rokal_gw

Recommendations for a 400 Watt MH Ballast

rokal
12 years ago

Can anyone recommend a 400 Watt Metal Halide Remote Ballast and/or complete kit? Is there anything special I should be watching out for?

I am willing to "cry once" and spend the up front cost for a digital/electronic ballast.

Does anyone have experience with any of these:

Future-Brite 400 Watt - 120 Volt Remote Digital Ballast

Galaxy 400 Watt Digital MH / HPS Ballast

Lumatek 400 Watt Electronic (digital) ballast 120 Volt

DIGITAL GREENHOUSE 400 watt HPS & MH Ballast

Any recommendations or advice would be appreciated. I am looking to grow tropicals in a 4'x4' area.

Thanks,

Rokal

Comments (48)

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Look at pulse start metal halide. Everything you've shown is old technology. Pulse start has higher initial lumens, a better arc tube for more efficient lighting and very importantly much more maintained lumens. You can find the complete kit in aquarium shops, look around for the best prices, and if you're on a budget go to businesslights.com
    and they will sell you the pulse start kit for 50$, and you'll have to buy the lamp cord, line cord and box separately, and wire it all up yourself, but you can easily do this if you have some spare time. I use a lumenmax reflector that you can also get for less than $100 and is designed for a 4'x4' area.
    Business lights . com will sell the Venture pulse start lamps to you for about 30$, they work just as well as any
    specialty horticultural lamp, I've used them myself. I've just recommended to you exactly what I've done myself.
    Paul Mozarowski.

  • shrubs_n_bulbs
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Its definitely looking at pulse start technology. Your are prepared to make the up-front investment to get the best performance, and pulse start on an electronic ballast is the best performance.

    There is every chance that the combined ballasts you list will operate pulse start metal halide lamps, but no guarantees. Pulse start metal halides are essentially HPS bulbs filled with a different gas, but they are slightly harder to start than HPS. It is possible that an HPS ballast, especially a remote one on a long cable, may not be able to start a metal halide bulb so you should really look for a ballast designated for pulse start. I notice that the usual online hydro stores have not really embraced this technology although it is now pretty much standard issue for business and industrial lighting.

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I was unable to find any fully assembled, remote, pulse start electronic ballasts. It seems that the aquarium shops are selling pulse start magnetic ballasts.

    Do you have any links you can share for fully assembled, pulse start electronic ballasts since I am not up for building my own?

    Thanks,

    rokal

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi Rokal, I haven't been able to find a source of electronic pulse start, but it seems to me the main advantage of the electronic PS is that it is dimmable, and this is important for commercial applications where they can dim the light if there is more sunlight, and put them on full power in the evening when it's darker. I can't find a clear advantage to using an electronic PS for our growers applications. The electronic ballast might use a few less watts, I don't really think this is too significant. Paul Mozarowski.

  • shrubs_n_bulbs
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    HID Electronic ballasts use 10%-20% less electricity, depending on just how bad the comparison magnetic ballast is. HID electronic ballasts may be high frequency or low frequency, but the high frequency versions do not get anything like as much increase in light as a high frequency fluorescent ballast does. Electronic ballasts also increase the lifetime of the bulbs and improve lumen maintenance by approximately as much again as a pulse start system does, down to better control of the starting pulses. Increasing numbers of electronic ballasts also offer the ability to (safely) run either metal halide or HPS bulbs. This feature is available on some magnetic ballasts but you have to switch it over manually for each bulb.

    Sorry, I couldn't find an online supplier of an electronic pulse start ballast (in 400W+ powers), despite several manufacturers making them in quantity for the commercial lighting market. Bug your preferred lighting supplier and ask them why they only stock obsolete technology ;)

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks shrubs and object16.

    Since I wasn't able to locate a pulse start electronic ballast, I found a slightly used Lumatek electronic ballast and Hydrofarm radiant reflector that was too cheap to pass up.

    I contacted Lumatek and confirmed that this ballast will not power a pulse start MH lamp.

    I want to replace the MH lamp but was wondering if the high end grow lamps are worth the cash? Do you have any lamp recommendations? I am growing mostly large leafed tropicals for 5-6 months per year.

    My local box stores carries a Philips MH400/U, 37000 Itital Lumens, 24000 Mean Lumens, 4000k lamp for around $20. Can it be assumed that this bulb is open rated? I couldn't find this info on the Philips website.

    Thanks Again,

    rokal

  • shrubs_n_bulbs
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Ouch! Those bulb specs really hit home why I don't recommend old technology metal halides any more. The lumen maintenance is awful! Growers used to throw them away every six months because they had lost a third of their light output. You might do a little better on the electronic ballast but with a probe start bulb it is always going to be a problem.

    Metal halide ballasts will never operate pulse start lamps, they don't have an igniter circuit. HPS ballasts usually will although occasionally they might not. Similarly, switchable ballasts will normally operate a pulse start lamp (switched ty HPS mode). Pulse start lamps that are not designed for HPS ballasts (ie. "retro" lamps) may have a shortened life on an HPS ballast, but I feel that would still be better than replacing bulbs every few months.

    High end grow lamps offer all sorts of things, so whether to use one will depend on which one you look at and whether you want what it offers. Most commonly, the "extra" is a different spectrum, wider in some cases, more red in the case of ceramic metal halides.

    I think the MH400/U is a series rather than a specific lamp, its just an ANSI code for a 400W metal halide that operates in any orientation. You need to check the full designation of the Philips model number. I think all Philips O-rated bulbs have an "o" tagged on the end of the model number.

