Among the major types of lighting, pulse start metal halide light bulbs are one
of the best ways to achieve a high light output and better energy efficiency in
a HID lamp.
The technology involved in pulse start metal halide lighting is similar to fluorescent
lighting. An arc is established between two electrodes in a gas-filled tube
which causes a special vapor to produce the light you see. Unlike fluorescent
bulbs, this light does not need a coating of phosphors in order to produce the
light, the light comes from the arc itself and creates a tremendous amount of
light. In the broader category of HID lighting, these are the ones you see with
the bright, white color in security, warehouse, parking lot or on the freeway. Most people prefer
the white color in most lighting situations, therefore the
metal halide bulbs are a great choice.
One of the chief benefits of pulse start light bulbs are the
gains in energy efficiency over the standard product. These lamps have more lumens per watt than the standard variety, making it more energy
efficient. Sometimes a 320 watt pulse lamp can replace a 400 watt
standard with no light loss. So in applications like production facilities or
warehouse lighting it mean more electrical cost savings. Another key
feature is that these bulbs will last a very long time and will produce usable
light over that time. The pulse start metal halide has a faster restrike if it
goes out, that means the lights come on sooner after a shutdown. The average life of a
standard model is typically about 24,000 hours. Compare this to a classic metal
bulb, which has an average life of about 20,000 hours. It is easy to see the
energy savings (thus cost savings) that these bulbs provide. They save energy
while reducing maintenance costs because of their extra long life.
All the major manufacturers like Sylvania produce metal halide light
bulbs in all kinds of wattages. Metalarc is Sylvania's name for this type
of lamp. It has an excellent construction and has been a top
performer amongst the other brands. Be aware that like fluorescent light bulbs,
these also have a specific ballast that is used for each wattage. That's
especially true for pulse start metal halide lamps which require a ballast
specifically designed for the pulse start variety. You
can't change from one wattage to another even if the bulb might fit in the
socket. Most of the time the ballast is a core and coil type which is very
heavy. The ballast will be clearly labeled as to which type of lamp it operates.
So all you have to do is remove the covering and look to the label for lamp
operation. If you don't
the correct lamp and ballast combination you can reduce both
lamp and ballast life and cost yourself more money in maintenance. They are designed to be matched with the appropriate
ballast. This means that the bulbs are not interchangeable with one another. A
metal halide of 100 watt cannot be swapped with a 250 watt and so on. Keep
this in mind when changing lamps or changing a ballast with these special lamps.
Some people wonder about the color of these light bulbs. Is there a
color shift from different manufacturers? The answer is yes that there can
be a different color between manufacturers and various lots although pulse start
bulbs have less color shift than the older standard lamps. The
Sylvania and GE brands tend to be whiter and more true in color while the
Philips is a warmer color almost having a yellow appearance. If color is a
very important thing to your operation, then you may want to consider using
the Sylvania brand instead. Be aware that color can shift over
time in use and the only way to get back to the original color is to replace the
lamp. It's sometimes a sign of end of lamp life. In most architectural specifications,
metal halide is becoming the HID lamp of choice for almost all applications.
With the advent of more efficient metal halide lamps, other types of bulbs are
being specified less often.
Some of the most common varieties of pulse start metal halide light bulbs are
as follows: MH300, MH320, MH350 and MH400. The number in these codes
pertains to the wattage of each lamp. They are usually followed by a PS if it's
a pulse start lamp. The various manufacturers have different names for
their product, but we stock the Sylvania and Venture metal halides. We
have a large inventory of these lamps for nearly every type of
light fixture in the field. If you need help identifying a bulb, our customer service representatives can help you determine what you have.