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Re: grounding ballasts in DIY hoods

Kevin Vigor asked: 

" First, I am building a custom hood. While I don't yet own the
ballast for the fluorescent bulbs, I have noticed on several ballasts
a warning to the effect that the bulbs should be mounted within 
some distance of a grounded reflector. This is a problem, since I 
don't intend to use a metal reflector at all (the hood is wooden, and 
(if I can find some) I will use mylar for a reflector, otherwise just 
white paint). So, the questions: is this true of all ballasts? What 
happens if I don't provide a grounded reflector? And should I worry 
about grounding various metal bits (like screws) that are in close 
proximity to the bulbs?"

I have the same setup you are contemplating - wooden DIY hood 
with white paint interior (2 of them, actually), ballasts that warn 
about the need for grounding at the reflector (4 ballasts). I don't 
have a grounded reflector and my bulbs all start fine, and have for 
years. However, back when I was running a reef tank with this hood 
(about 10 years ago), and used different light bulbs, I did 
sometimes have a problem with the lights flickering and not coming 
on all the way until I touched them. To the best of my recollection, I 
solved this by replacing the ballast.

I doubt you'll have a problem.

Cathy Hartland
Middletown, MD, expecting to ski in the rain tomorrow...