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The Truth About Magnetic Ballasts Power Wastage!

Calyx Hunter

On Vacation
That was an informative read. Thanks xtrchessreal for that Advanced Technology Solutions link the Eye Hortilux docs are interesting. I like how they said in the past two years they have seen improvements on the e-ballast market and now some are running more reliably. When I get home I'm going to check my Solis Tek ballast for UL CSA stamps.
 

Calyx Hunter

On Vacation
This gives me more confidence in my purchase. So far its been running smooth.
Here's the input labels on my Solis Tek STK-600


Here's the output label
 

xtrchessreal

On Vacation
The Solis-Tek STK-600 bears the Intertek Testing Services ETL mark with both the C and the US designations which means it conforms the CSA and UL Product Safety standards as well. That is a good thing to have on your digital ballast. I would feel good about that myself. With that mark you should not have to worry about a gas bulb arc tube exploding (for noobs that is the part of the bulb that actually lights up).

BTW even if it exploded the outer glass is supposed to contain the gases and you shouldn't need to evacuate the area and exhaust the gases to the outside. However if you broke the outside glass and the arc tube you should definitely exhaust the gases.

Calyx Hunter: The Bulb is driven to higher output intensity with digital ballasts which I guess is good as far as getting more photosynthesis from the plant. The sodium/mercury in the arc tube will decay faster over time due to this intensity which causes more bulb replacements over time which costs more money over time. The gist of my opinion stated above is that you lose any efficiency gained by a digital ballast/hps bulb setup because you are replacing your bulbs and your ballasts more often. So if you are in business for instance selling weed to a MMJ or Retail outlet it will cut into your profit in the form of higher cost to produce. And if you are growing for yourself why do you need to create higher costs for yourself if you are the only one using the weed? I have read about light bleaching but I wouldn't know too much about it. Perhaps that may be something to worry about with a higher intensity as well, I don't know.

I completely understand the enthusiasm to grow the best weed you can and as I stated previously if you can afford to experiment with higher cost equipment then by all means experiment and have fun.

This forum is about the truth about power wastage in a magnetic ballast - I have provided ample information refuting that. The link I provided and Eye Hortilux info shows the power factor (which is a measure of efficiency of the system) higher than that of a digital ballast. So there is energy efficiency and money efficiency in a magnetic ballast that beats the digital ballast. This is my honest opinion provided to people seeking knowledgeable opinion here.

:peace:X
 

Calyx Hunter

On Vacation
I can see that your stance is definitely on the side of saving up front costs. I am on the further end of things by wanting to spend more to squeeze out every bit of THC and CBD from my plants as possible. This is my favorite hobby and a passion. I grow for personal use and medication. I'm not in this to make or save money. I want produce the highest quality buds anyone has ever experienced.
As I understand it the e-ballasts run at a much higher frequency than the magnetic core ballasts and this higher frequency (in quality electronic ballasts) allows for a more steady stream of energy to flow through the lamp. This produces more available light and PAR for the plants. Sure it may burn the lamp out quicker than its recommended lifesapn but I will be replacing at the earliest 9 months anyway. After reading xtrchessreal's link's I am going to go with the Solis Tek lamps next grow to keep my ballast and lamp matched better. Right now I'm running the Solis Tek STK600 with an Eye Hortilux Super HPS 600W and so far so good. It is proven that eletronic ballasts can have a better power factor and THD so therefore waste less power while running.
 

xtrchessreal

On Vacation
I totally understand your passion, most of us on here are trying to grow their personal best weed. :high-five:

I agree with everything in your last post except the last sentence. It has not been proven that digital ballasts in general have a better power factor. If you have that proof I would like to see it or point me to a link where that data is posted, please. This forum is about the truth about power wastage in magnetic ballasts. It is magnetic ballasts that have been long standing with a high power factor .94 to .99 generally while digital ballast power factors are generally .89 to .94.

In an electric power system, a load with a low power factor draws more current than a load with a high power factor for the same amount of useful power transferred. Because the current is increased in a low power factor load there is more wasted power in that load compared to a load with a high power factor. This means the digital ballast wastes more power than a magnetic ballast, generally.

:peace:X
 

zero244

New Member
I have found that magnetic ballasts operator very close to their stated wattage. Also guys if your ballast is in a enclosure blow a small fan over it. The fan will keep the ballast not much more than room temperature and the ballast will probably last longer than you do. I usually will open the enclosure so the air flows over the components. You just have to be careful about water.
To me the big advantage a digital ballast has is weight. But I plan on staying with magnetics.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
I have found that magnetic ballasts operator very close to their stated wattage. Also guys if your ballast is in a enclosure blow a small fan over it. The fan will keep the ballast not much more than room temperature and the ballast will probably last longer than you do. I usually will open the enclosure so the air flows over the components. You just have to be careful about water.
To me the big advantage a digital ballast has is weight. But I plan on staying with magnetics.

Old thread, but it was still in my list of subscribed threads that contain, err, new posts (I took a little break, lol).

Good advice about using a small fan to move air over/around/through ballasts. This is, of course, applicable to electronic ballasts as well as the older magnetic core & coil type (although the electronic ones are often sealed, they also often are in metal enclosures that are finned and act as heatsinks).

