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Re: Metal Halide Ballast

George, since several people have mailed me with their skepticism I
called IceCap about the claims.  The claims I posted were clipped
from AquaLink's Web site.

>> Ballast generates virtually no heat and no noise 
> I could go with that.

This claim they stand behind.  The VHO ballast ships with a heat sink
(I have no idea why as my ballast has never even become warm to the
touch). The Metal Halide Ballast doesn't ship with a ballast.  The
IceCap rep said the MH ballast runs even cooler than the VHO ballast.

>>•Burns 175 watt lamps 20% brighter 
> Hmmm, I'm not sure about that.  Did they say why?

This is a claim the rep wouldn't stand behind.  He did claim that
with a Lux meter, a noticeable increase in intensity over standard
ballasts is expected but he wouldn't claim 20% was achievable.

>>•Lamps burn 20-50% cooler 
> I doubt that.  Did they get their hype confused with FL light

I've never been able to compare IceCap driven VHO's and tar ballast
driven VHO's to see if their lower lamp temp claim was true on the
VHO ballasts.  I can tell you that the VHO lamps do NOT run
noticeably hotter than standard FL lamps on either the IceCap or Tar
ballasts.  The rep stated that their ballast driving a 175W lamp uses
150W.  This is where the energy savings claim comes from I suspect. 
He rationalized that the lamp SHOULD burn slightly cooler but that it
would not become cool enough to rest your hand on.  He stated 10-20
degrees cooler at the lamp.

>>•Longer lamp life by an integrated soft-start process 
> Umm, MH lamps sort of have their own "soft start" process built in.

The rep claimed that the capacitor driven "kick-start" in most
ballasts is hard on the lamp.  Their ballast doesn't apply as high of
a voltage at startup thus extending lamp life.  How much longer
should the lamp last they couldn't say.

>>•No spectral shift in lamps 
> B.S.

This they said was not their claim but that since the bulb was not
being driven as hard, the spectral shift should not occur as rapidly
as in conventional ballast driven setups.

>>•Uses 175w American Made Metal Halide Lamps 
> Yeah, wave that flag!

The reps statement was that it REQUIRES an American made lamp.  They
don't support German lamps (yet) and don't support other wattages

> Some of these claims sound marginal given the workings of a MH

Granted the claims I posted were probably exaggerated by AquaLink,
however, my experience with their VHO ballast leads me to believe I
will not be disappointed.

I fully intend to purchase one and run it side-by-side with the
conventional ballast to see how they perform.  The biggest attraction
to me was the fact that the ballast generated no heat.  My new
open-top 120g will be keeping me company in our "computer room".  The
various computers, monitors & laser printer generate plenty of heat
of their own.  If two 175W MH lamps with their ballasts are running
all day the room will most likely get pretty warm.  To be able to
eliminate the ballast heat would be great.