MH ballast etc from Grainger and others


 >>  That sounds like a very good plan. Are those the ones that aim the
 >> light nearly straight down? That would be ideal. I think I've seen
 >> the large ones for mercury vapour installed at Costco.

The real cheap ones are the ones that have kinda an umbrella shape.  Not quite
as directional as the MV ones I wouldn't think, but they will direct the light,
and are large enough to shield the eyes.

 >> Does that include the ballast enclosure and the wires and
 >> plugs? You could wire up a system on your own or get somebody to do
 >> it for you. Where is Grainger? Is it mail order? Would KB be able to
 >> go through them in Malaysia? Always Lighting, where I got mine had
 >> the enclosures made up by a sheet metal place and wired everything
 >> else up from off the shelf electrical parts.

Not real sure what all it comes with, the picture is not that clear.  It does
mention it comes with a fluorescent case housing.  Not sure about wires or
plug, but as you said it would be easy enough to wire up anyway.  BTW, not sure
about current in Malaysia, but this particular ballast shows it will run off
either 110 or 220.  It is $74 bucks, so I guess if I had to add a few bucks
worth of parts I'd still come in way less then one I'd order from one of the
Aquarium Industry suppliers.

Hope nobody minds, but here is some additional info on Grainger and a couple of
other companies that Mail Order parts:

Grainger is an industrial and commercial equipment and supply company. And
yes, the do sell in Malaysia.  The number (US number) to call is 510-638-

They are one of three companies I use to find products for use in my
aquariums for all my DIY projects.  They've got float switches, ballast for
all types of lamps.  Lamps of all types, CRI and Kelvin Ratings, including,
but no limited to VHO, T-8, T-12, MV, and MH.  They also have covers, sockets,
pumps, pH controllers, and a million and one miscellaneous gadgets and
fittings.  I think you have to be a company to get one of their catalogs, but
as long as either you work, or know somebody who works, you can always order
their catalog for your work and simply take it home. <g>  Also understand,
but have not checked with them, that they now have their catalog on CD and
if you have that you can modem in your order as well as check if it is
currently available.

Just FYI, the other two companies are Cole-Palmer 800-323-4340 or 708-647-
7600 and McMaster-Carr 708-833-0300.  (I know McMaster's won't send catalogs
out to individuals, but they will sell to individuals.)  Cole-Palmer is an
instrument/lab supply company that has all kinds of neat, although sometimes
expensive, equipment.  McMaster's like Grainger's is an industrial supply
firm and carries just about everything, including the kitchen sink.

Another favorite for those who want computer or electronic control of pH,
lights, heaters, temp sensors, and so on, is Electronic Energy Control, Inc.,
614-464-4470.  They sell an Analog to Digital Converter with a variety of
options that will let you control up to 112 relays and 112 inputs.  For
under $400 you can get 8 analog inputs (which can easily accept digital
input), 8 temperature sensors and trim pots and inputs, 16 outputs, and a
preamp for a pH/ORP/Ion-specific probe, 8 10amp 277VAC relays, two power
supplies, a terminal block for 8 inputs, and all cables for hookup to a
serial port or modem.  The unit is programmable with just about any language
that allows low level controls (this includes FoxPro for DOS, but not for
Windows) and requires only the most simple of programs to work.  Plus they
kindly send a ton of sample code.  I simply pieced their code together with
a few modifications and that was it. Took me one day to do the programming.
But I admit I did it for a black and white screen so I didn't bother with
color.  Guess I could add it with another five minutes worth of work. Compare
this with one of the Octopus units at what $780 that will not do half as much.

Sorry for rambling on, but I hope some of this is of some value.  Hate not to
support aquarium stores, but I can't afford it and still do what I want to.

Doug Valverde (Charter Member of Gadget Freaks Anonymous)