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Re: T-8 System



> Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001 19:25:09 -0800 (PST)
> From: Brian Mann <brianmannw at yahoo_com>
> Subject: T-8 System Setup Questions

> 1. How do I attach the ballast to the Coralife or Triton End Caps. The picture in my
> Mail Order catalog only shows one part of the endcaps. Do the leads end with bare wire?
> How do you put the end caps and ballast wires together. Do I have to twist the wire from
> the end caps and the wires from the ballast and use a Heat Shrink to keep them together?
> All the T-8 ballasts I have seen in local stores have ballasts which have wires with
> bare leads. 
> 2. Do you encase the ballast in metal or can you just mount it in the wooden hood. I
> noticed all the the stores ballasts were in metal casing. 
> 3. The salesperson recommended that I not put together my own system. He said when you
> mix one manufacturs ballast and add another endcaps and put them together yourself it is
> not safe (would not be fireproof) and would never meet fire codes. Is there any reason I
> couldnít add coralife endcaps to a slyvania or advance ballast. Was he just trying to
> sell me his finished system? Iíll pay more to avoid burning down my home. 
> 4. A more specific question about the electronic ballasts: Lets say you have a 3 bulb
> T-8 ballast. Is it possible to start with 2 bulbs and then add a third bulb later? Does
> the circuit run with 1 bulb out in case I have hair algae and need to lower light levels
> later. 

Go to Home Depot and look at the replacement ballasts.  Write down the
manufacturer and number, and then look them up on the Internet. 
Generally, 3 lamp electronic ballasts can be used with 2 or 3 lamps and
the ballast factor goes up when you remove a lamp.  Four lamp ballasts
almost never have a high ballast factor with 4 lamps, but they might
with 3 lamps.  The best part is that the ballasts only cost about $18
and they are good ones.  You can also get cheap lampholders for just a
few cents each, but they are usually kind of tricky to mount on wood.

If the ballast is "instant start" (and most of them are), it doesn't
really matter about the metal casing and grounding and all that as long
as the ballast is plugged into a GFCI so you don't electrocute
yourself.  "Rapid start" magnetic ballasts are notoriously fickle about
grounding and capacitive coupling to the lamp in order to start
properly.

Best regards,
Bob