A tool of the past, a ballast is a component used in old fluorescent tubes which was used to regulate the voltage passing through the tube. T8 LED tube light fixtures treat this component with respect and although they don’t need it, but sometimes keep it.
T8 LED tubes run on a technology that is far superior to any technology. This superiority is not just in superficial terms, but also makes these 4ft and 8ft LED tubes highly energy efficient. T8 LED bulbs convert 95% of the power consumed into light, therefore, wasting a mere 5% as heat which is handled by the amazing heat dissipation system these tubes have.
This efficiency also makes these tubes highly eco-friendly as less electricity is consumed, thus bringing down the carbon footprint of the planet.
Coming back to the ballast, fluorescent tubes work when gases inside the tube are heated up and as a result emit light. Now, to heat up these gases to the required temperature, the filament heats up using electricity when we switch on the light. But if the filaments overheat, the tube will burst causing injury and will damage the light.
This is where the role of a ballast comes in. The ballast regulates the voltage passing through the filament reducing it after an initial jumpstart essentially regulating the temperature of the filaments.
Now, T8 LED tubes work on an entirely different principle thus they do not need filament. But since a lot of people keep their old fixture of fluorescent tubes and install LED bulbs in those, there comes a whole range of LED tubes that support ballast.
Here are the different types of LED tubes based on ballast compatibility
Type A: Also known as ballast compatible tubes, these are tubes which support ballast and work well with it.
Type B: These tubes do not support ballast and require the ballast to be removed or be bypassed for the tube to function properly.Type A+B: Also known as hybrid LED tubes, this type of LED tubes can work with or without ballast.