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Re: Three lighting questions

Few things I forgot to mention: (my original post was long 
enough already!)

Overdriving is only possible (in my experience) with _electronic_
ballasts.  Combining the circuits on a magnetic ballast will most
likely lead to disastrous results.

Similarly, shorting the end-caps is only necessary when using 
instant start ballasts ... Rapid start / preheat ballasts use
the two pins separately to give the bulb a softer start by warming
the filaments before turning on the real power.

On that same note... instant start can shorten the already short
life of a plant/aquarium T12 bulb because the T12 wasn't designed 
for the higher voltage (and/or current) ... a way to minimize the 
damage is to ensure your bulbs stay cool or luke-warm to the 
touch (use a fan or two ... your fish will appreciate it), and 
avoid cycling the power more than once per day ... each time you 
light-up the bulb, it takes a day or two off its life.