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I agree with shrubs, and it is very easy to wire together a metal halide pulse start ballast, the kit costs 50$ from businesslights.com and you just need the line cord, buy a lamp cord, ask your local sheet metal shop to make you a box, but since you already have an obsolete one, just salvage the box you already have and throw away the innards, and use the existing line cord and lamp cord. I think you probably still saved yourself money by doing it the way you did. Pulse start is totally obsolete. It will just cost you $50 + shipping to upgrade the obsolete ballast you just bought to state of the art. Regular generic pulse start lamps will work extremely well for growing. You can buy them as well from businesslights.com, for about 30 or 35$ a piece. Venture metal halide pulse start, horizontal +- 75 degrees, 4100K. They show the spectral output of the lamp, and it is just dandy for growing. You will save money down the line with many more lumens, the equivalent of running an extra half of a probe start lamp, your costs of lamp replacement will be way down, and your garden will grow much better. It's pretty well what I consider a no-brainer. Paul Mozarowski.

  • shrubs_n_bulbs
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Pulse start is totally obsolete

    Oops, just a minor typo ;)

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    After looking at the lumen maintenance for some of the pulse start lamps (40K Initial Lumens / 32K Mean Lumens), I will look into building the pulse start ballast. Object16, Do you have any pics of your custom build ballast and/or construction tips that you can share?

    One additional question... It seems that all of the 400 watt open rated (ANSI-O) lamps I'm seeing are for base-up or vertical mount fixtures. Am I missing something since most of the grow light reflectors sold on the market house horizontal positioned lamps?

    How big of a safety concern is this?

    It looks like my choices are:

    1)Use an open rated vertical lamp in a horizontal fixture
    2)Use a non ANSI-O lamp in a horizontal fixture and ignore the safety concerns
    3)Use a non ANSI-O lamp in a horizontal fixture and buy a glass enclosure for my reflector. Deal with the additional heat build-up inside the reflector.

    Rokal

  • shrubs_n_bulbs
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The Philips MasterColor range includes 400W O-rated bulbs for horizontal operation. These are designed for operation on any standard 400W HPS ballast.

    In general, base-up lamps will operate horizontally but performance will suffer, sometimes quite badly. Lifetime may also be reduced. In some cases they will not operate at all. You already know the issues with using E-rated lamps.

  • lermer
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    (Lermer) Do not run a vertical (BU) lamp horizontally. You would increase the danger of arc tube rupture. Philips does not make a horizontal MH rated for open fixtures.

    If you use a glass enclosure, you would lose at least 8% of the light (if the best possible Pyrex borosilicate glass) or 15% (if standard tempered glass). Some of this 8-15% is reflected from the glass back to the metal reflector, but this would mean the light would have to be reflected at least 2-3 times (before finally making it through the glass). The amount reflected by the glass is neglible, compared to the amount that is refracted or lost to heat. The amount that is both reflected by the glass and that makes it through the glass is vanishingly small.

    There are particularly heavy light losses in the UV, Violet, and Blue spectrums (through glass), depending on exact glass type (rarely is Pyrex borosilicate glass used). The subtraction of these spectrums hurts some functions of the plant.

    So the glass produces more heat (from light losses), and would require a fan/ducting to take the heat away. Typically the ducting is not smooth (resulting in more resistance to air flow) and is not insulated (resulting in heat losses to the room).

    Philips does make a Ceramic Metal Halide, vertical, that operates on standard MH magnetic ballasts. Probably they would work on your e-ballast. CMH has a full spectrum rated at about 85 CRI, excellent for plant growth.

    The main reason for going horizontal is to get as much direct light as possible; reflected light is not as good because of reflective losses and phase shift. A vertical bulb can be used as a side light; just surround your bulb with plants, most of the light will travel horizontally to leaf surfaces. However such a bulb with no reflector would be unpleasant to be around (because of the glare).

    "O" is not part of the ANSI code. The ANSI code for the MH400/U is M59; this designates the bulb and ballast pair type. When buying HID lighting, be sure to get advice from someone who is knowledgeable.

  • shrubs_n_bulbs
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    If you use a glass enclosure, you would lose at least 8% of the light (if the best possible Pyrex borosilicate glass) or 15% (if standard tempered glass). Some of this 8-15% is reflected from the glass back to the metal reflector, but this would mean the light would have to be reflected at least 2-3 times (before finally making it through the glass). The amount reflected by the glass is neglible, compared to the amount that is refracted or lost to heat. The amount that is both reflected by the glass and that makes it through the glass is vanishingly small.
    I see you still haven't read any high school physics textbook, or haven't understood it. I will explain one more time. Each air-to-glass surface reflects approximately 4% of the incident light, regardless of the type of glass. Much of this reflected light may be bounced straight back again depending on your reflector design. Thin sheets of glass absorb vanishingly little visible light, that is why they are transparent. And why do you keep going on about refraction, you clearly don't know what refraction is. Refraction is the bending of light at an interface between two media with different refractive indices, air and glass for example. Light which does not strike the surface straight on is bent slightly, forget about it, it is not lost and will still get to your plants.

    There are particularly heavy light losses in the UV, Violet, and Blue spectrums (through glass)
    Still wrong. Most UVB and a significant chunk of UVA are lost on passage through any glass or plastic shield, although remember that the integral shield of an open-rated bulb will already have knocked out most of these wavelengths. There is essentially no loss of visible (blue or violet) light beyond the 4% of all wavelengths which are reflected. If there was loss of particular wavelengths of light then the glass would be coloured.

