Metal halide high-intensity discharge lamps are widely used in commercial lighting applications because they are about three times as efficient as incandescent lamps. For years there was only one technology for middle wattage metal halide fixtures and lamps – probe start. While low wattage metal halide fixtures featured pulse start capabilities, that technology was not available in common wattages from 250w to 400w.

These days, most metal halide fixtures offer pulse start capability.  Pulse start makes lamps last longer, allows them to be turned on more quickly, and is much more energy efficient.  While the initial fixture and lamp may be more expensive than equivalent probe start technology, you will certainly make your money back over time on energy and replacement savings.

Pulse start and probe start lamps use a different ballast system. Traditional probe start metal halide lamps do not use an igniter and require three electrical contacts to ignite the gas and remain lit. Newer pulse start metal halide lamps use only two contacts and use an igniter located inside the ballast pod.  Pulse start technology offers several substantial benefits:

  •  Longer Life – Up to 50% longer life reducing maintenance & replacement cost
  •  Higher Efficacy – As much as 24% more lumens per watt saving energy and money
  •  Rapid Restrike Time – Less than half the time to re-light when shut down
  •  Better Color Rendition – Superior and more stable color rendering as lamps age
  •  Less Color Variance – Lamps throughout the area appear to be the same color
  •  Quick Startup – Full brightness in 2 to 4 minutes instead of 5 to 10 minutes
  •  Superior Lumen Maintenance – About 14% less lumen depreciation means more light