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Re: [APD] Odyssea Lights: Are they a P.o.S,?

I am not familiar enough with Odyssea lights to know the general quality of their products. My comments concern on the situation described by Steve.  But what do I recommend? You can't go wrong with AHS. I offer a few additional comments below >>>

----- Original Message ----
From: Stuart Halliday <stuart at stuarthalliday_com>
To: aquatic plants digest <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2006 4:31:33 PM
Subject: Re: [APD] Odyssea Lights: Are they a P.o.S,?

A Controller is the box of tricks that powers the tubes. It's often called
the 'Ballast'.

If it's electronic then it uses up a lot less power than a mechanical one
and doesn't have a starter unit.
>>>>>The ballasts that are not the electronic ones are sometimes called Magnetic or potted ballasts. They are essentially a coil of copper wire on an iron core. Nothing mechanical in the way of moving parts, other than electrons ;-)  The coil impedes the flow of electric current and limits the fluorescent light from drawing too much current -- hence the term "ballast." Electronic ballasts also rely on coils but because they use an inverter to increase the AC frequency from from 60 Hz to anywhere from 3 Hz to 80k Hz, a much smaller coil is needed. The higher the frequency the less Henries (induction) you need for an equivalent impendance. Not all lamps on "magnetic" ballasts use mechanical starters, some use gas-bulb starters, but that's slicing a fine hair. ;-)

A mech. one typically uses the same amount of power again that your bulbs
do. So it costs more to run.
>>>>Electronic ballasts can waste as much energy as "magnetic" ballast, but a decently designed one will waste less. A "magnetic" ballast will waste up to about 20% and an electronic one maybe half of that. It varies a lot depending onthe particular ballast, and the bulb-ballast combination. Depending onthe ballast, bulbs, and the application, electorinic ballasts may need to large heat sinks.

. . . 
Needless to say mech. controllers are cheaper than electronic ones! . . .
>>>Generally true except that you can buy fluorscent bulbs with built in electronic ballasts for just a few bucks; made to sell in the millions, they're about a cheap as it gets. These are the coiled compacts made to be used directly in fixtures made for incandescent bulbs. But until they start to mass produce these economy power compacts in spectra and forms for planted aquaria, we will need to use the higher priced electronic ballasts. :-)

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