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Old 10/07/2000, 12:10 PM   #1
bjmumy
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Cool

I finally got my MH up and running this afternoon. It was in my garage, but I still saw the light. I got 2 Spiderlight reflectors from Pet Warehouse (they are having a big walk-in clearance sale this weekend) for $40 each this morning and hooked them up to the Advance MV ballasts I got earlier this week and had put in boxes and wired up yesterday. Now all I have to do is buy another 250W Iwasaki from Premium Aquatics and build my new hood and I'm all set! I just wanted to share my excitement with everyone. For those of you who don't have MH, I can't tell you how it will look over my tank, but it looks pretty cool in my garage!!!!!



With the MV ballast, the Iwasakis look surprisingly more blue. This bulb isn't even broken in yet and it already looks more blue than other Iwasakis I've seen. You can't beat $23 each for the ballasts either.

Anyway, I finally understand what the big deal is about MH. I can't wait to get it over my tank!


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Old 10/07/2000, 01:25 PM   #2
MrSandman
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Where did you get that ballast from? I am also in the market for some MH's for my tank. How much was your set-up?


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Old 10/07/2000, 02:20 PM   #3
bjmumy
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MrSandman,

Here's what I have into my lighting setup so far:

2 x 250W Advance MV ballast from Graybar model number 71A3802: $23 each
2 x metal enclosures on clearance from HD: $3 each
2 x SpiderLight reflectors with sockets: $40 each
1 x 250W Iwasaki (new from eBay): $40
1 x 250W Iwasaki from PA (will get this soon): $60

So by the time I'm all done, my 2x250W 6500k Iwasaki setup with SpiderLights is going to be $232.

It's hard to judge, but so far I like the MV ballasts. They have no capacitors so they use more current to start, but use a little less power to fire the bulb, take up little space (w/ no capacitor), and the bulb definitely looks more blue to me on a MV ballast.

Brian


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Old 10/07/2000, 02:50 PM   #4
MrSandman
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where did u get the MV ballasts from? thats a pretty damn good deal on ballasts. I wonder if w/ no capacitors, the bulbs will wear out sooner or possibly blow on startup? and how big are your enclosures?


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Old 10/07/2000, 03:19 PM   #5
bjmumy
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Actually the only difference with not using capacitors is the extra juice it takes to start the bulb comes from the wall rather than from a capacitor which has stored up energy. So there is no worry that the bulbs will blow or anything. In fact, the bulbs are supposed to last longer on the MV ballasts. EYE says you should only use MV ballasts since the Iwasakis are actually MV bulbs. So the MV ballasts is what they were designed to run on and they supposedly run brighter, bluer, and longer on a MV ballast (time will tell if that's true). The disadvantage is that I am locked into the Iwasaki. I can't use any bulb but. Given their price and PAR though, I'm ok with that. I got the ballasts from Graybar. They have stores in most major cities. Their web address is www.graybar.com. They don't sell over the internet, but they will ship. They only sell to companies, so you'll have to pretend it's for work. My enclosures are 6x4x4". They allow plenty of breathing room around the ballasts, yet are nice and compact.

Brian


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Old 10/09/2000, 08:01 AM   #6
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Brian,

Does the ballast get hot? Do you have to wire from ballast to socket? or does it come all ready wired?

Thanks...


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Old 10/10/2000, 07:32 AM   #7
Staceon
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One more time............


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Old 10/10/2000, 10:43 AM   #8
bjmumy
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Sorry I missed your last post, Staceon. No, the ballast doesn't really get hot. The longest I've had it on for is about 2 hours but the ballast enclosure barely got warm. It was cool enough that I could've left my hand on as long as I wanted. It was just a hair warmer than my Icecap 660 gets. I had to do all the wiring myself, but it wasn't bad. The ballasts have 4 wires: 120V, LAMP, COM, and COM. You just run the 120V wire and one COM wire to a plug and the LAMP wire and the other COM wire to the socket. I grounded the lamp holder and the ballast enclosures. It was pretty easy to do. It fired up the first time I tried.

Brian


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Old 10/10/2000, 11:21 AM   #9
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Thanks Brian,

I may be taking this one to email because I found a graybar in my town. Anyway, where do you get the socket? And what type of wires do I use? Are there wiring plans with the box(like the IceCaps)?

