How to Test an HID Bulb

Metal halide bulbs, high-pressure sodium bulbs and mercury lamps make up the family of high-intensity-discharge (HID) lighting. A ballast serves as a lamp starter and regulates power to the light. The ballast assembly consists of a transformer, capacitor and lamp starter sized for the specific type of lamp.

High-intensity discharge lighting.

Step 1

Examine the bulb for signs it has burned out. A mercury HID bulb exhibits a blackening at the end of the arc tube. High-pressure-sodium lamps and metal-halide lamps do not exhibit obvious symptoms when power is off.

Step 2

Check the specifications on the ballast. An incorrect lamp-and-ballast combination will exhibit the same symptoms as a bad bulb. If the bulb is rated at 100 volts and 150 watts, the ballast characteristics must match.

Step 3

For high-pressure sodium lamps, use a known good bulb to first ensure the ballast and starter are operable. Once verified, insert the suspect bulb and test operation.

Damon Hildebrand

Damon Hildebrand is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. He has more than 15 years within the oil and gas industry in both technical and managerial positions. Hildebrand has been a technical writer and communicator for the last four years. He is a certified specialists in lubrication and tribology, as well as a certified maintenance and reliability professional.