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Digital Vs. Magnetic Ballast.

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7 replies to this topic

#1 Ya Knooooooo

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 03:04 PM

I was trying to decide which type of ballast to go with. I was wondering which one is better? What are the pros and cons of each?

Any help would be greatly appreciated

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#2 cali_budz707


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Posted 02 October 2009 - 04:01 PM

let me just show you, hehehe. i will be switching to all digi's next round. its just amazing how much better the growth is.

magnetic. look at the dips in the canopy. these plants were the bigger ones that were planted

now the digital. nuff said, hehehe.

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#3 oldtree



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Posted 02 October 2009 - 04:47 PM

Go digital. 20% more efficient. Over a year or two you could buy another light with what you save on electricity.

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#4 mwmba


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Posted 02 October 2009 - 06:27 PM

Digital ballasts are more efficient, cooler, provide a more stable supply of power to the bulb, and most will fire both MH & HPS.

The only con I'm aware of is RF interference from poorly shielded models.

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#5 Red Eyed Owl

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 07:54 PM

Originally posted here

IMHO Electronics ballasts are pieces of *rap. You will find very, very few electronic ballasts used commercially, indi ustrially or by coomercial or resrach horticuturalits. They are just another product that through deceptive advertising and unscrupulous marketing has become a new fad product. They produce less PAR, alterred wave lengths, electronic interference, they under drive the bulbs and tend to end up melting. Yes they use less o poer, but that is because they provide less usable light. Yes they run cooler beacuse they use less wattage. Yes the bulbs last longer but only because less power is run through them and they are underworked. Lees in usually means lees out and electronically driven bulbs reflect that.

My Apogee meter shows a marked PAR decrease below the plant canopy much greater with electronic ballst lighting. Lux readings are higher.
The follow test results are on a 175 watt halide with three or four different electronic ballasts and a stadard magnetic ballasts. The charts clearly show better performance by the magnetic ballast. It supplies more blue spectrum wavelength lighting and less of the undesireable wave lengths of the unusable wavelenghts. So even though the electronic ballasts can be said to produce more light it is in the areas of less desireable wave lengths so therefore a bad thing not a good thing beacuse it is producing lees light in the desirable ranges in oder as well. Tests with other halide bulbs all tend to show the same lighting wave length alterationsby the electronic ballasts. Halide bulbs simply put are designed to produce the wave lengths that are desred when the bulbs are fired by magnetic ballast. Electronic Halide ballasta are the bastard children of haide comonents. They prove only to be good when deceptively advertised as less proper wave lengths mean poorer yield and potency regardless of LUX or candlepower or wattage. Less undesireable light means less desirable growth. Ecelectronic ballast also produce less intnse lighting so the PAR at a distance is lower so unless you have air cooled or water cooled bulbs yor Par anywhere below about 2.5 to 3' below the bulb will be dismal. PAR drops off at a rate that increases by the initial loss times the distance square. Ie if you loose 5 percent at 1 foot (1^2= and 1 x 5% = 5%) at 2 foot (2^2 = 4 and 4 x 5% = 20%)you will loose 20 percent and at 3" (3^2 = 9 and 9 x 50% = 45%)you will lose 45%. This is especially important as the electronic ballast loses the initial amount at a larger percentage. These are not real numbers but consider if the electronic ballasts initial loss is 10% instaed of 5%. That would mean at 2 feet that the loss would be (2^2 = 4 and 4 x 10% = 40% and at 3 foot (3^2 = 9 and 9 x 10) = 90% or nearly no usable light.

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#6 L1QU1D13



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Posted 03 October 2009 - 10:06 PM

Digital ballasts are not just a "fad" and they are becoming ever more popular in the horticultural scene as their unit prices go down.

Not one of those spectral charts show this huge difference mentioned in the quote above. As a matter of fact I'm looking at it zoomed in and it appears the magnetic ballast falls shorter than all of them in more cases then not. Not to mention you still have to factor in the extra 15-20% extra power usage to produce it compared to the digital ballasts 7-10% extra power usage. So the digital ballasts are using less power and, generally speaking, making more light. Those spectral charts prove that. Lookat them closely. The areas where the magnetic ballast DOES have equal or slightly higher output is marginal at best.

Digital ballasts supply a much more consistent application of electrical current.. That is the main reason why the lamps last longer. It is able to deliver the power to the bulb "softer" than a magnetic ballast can.

Not to mention you can run both MH or HPS with one ballast.

Not to mention they run cooler.

Not to mention they are silent.

Not to mention they are smaller.

Well... I see more positives than negative so I would say it's safe to assume a digital ballast may not be such a bad investment.

The notion that these differences are being falsified is one hell of an accusation and to be honest, I think if it were true companies like the UL would be aware of this and would have reported it.

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#7 odal



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Posted 22 October 2009 - 08:04 PM

all of the benefits are either kind of useless to most people or there hasnt been any proof

if they did use 20% less electricity you would think that info would be everywhere not just in advertisements

as to running cooler - open ballast coils vs boxed digis resulted in no diff in temps
as to size - see above, obv you can put any box on any ballast and obv coils are heavier which really shouldnt mean much if they are staying in the same spot for the whole grow
i think that coils put out just as much light as a digi, though it may take a bit more light to get there - for instance a digi may make 1000 watts output while drawing 1020, while a coil may need to draw 1050 watts to get to 1000 watt output
a digi isnt brighter, just may take a bit less to get to the same place - not really a concern unless you are running alot of lights (alot alot lol)

when the price is the same i will buy more digis
until then i am pissed that i wasted the money that i did on the 4 i bought (ran with 6 coils at the same time, they didnt really have one benefit)

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#8 TakingBongRips


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Posted 22 October 2009 - 08:19 PM

My friend upgraded all 12 of his 600's to digital ballasts. He said he couldn't have been happier with his decision, and his plants are showin it too smile

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