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  #1  
Old 06/13/2003, 03:03 PM
electric130 electric130 is offline
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Lightbulb Metal Halide Ballasts, which one is which? Answers here:

I have seen countless lighting threads asking what each MH ballast is or what bulbs work on it. I orginally posted this in another forum to answer another member's question. I thought it was best posted here. If there's anything I missed, or have incorrect, please let me know.

250w example:

Probe start: ANSI: M58, core, capacitor
Pulse start: ANSI: M138, core, capacitor, ignitor
HQI: ANSI: M80, core, capacitor, ignitor
EYE: ANSI: H37, core, capacitor, actually a mercury vapor ballast
Electronic: ANSI: none, metal box with wires

probe start will run american bulbs with ignitors built into the bulbs like coralife and venture bulbs. some german and euro bulbs will run fine on these, but without an ignitor, the bulb struggles to light and bulb life may be decreased. also reliabilty goes down.

pulse start will run the german/euro bulbs (ushio, AB, radium, etc.) these bulbs don't have built in ignitors, so the ballast has the ignitor wired into the circuit. the ignitor provides the high voltages needed to fire the bulb. you can run probe start bulbs on these ballasts, but the two ignitors may try to fight each other and possibly cause a fire.

HQI ballasts are similar to pulse starts in their wiring and ability to run bulbs. the output is a little higher which is meant to run the double-ended bulbs (commonly called HQI bulbs). people run mogul bulbs on these and they run a little hotter and brighter because they are being overdriven. this in turn shortens the life of the bulbs.

EYE ballasts are mercury vapor ballasts. they are similar to a probe start ballast, but the only bulb you can run on these are Iwasaki 6500K bulbs (because these are actually MV bulbs, not MH bulbs like most think). the ballast will damage MH bulbs if you try to run one on it.

Electronic. ahhh, the great electronics. these will run any bulb at the rated wattage: probe start, pulse start, iwasakis, DE (double ended-HQI). if you think you might change your mind in the future, get an electronic. you can change bulbs to whatever you want and not have to worry about the ballast being the wrong type. electronics run cooler (a magnetic MH ballast will burn your hand if you touch the coil after it's been running for awhile). they also use less energy.

Additional info:

175watt:
Probe start: ANSI: M57, core, capacitor
Pulse start: ANSI: M137, core, capacitor, ignitor
Electronic: ANSI: none, metal box with wires

400watt:
Probe start: ANSI: M59, core, capacitor
Pulse start: ANSI: M135, core, capacitor, ignitor
HQI: ANSI: SON AGRO, core, capacitor, ignitor (this is actually a 430w HPS ballast used primarily in hydroponics)
EYE: ANSI: H33, core, capacitor, actually a mercury vapor ballast
Electronic: ANSI: none, metal box with wires
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Last edited by electric130; 06/13/2003 at 03:11 PM.
  #2  
Old 06/13/2003, 04:16 PM
clsund clsund is offline
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Thank you, thank you, thank you. Finally some answers to my questions.
  #3  
Old 06/13/2003, 05:39 PM
kbd kbd is offline
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Very very gratefully received,

kim
  #4  
Old 06/13/2003, 07:03 PM
MAS MAS is offline
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Ive been stating this sorta all along. I dont feel that "HQI" bulbs really "overdrive" the bulbs though.
  #5  
Old 06/13/2003, 08:49 PM
littleprince littleprince is offline
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Ah... But its still confusing.

Like, for the Ushios. Ushio publicly states that their bulb is meant for the pulse start ballasts, EXCEPT the 250W bulb which was redesigned for an M58 ballast.

Or the fact that hellolights recommends the M58, over the M138 for the AB SE bulbs.

Its still all confusing to me.
  #6  
Old 06/13/2003, 09:26 PM
beemer beemer is offline
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Hey right on Electric130!. You PM me with this info and it helped me. Hey mods this might be perfect for the archives!
Good luck
Jerod
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  #7  
Old 06/16/2003, 06:44 AM
electric130 electric130 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MAS
Ive been stating this sorta all along. I dont feel that "HQI" bulbs really "overdrive" the bulbs though.
not to pick a fight here, but how can a 430w ballast (400w "HQI") NOT overdrive a 400w bulb? by Ohm's law, it's not possible.

for those technical minded people that want to do some research, you'll find that HQI is actually a brand-name of light bulbs in Europe that include SE and DE bulbs. we americans just blindly lable anything designed for DE use as "HQI" when that really isn't the case.
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  #8  
Old 06/16/2003, 06:52 AM
electric130 electric130 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by littleprince
Ah... But its still confusing.

