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What is meant by a “high power factor” ballast?

A high power ballast is one that delivers current to the fluorescent lamp in a more energy efficient manner than a lower power ballast. The technical nitty-gritty is that an arc discharge device such as a fluorescent lamp, electric welding machine, or arc furnace tends to distort the shape of the electrical waveform driving that device, leading to a less efficient heating and delivery of light. A high power ballast does a better job at correcting this than does a low power ballast.

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