GENERAL DISCUSSIONS > Home Improvement & Other Projects

OT: Do I need to ground an electronic ballast?

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Michael Kellough:
I've searched the web and find conflicting answers in the static pages so I'm hoping there is someone knowledgable here who can take into consideration the specific factors in my installation.

I'm making a wooden "display quality" wall mounted light box which will contain artwork printed on the back of glass. Behind the glass white acrylic will diffuse the light from two T5 fluorescent lamps powered by an electronic ballast.

The ballast will be mounted on a melamine covered Masonite panel so it will not present a shock hazard (which is the reason I assumed such equipment needed to be grounded) but is there some other reason the the system needs to be grounded?

I've seen suggestions that a conductor needs to run the length of the lamp in close proximity but no explanation why. I can use an aluminum reflector connected to the ballast for that purpose but I'm hoping to use only a 2-conductor power cord so external grounding would not be possible.

Since many kitchen cabinet fluorescent lights use 2-conductor power cords I assumed this project could also. My configuration seems to work fine in brief tests without a ground wire or metal reflectors but is there some long term problem with this lack of ground?

James Biddle:
If I remember correctly from when I changed my shop light ballasts, an electronic ballast needs the grounding to help control "ballast hum" in addition to the shock hazzard. If you ran the ground wire to the ballast mounting screw, that should do the trick.

Michael Kellough:

--- Quote from: James Biddle on 7 years ago at 11:19 AM ---
...If you ran the ground wire to the ballast mounting screw, that should do the trick.

--- End quote ---

Thanks James, but I need to use "a round white power cord" and I can only find this in 2 conductor versions so there isn't going to be a true ground wire. The small kitchen fluorescent lights don't have a ground wire, even those that have an electronic ballast.  :-\

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