Like, for the Ushios. Ushio publicly states that their bulb is meant for the pulse start ballasts, EXCEPT the 250W bulb which was redesigned for an M58 ballast.

Or the fact that hellolights recommends the M58, over the M138 for the AB SE bulbs.

Its still all confusing to me.
ushio's are confusing because ushio makes them confusing. you can see here what ballast you need for each wattage of bulb:

Ushio Aqualite

why did they choose a different style ballast for each wattage? who knows. ask Ushio.

that's why it's important to research each bulb and what ballast it needs before just blindly throwing one in your fixture and hope it works because you have the same wattage ballast as the bulb.
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  #9  
Old 06/18/2003, 06:55 AM
electric130 electric130 is offline
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anyone have anything specifically from AB on ANSI's for their bulbs? i could find info on their bulbs on their website.
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  #10  
Old 07/21/2003, 08:51 PM
Handyman Handyman is offline
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just hooking to this for later reference
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  #11  
Old 07/22/2003, 11:58 PM
PaulErik PaulErik is offline
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I would like to add a few things:

The HQI (ANSI M80) will overdrive most North American lamps but not all single-ended lamps. The Radium 250-watt blue lamp is one that is designed for this ballast.

The M80 is best suited for European double-ended and most single-ended lamps.

The Pulse Start 250 (ANSI M138 / M153) will underdrive most European lamps. I personally don't see a good reason why this ballast is offered for the aquarium market. Currently there is no lamp that will operate properly on this ballast for aquarium use.

The pulse start 400 underdrives almost every European lamp (except the Radium blue lamp) but uses the correct starting method/voltage.

Currently the best ballast for Euro 400watt lamps is a true European ballast. The problem with this is the input voltage (only available in 220/230/240V) but this shouldn't be a problem for too long. A few lighting companies are working on 120V Euro type ballasts that won't need a step-up transformer.

I've spoken to a few people about the AB lamps in Europe (even the lamp manufacturer). These lamps are designed to be able to start at lower starting voltages than most European lamps. These lamps are equipped with a starting circuit (bi-metal switch and resistor) connected to an addition electrode (starting electrode).

The lamp chemistry causes the 175 and 250 watt lamps to have warm-up problems with standard probe start North American ballasts (Constant Wattage Autotransformer - CWA Type). These lamps require more voltage and amperage during warm-up than some standard ballasts can provide. With a standard ballast the arc becomes too thin and causes it to become unstable. Then the arc fails and starts again. Sodium usually prevents the arc from getting too thin but adding more sodium also changes the lamps performance in other ways.

The AB lamps will operate optimally on European ballasts. You'll get the best light color using a European or similar ballast (like M137/M152 for the 175W lamp and M80 for the 250W lamp).

Electronic ballasts are great for the lamps they are designed for.
An electronic 250W MH ballast will operate any 250W MH lamp like a 250W pulse start will. The reason is because both use a high Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) to start up a 250-watt lamp.

Currently more info is needed to know which lamp will operate optimally on what brand or model ballast. Personally I would like to see some testing done with 250 and 400 watt electronic MH ballasts. Currently I only have equipment to test electromagnetic ballasts properly.

It is very difficult to manufacture a 250 and 400 watt electronic ballast that will operate every 250/400 MH lamp optimally. This is because with 250/400 watt lamps you have 3 different kinds and each has different operating requirements.

