A ballast is the big bulky box like structure on fluorescent lamps. The electric ballasts of the past have been replaced by PCB based electronic ballasts. The conglomeration of PCB technology and electronics has been helpful in achieving this.
What a ballast does
The ballasts are used to limit the electric currents in fluorescent lamps. The lamps are filled with mercury vapor. Due to negative resistance characteristics of the mercury vapor, it draws heavy currents in the lamps, which can destroy the lamp. For limiting these dangerous amounts of electric current, ballasts are used.
The traditional ballasts used to be either inductive or resistive in nature. Inductive ballasts produced high voltages across discharge tubes that ionize the gas and limits the amount of current to save the lamp. One of the major disadvantages with the ballasts was the frequency at which the lamp operates. The electrical ballasts operating at low frequencies affected the performance of the lamps. Flicker could be observed in the lamps due to low frequency operation. Also, the windings used to be under constant stresses producing an irritating humming noise during their operation.
PCB based electronic ballasts
But now the tide has changed and with the development of solid state electronics and PCB technology, electronic ballasts are replacing the electrical ballasts and the the latter is on the verge of extinction.
The electronic ballasts are based on the principles of SMPS technology, pulse width modulation or frequency modulation techniques. The electronic components in the form of switching devices like MOSFETs, IGBT or transistor and diodes, transformers, etc. are embedded on a PCB. These circuits in addition to limiting the amount of current, increase the frequency of the power to high levels. As a result, flicker in the lamp is reduced and buzzing sound from the ballasts is also eliminated. Due to absence of preheating technique, the lamp life is increased.
Advantages of PCB electronic ballasts
- With the advent of PCB electronic ballasts, which are relatively small sizes of the components, the electronic ballasts have become smaller and lighter than electric ballasts.
- The lamps have become sleeker and the thickness has been reduced giving the same illumination.
- They are comparatively inexpensive due to mass production techniques and low cost of the components.
- Flicker and buzzing in the fluorescent lamps is reduced considerably.
- They are more efficient than the electrical ballasts and result in saving of power and lead to long life of lamps.
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| Tags: Electronics industry
The early phase
In today’s technological scenario, PCBs play an important role when compared to early were not much commendable. They mainly and mostly consisted of end-end wiring or point-point contacts creating clumsy wiring practices. The turret board (the early form of electronic circuit) was little better than the point connections used.
The earlier practices resulted in a complex network circuit. It was difficult to detect the faults occurring in the system. In addition, fixed the problems resulted in more faults in the circuit later.
Problems related to low data transfer speed and heat generation frequently happened and the mechanical stress produced due to the working of the machinery was harmful to the circuit.
Merits of PCB
The invention of the PCB resolved the issues that were common with the earlier practices. Faults happened less often now and it was a simple task to do away with them in case of faults. Also, the circuit boards could now handle more work load in related environments. Consequently, the electronic industry started expanding with the size of the PCBs getting smaller and more features getting loaded over single chip, the circuits gained credibility in terms of reliability.
Economy in cost and size
The short track lengths and effective use of the board space resulted in compactness of the circuits resulting in usage of a lower amount of raw material and lower cost. Large scale production of PCBs expanded the electronic consumer market, which resulted in the goods available to consumers at lower prices. It also led to capital benefits to the companies. As the size of PCBs reduced, it led to added features like GSM, video capturing abilities and GPRS added on a single chip at little extra cost which made technology viable to the common man.
Miniaturization of the substrate is posing a challenge to the skills and competence of all: researchers as well as developers. And, PCB development is going meet the ever growing technological needs of different users in different sectors.
With the coming of 3D printing technology, the industry will have an edge over the existing 2D and 2.5D technology. The medical domain is challenging, and it is an opportunity for PCB professionals for developing technological applications for easy and simpler use of the equipment in diagnosis of illnesses and other applications in medical profession.
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A native app is an application program that is developed to run on a specific platform or device. Contrast to this, a web app is designed to access over a network such as internet or intranet with the help of a browser. A native application responds more quickly than a web application because it is installed on a device and the interface is more direct.
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Application software consists of pre-written computer programs that allow the computer to perform the tasks given by the user. It is designed with a specific purpose for the use of businesses and individuals.
The advantages of application Software are:
- The application software packages are written by software specialists and are of great quality.
- They are immediately available and generally cheaper when compared with other bespoke packages.
- They can be used in most of the organizations.
- The updated versions of software are available regularly.
- It saves time and money of the organization since it doesn’t require the staff members to develop, write and test the programs.
- Licensed application software gets regular updates from developer for the purpose of maintaining security. The developer also sends personnel from time to time if any problem occurs and corrects them.
- In the case of customer made application software the threat of incorporating viruses is very less. The businesses can restrict the access of virus to areas when detected and can also protect the network.
The disadvantages of application software are:
- The application software that is designed to meet for a specific purpose will be costly for the developers to develop. This affects their budget and revenue and time if the developed software is not generally accepted.
- The software designed for a specific purpose, say businesses, may not be compatible with other general application software.
- The software must be developed according to the requirements of the customer – which requires a lot of time and due to this there might be a delay in production process.
Though there are few disadvantages of application software, the advantages of application software outweigh their disadvantages. Read more
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Many businesses or organizations that are doing their business online should have a good web presence and hence need a web monitoring software to monitor their websites and servers. However web monitoring services use web monitoring software to monitor the website. To provide this service, service providers will be there to monitor your website. They continuously provide reports of your website online. Through this reports, business owners can check what’s happening in their website and can take necessary decisions if needed. Suppose, if anything occurs or website is going to be down, the software will enable the service provider. The service provider will, and then alerts the business owners through e-mail or SMS whether any changes are to be done to the website. These services prove a great deal of help to web masters or service providers or system administrations as fashion alert systems which trigger off alerts in case of any error or a downtime occur.
When an alert occurs, it will always help in pointing issues and also getting an in-depth of analysis for the cause of a problem. This service also contains the information about the website performance. Through this information, you can analyze and can better improve the performance of the website by adding necessary elements if needed.
An online company’s worst nightmare happens when the server goes down at midnight and the clients on the other side of the other world are unable to access the reports and programs they depend on. However, this is not happening these days because companies have technical knowledge and they are finding the defaults and solving it to prevent disaster.
Nowadays companies are setting targets for online availability to reach their goal using web monitoring software and tools. This made the company easier to maintain their website available all the time. Read more
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