    Philips does make a Ceramic Metal Halide, vertical, that operates on standard MH magnetic ballasts
    There is no ceramic metal halide that will start on a standard (probe start) metal halide ballast. Ceramic metal halide bulbs require an ignitor to start the arc. Standard metal halide bulbs above about 100W start using a probe inside the bulb, ignitors are included on pulse start ballasts and on HPS ballasts as well as ballasts specifically for ceramic metal halide bulbs. Low power, below about 100W, metal halide bulbs have always started using the pulse start mechanism and ceramic metal halide bulbs of suitable configuration could be used on the same ballast.

    The main reason for going horizontal is to get as much direct light as possible
    Absolute rubbish. Use a bulb in any orientation you want, in the correct reflector, at a suitable height. The shape of the illuminated area will be round with a vertical orientation because it should be used in a circular conical or parabolic reflector, while a horizontal orientation is best used in a rectangular reflector giving an approximately rectangular illuminated area. Neither is better, choose which suits you. Universal bulbs operate more effectively in a vertical position, choose a bulb designed specifically for horizontal operation if that is what you want.

    reflected light is not as good because of reflective losses and phase shift.
    Reflective losses are 10%-30% at each reflection. Are you making a calculation in your head that a slightly larger proportion of the light in a vertical orientation must be reflected to get to the plants? Perhaps you have forgotten that metal halide bulbs in horizontal orientation put out less light and have worse lumen depreciation? This is especially so for universal rated bulbs although it is less visible because it doesn't show on the spec sheets. Look in the footnotes of a quality supplier and you will see that the quoted specs on universal bulbs are for vertical operation, horizontal operation degrades output and bulb life. Phase shift? More gobbledygook. Metal halide light is not laser light, it is not coherent, phase shift is irrelevant. There is no constructive or destructive interference because the light is not coherent.

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    This has to be the crazyestestest; how so so many many basic physics are ignore again again and agin!
    "you would lose at least 8% of the light (if the best possible Pyrex borosilicate glass) or 15% (if standard tempered glass)."

    I guess fiber optics (light communication using glass. Light goes thru great lengths of glass fibers without significant loss) is a total myth.

    Amazing authority!

    dcarch

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Follow the link and they show how to wire the thing together, with pictures.

    Here is a link that might be useful: How to wire a ballast from kit form, with pics.

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The site that I gave a link to was intended to be able to be understood by cannabis growers, so all should be able to follow the directions there :) Please note, my growing is strictly legit, roses, bergamot and peppermint only. In my past life I have had considerable experience in other crops, but currently I'm totally legit. Leo and my employer gave me too much of a hassle, so I've given it up. My experience I think though gives me the credentials of being able to actually grow a real serious crop, or otherwise Leo would have had nothing to find, and there would have been nothing to hassle me about. My current crop of bergamot has lovely flowers though, they look like really nice colas,
    and I was growing them under T8 Phillips adv830's. Cheers,
    Paul Mozarowski

    Here is a link that might be useful: Directions designed to be understandable by anyone, even if totally high on cannabis :)

  • shrubs_n_bulbs
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    "O" is not part of the ANSI code.

    I just checked the relevant standard, reference ANSI_ANSLG C78.380-2007 (approved July 11th 2007), and a full ANSI lamp designation consists of three parts, a lamp type classification letter, such as M for standard metal halide, an electrical characteristic number, such as 59 for a typical 400W probe start metal halide, and the luminaire characteristic letter.

    Here are all the luminaire characteristic letters from that standard:

    O, open rated
    E, enclosed fixtures only
    F, enclosed fixture plus interlock meeting UL 1598
    S, open rated at certain orientations, otherwise enclosed
    X, special, consult manufacturer

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Another thread shows LL Lumen Lab with a very nice MH HPS electronic VUE ballast on sale for $125, looks like from the picture that it will fire up a pulse start metal halide lamp.
    Paul Mozarowski. Thread is called 400W ballast for sale.

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    "The Philips MasterColor range includes 400W O-rated bulbs for horizontal operation. These are designed for operation on any standard 400W HPS ballast."

    Shrubs, are you referring to the CDM400S51/HOR/4K/ALTO* MasterColor Metal Halide 400 Watt HPS-Retro White Horizontal Lamp?

    Object16, Thanks for the links to the wiring diagrams. Did you add any additional cooling devices (e.g. fans, heatsinks, etc.) to you ballast box?

    If the $125 LL/CoralVue ballast turns out to properly power pulse start lamps and Retro HPS lamps, I think I'll purchase one instead of building a magnetic PS ballast.

    Thanks,

    Rokal

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi Rokal, I just drill several holes in the top of the box to help let the warmth escape naturally. I don't think you need to do anything more, these magnetic ballasts are pretty rugged. I think electronic ballasts are more susceptible to heat injury, and I use a little fan to blow air on them, like
    a computer muffin fan type deal. Paul Mozarowski.

  • shrubs_n_bulbs
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    That's the one, Rokal. You absolutely can operate the Philips bulb on the LL/Vue ballast. But you can also run it on any other 400W HPS ballast.

    The tricky one is the normal pulse start bulbs, or most ceramic metal halides for that matter, which are specifically not rated to run on S51 HPS ballasts. Either you get a ballast designed to match the bulb or you take your chances on an electronic ballast being gentle enough not to blow them up :)

  • lermer
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    (Shrubs) "Each air-to-glass surface reflects approximately 4% of the incident light, regardless of the type of glass. Much of this reflected light may be bounced straight back again depending on your reflector design."

    (Lermer) Thanks for the 4% reflected info. Let us take the example of glass typically used in vented hoods, which is rated at 15% light loss (with no reflector). Even if we were to assume that 100% of the 4% makes it through the glass (after it is reflected by the reflector), that would still leave 8% that does not make it through. But not all of that 4% is reclaimed, because of multiple bouncing and reflective losses. And that doesn't even count the extra phase shifts.