Hope that helps
  #12  
Old 07/28/2003, 02:19 AM
Jive Turkey Jive Turkey is offline
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That you all for the good explanations. Saved me some time lol
  #13  
Old 07/28/2003, 08:05 AM
stevearthur stevearthur is offline
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What about PFO light ballasts?
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  #14  
Old 07/28/2003, 08:06 AM
electric130 electric130 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by stevearthur
What about PFO light ballasts?
which ones? standard? pulse start? HQI? and what do you want to know about them?
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  #15  
Old 07/28/2003, 02:19 PM
ldrhawke ldrhawke is offline
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I installed an Ice Cap 250w electronic ballasts on my tank driving the new XM 20k's double ended bulbs this week end. It works great starts right up with no flicker.

see photos in my gallery photos of before and after.

http://reefcentral.com/gallery/showg...&thumb=1:eek1:
  #16  
Old 07/28/2003, 02:23 PM
ldrhawke ldrhawke is offline
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sorry......

  #17  
Old 07/28/2003, 05:50 PM
dwall174 dwall174 is offline
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electric130

Thanks that cleared up a lot!
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  #18  
Old 07/28/2003, 07:24 PM
electric130 electric130 is offline
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Re: electric130

Quote:
Originally posted by dwall174
Thanks that cleared up a lot!
you're welcome. glad to hear it.
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  #19  
Old 07/28/2003, 08:37 PM
stevearthur stevearthur is offline
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model #: AQI250
Ocean encounters pfo 250

I am assuming that this is a M38 ballast, correct and that it does not have a pulse start?
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  #20  
Old 07/28/2003, 09:03 PM
electric130 electric130 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by stevearthur
model #: AQI250
Ocean encounters pfo 250

I am assuming that this is a M38 ballast, correct and that it does not have a pulse start?
it will likely be an M58, not 38. if so, it won't have an ignitor. don't know about OE, but premium aquatics offers an upgrade to pulse start for like $20 more than the standard price. HQI's have an ignitor as well.
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  #21  
Old 07/29/2003, 06:43 AM
rdelong rdelong is offline
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One correction about the Iwasaki MT250DL & MT400DL 6500K Bulbs. They6 are not Mercury Vapor Bulbs. They are Metal Halide bulbs designed to retrofit into Mercury Vapor Fixtures and run on a Mercury Vapor Ballast. See the attached link from Iwasaki:

http://www.eyelighting.com/cleanace.html
  #22  
Old 07/29/2003, 06:56 AM
electric130 electric130 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by rdelong
One correction about the Iwasaki MT250DL & MT400DL 6500K Bulbs. They6 are not Mercury Vapor Bulbs. They are Metal Halide bulbs designed to retrofit into Mercury Vapor Fixtures and run on a Mercury Vapor Ballast. See the attached link from Iwasaki:

http://www.eyelighting.com/cleanace.html
a minor detail, but a good catch at that. key thing to remember is that like the link says "Operates on Mercury reactor ballast only" now, as most people know, they will run on M58 MH ballasts just fine. some report not noticing a color difference when switching from an M58 to an H37, but H37(250) and H33(400) are what they are "supposed" to be run on. so i guess then technically they are MH bulbs (i stand corrected) and not MV, but they should be run on MV ballasts.
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  #23  
Old 07/29/2003, 09:46 AM
SeanT SeanT is offline
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I am thinking of upgrading to 400 watters.
What is the biggest difference between an M-135 ballast and a HQI ballst?
I read that the HQI burns a bit brighter, but does that really justify the cost difference between the two types?
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  #24  
Old 07/29/2003, 09:57 AM
SeanT SeanT is offline
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I should clarify by saying that a new PFO 400 watt dual is cheaper than a new PHO 400 watt HQI single ballast.

Before I make my decision I would like all the pros and cons.
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  #25  
Old 07/29/2003, 01:14 PM
electric130 electric130 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by SeanT
I am thinking of upgrading to 400 watters.
What is the biggest difference between an M-135 ballast and a HQI ballst?
I read that the HQI burns a bit brighter, but does that really justify the cost difference between the two types?
read the very first post. it explains what a 400w HQI is. i ran a 400w radium on an M135 for a couple weeks. they look identical to a 250 radium on an electronic ballast. if a 400w radium is run on an HQI ballast, it has a whiter appearance to it. it still has a lot of blue, but more white. both M135 and SON AGRO ballasts are pulse start ballasts and contain an ignitor in the circuit. the dual PFO you mentioned is a standard M59 ballast. that's the difference in cost. if you want cheap M135's, check www.hidirect.com hellolights will do a price match on this (i know because i did it already).
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