I have not had any experience with these, but several questions come to mind. I wonder what the ballast factor was and is on the fixtures they are saying this works with? A ballast factor of 1 means that the lamps will be driven at 100% light output, where as the electronic fluorescent ballasts that come in many new luminaires have ballast factors 0.85 to 0.9 typical (you can get ballasts with factors of 1.15 or higher overdriving the fixture).
My thought here is, with a new facility, you are already saving the 15% and may end up underdriving the luminaires if you install one of these and on an existing facility, would it not be better to retrofit or replace the old luminaires to gain the savings? Lastly, how much energy are you wating in converting the sine wave (I hope they are not just clipping the top of the wave), at best I can see this operating at 95% efficiency? Where is the place that this may make sense in a project versus other better options that I can see (in a warehouse with high bay lighting and to much light, and you have no choice for smaller luminaires or improving the spacing?).
Realize, that I do not know this product, I have not researched it. These are just the first line of questions that I have and would need to be answered before I considered specifying this product.
This has my "snake oil" alarms going off big time.
First off, unless there is a page I didn't find, they don't actually tell what it does! That's a big red flag in my book.
Secondly, it shouldn't be possible to substantially increase the efficiency of a properly-designed electronic ballast. I'll acknowledge the possibility that there might be some poorly-designed electronic ballasts out there. But given the push for energy efficiency in recently years, I would expect that modern ballasts are designed to convert power at the input to power in the lamp as efficiently as possible, within cost constraints. It is unlikely that circuitry added to the input could do anything other than screw up what they've already done.
To my understanding as it has been explained to me - "Don't shoot the Messenger !"
Their rep says that it only allows the ballast to draw power at specific points along the sine wave where it is most efficient - I want to say 52 degrees but don't hold me to that.
It also acts as a traditional on off controller/timer - turning phases off individually or all together.
Their solution for panels with mixed loads - meaning fluerescent and other loads. Is to put the put all the non-lighting loads on one phase and bypass "treating" that phase with the controller. Obviously not possible on three pole /three phase loads and not where it would cause unbalanced neutral load.
Personally, you can get more light out of a fitting by keeping the lamps and cover (diffuser) clean. How many times have you guys gone into a place like a factory and seen the lights are filthy and are full of dead bugs in the diffuser?. That has to be good for the lighting output.
Sounds like a simple switched power supply clipping the low-voltage portion of the sine wave and only letting the higher voltage portion through. They claim 15% savings, so they're still leaving 85% of the current through. This would create one hell of a harmonics problem, I'd imagine.
It does sound like a dimmer- a fixed brightness dimmer.
Again, if I wanted fixed dimming, I would just call out a ballast with a ballast factor in this case of 0.85. Many cases there is no additional cost. No significant change in harmonics (other than slightly less than the ballast operating at 1.0, due to smaller load).