    (Shrubs) "Most UVB and a significant chunk of UVA are lost on passage through any glass or plastic shield, although remember that the integral shield of an open-rated bulb will already have knocked out most of these wavelengths."

    (Lermer) Less than a majority of indoor growers even use standard halides, and of those who do, probably less than 1% use the open-rated bulbs with shield. Without this shield, tremendous amounts of UV light would be emitted, were the outer envelope removed. The more glass the light has to go through, the more the UV light is reduced. CMH produces more at the extremes, compared to standard halide.

    (Shrubs) "There is essentially no loss of visible (blue or violet) light beyond the 4% of all wavelengths which are reflected."

    (Lermer) You provide no references for your startling claim that glass does not absorb light. In reality, glass absorbs light, not just reflects:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_%28electromagnetic_radiation%29
    "The absorbance of an object quantifies how much light is absorbed by it (not all photons get absorbed, some are reflected or refracted instead)."

    (Shrubs) "If there was loss of particular wavelengths of light then the glass would be coloured."

    (Lermer) UV-b and UV-a are not in the visible spectrum. What is visible can vary from person to person, and definitions of what is Violet as oppoposed to ultra-violet also vary. Here is a source that says:

    http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761576625/Optics.html
    "...The visible range extends from about 350 nanometers (violet) to 750 nanometers (red)..."

    I'm having difficulty finding charts of transmission losses at various spectra, for the common glass rated at 85% transparent. However the charts you previously provided showed a significant drop-off in transmission above 400nm for some types, above 350nm for other types. The amount of visible light that is disproportionately absorbed is small, compared to the total amount absorbed across the visible spectrum.

    (Shrubs) "There is no ceramic metal halide that will start on a standard (probe start) metal halide ballast. Ceramic metal halide bulbs require an ignitor to start the arc."

    (Lermer) I said, "Philips does make a Ceramic Metal Halide, vertical, that operates on standard MH magnetic ballasts"

    Because of my experience with the 250 and 400 watt CMH retro-white bulbs, I had assumed that all required an HPS (or LL electronic) ballast. I powered a 100w cmh bulb on a 100w hps ballast, and it failed to work. I then tried a standard metal halide ballast, and it worked. The ANSI code in the bulb catalog tells the type of ballast that is required. In this case, M140/M90. The M90 is the earlier version of the same type of ballast. The 100w standard metal halide bulb has the same ANSI code.

    Standard Halide ballasts at that wattage do have an ignitor. Also some CMH operate on a pulse start metal halide ballast. But to call CMH bulbs "pulse-start metal halide" is confusing, because PSMH in standard usage refers to an entirely different type of bulb which requires a pulse-start magnetic ballast (or an appropriate electronic ballast). You could as easily call CMH a halide bulb; that is correct in one sense, but very confusing, because CMH differs radically from MH (and PSMH).

    (Shrubs) "Reflective losses are 10%-30% at each reflection. Are you making a calculation in your head that a slightly larger proportion of the light in a vertical orientation must be reflected to get to the plants?

    (Lermer) Particularly on clear vertical bulbs, a high proportion of the light goes out horizontally and is reflected downward (to the extent that the reflector covers the bulb). That results in much less direct light, than a horizontal.

    (Shrubs) Perhaps you have forgotten that metal halide bulbs in horizontal orientation put out less light and have worse lumen depreciation?"

    (Lermer) I'm aware of that, even emphasize that as a reason to not use standard metal halide. However with 400w CMH bulbs, the vertical and horizontal both have initial lumens of 20,500; and the horizontal has mean lumens of 29,600 while the vertical has mean lumens of 27,840.

    (Shrubs) "There is no constructive or destructive interference because the light is not coherent."

    (Lermer) I've already provided a reference indicating that some degree of some type of coherence (in light) is ubiquitous. Laser light is certainly not the only type of coherent light. So I must weigh your unsubstantiated opinion, against published and personal references. Your track record in physics is not outstanding; e.g. your assertion that glass does not absorb light, but only transmits or reflects/refracts light, is laughable.

    You have provided some useful information, thank you. However there are gaps in your knowledge; please keep an open mind. The same applies to me, so let's try to learn from each other, with respect.

  • shrubs_n_bulbs
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    ...because of multiple bouncing and reflective losses.
    You're just going to have to learn some basic optics before you can even ask sensible questions about this. Or at least read my replies to your previous posts until you actually understand them. Out of nowhere you have decided that a random figure of 15% you've mis-quoted from somewhere minus the 8% reflective losses I gave somehow proves that the remaining 8% (should be 7% but you got that wrong) then doesn't make it through by some mysterious process. That's all wrong. I don't know where you get that 15% from, maybe from some kind of filter? Maybe from smoked glass? Who knows. But transparent glass does not absorb even 1% of the light passing through a thin shield. Forget about it. Reflection can account for 8% or so(don't get hung up on the exact number, maybe 7%, maybe 10%, no matter) depending on where the reflections go. None of this is rocket science, stop going on about it.

    And that doesn't even count the extra phase shifts.
    Are you still insisting that reflections cause some kind of destructive (or perhaps constructive?) interference? You won't get interference at a macro level without coherent light. You can prove this for yourself with a twin slit experiment. Shine a laser on two narrow slits and you will get nice interference bands, do it with a metal halide lamp and you won't. End of story.

