Magnetic vs. electronic halides?

Discussion in 'Filtration, & Other Equipment' started by oimate842005, May 1, 2006.

  1. oimate842005

    oimate842005 Gem Tang LARC Supporter

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    Nola exile in Florida
    Whats the main reasons electronic ballasts are better then magnetic? Is it more PAR/intensity, more efficient in energy consumption, etc?...just want to weigh some reasons into maybe swapping out my magnetic ballasts for electronic ones...if I do, ill go for 3x250watts insted of my current 3 x 175watt setup
  2. Hey Oimate =)

    When I upgraded my lighting I learned a ton from both Electric130 and Cnidarian Reef. Here's the ballast basics from Electric130.

    250w example:
    Probe start: ANSI: M58, core, capacitor
    Pulse start: ANSI: M138, core, capacitor, ignitor
    HQI: ANSI: M80, core, capacitor, ignitor
    EYE: ANSI: H37, core, capacitor, actually a mercury vapor ballast
    Electronic: ANSI: none, metal box with wires

    probe start will run american bulbs with ignitors built into the bulbs like coralife and venture bulbs. some german and euro bulbs will run fine on these, but without an ignitor, the bulb struggles to light and bulb life may be decreased. also reliabilty goes down.

    pulse start will run the german/euro bulbs (ushio, AB, radium, etc.) these bulbs don't have built in ignitors, so the ballast has the ignitor wired into the circuit. the ignitor provides the high voltages needed to fire the bulb. you can run probe start bulbs on these ballasts, but the two ignitors may try to fight each other and possibly cause a fire.

    HQI ballasts are similar to pulse starts in their wiring and ability to run bulbs. the output is a little higher which is meant to run the double-ended bulbs (commonly called HQI bulbs). people run mogul bulbs on these and they run a little hotter and brighter because they are being overdriven. this in turn shortens the life of the bulbs.

    EYE ballasts are mercury vapor ballasts. they are similar to a probe start ballast, but the only bulb you can run on these are Iwasaki 6500K bulbs (because these are actually MV bulbs, not MH bulbs like most think). the ballast will damage MH bulbs if you try to run one on it.

    Electronic. ahhh, the great electronics. these will run any bulb at the rated wattage: probe start, pulse start, iwasakis, DE (double ended-HQI). if you think you might change your mind in the future, get an electronic. you can change bulbs to whatever you want and not have to worry about the ballast being the wrong type. electronics run cooler (a magnetic MH ballast will burn your hand if you touch the coil after it's been running for awhile). they also use less energy.

    View the entire thread here.

    Ok, I want to add something about that last part where he says electronic ballasts use less energy. They do, and maaaan do the manufacturers love to brag about it. But when I crunched my own numbers I wasn't all that impressed.

    My 250 watt AROs ended up costing me $140 each. I could have gotten magnetic for around $55. So my initial set up cost me $85 (x4) more to go electronic.

    With a 10 hour photo period, my old tar ballasts cost me a whopping 22 cents (x4) a day to run. My new AROs have an energy savings of up to 25%. So at max savings I'm now at 6 cents a day, saving me 16 cents.

    $85 / $.16 = 531 days, or 1.5 years to repay intial difference (at best!)

    Don't get me wrong, I love my electronic ballasts! I've already changed bulb types on it twice, so I sure appreciate thier flexability. But the energy savings are not as phenomenal as the sellers sometimes make it out to be.

    And I thought I'd give you the link to Cnidarian Reef's ballast and lamp comparison page cause its great!
  3. oimate842005

    oimate842005 Gem Tang LARC Supporter

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    Nola exile in Florida
    casie...great breakdown of the lighting..its not much savings initially, but over time seems like it pays off..thanks for the help!
  4. It may cost slightly more in power, but you're getting slightly more in PAR. The electronics run cheaper because the use less power. They run nearly the exact same wattage as the bulbs are rated. I wouldn't go elec. on the basis of avoiding cost. They might be a better bet as far as longevity is concerned. JMO
  5. Ya'll forgot to mention that electronic ballast are a hell of alot cooler to touch than magnetic.
  6. good point
  7. factor in that utility bills will only go up, I am glad I have electronic ones on all my bulbs., flour. and mh
    Cleco jacked up their rates on us just a few months ago. $50.00 jump in one month! Actually used slightly less elect than the month before the rate increase. RAT BASTIDS! :evil:
    Gotta be a way to hack my meter....anyone know of any websites about doing this???? :lol: j/j

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