Fluorescent Lights, Shunts And Shunted Sockets

Fluorescent Lights, Shunts And Shunted Sockets

If you look up in a warehouse, office building or school, you are likely to see fluorescent lights. They are very common and comprise a large percentage of industrial and commercial lighting systems. Although more than types of sockets comprise these systems they are not employed equally. In fact, the majority of them are non-shunted and shunted sockets.

What Is a Shunt?

A shunt is a term used in the fields of medicine and electrical engineering. It comes from the word meaning to bypass, turn away or go on a follow a different route. In medicine, a shunt is inserted into the body to help drain bodily fluids or to divert it away from one passageway or channel to another one. In electronics, the intent of the shunt is to help the electric current proceed along another route. It bypasses a circuit point through making a path of least resistance. This is the purpose of shunted sockets.

Un-shunted sockets operate differently. With shunted sockets, the contacts, numbering two wires, directly connect at the socket. This permits the power to move directly from one contact to the other. This characteristics or quality if often called positive continuity. With un-shunted sockets, four wires are more common. The contacts are not connected one to the other.

Fluorescent Lights and Shunted Sockets

Not all fluorescent lights or lamps are created equal. There are T-12, T-8 and T-5. These all represent different stages of development, efficiency rates and popularity of this particular lighting system. Such types must have the right type of shunted sockets. This would be T-12, T-8 and T-5.

At the same time, the sockets will be shunted or non-shunted in accordance with other factors. One of these is the ballast. It makes a fluorescent light rapid start or instant start. The rapid start is the most popular type of fluorescent light on the market today. They require the more conventional type of sockets. These are shunted sockets.

If you have an instant start ballast, you do not have a shunted socket. You have a non-shunted socket. The wires are often more visible while the shunted sockets are not. There is also no continuity with the non-shunted sockets. It is important to realize this. Each type of ballast requires the right socket. To use the wrong type can result in malfunctions, decreased life of the lamp and potential electronic problems.

Shunted Sockets

The term “shunt” can have many different applications. Yet, generally, it means to change the pathway or normal route. In fluorescent lighting, if you have a rapid start lighting system, you know the ballast dictates a specific type of socket. The same applies to other types of lighting systems including instant start. Before you make a move to place them in a specific socket, make sure you know for a certainty that your lighting system requires non-shunted or shunted sockets, first.

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