    You provide no references for your startling claim that glass does not absorb light
    I don't claim that glass doesn't absorb light. I state, as a fact, that thin sheets of transparent glass such as are used for windows and lamp shields, absorb such a tiny amount that you should shut up about it. Also, while there may be small variations in the tiny amount absorbed at different wavelengths, there is no significant amount absorbed at any visible wavelength. I do not need to mis-quote an article you googled but didn't understand because anybody with eyes can see this. Look through a window. Not coloured because it is too thin to absorb any meaningful amount of light at any wavelength and all wavelengths are reflected equally. Now look end-on at a sheet of glass. Its probably green, that's because fractionally more red and blue wavelengths are absorbed than green, and after passing through a couple of feet of glass the difference is visible. After passing through an eight of an inch it is neither visible nor relevant.

    I powered a 100w cmh bulb on a 100w hps ballast, and it failed to work. I then tried a standard metal halide ballast, and it worked. The ANSI code in the bulb catalog tells the type of ballast that is required. In this case, M140/M90.
    Now you really should know better. I can understand that you may have flunked high school physics but lighting is your job and you should know this one. All low power metal halide lamps use pulse start technology and always have. The M90 bulb and ballast is a pulse start ballast which starts the arc with an igniter, that why it is the same as an M140 ballast. Therefore there is no surprise that it starts a ceramic metal halide bulb because they also use pulse starting. Very often an HPS ballast of the same power will also work, but sometimes not as your experiment shows. Pulse start metal halide bulbs are harder to start than HPS arcs, not all HPS ballasts can handle it. Shorter leads on remote ballasts or leaving the ballast try and ignite the bulb for a long time may work sometimes.

    But to call CMH bulbs "pulse-start metal halide" is confusing
    Yes it is confusing, but you of all people need to understand that ceramic metal halides utilise pulse start technology to ignite the arc. That is why they are easy to run from an HPS ballast, but cannot ever be run from a probe start metal halide ballast, ever. And why pulse start quartz metal halides and ceramic metal halides will usually operate (whether designed to or not) on the same ballast.

    Particularly on clear vertical bulbs, a high proportion of the light goes out horizontally and is reflected downward ... That results in much less direct light, than a horizontal.
    Correct starting point but an invalid conclusion. If this were true then nobody would use vertical bulbs at all. The best vertical bulb luminaires achieve 95% of their light output reaching the illuminated surface, just the same as the best horizontal luminaires. There is no difference worth arguing about. I know just as many people who swear by one type as by the other, maybe they had a bad type of one or the other, I don't care. I just know that neither has a necessary significant advantage over the other, just get a good quality reflector bulb combination that provides the illuminated area that you need. And keep it clean!

    with 400w CMH bulbs, the vertical and horizontal both have initial lumens of 20,500; and the horizontal has mean lumens of 29,600 while the vertical has mean lumens of 27,840
    An interesting application of data. I suspect that for the lamp you are quoting, the lifetime of the vertical bulb is significantly longer, hence the mean lumens are being quoted at maybe 5,000 hours older than for the horizontal bulb. It is a fundamental fact that horizontal arc operation entails difficulties to do with halide vapour distribution, cold spot temperature and location, and arc curving. These can and have been designed for in universal and horizontal bulbs but whatever they do is always a compromise and a vertical bulb manufactured to the same quality will always perform better. Either the figures are being slightly massaged for some of these bulbs or they have deliberated compromised the performance of their vertical bulb.

    I've already provided a reference indicating that some degree of some type of coherence (in light) is ubiquitous.
    Your quotes and references are a joke. You mis-quote random sentences from various places some authoritative some not, without understanding what they mean. I tell you what actually happens, usually with a very simple way to prove it to yourself if you took the trouble. Have you looked at your reflection in a window at night yet?

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I suggest a 10x lifetime ban, to be commuted to 1 lifetime ban if he demonstrates remorse. Lermer gives the forum a bad name and should have his priviledges permanently revoked.
    Paul Mozarowski.

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I purchased the 400 watt CoralVue ballast and Philips MasterColor HPS-Retro bulb and went to fire them up for the first time tonight. The bulb lit, gradually increasing in intensity, for about 4-5 minutes before the light went totally red and I turned off the power. It was almost at full brightness and the ballast was drawing 440 watts.

    After it cooled, I inspected the bulb and noticed several hairline cracks in the arc tube and visible white residue on the outer envelope.

    Any thoughts? A bad bulb? A problem with the ballast?

    Thanks,

    Rokal

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Oh, you fell for the MasterColor marketing hype and bought one. Try the ballast with a Venture 400W pulse start MH lamp, and see what happens, you might get better luck.
    Paul Mozarowski.

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The main reason I went with the MasterColor HPS-Retro over a pulse start lamp is safety. I could not locate any open rated pulse start bulbs that can be operated horizontally.

    The vendor I ordered MasterColor bulb from is shipping me another one free of charge. I am just wondering if the new lamp will blow out too!

    Shrubs, you mentioned above that LL/Vue ballast would power the MasterColor bulb. Do you think it was a bad bulb?

    Thanks,

    Rokal

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Businesslights.com has suitable Venture horizontal pulse start lamps for $34 each. They have 40,000 initial lumens, they have a closed rating, but I would ignore this. The reason for this rating is just in case the lamp explodes. As long as you turn off a lamp once a week for 15 minutes, you should be safe from explosion. This is a very rare event, that is much less likely to occur in a pulse start lamp, compared to a probe start which is more vulnerable to this problem. In fact, pulse start lamps are safe to operate continuously with no shut down required at all.
    If however, you're concerned about safety, the Ushio lamp is rated for open horizontal operation, and starts with a lumen output of 41,000. Catalogue specs are as follows.
    400 5001374 MP400/U/MOG/40/PS M155/O ED28 Clear 4000 42000 / 41000 30500 / 30000 20000*/30000**
    Myself, I've never had any problem running e rated lamps in the open. They're mainly worried about the possibility of a lawsuit in case anyone gets injured by an exploding lamp.
    You can get Ushio lamps online. One site I found sells them for $37.00
    Paul Mozarowski.

