Digital dimmable ballasts

FAQ: Frequently asked questions

  1. What are the approved lamp/ECG combinations?
  2. You can't find the lamp/ECG combination you want?
    • If you cannot find the lamp/ECG combination you want in the lamp matrix you can put in a request to your sales organisation. Basically we recommend only using lamp/ECG combinations that we have tested and which are therefore covered by our guarantee.

      We strongly recommend to only use ballast-lamp combinations that are confirmed and guaranteed by our internal testing procedures. All allowed combinations are listed in the lamp-ballast-matrix.

  3. Do dimmable ECGs have to be earthed?
    • Dimmable ballasts from Tridonic should be earthed for full performance.

  4. Insulation testing of luminaires
    • Electronic operating devices for lamps are sensitive to high-voltage transients. This must be taken into consideration when subjecting luminaires to routine testing during manufacture.

      According to IEC 60598-1 Annex Q and ENEC 303-Annex A, each luminaire should be subjected to an insulation test for 1 second at 500 VDC. The test voltage is applied between the linked phase/neutral conductor terminal and the protective earth terminal. The insulation resistance must be at least 2 MΩ.

      As an alternative to measuring the insulation resistance, IEC 60598-1 Annex Q describes a dielectric strength test at 1500 VAC (or 1.414 x 1500 VDC). To avoid damaging electronic operating devices, we urgently recommend that this dielectric strength test should not be performed.

  5. What is the IP rating of the Tridonic devices?
    • All our dimmable electronic ballasts have an IP20 rating.

  6. How many ECGs can be connected to an automatic circuit breaker?
    • You will find this information in the relevant data sheet.

  7. Which ECGs have which approval marks/certificates?
  8. Which approval mark is needed for what purpose?
  9. How does the Intelligent Voltage Guard (IVG) protect the ECG?
    • Intelligent Voltage Guard is the patented electronic voltage monitor from Tridonic which is integrated in the dimmable PCA EXCEL, PCA EXCITE and PCA ECO product families. Thanks to this innovative internal circuitry damage due to faults in the installation can be kept to a minimum. Harmful overvoltages are signalled by flashing; if the voltage drops to a harmful level the devices switch off automatically. Faults are therefore immediately detected and can be quickly corrected.

  10. What are the permitted lamp cable lengths?
    • The permitted lamp cable lengths are given in the relevant data sheets.

  11. What are the recommendations for improving EMC behaviour?
    • RI suppression:
      Tridonic ballasts are RI suppressed in accordance with EN 55015: 2006 + A1: 2007. In order to achieve reliable operation and non-critical RI suppression values for the luminaire we recommend the following:
      • Keep wiring for lamps with hot lines as short as possible (labelled *)
      • Do not run power cables together with lamp cables (ideal spacing: 5–10 cm)
      • Do not route power cables along the ECG or the lamps
      • Twist the lamp cables
      • Keep lamp cables well away from earthed metal surfaces
      • Connect the function earth to the ECG, via attachment or terminal
      • Twist the power cable in the case of through-wiring
      • Keep the power cable short within the luminaire 

  12. Merchandise security systems and ECGs?
    • Because of the operating frequency of 45 to more than 100 kHz there is a possibility of interference with merchandise security systems.

  13. What is “automatic shutdown”?
    • In the event of a lamp fault the ballast switches off and goes into standby mode. After relamping there is an automatic restrike.

  14. Is an automatic restrike after relamping possible during operation?
    • Even after relamping during operation the new lamp is operated correctly immediately after it has been installed.

  15. How can I detach the connecting wires from the terminals?
    • The wire can be detached with a special tool. The tool is inserted in the terminal over the wire. The wire can then be easily removed from the terminal.

      Another way, but not as easy, is to twist and pull the wire from the terminal.

  16. Can ECGs be dimmed with phase dimmers?
    • Tridonic devices cannot be dimmed with phase dimmers.
      Only 230 V, DSI and DALI are permitted.

