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Pulse Start vs. Probe Start Metal Halide Lighting

High-intensity discharge (HID) metal halide (MH) lamps are widely used in commercial lighting applications because they are about three times as efficient as incandescent lamps. For years, there has been one main technology for middle-wattage metal halide fixtures/lamps: Probe start.

While low-wattage MH fixtures/lamps were pulse start, that technology was not available in the mid-wattage range between 250w and 400w. Today, there is an alternative: A pulse start metal halide (PSMH) fixture and lamp combination that saves energy, increases the life of the lamps, has quicker starts, and lowers operating costs, too! While initially, the fixture and lamp may cost slightly more, the payback is rapid and continues for years. Pulse start and probe start lamps use different ballast systems. Traditional probe start metal halide lamps do not use igniters 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.

Benefits of Pulse Start-Metal Halide Lamps

 320w PSMH

Energy Savings of a Pulse Start 320w vs Probe Start 400w MH Lighting System

The benefits are substantial. Pulse start fixtures/lamps offer several benefits:

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

Speak to an Access Fixtures Lighting Specialist about Choosing the right Fixture

Access Fixtures is your factory-direct source for all light fixtures needed to suitably illuminate your property. If you have a lighting question, we will be glad to answer your questions. We want to make sure you get the exact fixture for your needs, your budget, and your goals. We are passionate about lighting and love what we do—we’ll get you an answer. To speak with an Access Fixtures lighting specialist, call (800) 468-9925.