• Magnetic Ballast Phase Out Imminent

    Manufacturing of magnetic-type ballasts for fluorescent signs will be phased out on November 14, 2014.

    This is the effective date previously established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to implement its new metric for efficacy testing applicable to these products. As of November 14, 2014 all High Output Ferromagnetic Sign Ballast will no longer be produced by any ballast manufacturers. DOE had previously investigated the sign ballast product category and found that very few sign ballasts do not have the capability to operate 8-foot HO lamps either in single- or multiple-lamp combinations. Thus, the only ballasts not covered by the DOE rulemaking are those which cannot operate F96T12HO lamps in any combination. This phase-out is applicable to a majority of the commonly-used, fluorescent sign ballasts.

    The rulemaking creates a new metric for measuring ballast efficiency and establishes a higher standard of efficiency that will impact many of today’s fluorescent T5, T8 and T12 ballasts.

    The DOE rulemaking, however, does not prohibit sales or use of existing inventory of magnetic sign ballasts after the November compliance date and until inventories are depleted.

    After remaining inventories have been sold, sign manufacturers and sign-maintenance personnel will only be able to purchase ballasts which comply with the DOE rulemaking.  Ballasts that do not comply will be prohibited from manufacturing and import. In effect, therefore, only electronic-type sign ballasts will then be available from manufacturers and suppliers.

    In November 2011, the D.O.E. issued new rules regulating the efficiency of fluorescent lamp ballast which take effect November 14, 2014.

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