  17. What is a corridorFUNCTION?
    • The corridorFUNCTION is an additional function of the dimmable series of PCA ECO and PCA EXCEL one4all ballasts and TE one4all transformers.

      If the ballasts are connected to conventional relay motion sensors (or even automatic stairwell switches) the light value is raised for example to 100 % when a 230 V mains voltage signal is applied to control input D1 and D2, and automatically reduced to the set dimmer value when the motion sensor switches off.

  18. Can you use glow switches in switchDIM applications?
    • Glow switches are not approved for switchDIM installations. Even though the current through the glow lamp is only in the µA range there may be interference with the switchDIM controller.

  19. How does a PCA behave with a DC supply voltage?
    • If the device is operated on DC the digital ballasts go to a 15 % dimming level as standard.
      However there are PCA EXCEL devices in which the DC level can be configured via software.

  20. Can the smartLS sensor be used in conjunction with the corridorFUNCTION?
    • The xitec multi-lamp PCA EXCEL devices support this function.

  21. If a lamp connected to a 2-lamp or 4-lamp device goes out does the other or others continue to work?
    • No.
      The PCA devices always switch all lamps off.

  22. I have set a maximum value of 80 % on a device via DALI. Can I then go to 100 % or only dim to 80% when I switch to switchDIM?
    • If the mode of the device is changed the default values are activated in the device. This means you can go to 100 % as usual.

  23. How harmful is it to exceed the allowed secondary cable length?
    • The cable length has no influence on the light output. But a too long cable length leads to too high capacitive currents to earth. This can cause a undefined ballast shut down and decreased heating current which will have a negative influence on the lifetime of the lamp. Additionally starting problems can occur and the EMC behaviour is getting worse. Recommendation: Don't exceed the maximum allowed cable length.

  24. How do I disable the corridorFUNCTION?
    • To return to the normal mode (one4all mode) you have to press a simple combination of buttons within a defined period of time. Press the relevant button five times within three seconds to deactivate the corridorFUNCTION. The lamps switching-off acts as confirmation of the command. The values used in the corridorFUNCTION are reset.

  25. What is the difference between warm start and cold start technologies?
    • Warm start:
      Correctly optimised ignition of fluorescent lamps, where the cathodes at the ends of the lamp are preheated to the right temperature, allowing controlled discharging to take place. This creates the best conditions for maximising the fluorescent lamp's life span.

      Cold start:
      Igniting fluorescent lamps without preheating the cathodes, causes the cathodes’ emissions-material to be consumed quicker.

  26. How do I synchronize dimming ballasts in switchDIM mode?
    • Synchronisation
      Hold down for 10 s: All lamps are dimmed to 50 % and can now be controlled together.

  27. How can I switch the PCA lp to the alternative dimming speed with switchDIM?
    • Synchronising while holding down the switch for 10 or 20 seconds also determines the speed:
      • 10 sec: 3 sec (1–100 %)
      • 20 sec: 6 sec (1–100 %)

  28. Can devices from different manufacturers be operated in a DALI installation?
    • Yes, this is regulated by the DALI standard.
      More information about DALI can be found at

  29. corridorFUNCTION – what types of motion sensors should be used?
    • Conventional relay motion sensors are recommended.
      Electronic motion sensors (Triac) are not suitable because of their basic load requirements.

  30. How many ECGs can be connected to a switch in a switchDIM installation?
    • A maximum of 25 devices is recommended.

  31. Is the CISPR 15 EMC standard met up to 300 MHz?
    • By the 1st May 2010 the requirements for RI suppression of luminaires will be increased. According to the new specifications CISPR15:2005+A1 2006 and EN 55015: 2006 + A1 2007, the bandwidth for the measurements will be extended from 30 MHz to 300 MHz.

  32. Can emergency lighting units with 4-pole/5-pole technology be operated in combination with a PCA?
    • Only 5-pole technology can guarantee fault-free operation.