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Патент USA US3086150

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Aprll 16, 1963
J; H. RUBENSTEIN
343869141
STARTER AND cmcun FOR ELECTRIC DISCHARGE DEVICE
Filed April 24; 1958
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INVENTOR.
JACOB l-LRUBENSTEIN
"i BYWIO-W
AGENT
United States Patent 0
3,086,141
Fr
lC€
Patented Apr. 16, 1963
2
1
speci?cation are read in conjunction with the accompany
3,086,141
STARTER AND CIRCUIT FOR ELECTRIC
DISCHARGE DEVICE
ing drawings, wherein:
.
FIGURE 1 is a schematic wiring diagram of a ?uores
cent tube circuit including the starter of the present in
Jacob H. Rubenstein, 101 Shirley Road, Syracuse, N.Y.
Filed Apr. 24, 1958, Ser. No. 730,720
12 Claims. (Cl. 315--100)
vention, the portions shown in phantom deepicting the
positions of starter elements after the initial impressing
of starting voltage across the ‘fluorescent lamp;
This invention relates to an improved starter and start
FIGURE 2 depicts a hysteresis loop of the low coercive
force core material of the relay used in the starter, and,
ing circuit for :a gaseous electric discharge device having
thermionic electrodes, such as a hot cathode type of ?u 10 in broken lines, the hysteresis loop for conventional mag
netic material; and
orescent lamp, or the like, and more particularly to a
FIGURES 3 and 4 depict the actual construction of
starter which will positively ignite such a device the ?rst
my improved starter, with certain parts omitted in the
time that it causes a starting voltage to be impressed
interest of clarity, FIGURE 4 being a view taken‘ from
across it. While the following description refers to a
the right of FIGURE 3.
?uorescent lamp, it will be understood that it may be
equally applicable to analogous electric discharge devices.
‘It is well known that the life of a ?uorescent lamp is
Reference is now made to FIGURE 1 which shows a
?uorescent lamp 10 having electrodes 111 and 12, which
may consist of any conventional thermionic material.
inversely proportional to the number of times that start
One side of electrode 11 is coupled through a conven
ing voltage is impressed across the lamp whether the lamp
‘actually ignites or not. In practically all the starters of 20 tional ballast reactor 13 to line L1, and one side of elec
trode 12 is coupled to line L2 through power switch 14.
the prior'art ignition of the lamp did not occur until start
The improved starter 15 of the present invention is
ing voltage had been impressed across the lamp a ‘few
coupled across the other sides of electrodes 11 and 12 by
times, this procedure materially reducing lamp life and
means of conductors 16 and 17, respectively. Starter 15
causing objectionable blinking during this starting process.
In addition to the foregoing objectionable ‘blinking, start 25 is preferably enclosed in a conventional starter case 39
(FIGURE 3) so that it may be interchanged with conven
ers of the prior art permitted a ?uorescent tube to blink
objectionably after it wore out.
It is with the overcom
ing of the foregoing shortcomings of the ?uorescent lamp
tional starters now in use as the latter wear out. Coupled
across leads 16 and 17 are a relay 18 having a core 19
of low magnetic retentive force (low coercive force) ma
starters of the prior art that this invention is concerned.
It is therefore the principal object of this invention to 30 terial and a current limiting resistor 20‘. Relay winding
21 and resistor 20 are coupled in series by conductor 22.
provide a ?uorescent lamp starter which will prolong the
Coupled across leads 16 and 17 by means of leads 23
life of :a ?uorescent lamp by positively igniting the lamp
and 24, respectively, is the preheating circuit for the ?la
upon ‘the initial impressing of starting voltage across it.
ments of lamp 10. During the preheat time which imme
A further object of this invention is to provide an im—
diately follows the closing of switch 14, current ?ow is
proved starter which prevents blinking of a ?uorescent
worn out, this in turn preventing a reduction in the life
of the starter associated therewith and eliminating the
from L2 through switch 14, ?lament 12, lead 17, lead 24,
lead 25, low coercive force relay armature 26, contact
point 27 on the relay armature, contact point 28 (which
going objects by positively initiating the starting voltage
preheat circuit serves as a shunt.
