Fluorescent Lamps will almost always consume less wattage than the listed rating shows.
For example, an F32T8 Lamp draws a nominal 29 watts, and the most it will ever draw will be 31 watts.
Lamps using Rapid Start (Hot Cathode) operation will have wattages drawn by both the heating of the cathodes, and the transduction of Electron emission / inert material bombardment, into visible light output.
The True Power drawn for heating of the cathodes is "parasitic", as viewed to overall output light vs. input wattage. It does not directly transduce into visible light output, only helps make the emission of Electrons more efficient.
Ballast load consumption of True Power is also "parasitic", as it does not produce any visible light at the lamp.
Whatever heat is felt at the Ballast is the resultant of the True Power it has consumed from the Generating Source.
Typicals for a 2 lamp Magnetic Ballast, driving two F40T12 Lamps, were like 4 watts consumed by the ballast - and around 77 watts by the lamps - with an additional 2 watts
drawn to heat the Lamps' cathodes.***NOTE***Do not confuse input (Line) Volt-Amperes with input wattage
Linear Reactor Core Ballasts will normally draw around 1.25 times the rated lamp wattage, as input VA.
This would equal what would be seen on an ammeter measuring the input to the Ballast -
the input system voltage -
so there is an obvious Power Factor Scenario here For the "Non-Magnetic" flavors of Ballastry currently being used
Depending on the designed functions of Electronic & Hybrid type Ballastry, some may drive lamps at high power levels, some at low power levels (a lot of the ones I deal with drive lamps at the lower power levels), and others will drive lamps at the "best for the current conditions" power level.
Also, these Ballasts may have a Leading Power Factor, Lagging Power Factor,
or the mind boggling "Almost as close to unity Power Factor as a pure Resistance Load would be - yet still be a Reactive Load"
Again, whatever heat is felt at the ballast, will represent a large portion of the wattage drawn from the generating source by it (drawn by the ballast).
BTW: The "Generating Source" might be:
- Steam Power Prime Mover, using Coal as Fuel,
- Steam Power Prime Mover, using Oil as Fuel,
- Steam Power Prime Mover, using Uranium 235 as Fuel (via reactor core and moderator),
- Steam Power Prime Mover, using Geothermic Energy (or the Earth as Fuel),
- Internal Combustion Engine Prime Mover, using Gasoline or Diesel as Fuel,
- Gas Turbine Prime Mover, using Natural Gas as Fuel,
- Pedal Powered / Human Being Prime Mover, using Carbohydrates (food) as Fuel.
edited to courrekt spel-lieenng miss steaks
[This message has been edited by Scott35 (edited 12-24-2005).]