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RE: Metal halide article

> Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 13:20:40 -0700
> From: Don Hutton <dhutton at omnipoint_com>
> FWIW, I hear that the Digital Oceans ballasts are no longer for sale due
> to poor reliability.  Ice cap ballasts are supposed to be better, but I
> think Frank Reiter and others may not agree.

I guess it's time for an update on this.

Last summer I received 5 IceCap 175W MH ballasts for my 280 gallon tank.  They 
were dreadful.  One of them never did light a lamp, and the others did so 
unreliably - failing to light as often as they succeeded.

I spoke with IceCap and the person I spoked to went through the usual 
troubleshooting with me, then offered to send three modified ballasts to see if 
they would work better.

They did - they lit the lamps reliably, but unfortunately they also flickered 
quite badly.  Enough to be irritating.  From what they have told me, and 
reading between the lines a bit, the ballasts were tested with horizontally 
mounted bulbs and work well with those, but not so well with vertically mounted 
bulbs (as in pendants).

Anyhow abbreviating the story a little bit, I have twice more received new 
ballasts from them.  The last one, which I received just a few days ago, seems 
very good.  It isn't clear to me yet whether this was good luck or whether they 
have found a solution.  I continue to work with them.

The support offered by the company gets a mixed but overall positive review 
from me.  My only negative comment would be that they are sometimes 
unresponsive - voicemail often goes unanswered, promised calls back often fail 
to happen, etc.  On the other hand, when I *do* get through to them, which has 
been somewhat easier lately, they have been very helpful.

They have committed to solve the problem and have clearly been making efforts 
to do so.  They have been shipping replacement ballasts and allowing me to 
return bad ones only after the new ones have arrived, so that I can keep the 
tank operating.  Each new shipment  (three so far) has been better than before.

I spoke with the president of the company a few months ago, and he told me that 
he knew they had a problem and they were working to correct it.  He assured me 
that I would be taken care of, and subsequent efforts have convinced me that he 
meant it.

Right now, I would have to recommend not buying IceCap MH ballasts unless you 
are willing to swap them out a few times (or unless you are using horizontally 
mounted lamps.)

When I get five that work well for me (and so far this last one looks good!) I 
will find out from him how a customer may identify the reliable revision, and I 
will report back to the list again.  I think these will be nice ballasts when 
the problems are solved - they run cool to the touch and completely silent 
within the limits of my hearing.



The very act of seeking sets something in motion to meet us;
something in the universe, or in the unconscious responds as if
to an invitation.  - Jean Shinoda Bolen