close to the peak value of the current cycle, thereby caus—
ing a maximum voltage “kick”. to be impressed across, the
?uorescent lamp. This occurs after a predetermined
will cause bimetallic arm 29 to be heated. The char
acteristics of bimetallic arm 29‘ and heater 30 may be
lamp not only upon starting but also when the lamp is
annoyance caused by the blinking of a ?uorescent lamp. 40 is mounted on bimetallic ‘arm 29), resistance heating coil
30, lead 23, lead 16, ?lament 11, land ballast reactor 13
Another object of this invention is to provide a starter
to complete the circuit to L1. As is well known, the ?ow
which will operate over a wide voltage range so that it
of current-through the ?laments 11 and 12 causes them
will positively ignite a ?uorescent lamp even when the
to heat up.
line voltage varies abnormally. Other objects and at
The parameters of the entire starter circuit are such
tendant advantages of the present invention will readily
that no appreciable current will ?ow through relay coil
be perceived hereafter.
18 during the preheat time because the above-described
The starter of the present invention achieves the fore
lamp-?lament preheat time has elapsed. This procedure
causes the ?uorescent lamp to positively ignite upon the
initial impressing of starting voltage across it.
The present invention relates to a starter and starting
circuit for positively igniting a ?uorescent lamp .upon the
initial application of starting voltage across the electrodes
thereof comprising a source of electric current, a ballast
reactor coupled to said lamp, means for preheating said
electrodes for 13. predetermined period, and means for
causing said ballast reactor to provide a starting voltage
across said lamp after said preheat period has elapsed
to positively ignite said lamp the ?rst time starting volt
age is impressed across said electrodes. The obtaining
of the starting voltage which will positively ignite the
lamp is due to the use of a magnetic relay having a core
and armature of magnetic material of low coercive force
or low retentivity. This material causes the starting volt
age to be impressed at substantially the peak value of the
The passage of current through resistance heater 30
chosen to give any length of preheat time required for
any particular lamp. As arm 29 heats up, it will tend
to de?ect upwardly, thus tending to separate contacts
27 and 28. When the desired preheat time has elapsed,
the point is reached where contacts 27 and 28 will start
to separate and the shunting circuit across relay coil 21
will terminate because the spreading apart of contact
points or terminals 27 and v28 will in effect initially pro
vide a, high resistance air gap, thus starting to overcome
the shunting characteristic of the preheat circuit. As
contacts 27 and ‘28 start spreading apart because of the
upward movement of bimetallic arm 29, higher current‘
will start flowing through relay coil 21. Substantially at
the instant when the current cycle reaches its peak value
through coil 21, su?icient magnetization will be induced
in low-coercive-force core 19 to positively pull down
armature 26 (which is also made of low retentive force
magnetic material) to its dotted line position, thus open
ing the contact points at substantially the peak value
current cycle so that the voltage produced by the ballast 70 of the current cycle.
reactor is at a maximum. The present invention will be
more fully understood when the following portions of the
I believe the reason that contact points 27 and 28 will
open very close to the peak of the current cycle is be
3,086,141
3
cause the high permeability-low retentivity material,
which is used for the core and armature of the A.C.
4
ponents set forth in ‘FIGURE 1, FIGURES 3 and 4 dis
close a circular dielectric disc or base 36 having termi
nals 37 and 38 mounted thereon which are adapted to
?ux closely follow the phase and wave form of the
be received in a mating starter socket (not shown).
magnetizing force (which is proportional to the current U! Mounted on disc 36 is a cylindrical shell or housing 39
through the relay coil). Furthermore, -for low values
which, in combination with disc 36, encloses the starter.
of magnetizing force, such as used in the relay of the
The relay core 19 is mounted on an L-shaped bracket 40,
present ?uorescent lamp starter, the magnetic ?ux is.
and positioned in the space below the horizontal arm of
proportional to the magnetizing ‘force. Also, ‘due to the
the bracket are capacitor 31 and resistor 21}. An in
low retentivity of the material in the core, there will 10 verted U-shaped yoke 41 has its depending legs fastened
be -a well de?ned magnetic peak pull on the armature
to relay coil 21 in any suitable ‘manner. Extending up
of the relay. The foregoing characteristics will readily
wardly from the horizontal leg of bracket ‘40 is a piece
be appreciated vfrom FIGURE 2 wherein curve 33 depicts
of spring metal 42 (such as piano wire) to‘ which is
the hysteresis loop of the low retentivity material which
vfastened armature 26 which is made of the low coercive
I utilize whereas curve 34 represents the hysteresis loop
force metal described above. Attached to yoke \41 by
of a conventional laminated core material.
