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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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To help answer some of the questions surrounding ODNO, I've decided to edit this post and create an FAQ. It will be updated from time to time, as more questions arise.

What type of light output will I see with my setup?
This isn't an easy question to answer since there will be many variations in output depending on bulb configuration, type, and the make of ballast you are using. In general, though, these are the increases one can expect to see with ODNO:
  • 2xODNO (2 power leads per bulb) - ~50% increase
  • 3xODNO (3 power leads per bulb) - ~75% increase
  • 4xODNO (4 power leads per bulb) - ~100% increase
For example: For a single 48" F40T12 40 watt bulb being powered by 4 power leads (4xODNO), you can expect the equivalent about 80 watts of output (100% more than normal).

Why don't I see four times the amount of light in a 4xODNO setup?
Not all of the electricity that you pump into a bulb is converted into light. Even in normal output (NO) fluorescent lighting, some of that electricity is lost as heat. The more electricity you pump in, the more that is lost as heat. So in a 4xODNO setup, you lost more than half of the energy you're putting in to heat. That is why a fan is recommended for any ODNO setup.

What about series type ODNO setups?
In 'series type' ODNO setups, two bulbs are placed in line with each other (Shown Here). The ballast is 'tricked' into thinking it sees a bulb twice as big as each individual bulb by itself. So two 18" F15T8 15 watt bulbs placed in series will seem like a single 36" F30T8 bulb instead. So in a 2xODNO series type application with two F15T8 bulbs, you'd see 50% more light, which would result in 45 watts of output from the two 18" bulbs in series.

Can I put two 36" bulbs in series and make the ballast 'see' a six foot bulb?
Theoretically, you could, if you were able to find an electronic ballast rated to drive six foot bulbs. All 6' bulb ballasts on the market are generally magnetic so it is recommended that you do not put any bulb larger than 24" in series.

Can I use the magnetic ballast that came with my shop light or aquarium canopy?
No. You must use an electronic ballast. Not all types of electronic ballast might work with ODNO, but most should be able to with no problems. Here are a few known 'overdriveable' electronic ballasts:
  • Advance REL-4P32-SC
  • GE B432I120RH
  • Sylvania QT 4x32/120 IS-SC
  • Fulham Workhorse 5
I personally recommend the Workhorse 5 (which can be purchased at a local lighting supply store for around $20-$30) since it has the highest ballast factor (power output) and is more flexible than a conventional 4 bulb F32T8 electronic ballast. You can even drive 55w and 96w Power Compact bulbs with a Workhorse.

Is ODNO completely safe?
No. There is always risk when using electronics in a means not intended by a manufacturer. If you are not familiar with electronics, I recommend you invest in a premade canopy or a retrofit kit from a company such as
But if you are comfortable working with electronic devices, many many hobbyists have used ODNO setups for years without any problems. As long as the system is wired correctly and the bulbs light up rapidly without flickering, the system is perfectly safe and will provide reliable service for many years.

Is bulb life affected by ODNO?
Yes. The increased heat will cause a bulb to degenerate somewhat more rapidly. It is recommended that you replace your bulbs once every 12 months to keep light output at its peak.

Does ODNO affect color temperature and spectral output?
Possibly. This has not been documented, but the increased heat may cause the phosphors the shift their spectral output more rapidly than a normal output configuration. Fortunately, plants are very adaptable and the color shift should not affect growth if bulbs are properly maintained and replaced once a year. Saltwater reef aquariums using ODNO technology might benefit from a more aggressive bulb replacement schedule.

I will reiterate Planted Tank's Warning:
Warning: Use ODNO at your own risk. The Planted Tank and its affliates take no responsiblity for any damage/injuries that might occur.

If anyone notices any errors or has any additional questions you'd like answered in this FAQ, please post them on this thread.

Last edited by GulfCoastAquarian; 10-28-2004 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Update: Add FAQ
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