Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering

First Advisor

Regan Zane

Second Advisor

Francisco Azcondo

Third Advisor

Frank Barnes


Electronic HID ballasts provide many advantages over magnetic HID ballasts including size, weight, overall efficiency, and greater control of operating conditions. Electronic ballasts add complexity to the system, requiring a greater understanding of the operation of HID lamps. Electronic ballasts also introduce a host of issues for the HID ballast designer including possible acoustic resonances, arc stability issues, and operation across broad operating conditions. In this work, research of a Low-Frequency Square-Wave (LFSW) HID solution is performed that includes use of a non-linear soft saturation core material for the inductor. Modeling of the converter with this core is presented as well. Difficulties with operation of HID lamps are outlined, as well as the previous methods to overcome such obstacles.

Ignition and steady-state operation of HID lamps occur with very different operating conditions. Ignition occurs with very little lamp current, but large lamp voltage, and steady-state operation is the opposite. Due to this mismatch, any single ignitor/ballast design requires the inductor to be able to handle both operating points.

Use of a soft saturation material allows for a reduction in size and weight of the overall system due to the higher magnetic capacity of the material as compared to hard saturation alternatives. The downside to using this material is inductance varies with magnetizing force on the core. A resonant ignition approach with soft saturation material is presented, motivating the need for phase control of the system.

A fast transition between resonant and LFSW mode operation is presented, which requires a large design space for possible lamp impedances. Transition times between LFSW modes are dependent on natural frequency and Q factor of a buck filter response, which is shaped beneficially by the soft saturation material. A design method for this is presented, along with considerations for core selection.

A two loop control method is analyzed with an inner current loop that stabilizes the lamp arc and an outer power loop in order to obtain regulated light output. The current loop is able to monitor currents of a positive and negative buck mode operation using a single sense point. A system that uses input power sensing to ultimately control output power is analyzed and experimentation is presented.