means of support '43 is bimetallic arm 29. Support 43
Armature biasing spring 42 is adjusted so that the
has an end portion 44 to limit the upward movement of
armature downward movement responds only to the peak
armature 26. The free end ‘of bimetallic arm 29 has
magnetic pull, and, as it has been pointed out above,
fastened thereto an inverted U-shaped bracket 45, the
this peak magnetic value occurs substantially simulta
depending legs of which straddle the armature 26 to pre
neously, in time, with the peak of the current cycle.
vent the latter tfrom undesirable lateral displacement.
Therefore, the contact points 27 and 23 open substan
Upon downward movement ‘of bimetallic arm 29, the
tially at the peak of the current cycle.
ends of the depending legs of U-shaped bracket 45 con
When the preheating circuit is broken in the above
tact relay coil 18 to limit downward movement of arm
described manner so that it no longer provides a shunt 25 29 under extremely cold ambient conditions.
across electrodes 11 and 12, the stored magnetic energy
It can be seen from the foregoing description that a
in ballast reactor 13 will produce an inductive kick (or
?uorescent lamp starter has been disclosed which posi
starting voltage) across electrodes 11 and 12 to positively
tively ignites a ?uorescent lamp upon the initial appli
ignite the lamp 10. This positive ignition is due to the
cation of starting voltage across the terminals thereof,
high value of the transient voltages set up- across the
thus materially prolonging the life of the lamp and elimi~
relay, has the property of having its induced magnetic
lamp when the current is interrupted at substantially peak
value, in the above-described manner.
Insofar as per
tinent, the peak value of the current cycle is any value
sufficient to cause ballast reactor 13 to produce an in
ductive kick which will cause positive ignition, this value
usually being where the current is at least approximately
90% of its maximum value.
Once the lamp 10 is positively ignited in the foregoing
manner, current will continue to ?ow across leads 16
and 17 through relay coil 21, lead 22, and current limit
ing resistor 20. This maintains relay 18 in an energized
condition and keeps armature 26 in its dotted-line posi
tion so that contact points 27 and 28 remain separated.
This separation prevents blinking of a worn out lamp,
this blinking ordinarily occurring with a conventional
starter (which does not have this feature) as it attempts
to ignite a worn out lamp which is incapable of being
fully ignited.
Capacitor 31 is coupled between lead 24 and one end
of bimetallic arm 29. This capacitor has a high capaci
tative reactance so that only a minute amount of current
will ?ow through arm 29 and resistance heater 30‘ when
the relay 18 is energized. Since this minute current is
much lower than that previously ?owing through resist
ance heater 30, the latter will cool to normal ambient
temperature and thus assume its starting position so that
when switch 14 is opened, armature 26 (which is spring
biased upwardly) will assume its solid line position to
place contacts 27 and 28 in engagement so that the starter
nating objectionable blinking during starting.
It must be appreciated, however, that the positive start
ing of the lamp Will occur only while the lamp is within
its normal life span, i.e., before it becomes worn out.
When the lamp is bad, ignition will not occur, thus indi
cating that the lamp should be replaced. However, since
armature 26 remains in its dotted line position after a
starting attempt has been completed, there will be no
objectionable blinking of the worn-out lamp because of
the elimination of the continued starting attempts which
cause the blinking of the worn-out lamp.
As noted above, the starter of the present invention
also positively ignites a ?uorescent lamp at low values of
line voltage because it always causes the ballast reactor
to produce a maximum inductive “kick” inasmuch as the
latter is produced at substantially the peak of the cur
rent cycle.
While I have described a preferred embodiment of my
invention, I desire it to be understood that it is not lim
ited thereto but may otherwise be embodied within the
scope of the following claims:
I claim:
1. A starting circuit ‘for positively starting a gaseous
electric discharge device a predetermined time after the
circuit is energized comprising a source of electric cur
rent, switch means for coupling said device to said source
of current, a ballast reactor coupled to said device, a time
delay circuit means for permitting preheating current to
components immediately assume the necessary position 60 ?ow through the electrodes of said device after the closing
of said switch means, and means for substantially simul
for a subsequent starting operation.
