Sharing of Ballast - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2006, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Sharing of Ballast

Hey guys,I am currently running my 36W T8 tubes on individual ballasts. Was wondering if i could use the same ballasts on 80W T5 tubes or do i have to get ballasts which are specifically meant for 80W? What are the effects of me using an unsuitable ballast? Thanx
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2006, 05:32 PM
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I am not sure if all E ballists are created equal. I know workhorse balists can run a variety of bulbs, with the largest limiting factor being the total output wattage. As such, a 2 t8 balists might have only a total rated output of 64 watts, and driving an 80 watt bulb with it might be a bit much. My work horse 5 is rated for 4 t-8 bulbs (128 watts) so it could handle one, but not 2 80 watt bulbs.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2006, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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I checked that my ballasts are all rated 36W or 40W which is just nice for my my 36W tubes. So does that mean that it will not be suitable for the 80W T5 tubes that i intend to purchase?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2006, 08:27 AM
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probably not. I know in reefs that this is the reason why they make so many different types of ballasts. I'm no electricial but the Bulb you want to use will work to it's best performance if use with the PROPER rated ballast. I wouldn't screw with the gods of electricity...then you become one of those "I almost lost my house to a fire started by the fish tank" guys.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2006, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Lol,thanx alot for the replies,looks like i have to scrimp and save for the entire set then. The T5 tubes cost SGD $19 a piece while the ballasts cost SGD$58 per piece. I need to get about 4 of each. Anyone care to donate? Lol
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2006, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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In comparison,metal halides are sold here at about SGD $270 a piece and i need 2 of them but the problem lies with the fact that metal halides produce alot of heat and my tank is hooded which will make them a problem. Would love to have them though due to their higher light output.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2006, 10:47 AM
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If you have a wooden canopy over your tank, you can buy all the components and retrofit a new lighting system under your canopy. I did that for my reeftank, and it was MUCH cheaper than buying a pretty metal halide fixture. Also, with halides, your lights need to be higher off of the water than flourescent fixtures, so keep that in mind (I had to modify my wooden canopoy and make it taller). I'm no electrician by any means...hell, I'm dangerous with power tools, that's why I don't have any, but I was still able to wire a metal halide and PC retrofit system to go under my canopy. And most importantly, I didn't electrocute myself or burn down the building I live in. Installing fans in your system will definitely help keep your water cooler. I have 2x175 watt MH and 2/65 PC over my reef tank, and my temperatures didn't raise any at all. However, a lot will also depend on your room temperature as well.

If you do decide to build your own T5 fixture, many ballasts for PC and T5 bulbs can run either...it's the total wattage the matters. Metal halides are great, but T5s offer exceptional light output, and they run cooler and use less electricity, so there are fewer issues with your tank overheating. Good luck!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2006, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks alot,i think i will be scrapping the MH idea because of the wooden hood on my tank. I fear the overheating problem and furthermore,placing it within the hood will mean that it will just fit nicely underneath the hood,living not much space left between the light and the water surface. As for using T5 tubes and ballasts,what do you mean by it's the total wattage that matters? Does it mean that if i am going to have 5X 80W T5 tubes,all that matters is that the combined wattage of my ballasts should be 400W regardless of how many and what type they are?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2006, 08:38 PM
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Well, it depends on the individual ballast maker. My PC ballasts are labeled for "150 watts, PC or T5" type bulbs. So, you'd have to be certain to find a ballast that will handle the wattage you are looking for, and one that is designed to handle your type of bulbs. You will probably have to use two ballasts to get 400 watts, but you can still wire them to one switch, or use two so you can control half of your lights individually.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2006, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks alot,i am getting the picture now.I will try to pop by some electrical store soon to check out the ranges of ballasts that they have there. As for switches,i have one each to control every single one of my tubes.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2006, 05:13 PM
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You need to be very sure about two things on your new ballast:
*Indicated for use with T5 (HO)
*Watts ballast > Watts lamps

Otherwise you might end up with a lamp that does not light (or is feble) or a pile of junk.

I believe the (US 110V) name brand options are:
*IceCap (660?)
*Fulham Workhorse 7 or 8 (220 W total) so two banks of lights.

Each BALLAST can have a switch but please do not try to switch every LAMP!

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-13-2006, 06:21 AM
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You're in Singapore?
Take a look at this website: www.delightings.com
I bought some t5 stuff from there a while back and am happy with it. Good prices too.


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-13-2006, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRam
You need to be very sure about two things on your new ballast:
*Indicated for use with T5 (HO)
*Watts ballast > Watts lamps

Otherwise you might end up with a lamp that does not light (or is feble) or a pile of junk.

I believe the (US 110V) name brand options are:
*IceCap (660?)
*Fulham Workhorse 7 or 8 (220 W total) so two banks of lights.

Each BALLAST can have a switch but please do not try to switch every LAMP!
So does that mean that i cannot use a normal ballast if it is not meant for T5 tubes even if the wattage fits? Also,is it necessary that the watts ballast> watts lamps because the ballast that my LFS was recommending had a wattage which was the same as the lamp,at 80watts. I am living in Singapore so i do not have the brands that you had mentioned. The brand OSRAM is available to me though and if i am right,it is rather recognised in the aquarium industry. Last of all,you were saying that each ballast can have a switch but not each lamp because some ballasts can be used to power more than one lamp due to their excess wattage right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenceo
You're in Singapore?
Take a look at this website: www.delightings.com
I bought some t5 stuff from there a while back and am happy with it. Good prices too.
I visited the website you had given me,apparently,the T5 lights that are available seem to cater for marine tanks,the lighting spectrum focuses in the blue area and it is labelled at 15000K which from my understanding is out of the range that plants love which is between 6400K-10000K.Anyway,thanks alot though.i really appreciate that
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