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This paper presents an approach to reduce the size of low-frequency square-wave (LFSW) ballasts by using a single stage for resonant ignition and LFSW operation together with soft-saturation magnetic material and digital control techniques. Inductor design constraints are developed to leverage the nonlinear inductor behavior and achieve both size reduction and desirable performance in lamp ignition, warm-up, and normal operation modes. The digital controller provides multiple functions, including 1) a phase-controlled resonant sweep to achieve reliable lamp ignition and device protection with zero-voltage switching despite the nonlinear tank inductance, 2) lamp ignition detection and rapid transition to LFSW mode for lamp warm-up, 3) fast LFSW polarity transitions with optimal timing control for acoustic resonance free operation, and 4) two-loop feedback control. A fast current control loop limits and stabilizes the lamp current and rejects large ripple from the power factor correction (PFC) stage in order to reduce the size of the PFC output capacitor. A slow power control loop rejects variations in the lamp characteristics during warm-up and lamp aging. Experimental results are presented showing successful ignition and operation of a 150-W high-intensity discharge lamp.