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Re:ballasts - convince me
>I have read the APD archives about ballasts, and I'm still
>not convinced. OK, so the little cheap ballasts in the
>shop lights may fizzle sooner; so what, the whole light
>cost $8. So the bulbs may not last as long; so what, they
>cost less than $5. So they cheap ballasts may not drive
>the $30 Actinic bulbs from the LFS; so what, the common
>wisdom semms to be that you don't need them, they may
>actually be detrimental to plant growth, and there are
>cheap alternatives with nearly the same spectrum, for
>I can replace parts in my current setup for YEARS before it
>would cost me as much as one electronic ballast, and other
>saving me an occasional trip to the hardware store, I get
>no benefit for the extra money spent.
>So am I a fool, or a beacon of common sense? I stand by to
>be flamed :)
There is no question that the shoplight approach will grow plants just
fine - even with $2 coolwhite lamps. I started that way and I guess a
high percent of people start that way.
Electronic ballasts have several advantages.
1. They save energy- using a conservative estimate of 30%, if you run
your lights 12hrs/day at $.08/KWH you would save about $17/yr. In long
run the electronic ballast will actually cost you less.
2. They run cooler and quieter
3. They last longer than the magnetic ballasts
4. They drive the lights in parallel so you can run any number of
lights you want and if one goes out the other stay lit.
Finally you should go to a lighting distributor or mail order through
a supply place like McMaster Carr to buy you ballast. The price I've
seen at these places for a electronic ballast that will run 4 lamps
always seems to be around $38.
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