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Re: Three lighting questions

In reply to:

> Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2002 15:39:38 -0400
> From: "Hopkins, Samuel" <Samuel.Hopkins at marconi_com>
> Subject: Three lighting questions
> Two questions:
> #1:
> I noticed Lights of America makes a 45 watt compact fluorescent bulb that
> like 5 inches long and 3 inches wide. They put out 2700 lumens of light
> (They compare it to a 200 watt incandescent). Now I assume they're high in
> the yellow/green spectrum but you could fit like 6-8 of these under a
> single bulb 4' strip light hood and get 16000-21000 lumens. These would be
> great for me because I have limited space on top of my tank. Is anyone
> something like this? They're a little pricing at 17 bucks each but their
> footprint is so small it's crazy.

Ouch ... $17 ea is a lot, and you're paying a lot for parts you don't need
fancy housing, minature electronic ballast, twisty tube).  Plus, something
probably has a bearing on the issue is wasted light... since the tube is all
twisty, using the bulb right up against a reflector will end up shining a
of light back into the bulb, not to mention that the bulb already does a lot
this due to it's compact design.

> #2
> I have two standard 4' 40 watt strip lights purchased from the LFS. I want
> to replace the ballast with a double bulb ballast and overdrive the single
> bulb. When I went to look at ballasts at Home Depot they had amp ratings
> printed on the ballast. Some were .50, some where .56, etc. I assume that
> the more amps the more power to the bulb the brighter the light is?

First, go to homedepot.com and print out the page for a B432I120RH
electronic ballast (19.97 as of today), take it to your local store and find
that same ballast priced between $29.97 and $35.97!  Quibble nicely with the
cashier and s/he will give you the 19.97 price.

When you get your b432 home, you can use it to drive a wide number of bulbs,
many of which is was not originally designed for but appears to work well

Your old ballast is probably magnetic, and has two wires running to each
end of the bulb (red/blue and yellow)... your new b432 only needs one RED
or BLUE wire to each bulb, and one YELLOW wire for every two red/blue wires.
If you want to overdrive, then combine two (or more) of the red/blue wires
together. It is important that your endcaps (sockets) are shorted, or that
you combine the two original wires together in a wirenut with one (or more)
of the new wires, otherwise your bulbs will quickly burn out.

Seeing that you have two fixtures, you can retrofit them for remote ballast
operation, and drive the two off a single b432.  Just rip out the old
(or leave it in and just snip the wires), and run 6 to 10 ft of lamp cord
each strip light.  If you use polarized lamp cord, one side will be smooth,
other rough (or one conductor will be copper, the other aluminum)...  Inside
each strip light, connect the red/blue socket wires to the smooth side, and
yellow wires to the rough side (use wirenuts, solder or just lots of tape).
the other end of the cords, attach the smooth side to a pair of red for one
strip and the other to a pair of blue.  Then attach each rough side of the
to it's own yellow wire.  Wire up the ballast to a power cord from one of
lights and you're all set.

Here's a diagram, which I hope survives any reformatting the list daemon
chooses to do.

                            [fluorescent strip light fixture]

|=-----------yellow-----------------\ ,wire  nuts.
|=lamp socket                        @~~~~~  -----@     or blue
lamp socket=|
|=-----------yellow-----------------/     |  |
|=[                                       |
|                                   lamp> |  | <cord
                               lamp cord> |  | <to ballast

                 [B432I120RH Diagram]

 (to mains)   ^ ground ballast case
 ||           |
 ||        -------------------------------
 |`---blk--|                             |---red-----.
 `---wht---|    GE Universal Magnatek    |---red----.|
           |     Electronic Ballast      |          ||
 .---yel---|    TRIAD B432I 120V 60HZ    |---blu--. ||
 |.--yel---|                             |---blu-.| ||
 ||        -------------------------------       || ||
 |`____________@~~~~~~one lamp cord-----@________@' ||
 |                                                  ||
 `_____________@~~~~~other lamp cord----@___________@'

@ is a wire nut, butt-splice, or twisted wires with
  plenty of tape

~ is the rough side or aluminum conductor of the
  lamp cord

- is the smooth side or copper conductor

The red, blue and yellow colors are based on an ANSI color code for
fluorescent fixtures (I think), if your fixture does not use these colors
that is ok, as long as you can make a note of which wire goes to what
before you remove the old ballast.

My ascii art skills aren't what they used to be [in the days before vga ;)]
but I hope these diagrams help some

If they get garbled by the list daemon, or by other means, email me directly
and I will send them as a GIF.

If you have a lot invested in F40T12's, the b432 will run them, but a single
circuit will not provide enough power for max brightness, however 2x
will provide plenty, and three or more might produce more light, and will
deffinately produce more heat, as well as shorten the lifespan of the
The problem I've found with the t12's is a short life span even at normal
output (NO) (my f40t12 pl/aq's only lasted about 5mo before fading)

T8's are much newwer technology and have a greatly improved lifespan... They
are a bit harder to find in pleasing colors for aquarium use however.

Visit buylighting.com and get some 4ft. 5000K t8's for $2.25ea (as of
or a local retailer if they carry such a bulb.

I've successfully driven all these bulbs with the b432;
f15t8, f17t8, f32t8, f14t12, f20t12, f20t10

Using the f17's, I was able to run 8 lights off a single b432, running the
in series, two on each circuit.  I imagen the same is possible with f15's,
but I
didn't have enough to try it.

> #3:
> At Home Depot they sell a "Grow and Show Bright Stick" which is a 36 watt
> 24" fluorescent bulb with two end caps and a power cord - with no ballast.
> How is this possible?

It has a ballast, it is just a very small inductor, coupled with a starter
within the plastic somewhere... I have a few GE undercabinet lights that are
similar, but you'll find the ballast after the light runs for a few hours,
as it gets hot.

Feel free to email me directly if you need help with the b432 ... I've found
it to be extremely flexible, as well as very nicely priced once I found the
web deal.