A low coercive force material which I have used suc
cessfully is known by the term “Allegheny Mumetal”
and is a commercial product of Allegheny Ludlum Steel
Corporation. The typical chemical composition of this
material is 77.2% nickel, 4.8% copper, 1.5% chromium
and 14.9% iron.
In FIGURES 3 and 4 is shown a preferred construc
taneously terminating said preheating and causing said
ballast reactor to always produce its initial voltage dis
charge across the electrodes of said device at substantially
the peak value of the current cycle to positively start
said device upon the initial application of voltage across
said electrodes by said ballast reactor.
2. A starting circuit for a gaseous electric discharge
device having electrodes adapted to be energized from a
tion of my improved starter illustrating the preferred
orientation of parts, the wiring connections of FIGURE 70 source of electric current by the use of a switch for
1 having been omitted for the sake of clarity. The same
numerals on these ?gures which appear in FIGURE 1
depict the same elements described above relative to
FIGURE 1, and it is believed that a detailed repetition
of these numerals is super?uous. In addition to the com
coupling said electrodes across said source of current,
said starting circuit including a ballast reactor coupled to
said device, a time delay circuit adapted to permit pre
heating current to flow through said electrodes for a pre
determined time after said switch is actuated, and circuit
3,086,141
5
means shunted by said time delay circuit during said pre
determined time for positively causing said predetermined
preheating time to terminate and causing said ballast
reactor to positively produce its initial voltage discharge
across said electrodes at substantially the peak value of a
6
means at said predetermined portion of said current
cycle.
7. A starter for an electric discharge device having at
least one thermionic electrode for use in combination
with a circuit having a ballast reactor and a source of
alternating electric current and switch means for coupling
said electric discharge device to said source of current,
said starter comprising circuit means for permitting pre
across said electrodes.
heating current to ?ow through said thermionic electrode
3. A starter for a circuit having a ballast reactor and
a gaseous electric discharge device having a plurality of 10 after the closing of said switch means, and means for
causing said ballast reactor to always impress a starting
electrodes including at least one thermionic electrode
voltage across said device only once and at substantially
therein comprising preheat means for permitting current
the peak of a current cycle after said preheating current
to ?ow through said thenmionic electrode for a preheat
has ?owed through said thermionic electrode for a pre
ing period, and means for causing said ballast reactor to
determined period after the closing of said switch means
always impress its ?rst voltage discharge across the elec
to thereby either cause starting of said discharge device
trodes of said discharge device after the termination of
while subjecting it solely to a single ballast reactor pro
said preheat period and at substantially the peak value
duced voltage discharge if it is capable of functioning,
of a current cycle whereby said electric discharge device
without causing blinking of said discharge device due to
will always start the ?rst time that said ballast reactor
additional starting attempts producing additional ballast
impresses a voltage across said device.
reactor produced voltage discharges if it is incapable of
4. A starter for an electric discharge device having at
functioning, and means for resetting said circuit means
least one thermionic electrode in a circuit with a ballast
in response to the opening of said switch means to thereby
reactor comprising means for providing a single preheat
prepare said circuit means for a repetition of the ?ow of
ing period for said electrode, and means for causing said
said preheating current through said thermionic electrode
ballast reactor to impress a starting voltage across said
and the single impressing of said starting voltage in re
device only once at substantially the peak of a current
sponse to a subsequent closing of said switch means.
.cycle after said preheating period to thereby either cause
8. A starter for an electric discharge device compris
starting of said discharge device with a single ballast
ing a base, a housing mounted on said base, a plurality
reactor produced voltage if it is capable of functioning
or prevent blinking of said discharge device if it is in 30 of terminals adapted to be coupled to a source of current,
a relay mounted within said housing, said relay having a
capable of functioning by preventing additional starting
current cycle to thereby positively start said device upon
the initial application of ballast reactor produced voltage
attempts.
core and a winding and an armature, ?rst circuit means
coupling said winding across said terminals, a switch hav
ing a pair of contacts, one of said contacts being mounted
be used in a circuit with a ballast reactor and a ?rst 35 for movement by said armature, second circuit means
‘coupling said switch across said winding, means for
switch for coupling said device to a source of electric
causing said ?rst and second contacts to start separating
current, said starter comprising a second switch having
as a result of the passage of current through said second
?rst and second contacts, a thermostatic element adapted
circuit means, said ?rst circuit means permitting su?icient
to move said ?rst contact, a relay having a winding and
40 current to ?ow through said winding as said contacts tend
a core and an armature, said armature adapted to move
to separate to cause said armature to be de?ected, and
said second contact, heating means associated with said
means operatively associated with said relay for causing
thermostatic element, ?rst circuit means operative after
said switch to always produce its initial opening at sub
the closing of said ?rst switch for permitting current to
stantially the peak value of a current cycle.
