How to Wire a High-Pressure Sodium Ballast
By Tricia Lobo
High-pressure sodium ballast lamps use high pressures of sodium, in an excited state, to generate light. A ballast, in series with an AC current voltage source, supplies the lamp with a near-constant stream of current. Sodium ballast lamps are widely used in streetlights and security lighting, as well as applications requiring high color rendering. Building your own sodium ballast lamp, whether by assembling your own materials or purchasing a sodium ballast kit, is more economical than purchasing a manufactured sodium ballast lamp.
Assemble the necessary materials for your sodium ballast lamp if you are constructing your lamp without a kit. The three main parts that you will need for your ballast are a transformer, inductor and capacitor; be sure that they are rated at 120 V. You will need 14-gauge wiring, a power cord and a male plug set to connect your ballast to your bulb and socket.
Connect the transformer, capacitor and ignitor. Locate the wire on your transformer with the word cap, connect it to your transformer and insulate the connection with electrical tape. Connect the wire on your transformer labeled "3" or "X3" to the corresponding wire on your ignitor and insulate the connection.
Connect the ballast, which you wired together in Step 2, to your socket. Connect the white wire of your socket to the com or comx2 on the short side of your transformer and the ignitor. Use a wire nut to connect the three together. Also, connect the black wire coming out of your socket to the wire labeled "lamp" on the long side of the transformer and the X1 wire on the ignitor using a wire nut.
Remove the sheathing from the power cord and strip about 1/2 inch insulation from the black and white wires. Locate the wires labeled "com" and "120" on the short side of the transformer and connect the "com" wire to the white wire on the power cord and the "120" wire to the black wire on the power cord.
Install the enclosure, per manufacturer's instructions, to cover the ballast. Install a bulb into the light socket and plug in the ballast.
Tricia Lobo has been writing since 2006. Her biomedical engineering research, "Biocompatible and pH sensitive PLGA encapsulated MnO nanocrystals for molecular and cellular MRI," was accepted in 2010 for publication in the journal "Nanoletters." Lobo earned her Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering, with distinction, from Yale in 2010.