  • lermer
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    (Rockal) Shrubs, you mentioned above that LL/Vue ballast would power the MasterColor bulb. Do you think it was a bad bulb?

    (Lermer) More likely, the e-ballast cannot power the MasterColor bulb, which is designed to run from a magnetic HPS ballast. The Life Light CMH bulb is designed to run on both the LL e-ballast and a magnetic HPS ballast, and has a higher CRI (95) compared to Philips (85).

    (Shrubs) "But transparent glass does not absorb even 1% of the light passing through a thin shield. Forget about it. Reflection can account for 8% or so(don't get hung up on the exact number, maybe 7%, maybe 10%, no matter) depending on where the reflections go. None of this is rocket science, stop going on about it."

    (Lermer) Where did you get the figure that "transparent" glass absorbs only 1% of the light?

    I did an experiment. I waited until dark, shut off all lights except a horizontal CMH with reflector. I placed a light meter under the light at a distance of about 4' and got a reading of 644 foot candles. I then got a glass barrier from a Sunlight Supplyl "vented hood". With the glass right below the reflector, I got 591 foot candles. With the glass barrier placed right above the light meter, I got 581 foot candles. A difference of 10 foot candles, because of the reclamation of light bounced off the glass barrier. That's a loss of 8.2% with the glass right under the reflector, and 9.8% right above the light meter. Only 1.6% is reclaimed because the glass bounces light back to the reflector.

    (Shrubs) "a vertical bulb manufactured to the same quality will always perform better"

    (Lermer) While it is true that the vertical CMH lasts longer than the horizontal, I recommend re-lamping well before the end of bulb life. Particularly on high-value crops, intensity is more important than bulb llife.

    There are several advantages of horizontal lights over vertical:

    1. horizontal lights have more direct light and hence potentially less reflective losses.

    2. cost of horizontal reflectors is much less than parabolic reflectors, because less reflective material is used.

    3. horizontal reflectors block less natural sunlight (in greenhouses), and are much easier to work with because of their small size.

    4. horizontal reflectors project light diagonally as well as vertically, so light rays are combined, causing multiple angles and less shadows on leaf surface.

    5. multiple horizontal lights have more uniform distribution of light because of lack of dark spot under the bulb. More intensity is under the bulb, but elsewhere multiple light patterns combine.

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I received the replacement Philips Mastercolor lamp and it too failed after about 4 minutes. This time the arc tube actually exploded.

    It looks like I am out $45 for the failed lamp. I contacted CoralVue and am awaiting there reply.

    Paul, thanks for the information on the USHIO open rated pulse strike lamp. I hope I have better luck with that lamp.

    Regards,

    Rokal

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Be sure to insist on a Ushio Pulse strike. I really trust the Ushio brand. Please let us know. It seems you can run that thing continuous, and it will last 30,000 hours under those conditions. Paul Mozarowski.

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    More bad new...

    I rec'd the Ushio pulse strike bulb in the mail but it was damaged. I'm awaiting a replacement to be shipped from the Mfg.

    In the meantime, I tried a standard Philips probe start from Home Depot. The ballast lit the bulb for a day. The next morning, the bulb wouldn't start. The fan was running on the ballast and the arc tube had a faint blue glow, but after almost 8 hours, no light.

    I am sending the ballast back to Vue for repair/replacement.

    Regards,

    Ron

  • object16
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Ouch! Paul Mozarowski.

  • lermer
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    "I received the replacement Philips Mastercolor lamp and it too failed after about 4 minutes."

    The 400w CMH by Philips is designed to run on a 400 or 430 watt HPS ballast. It can also run on a Life Light digital ballast, and that is the only electronic ballast that will run this type of bulb. The Life Light ballast is digital because it has a micro-processor for greater efficiency.
    It can power the 400w CMH because it is low frequency. The strobe is virtually eliminated by the square-wave design.

  • zink
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Nearly every manufacturer of HID ballasts have at least one line of electronic ballasts that will operate the Ceramic Metal Halide lamps, whether Philips or another brand of lamps. A quick look at several of the manufacturers specs shown they also tend to be "microprocessor controlled" (being able to say it's digital is sooo popular these days). All of these electronic ballasts are quite a bit more efficient than their magnetic counterparts, due to finer control of the waveshape and current. I tend to trust Advance for their solid designs.

    Resellers will try to make you think they have only viable product on the market for operating whatever they are touting. If people in this forum would learn how to locate the actual manufacturer's product literature, instead of relying on retailer's highly skewed information, a lot of these misleading posts would disappear.

    Over the years, I have visited over a hundred gardening/hydroponic sites and found only ONE of them to be completely honest, and most of the rest to be EXTREMELY misleading. The alternative to reading that crap is to learn how to find the ACTUAL MANUFACTURERs of the products. Also, visit agricultural universities and read either lessons, abstracts, or experimental research results. I have collected over a thousand PDFs of real information on every aspect of lighting and photosynthesis. Most of what I read here lately is very uniformed, or highly one-sided. People really need to learn how to use GOOGLE. The info is findable.

    I don't mean to exclude everyone, but one of the only long-standing persons here in this forum who consistently gives good common sense advice seems to be Watergal.

    Zink

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thank you Zink for the good advice.

    dcarch

    BTW, feeling better these days?

