self-ballasted lamps, combine a tube and an electronic ballast and either an E26 or E12 fitting in a single unit.
The IP rating (also known as the International Protection Rating or Ingress Protection Rating) consists of the letters IP followed by two digits and sometimes a letter. It is an international classification code that signifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects, dust and accidental contact (indicated by the first digit) and degree of protection of the parts within the enclosure against different forms of moisture (dripping, spraying, submersion, etc.)
A unit of measure for colour temperature. See colour temperature section for all information
Kilowatt Hour (kWh)
A unit of measurement used to express the amount of electrical power needed to operate something over one hour.
A term used in the lighting industry to describe what is generally known as a light bulb. In addition, the device that most users would call a lamp, is called a fixture or luminaire in the lighting industry.
A diffuser that utilizes prisms, shapes, and opacity to refract a light source.
L.C.L. (Light Centre Length)
The light centre length is the distance from the geometric center of the filament to a specified point on the base.
LM-80 standard, published by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), is a standard put in place for LED lamps. It is often used as the primary method for calculating lumen depreciation.
LM-79 standard, published by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), is a standard method of testing the photometerics of the LED lamp, including lumen output, colour temperature, CRI, watts and lumen efficacy.
Used to measure the light output of a source and more accurately represents the true luminance of a source than wattage.
A comparison of the initial light output of a lamp versus the change in light output over the life of the lamp. This measure can be expressed in a percentage or as a graph (lumen maintenance curve).
A comprehensive lighting unit which includes one or several lamps, the parts designed to distribute the light (housing), and any necessary starting components (ballast, socket, etc.)
Luminaires contain optical elements such as reflectors or lenses which actually absorb some of the light generated by the lamps. Luminaire efficiency measures this loss. It is a percentage of total lumens generated by a luminaire compared to the total lumens generated by the lamps within the luminaire.
This rating describes the luminaire or fixture requirement for HID lamps:
O = Open or Enclosed Fixtures
E = Enclosed Fixtures Only
S = Open rated if the lamp is operated in the Base Up or Down ±15º position. Enclosed rated for all other burn positions.
A unit of measurement for illuminance.
MOL (Maximum Overall Length)
The maximum overall length shown in inches and millimeters is the length including base and lamp.
The number of lumens produced at 40-50% of rated lamp life.
Minimum Starting Temperature
The minimum ambient temperature at which the lamp will reliably ignite.
A metric unit equal to one billionth of a meter used to measure wavelengths.
The length by which something is known, which may be different from its actual, measurable length.
Normal Power Factor
See Power Factor
See colour temperature section for all information
Open circuit voltage (OCV)
The voltage applied across the output terminals of a ballast when no load is connected. This is the voltage applied across a lamp circuit to start a lamp. After starting, the voltage rapidly decreases and stabilizes at the operating voltage. When testing OCV it is recommended that a true RMS be used to insure accuracy.
Open Fixture Rated
See Luminaire Requirement
Operating Position or Burn Position
Lamps must be operated in the specified luminaire and lamp operating position. Operating lamps in positions other than those specified can greatly affect lamp performance (life, light output, and colour). Furthermore, using a lamp in the wrong operating position can also lead to premature lamp failure.
The root mean square (RMS) voltage at which lamps operate when they are fully warmed up.
The colour of light is determined by the phosphor combination, which is a coating often found on the inside of some metal halide and fluorescent lamps. This combination converts UV rays into visible light.
Is the science of measuring visible light and how it is perceived by the human eye.
PF is a measure on how efficiently a ballast can transform voltage and current provided by the power line into watts of usable power to the lamp. A power factor of 1.00 would mean power is being used perfectly.
Preheat ballasts can be used with regular fluorescent lamps but require the use of a separate starter, which can be either manual or automatic. A high open circuit voltage will operate the starter which in turn will preheat the cathodes up to temperatures above 950°C. When the starter opens, a surge in voltage is provided which is high enough to ignite the lamp. The preheat ballast will limit the lamp current to the proper operating level.
Program Start (PS)
Program start electronic ballasts accurately heat the lamp cathodes prior to lamp ignition. This type of system allows for frequent switching (up to 50,000 on/off) while providing maximum lamp life and energy efficiency, making them ideal for applications using occupancy sensors.
A very hard mineral composed of silica, it’s durable, glass-like surface can withstand extremely high temperatures, making it ideal for use in certain lamp constructions such as halogen and HID lamps.
Rapid Start (RS)
Rapid start ballasts use low voltage to preheat the filaments and a high open circuit voltage applied between the lamp electrodes to generate the arc. This technology lends itself to both magnetic and electronic ballasts. The temperature of the filament increases until the lamp starts. The filament voltage is continuously applied during the life of the lamp. With rapid start ballasts it is normal to have a small delay in starting as compared to instant start ballasts. Rapid start ballasts are recommended for use when you have frequent on and off switching.
Rated Lamp Life
See Average Life
"Restriction of Use of Hazardous Substances" is designed to limit or eliminate substances that are dangerous to the environment and to people as they appear in electronics. The substances include mercury, hexavalent chromium, lead, cadmium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.
Safety Coated Lamps
Should a safety coated lamp break, virtually all glass, mercury, metal and phosphors are contained by the safety coating. Click on this link for information on all our coating types.
See Integrated Lamps
A term used to describe a combination of lamps and ballasts.
Focused lighting used to increase light level on a reading or working surface.
TCLP is an acronym for Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure and is performed by environmental testing labs.
TCLP is one of the Federal EPA test methods that are used to characterize waste as either hazardous or non-hazardous for the purpose of disposal.
Total Harmonic Distortion
When the wave shape of current or voltage diverges from a sine curve, harmonic distortion has occurred. Ballasts, both magnetic and electronic, play a part in power line distortion, and THD measures the percentage of harmonic current which the ballast adds to the power distribution system. Most electrical utilities now require that the THD of ballasts be below 20%.
Trigger Start (TS)
These ballasts do not require a starter and are designed for use with regular fluorescent lamps. They are equipped with separate windings that will provide enough power to heat lamp filaments within one second. To ensure proper lamp ignition, trigger start ballasts require a higher open circuit voltage than rapid start ballasts.
UL - Underwriters' Laboratories
UL approval signifies that the equipment has been certified by the U.S. based Underwriters Laboratories Inc. to the CSA Safety Standards for Electrical Equipment.
Underwriters Laboratories® is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing standards for safety for more than a century. Canadian certification is recognized with the cUL logo.
A unit of measure that shows the amount of force required to move a current through a circuit.
The amount of force supplied to a component measured in volts.
Warm Up Time
The time it takes for an HID lamp to achieve 90% of full brightness (light output) after being turned on.
A unit of total electrical power.
The distance between any one point to the next point on the corresponding phase of a wave. Wavelengths are measured in nanometers.