[?ow through said ballast reactor and thermionic elec
9. A starter for an electric discharge device having a
45
trode and second switch and heating means to thereby
pair of electrodes including at least one thermionic elec
preheat said thermionic electrode, said ?rst and second
trode, said starter adapted to be used in a circuit with
contacts tending to separate as a result of the e?ect of
a ballast reactor and a ?rst switch for coupling said
5. A starter for an electric discharge device having
at least one thermionic electrode, said starter adapted to
the heat produced by said heating means causing said
device to a source oi? electric current, said starter com
thermostatic element to de?ect, and second circuit means 50 prising ?rst circuit means including a second switch hav
coupling said relay Winding to said source of current, said
ing ?rst and second contacts, a thermostatic element in
second circuit means permitting su?icient current to flow
cluding heating means adapted to move said ?rst contact,
through said relay winding as said ?rst and second con
a relay having a winding and a core and an armature, said
?rst circuit means being coupled across said electrodes
tacts tend to separate to cause said armature to de?ect
and said second switch to positively open at substantially 55 and operative after the closing of said ?rst switch for
permitting current to ?ow through said ballast reactor and
the peak value of a current cycle to thereby terminate
thermionic electrode and second switch and heating means
preheating of said electrode and disrupt the ?ow of cur
to thereby permit current ?ow to preheat said thermionic
rent through said ballast reactor at substantially the peak
electrode, said ?rst and second contacts tending to sep
value of said current cycle whereby the voltage discharge
produced by said ballast reactor at said peak value of said 60 arate as a result of the effect of heat produced by said
heating means causing said thermostatic element to de
current cycle will start said electric discharge device.
?ect, and second circuit means coupling said relay wind
6. In combination in an electric circuit having a source
ing across said second switch, said second circuit means
of alternating current, a device relative to which it is
permitting increased current to ?ow through said relay
critical that a switching action be performed at a prede
termined portion of a current cycle, ?rst selectively 65 winding as said ?rst and second contacts tend to separate,
and said relay including means for causing said armature
actuable switch means for coupling said device to said
to be de?ected and said second switch to positively open at
source of current, circuit means including second switch
substantially the peak value of a current cycle to thereby
means for permitting current to flow to said device after
the actuation of said ?rst switch means, said second switch 70 terminate preheating of said electrode and disrupt the
flow of current through said ballast reactor at substan
means including a relay armature associated therewith, and
tially the peak value of said current cycle whereby the
electromagnetic relay means including said armature and
initial voltage discharge produced by said ballast reactor
responsive to a variation in the flow of current through
occurs at said peak value of said current cycle to thereby
said electromagnetic relay means for eifecting a de?ection
of said armature and thereby actuating said second switch 75 start said electric discharge device upon the initial im
3,086,141
?
pressing of ballast reactor produced voltage across said
electrodes.
0
w
circuit means, said core having a winding connected
across said electrodes.
10. A starter as set forth in claim 9 wherein said
means included in said relay comprise a low coercive
force material.
11. A starting circuit as set forth in claim 2 wherein
said time delay circuit means is connected across said
electrodes and includes a switch actuated by the armature
of a relay, said armature being of low coercive force
material.
10
1.12. A starting circuit as set forth in claim 11 wherein
said relay includes a core of low coercive force material
for de?ecting said armature to break said time delay
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
UNITED STATES PATENTS
2,155,816
2,181,294
Babb ________________ __ Apr. 25, 1939
Biggs _______________ __ Nov. 28, 1939
2,341,520
2,378,222
Babb ________________ __ Feb. 15, 1944
Inman _______________ __ June 12, 1945
530,098
Great Britain __________ ~_ Dec. 4, 1941)
FOREIGN PATENTS
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