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Re: VHO Ballasts
Christopher - csferrel at eos_ncsu.edu writes:
<<I haven't tried this but I do recall reading that you could run regular
with a VHO ballast. The two effects were much higher output (close to VHO
levels) and a severly shortened lifespan. The candle that burns twice as
bright only last half as long kinda thing.>>
If true, that would seem to make use of regular bulbs on VHO ballasts quite
cost effective, lumen for lumen. You can often purchase "regular" (In this
case, 25 watt, 32 watt, and 40 watt 48inch bulbs) fluorescent bulbs for from
two to five dollars each. If they give light output roughly equivalent to VHO
bulbs and last half as long, burning the regulars is a LOT cheaper.
My limited experience with VHO bulbs in a Public Aquarium was that the VHO
bulbs didn't last worth a bucket of warm spit anyway. It was far more cost
effective to use lots more standard Fluorescent bulbs to get the same lumen
output. We paid a dollar apiece for standard 40 watt Fluorescents, in
quantity, and fifteen to twenty or more times that much for VHO bulbs. We
also had a LOT of UV burning of exhibit materials with VHO, which did NOT
occur with big banks of regular 40 watt bulbs. We paid 15 cents per KWH for
electricity, and it still came out better financially and better for exhibit
health to use lots of 40 watt bulbs almost touching the water. YMMV.
Of course, there is the axiom that "there is no such thing as a free lunch,"
and the additional caveat that "For every problem there is a perfectly
obvious simple solution - which is wrong."
But - - - - you can use the "new" 48 inch 25 watt bulbs with the ancient 40
watt magnetic or tar ballasts just fine. No problem. The bulbs are brighter
than the old, inefficient 40 watt variety. Still, you can NOT use the 32 watt
49 inch fluorescent bulbs with the old 40 watt ballasts. And, in my
experience ALL lamps are brighter with electronic ballasts than with magnetic
ballasts. There are always trade-offs when you mis-match a ballast and the
load lamp. But, in my tanks, I tend to use the "neither the bulb nor the
ballast explodes or sets my house on fire" standard. IOW, I am seriously
concerned with safety, not all that concerned with bulb life, or "efficient"
use of the ballast, so long as I am not INJURING the ballast. (Ballasts cost
a lot more than bulbs do.)
The local Hospital is switching to "Power Compact" Ceiling lights on advice
of their Electrical Engineer, as they are getting lots more lumens per dollar
that way. This is including amortizing fixture costs, power costs, bulb
replacement costs, etc.
(BTW, they pay a LOT less for their Power Compact fixtures than the inflated
prices for the same that are advertised for Aquarium use. That seems to
correspond with many things in the "Aquarium" world - we seem to spend a lot
more money for a lot less product. Annoying but generally true.)
JOlson8590 at AOL_com
I try to be pragmatic, but not stupid.
Well, I try! :-)