How to easliy tell if you have a magnetic ballast or electronic ballast?

Method One - Use your smart phone camera

Stand under the light or a place close to the light and point your cell phone camera at the light.
  • If you can see some strong dark strips flickering in your camera, it must be a magnetic ballast based light.
  • Otherwise it should be an electronic ballast based light.
The ideal distance between the light and the camera is less than two metres. The closer the better. An example of flickering and non-flickering effects is shown below. This method is very efficient if the light is hung not very high.

Flickering effect of magnetic ballast lights   Non-flickering effect of electronic ballast lights

Method Two - Look for starters

All magenetic ballast lights have starters. The starter emits light before the main tube is lighted up when you switch on a fluroscent tube light. The light colour is normally orange and quite noticable in a dark room. You should also be able to see it in most time if the battern is not covered.

starter  starter lit with orange light