DIY Metal Halide materials - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-10-2003, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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The retrokit MH's and even the lights from AHSupply are still amazingly expensive when the cash is Canadian! So I am thinking of trying DIY Metal Halides. I have searched the net and have found some wiring diagrams and "how-to's" so I am not completely hopeless. My plan is to eventually create a 175 or 250 MH ballast(with socket) and save some cash for a nice reflector.
According to that page, all I am dealing with is a transformer and capacitor to wire an MH ballast. The page even gives a brief summary of what the things inside are.

My question is: Does anyone know where to get MH transformers and capacitators for cheap? Preferrable if the company is in Canada, but list any good ones. I will probably be looking for a matching socket as well if there are none in my area. My HomeDepot does not have any of these and the Hydroponics store is pretty expensive.

I will be doing more research but any help would be nice. If anyone has any experience in this, please tell!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-10-2003, 10:54 AM
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You might want to look at Graingers ( ). I know they sell in Canada, don't know if they have any locations there. If they don't help look for industrial supply houses, they probably carry them.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-13-2003, 02:49 AM
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i just finished a 250 watt diy'd MH for less than $200

that includes bulb, ballast, fan, enclosure, etc...

will have some pics up in a week or so, when I get a new roll of film back from the processor

it's a pendant style fixture, hanging about 6" above an open-top tank

really lights things up good, maybe a little too good, since my tank is 29 gal it gives me about 8 wpg!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-13-2003, 02:26 PM
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I paid about 200 bucks apiece for my MH retrofit kits from hellolights including the bulb and electronic ballasts. Try to catch them on sale.

Dunno about the cost to get them across the border but if you're not too far away maybe you could have someone close order them for you and you take a road trip to pick them up. Just a thought.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-13-2003, 06:32 PM
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check out

I ordered their 250w mh ballast, and it turned out to be an Advance H58/M37 ballast, so it can run my Iwasaki 250 watt mercury vapor retrofit bulb, or any 250 watt H58 metal halide.

It was around $50 for the cap and core and a mogul socket

I ordered my Iwasaki 6500k from for $60

The rest of the parts, including two fans, an enclosure for the ballast, a roll of aluminum flashing and a piece of plywood cost another $50

put it all together and my 29 gal now has a new 'Sun'

the water ripples look Awesome btw, and having it open top is great!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-13-2003, 06:51 PM
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Posts: 468 has the 6500k Iwasaki for 58 bucks. Every little bit helpd.
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