  • zink
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Yes, I am doing fine. A follow-up CATscan shows only inactive scar tissue. The worst side-effect I had was something called "chemobrain", which has finally gone away. I could not remember a damn thing, which was a pleasant introduction to a possible future of senility.

    My spare time no longer involves perusing this forum, except on occasion. I am too busy re-learning to play my mandolin, along with my guitar and violin. It is great mood therapy.

    By the way, for many years I have been getting some of the best information possible - at the sci.eng.lighting newsgroup. Unfortunately, it has recently been under some sort of junk flooding attack by somebody and has been difficult to maintain a conversation. The regulars at that newsgroup are scientists, researchers, electrical engineers and PhD's, along with a variety of lighting industry specialists - NONE of which are trying to sell you ANYTHING! Many of them, including Jeff Waymouth, a PhD who I believe currently runs Sylvania's research division. He, and his father John, were involved in the research and development of nearly every current type of lamp sold by Sylvania. John Waymouth has written some of the definitive books and research papers on Electrical Discharge Lighting, covering both HID and fluorescent lamp functions. Every lighting expert has one or more of his books. I have been given information directly from actual research notes on lamps. Also engineers from GE and other types of lighting industries do their best to answer good questions. They usually go off on tangents and discuss items among themselves that you would never hear elsewhere.

    For some spectral info, you should visit the website of another regular, Ioannis Galidakis, PhD., a greek mathemetician who loves to collect light sources and photograph the spectra. Check it out at:

    http://ioannis.virtualcomposer2000.com/spectroscope/amici.html#colorphotos

    His Spectroscopy page is interesting, too:

    http://ioannis.virtualcomposer2000.com/spectroscope/index.html

    Zink

  • lermer
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    (Zink) "Nearly every manufacturer of HID ballasts have at least one line of electronic ballasts that will operate the Ceramic Metal Halide lamps, whether Philips or another brand of lamps."

    (Lermer) Please provide links showing ANY digital ballast besides Life Light that runs 400w ceramic metal halide.
    Zink is misleading here because that is what we are talking about, 400w and not the lower wattages like 100w or 150w.

    That is because the 400w CMH bulb operates at low frequency. The Lumatek e-ballast perates at 22,000 cycles per second and the Galaxy e-ballast operates at 45,000 cps. The Life Light Digi-Max digital ballast operates at 100 cps (hertz). The ripple is virtually eliminated by the square wave design of the Life Light circuit.

    I'm not at all impressed by Zink's name-dropping of Sylvania research engineers. First off, Sylvania was purchased by Osram, because their technology is obsolete and they failed in the market.

    Many years ago, I talked with their former research engineer for horticultural lighting, and encouraged Sylvania to market a 3K MH. This they did, but to get the redder spectrum they applied a thicker phosophor coating thus reducing total output. Dr. Norton at the Mt. Vernon ag station tested Sylvania's gro-lux in 1969 and found it to be the worst bulb, good spectrum but lower output. In short, everything Sylvania has tried to do for horticulture has failed.

  • hikmet1001
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Zink wrote> Over the years, I have visited over a hundred gardening/hydroponic sites and found only ONE of them to be completely honest, and most of the rest to be EXTREMELY misleading.


    Can you please share the name of the websites with us.


    Zink wrote> I have collected over a thousand PDFs of real information on every aspect of lighting and photosynthesis.
    I would really appreciate if you could share these documents via depositfiles. I for example am very eager to learn. And you would at least help one person in gaining knowledge. I know that everybody should do their own research but if others could continue from what you collected amny thanks would go to you

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Here is an update...

    I rec'd a replacement lamp from Ushio and it too was damaged. After some run-around, I found out that this bulb has been recalled by Ushio and that there is no ETA for a replacement.

    CoralVue sent me a replacement ballast and it is functioning fine with a Phillips probe start bulb.

    I am still searching for an open rated, horizontal orientation, pulse start lamp.

    Regards,

    Rokal

  • lermer
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    (Rokal) "I am still searching for an open rated, horizontal orientation, pulse start lamp."

    (Lermer) Life Light technology is used to make PSMH and CMH bulbs that are horizontal/vertical and open fixture rated. I can understand why you want such a bulb, horizontal is usually better than vertical (depending on how you grow), and the glass barrier converts about 10% of the light immediately into heat. Also the UV-B range is virtually eliminated, resulting in less potency for plants that produce phenolic compounds.

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    More ballast woes...

    After putting the ballast on a 15 Amp Heavy Duty Mechanical Timer, the ballast no longer powers the probe start lamp.

    The timer is plugged into a GFCI outlet on a dedicated circuit with nothing else plugged into it.

    If I plug the ballast directly into the GFCI outlet it works fine.

    The manufacturer is claiming that there is some electrical interference between the ballast, timer and GFCI.

    This sux.

    Rokal

  • lermer
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What manufacturer claimed "electrical interference
    between the ballast, time, and GFCI"? That doesn't
    sound like a plausible explanation. Perhaps there
    is some kind of problem with your wiring; e.g.,

    *do you use a splitter that also limits line voltage
    spikes? These can degrade the quality of the power
    applied to your ballast.

    *Perhaps there is a defect in your timer.

    *you don't really need a GFCI, unless you are within
    6' of water, or your breaker is more than 20 amp.
    Try substituting a regular recepticle instead of
    the GFCI. The GFCI might be interefering, particularly
    if you have an electronic ballast.

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    (lermer:)
    What manufacturer claimed "electrical interference
    between the ballast, time, and GFCI"? That doesn't
    sound like a plausible explanation.

    Vue Technologies

    (lermer:)

    Perhaps there is some kind of problem with your wiring; e.g.,
    *do you use a splitter that also limits line voltage
    spikes? These can degrade the quality of the power
    applied to your ballast.

