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Thread starter #1
I'm limited on cash but what would be a good ballet to start with and what kind of bulb would I need. I'm only doing one plant.lowrider to start.self flowering auto. I'm lost on the whole ballistic thing. All new to me. I got good ventaltion and air flow. My space is 2x3x5'... Help please!
2 different kinds of ballast.
Magnetic are cheaper and you can buy 250w, 400w, 600w + 1000w.
Digital ballasts are usually switchable meaning if you buy a 1000w ballast you can switch it to 400w or 600w as well as have it running at full capacity 1000w.

if you have a 600w bulb, you need a 600w ballast. and so on.

Depending on the kind of plant you're growing (auto/photo) should decide which type(s) of bulb you need. The 4 major types of bulb are Flourescent (and compact flourescent), LED, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium. The latter 2 are classed as HID (high intensity discharge) lights, which you need a ballast for.
They all depend on your preference. Some have different lumens per watt and different colours like blue or red light. ideally for veg you need more blue light and flowering you will want more red/orange light. The colour is measured in K. the higher the K the more blue/white light and the lower the k the more red/yellow light.
They all cost different amounts to buy and run and some produce more heat than others. You should take that into consideration relative to where you live. If it's really hot where you are, you probably won't want a huge 1000W hps light kicking out even more heat that you have to cool to stop the plant suffering, adding more cost to your grow. So you'd be sensible looking into cfl's or led lighting.
If you're in a cold climate, a light which produces heat which will need little cooling to keep the plant comfortable is probably a good option. Paying a little more for optimum conditions to your situation will increase your yield over the long run and end up being more cost effective.

It's all a matter of finding what you need to best suit your needs. Without a lot more information I doubt many people will be able to help you. They know relatively nothing about your grow space/room. There is no "this is the best for $100" but you would probably be advised to go for a 400w hps on 18/6 straight through for your auto lowryder.

Do a little more research on lighting then you will know yourself :)
Hope this helped you.
Thread starter #4
I seen a ballast that was 150w. Could I use it and my CFL's in the space I have.right now I have 4 qft but it has great ventilation one twin window fan bringing air in and one blowing it out. Also I can raise the top up to 5'4" if needed. I'm really putting all I got in to this. Also is it possible to get good soil from the Walmart? If so what kind? What kinds should I stay away from. Thanks all.
CFLs don't run off a ballast, they just plug into the lamp socket.

a ballast runs High Intensity Discharge lamps like High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or Metal Halide (MH), which tend to be 250w, 400w, 600w & 1000w units
with HPS/mh you'll want somewhere close to 50watts per sqft. 70 watts for cfl's. So I believe you woud be good at 4 sqft to be able to use the 150W HPS and 4 23w CFL's to get the ight you need but a 250watt HPS woud be better. I'm not sure what walmart has to offer in soils but don't get prefertiized soil, it's bad for seedlings( the extra nutes burns them) and the time release nutes they use it aren't timed very well.
Thread starter #7
Thanks guys. Sorry I didn't get back to reply sooner.my internet was down for a couple days. I think I will go with a 250w HPS. Right now I have 4sq ft with 565 actual watts putting out just over 36,000 lumens. All cfl...none bigger than a 65w bulb. Pain in my ass. Thanks all...
Magnetic ballasts use more electricity and can be noisy. I have not heard of digital ballasts tripping circuits, not saying it does not happen just the first time I have heard of it. If you do have a GFCI outlets, I would replace them and buy a digital ballast.
Thread starter #12
Just wondering. I was thinking about a 150w bellast I seen. I only grow 1 to 3 plants at a time and right now I'm using 565w of cfl.4-65w 6500k veg and 2-20w 155w 4-65w 1-55w and 8-23w all 2700k for flowering. My question is can use my cfl,s with a150w sodium setup? For under growth and around the lower parts of the plant?
Thread starter #14
I'm going to get the 150 sodium setup and see how it goes I guess. For the money I have put into into just cfl,s I could have payed for the sodium set up already. Money is hard to come by right now. I'm on a fixed income so its hard. I haven't even smoked in 3 months because I have put every dime I get into this and still haven't got hardly any thing out of it. I'm really getting frustrated.
CFLs are the problem mate, I ran them at first, too, then realised the same money in HPS would get me what I wanted.

I have a spare 600w HPS lamp & ballast that I would donate to you if the forum allowed it, and if shopping wouldn't cost more then buying a new one on your side of the pond :Namaste:
Thread starter #16
I appreciate the thought. I found a new 150w sodium complete set up a little bit ago on the net for a good price.$52.00 plus shipping. 16000 lumens mixed with my cfl,s should be great for what I grow. I could probably do 4 plants. I don't have room for any more anyway. Thanks.
Thread starter #18
I'm trying to grow short riders under cfl,s.thay are auto flower feminized plants.that are growing really slow. Is it the lights? I got 36,000 lumens. 565 real watts.??? I'm stumped.
have you any photos of your setup? I veg each plant under a single 25w cfl for three weeks, then flip them. I keep the bulb within an inch of the plant as per below;

and in 13 days it looks like this;

how close are your lights?