Electronics & Software – Tips & Guide


Could a wire wound adjustable resistor be used as an electrical ballast?

Why do we use wire wound resistors in electronic applications?

Wire wound resistance potentiometers can be manufactured to provide both high power and high precision.

These potentiometers are often used in stereo systems for their precision and in high power applications such as transducers and televisions. Wire wound resistors can also be used as temperature sensors.

For short tube fluorescent lights, this would probably work, but for long ones, you need a higher line voltage spike to initiate discharge and the starter helps to get it by causing a sharp change in inductance current (ballast) which then generates such tension.

There is another benefit that deserves to be known but which is primarily a separate issue. There is a filament at each end of the tubes and this has a coating that emits electrons into the gas.

The coating is damaged more quickly when the filaments are cold due to ion bombardment and the brief heating period while the starter is getting ready to do its work also preheats the filaments so that the electrons are generously emitted earlier, which preserves the better the coating.

By the way, I see no reason why a resistance is too slow compared to the response time of an inductor. The resistors still operate at Gigahertz frequencies with a sub-nanosecond response. It is a rare gas discharge that occurs on a nanosecond scale, not even lightning.

Yes but not very good. For most applications that use ballast, such as B. fluorescent lamps, it is too slow to prevent damage to the lamp by the current flow.

However, an incandescent lamp works perfectly (similar to a wire resistor) and limits the current flow when testing devices to short circuits.

The incandescent lamp also has the advantage that it lights up when there is a short circuit; an equivalent resistor would have the same function, but only gets hot.

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