    I do have a male/female quick disconnect on the output chord. However, this was happening prior to installation of the quick disconnect.

    (lermer:)
    *Perhaps there is a defect in your timer.

    This exact timer works with other electrical devices, including racks of T-8 florescents with electronic ballasts.

    (lermer:)
    *you don't really need a GFCI, unless you are within
    6' of water, or your breaker is more than 20 amp.
    Try substituting a regular recepticle instead of
    the GFCI.

    The outlet is within 6 ft. of water. The outlet is powered by a dedicated 15 Amp Circuit. No other electronics use this circuit.

    I have replaced the GFCI with a standard recepticle and the problem still exists.

    (lermer:)
    The GFCI might be interefering, particularly
    if you have an electronic ballast.

    Doesn't this contradict your first statement?

    Rokal

  • zink
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    hikmet,

    Im sorry I did not notice your questions, but I really had no desire to return to this thread. I thought I remember adding that one "remarkably honest" gardening site to my bookmarks, but I searched both home and at work and did not find the site. I have little desire to visit commercial grow sites. I get most all of my information by visiting and searching horticultural/agricultural institutions for plant and light information. I find reading retail hype makes me depressed and a bit angry. As for my collections of data it is loosely organized (if at all) and most of my collected PDFs have uninformative names like "p-5947.pdf", which does not tell you what is inside the file(that one is a Philips 250/400w Retro-White CMH brochure). I have wanted to organize them, but it would require a LOT of my time. At least I have read most all of them. I also get a lot of my info by searching for manufacturers technical data, which they almost always have available on their sites if they are reputable. Lucky for me, I also have made friends with various industry tech folks, so I can usually get better, in-depth explanations when I need them. I often try to qualify the integrity my information by naming my source(s), but as you may have seen, some people confuse that with name dropping. I do it to assure you my information is more than a "snake-oil" sales pitch. (I get e-mails from a librarian friend who footnotes EVERTHING she sends me.) I highly recommend learning to use Google (or equivalent search tool) to locate and narrow your search to find information. It is out there. I will try and write good, honest advice when I have more time.

    Rokal,
    I hope you found your bulb by now. Open-rated pulse-start lamps are now manufactured by most ALL of the major light manufacturers. Philips identifies theirs by the terms "Protected" or "O-Rated". And you should know this before ANY of the major lighting manufacturers (Philips, GE, Venture, Sylvania, etc) come out with a new variation of a lamp which requires a ballast, they ALWAYS have an arrangement with a major ballast manufacturer who will begin providing the necessary product to accompany the bulb. To not plan otherwise would be an enormously stupid act for a global company. And they will usually name the collaborating ballast manufacturer(s) in a press release well before their lamp hits the market. To think a major manufacturer might be waiting around for some little-known, small company to decide to develop the support ballast for their investment would truly imply a lack of knowledge of the industry.

    I think I will soon write an explanation of why an HID in a horizontal position has less output (and is more fragile). When I do, I will explain how to best position a horizontal bulb, and explain exactly what is going on inside! And why polycrystalline aluminate (ceramic tube) is an improvement over silicon dioxide (quartz tube).

    Also, a ground-fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) device is a great safety innovation, now being required, by code, in home and industrial locations. Basically, it detects any small difference in current flow between the HOT and the NEUTRAL terminals of an outlet, and shuts off immediately if a difference exists. The GFCI device will do this well before a harmful dose of juice can impact a person. If there is any leakage to ground it will trip.

    Zink

  • lermer
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Zink said:
    "I think I will soon write an explanation of why an HID in a horizontal position has less output (and is more fragile). When I do, I will explain how to best position a horizontal bulb, and explain exactly what is going on inside! And why polycrystalline aluminate (ceramic tube) is an improvement over silicon dioxide (quartz tube)."

    (Lermer) The Philips 400w CMH (ceramic metal halide) is full spectrum, desired generally by plants that have evolved under natural sunlight. The horizontal CMH has a mean lumen rating of 29,600, while the vertical is only 27,840 lumens. The bulb life of the horizontal CMH is 15,000 hours while the vertical lasts 20,000 hours. The extra bulb life of the vertical is useless for high value crops, since you should re-lamp well before the end of bulb life.

    Horizontal is generally better for plant growth:
    1. less reflective losses because more of the light comes directly off the bulb to the leaf surface
    2. diagonal light is better with mutliple lights because fringe areas can be combined and light hits the leaf surface from multiple angles
    3. horizontal lights do not have a dark spot under the bulb, while vertical does.

  • rokal
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Zink,

    I am still looking for a 400 watt open rated pulse start lamp that can be operated horizontally (according to mfg. specifications).

    My Coral Vue electronic ballast basically exploded a 400 watt Philips MasterColor HPS-Retro lamp.

    According to multiple vendors, the Ushio 400 watt open rated pulse start lamp has been recalled.

    If you know of any others, please let me know.

    Thanks,

    Rokal

  • lermer
    12 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I believe Venture makes 400w horizontal PSMH. The only e-ballast that will run the CMH HPS-Retro White is the GE Ultramax 250-400w. The bulb will work on this, however it is not rated officially for this ballast so there will probably be less efficiency. GE does make a CMH bulb rated for their e-ballast, however, at present it is available only in the vertical orientation (and horizontal is better). The properly rated bulb has a higher output than the hps retro.

    The CMH will not work on high frequency e-ballasts. Most e-ballasts are high frequency because this reduces the 60 cycle strobe effect. The GE e-ballast uses square at 100 cps, with very little ripple.