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Re: [APD] Ballast help needed

All xxwatt ballasts are not created equal.The wattage rating assumes a particular kind of bulb, that requires a particular operating voltage and exhibits a particular impedance. Diff kinds of bulbs will operate diff on the same ballast -- and the ballast will operate somewhat diff one each of those bulbs.
How a ballast is wired for a particular type of bulb depends on the ballast.
My best guess is that the rapid-start starting voltage is not quite enough to get the bulb started and/or it's not allowing the filaments to get hot enough before firing, which is what a starter does. The filaments have coating that, when heated, emits ions to initially charge the gas in tube until it is buring. Heating the filaments also vaporizes the tiny amount of mercury in the tube, making the gas conductive (turning it into a plasma). Also, the slightly lower voltage is possibly borderline for keeping the bulb burning.
I'd try to get a Coralife ballast or one with the same specs.
Good luck,
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----- Original Message ----
From: Pete <peteal at sympatico_ca>
To: Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com
Sent: Thursday, April 27, 2006 11:38:51 PM
Subject: [APD] Ballast help needed

Hello, just had a ballast die on a UV sterilizer (Corallife 15W Mega-Watt brand) and was trying to replace it.  Thought it was fairly straight forward as I've done some of this stuff before and Big Als said I should be able to get one from Home Depot that would work fine (tested it there to make sure it was the ballast). So on the way home I got the matching one... but it's iffy for starting up so I started the research.

The UV bulb is a 15W GE  G15T8.  The info on it is preheat and to be used with a starter.  

The ballast I got is a Rapid start one compatible with F20T12, F15T12, F15T8!! (which should be fine), F14T12. Only 15W one they had. 

So after doing some reading and thinking.

1 - is it the fact that the bulb rating says .305 Amps and the ballast says 0.24 Amps line

2 - in all the stuff I read on the net.. they say get the ballast with the wiring diagram that matches the old one.  Well I don't have an old one as the sterilizer didn't come with one, and with only one selection per wattage I don't see how I could even if I knew.  Either way, from looking at the bulb the wiring doesn't match.  The ballast has 4 wires on the left side, Black, White, Blue x 2, so hot neutral and two outs.  Right side just has two, two reds. 

Wiring on the ballast says black&white goes to the power, the two blues go to the two posts on end of the bulb, the two reds go to the posts on the other end.

Wiring in the sterilizer has the hot wire going to one post only, and the other three being hooked to the neutral... assuming that's what those wires still were after they came out of the original ballast.

3 - I need a starter?!.  I thought with a rapid start, that the starter is included in the ballast... although I did see them for sale.

And again, I do sometimes get a flicker and it did fire and hold once so the wiring can't be totally off (makes me think Amps)... but it's very iffy and I stopped trying in case I would ruin the ballast.  Help!!
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