One of the things I read a few days ago about fluorescent bulbs said that some
"Energy-saving" bulbs use less power, but their light output is lower, too, and
the lumens-per-watt is often worse than regular bulbs.
And isn't the main job of a ballast to control the amount of current(and power
delivered to the bulb? So you could make an "energy saving" ballast that is no
more efficient than a regular one- it just sends less current to the bulb,
giving you less light output.
One other thing that occurred to me: How can you easily measure now much power
a fluorescent bulb is consuming, not counting the ballast? It's easy for an
incandescent bulb: it is a pure resistive load and you simply have to measure
the RMS current and voltage. But the voltage and current of a fluorescent lamp
probably have a complex waveform and phase relationship, and you would need
laboratory-style instrumentation to accurately measure the true power.
And measuring a complete bulb+ballast fixture with a Kill-a-Watt style meter
may not be very accurate because of the power factor of a magnetic ballast, and
non linearity of an electronic one.
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