Discussion in 'General Reef Topics' started by kcbrad, Apr 20, 2010.
Join 3reef now to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.
So many ballasts and lights are on this thread that it is tough to keep them straight.
horkn, I don't know enough about the product specs of even nearly a fraction of all the ballasts out there to make a call in any way about what your friend uses... Are these all electronic ballasts, or could some be magnetic?
To make any distinction, I would need to know the OEM manufacturer of the ballast, not the fixture. Any chance your EE friend can chime in about his results so we aren't talking anecdotally? If he's an EE, then I am sure he is aware of leakage current and will understand EMI filters, even if he has never dealt with them before. Maybe you could show him this thread so we can have his input?
To help clear things up a little about GFCI use with some ballasts...
Right now, the facts we have are:
1. Too much leakage current can cause a GFCI to trip.
2. EMI Filters often have leakage current due to their inherent design limitations.
3. Electronic ballasts often use EMI filters, as required by the FCC. If there is no EMI filter, then the ballast is not operating on approved standards.
4. Phillips admits to having too much leakage current in their "Advance" ballast design for use with a GFCI and recommends using an internal mains fuse in the fixture for safety instead of a GFCI.
5. Sylvania has issued a paper on their electronic ballast designs recommending that they not be used with GFCI due to leakage current. They recommend using magnetic ballasts in critical situations where GFCI's are required (in hospitals).
Looks like mag ballasts for the win. They are technically better ballasts anyhow. I knew I should have gotten these. 250W Reeflex Cube HQI Ballast by Aqua Medic* - AquaCave. Anybody want to buy 3 Vertex ballasts?
I emailed the company using the form on the Vertex Aquaristik website last night, but they haven't responded... they do not provide any other contact info, so it may be difficult to track them down... I would need to know the OEM manufacturer and model # of the ballast that VA is using in your fixture to take this any further.
I wouldn't be too worried about it either, for now.
Let's split the issues into two parts: 1. GFCI's 2. Interference
About the interference - Are you experiencing this only when the light fixture is turned on? Does it go away when turned off?
cool! My mind has been made up for quite a while, and I'm planning on getting one... my automation is going to get nuts once I have it installed...;D
As far as my friends ballasts, it's not anecdotal because I have maintained his tanks for enough months to know mostly what he has. I can see if he wants to chime in here. I know he is signed up on 3reef. He's been an EE at Rockwell Automation for over 16-17 years.
All but the 70w and 150w MH ballasts are electronic. The 150 I am pretty sure is magnetic, and the 70w is whatever is cheaper, I would guess magnetic as well.
Also, the 3 foot 4x39 teklight was retrofitted to a workhorse ballast because the original ballast went out.
Zach, electronic ballasts definitely have their place. Ones like the lumateks can OD and drive HQI as well. One thing e ballasts do really well is make mh bulbs last longer.
I know - I don't care about bulb life, or over-driving the bulb, though. The AquaMedic mag cubes drive HQI's as well. I'll replace the bulbs every 6-8 months regardless.
horkn, can you find your ballast model number on this page of Fulham Workhorse ballasts:
Fulham - SpecSheets
There are about 40 different ones!
horkn, this is still very difficult to distinguish what your friend is using. Are you sure he has e-ballasts plugged into GFCI's? If so, what manufacturer and model # ballasts is he using? having him chime in would probably be better...
Not really, Zach. They might suit your particular needs more appropriately here, but electronic ballasts are worlds superior than magnetic. Magnetic ballasts are heavier, create a tremendous amount of heat, are more prone to creating bulb flicker, and over time will lose their integrity and begin to hum as the internal components loosen.
Electronic ballasts are victim to none of the above magnetic drawbacks. They are also worlds more efficient.
Not making an argument here, but in case newb's are reading, electronic ballsts are the natural evolution from magnetic. Someday there will be something better, but electronic ballasts are widely considered to be the state of the art.
I agree ReefSparky... there's no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater...
Vertex has a pretty website, but I can't tell you much else about them or the quality of their ballasts... let's try and figure out who makes their ballasts and take it from there.
Separate names with a comma.