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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.)


Jean Olson
JOlson8590 at AOL_com

I try to be pragmatic, but not stupid. 

Well, I try! :-)