It is my understanding that magnetic ballasts are (generally) less efficient than electronic ones, due to the (5% - 25%) losses - to resistance and in its magnetic core - that are inherent in the magnetic C&C design. This would tend to be true regardless of how much gross power such a ballast consumes. Unless one has a way to measure both the amount of electricity that is consumed and the amount of electricity that actually reaches the mogul socket that the light bulb is screwed into, it would be rather difficult to quantify the exact amount of loss on a case-by-case basis.

Like everyone who has used HID lighting for more than a few years, I have used magnetic ballasts. The ones that I had which were of decent quality were, well, the term "bulletproof" is oft used, even overused these days, but they were pretty tough, lol. They're pretty easy to rebuild when one realizes that they've been in near-constant use for years and begins to fear that the components have degraded due to age. And, as I didn't move mine around after I settled on a location for the, I wasn't overly concerned about how much they weighed (which could be, relatively speaking, substantial ;) ).

But I sort of like electronic ballasts more than I do the old type. Electronic ballasts are as near as makes no difference to being silent (in relation to the magnetic type) unless they are equipped with a cooling fan. Even the magnetic ones that I have had that were of high quality and didn't start to "rattle" over time due to the transformer delaminating still always seemed to huuuuuuum the entire time that they were powered up. I could swap between HPS and MH bulbs and my electronic ballasts wouldn't care. The ones that I used were also adjustable (aka "dimmable"), so - for example - I could run a 400-watt metal halide bulb in a 400-watt ballast, but I could also dim it to 250 watts... or I could switch it to the 250-watt setting and install a 250-watt metal halide (or high pressure sodium) bulb. Therefore, I would say that electronic ballasts get the win in terms of versatility (in addition to the one for efficiency).

I'd probably still give magnetic ballasts the nod for durability - I once dropped one down the basement steps and it survived. I'm not at all sure that an electronic one would have (and, since they're often sealed, with the components set into epoxy, an electronic one would likely be more difficult for the user to repair). Still and all, I'd rather have a high-quality electronic ballast than a high-quality magnetic one.
 

Tyhere

New Member
Didn't see anyone talk about the frequency being used to track your equipment. Even great electronic units have a readable band. Led units also give out a beacon to thieves and the police. Very few digital units can't be found. So far I have found par is lower with a magnetic unit but worth the privacy and the lack of issues with Ham radio operators. I dont like problems so I would rather use more magnetic systems and keep privacy.

On that privacy note. Alot, I mean alot of growers sit and talk with their phones right next to them. Drives me crazy. Then there is the talking in the fert shop. I am blown away how much people dont think. No matter how legal remember your phone is a leash used extensively by the police and it can never help to be broadcasting, even if you are innocent (
) . Digital ballasts give off a beacon letting anyone who wants to know exactly where your grow is.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
I don't want to send you diving under a rock or anything, lol, but the average core & coil (aka "magnetic") ballast produces a few birdies, too. One can usually detect then with a (radio) scanner or frequency counter that covers the RF spectrum more or less continuously between 25 mHz and 1.3 gHz.

It's quite uncommon (pretty much unheard of, actually) for a LEO in the US to drive around whilst searching the airwaves, lol. But I cannot speak for other countries' LEOs.

What happens in the US is that - IF an electrical device causes noticeable (IOW, substantial) interference on a neighbor's television, radio, telephone, et cetera, then the person complains to the FCC, their cable (TV) company, etc. and then that entity comes looking. If/when the offending device is located, someone attempts to contact the resident in order to make them aware of the person and have them deal with it.

Also, most cable TV companies send someone around "occasionally" in an attempt to catch signal thieves, and this might involve using a frequency counter. However, this kind of thing can range in frequency from once a year or two all the way down to almost never.
 

Tyhere

New Member
That's it! I'm done. :snowboating:

Recently in B.C Canada the RCMP have been using flir. Then they hang out in your hood to see how stupid the person may be. The person may be dealing right out of their home, or not. If the activity is low then they follow the person. Nothing there and they might knock and talk. I have been testing local ballasts from the local shops and many of them are much worse than you might imagine. Mostly ham radio and poor equipment that is the issue. Burnaby BC has a agreement with Ham radio groups to help find large grows. Canada did not make very much on legal weed and B.C gave up the least. So in BC Canada the police are getting forced/asked to try and kill the black market. Funny part is recently the feds caught legal producers breaking rules to meet demand and they not only fined them but burned the tons and tones of legal weed. Our prime minister is a massive tool. Makes Trump look like a rocket scientist.

So in my neck of the woods its getting extra stupid. Crappy digital ballasts light up the neighborhood. Magnetic's need you to get much closer, especially if its in a shielded area. My 315's are no problem at all and funny enough the De 's are not a big deal. I set up a dimable 1000w with filters and ran it at 600 with zero "birdies". I am having fun with the doom and gloom but often the core and coils are just easier.

Directly from a police officer: "How legal growers can help the police not harass legal growers." Don't be stupid and pump hot air all over your yard, dont run crappy digital ballasts or leds, Don't let all your friends grow at your house and claim the grow belongs to other people, and most important keep the smell down.

Unfortunately in Canada its not really legal as much as its now a great way for the police to generate fines.
 
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