I was wondering if anyone has heard the rumor that once you use a multivolt ballast on one voltage it "locks on" to that voltage and can't be used on any other voltages. It has become a controversial subject here at the shop. The main reason for it is to temp the lights in on 120V while working and then go back to the 277V for the permanent installation. I was just wondering what other people have heard. I figure if that isn't ok, then there would be a large warning sticker on the ballast saying so.
I too have never heard of anything like this, nor can I think of any mechanism that could be at work to make it so. I have used many ballasts recovered from old streetlights with multivolt tappings, at different tappings to the original configuration, and I can't say that I have ever seen any fail from this. I would also be very interested to find out more about this.
One method used to keep from going back to lower voltages uses semconductor diodes as part of the circuit. Once the PIV (peak inverse voltage) goes above the level for the lower voltage,the diode opens. I haven't seen one of those in quite a while. I heard that manufacturers were no longer using that circuit so that ballasts COULD be recycled rather than ending up as land fill.