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Re: Problems with Metal Halide Fixture

James Purchase wrote Tuesday:

>...I have three suspended Coralife Metal Halide pendants (5500 K 175 W bulbs)
>over my largest tank. The line which they are on contains a GFI. Recently,
>one of the fixtures has been developing a problem which I initially thought
>was related to the bulb nearing the end of it's life - the bulb would
>occassionally just go out of a period of time, re-lighting later, and then
>go out again. The bulbs are just over one year old so I thought that it was
>probably time for new bulbs.
>But in the past week, I have noticed that in addition to failing to light,
>something is causing the circuit breaker in the GFI to trip, turning the
>electricity off in the circuit. I have carefully checked, and there is no
>moisture anywhere near the ballasts (they are located in a nearby closet to
>shield my ears from their sometimes annoying "buzz") nor near the electrical
>If I flip the "on-off" switch on the offending ballast to off, the GFI does
>not trip, and the other two fixtures operate properly. But whenever I
>attempt to use the troublesome fixture, a couple of minutes (or sometimes
>hours) later the GFI will trip, sending the tank into darkness......

Try the "offending" ballast and bulb just by themselves, with the other two
off.  If the GFI still trips, then the problem is not related to a high
load on the system due to the three ballasts.  Try swapping the bulb with
one from one of the other systems.  If the GFI still trips, then the
problem is very likely in the ballast.

I don't know what I'm talking about, but I like to experiment.

Paul Krombholz, in hot, dry, central Mississippi, having the driest May on