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Re: t-8 ballast reccomendations
csferrell at mindspring_com at csferrell at mindspring_com wrote:
> With all this talk about about t-8 ballasts and bulbs, what are some of the
> ballasts that you all are using? I have an advance ballast from home depot
> but in the future to one with a better power factor. What are some of the
> reccomendations? Also, what are some good high-output ballasts that can be
> used with t-8 bulbs?
I'm using a Motorola Silver Edition 4-lamp electronic ballast, model
M4-IN-T8-GP-D-120, that I am fairly pleased with. This is a "general
performance" instant start ballast, which will power 24", 36", and 48" T8
lamps (good in case you ever move to a bigger or smaller tank). I have it
powering four 36" GE SPX41 T8s over my 45g. The ballast factor is only
0.875, and my lamp spacing is way too tight, yet my plants apparently have
ample light, including Aponogeton, Echinodorus, Cabomba and Ludwigia.
Everything bubbles and grows fairly quickly (using CO2 injection). The
Ludweigia turn brilliant red as they reach the mid to upper areas of the
tank, and if neglected would smother everything (which I once did for 3 or 4
weeks; they literally filled 2/3 of the tank with dense growth).
Motorola also makes "high performance" and "high light output" (got it right
this time, Wayne ;) ballasts, as well as dimming ballasts which they call
"Helios" ballasts. The dimming range goes from 5% to 110%, and they start up
instantly without flashing to full power, even at 5% (good for sunrise
simulation). They also use low-voltage 10-volt DC dimmer controllers. I'm
considering upgrading to these eventually. The downside for my purposes is
that they only come in two-lamp units, so I'll have to buy two of them.
One thing I liked a lot about the ballast I got was that it has push-in wire
connectors, which are very easy to hook up. I paid about $24 from a lighting
supply house in town.
Motorola's ballast catalog can be downloaded as a PDF file (approximately