On the wires...you are saying 2 of the wires go to the socket and two go to the plug in the wall? Can you explain that grounding part a little more?

Does the MV stand for mercury vapor? Why only Iwasaki? Can you run any kind of Iwasaki bulb(meaning "K" should not matter)

Any more pics?

Thanks for your help....


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Old 10/10/2000, 01:45 PM   #10
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Staceon,

The sockets came with the Spiderlights. I tried to get sockets through electrical supply places (Graybar included), but they all wanted $15-$20 for a socket!! I decided I'd rather have premanufactured reflectors anyway and you can get all of those with a socket and bracket (Spiderlight, PFO Reeflector, ALS, etc.). I used 16 guage wire for everything. I think that's what the leads coming off the ballasts are. The wiring diagram on the ballast is not very good. Here it is:


Here is a link to the pdf file spec sheet for the ballast:
http://www.advancetransformer.com/ec...7799043611.pdf

For the wiring, there are 2 wires that need to be plugged into the wall (hot and neutral) and there are 2 wires attached to the back of the sockets. I also wired a ground wire to the socket holders and the ballast housing which then went to the ground prong on the 3 prong plug. It was pretty easy, really.

MV stands for mercury vapor. 6500K Iwasaki bulbs are actually mercury vapor bulbs and are technically supposed to be run on mercury vapor ballasts (though they will also run on MH ballasts). The disadvantage of using MV ballasts is that I can't change bulbs. The advantage is that they are supposed to burn the Iwasakis brighter, bluer, and give longer bulb life.

I don't have any more pics, but if I get the chance, I will try to take some more tonight.

HTH,
Brian


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Old 10/10/2000, 02:11 PM   #11
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Thanks for the info Brian,

The only electrical wiring I have EVER done is some wall switches and a NO ballast. Do you think with even this limited amount of experience I could do this DIY pretty easy?

The two wires that go into the wall....HOW do they go into the wall? Can I just take an extension cord and cut off the end and attach ballast wires to that?

What about where the wires meet? What do you use here? The little plastic screw things?(hows that for technical)

If I use the PFO socket, dont I have to take it apart(the end of the wire that is)? Meaning I know on my PFO socket that I have now there is a wire that comes out and has an quick snap device on the end that attaches the ballast.

How important is the ground?

Brian I am sorry if I am loading you up with so many questions, thanks for your help...


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Old 10/10/2000, 02:28 PM   #12
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Staceon,

To take the load off of Bj and for a little on site inspection you can check out my setup when you head up my way for HA. Although I don't have a MH set, I have PC's, the wiring is exactly the same. Mine is totally DIY, including the hood.

If you want get all the parts together; Reflector sockets, wiring, and Ballast and pig tail (pre wired plug) bring it up here and we can assemble it together.

It's gonna take a Raider to show a Bronco how to things anyway. He he (old highschool joke for those who don't get it)


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Old 10/10/2000, 02:31 PM   #13
aLittletank
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Staceon you have been asking all the questions that I was thinking

I was wondering what you used for a ballast case? ( metal enclosures on clearance from HD ) were these desinged for ballast? If not will any metal box do? if so I have some old ammo boxes that may work great, if you drilled a hole for the wires.

I checked and I have a graybar in Lansing as well

thanks for the info

Allen



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Old 10/10/2000, 02:34 PM   #14
bjmumy
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>The only electrical wiring I have EVER done is some wall switches and a NO ballast. Do you think with even this limited amount of experience I could do this DIY pretty easy?

Yes. That's about my level of electrical expertise and I managed ok.

>The two wires that go into the wall....HOW do they go into the wall? Can I just take an extension cord and cut off the end and attach ballast wires to that?

Yes, that's basically what I did. It was cheapest to buy 2 6' grounded replacement electric cords. One end has the 3-prong plug you plug into the outlet and the other has 3 wires (hot, neutral, and ground). The hot wire (black) goes to the 120V wire on the ballast. The neutral wire (white) goes to one of the COM wires on the ballast. The ground (green) attaches to something on the ballast box (any screw will do) and the ground wire coming from the socket.

>What about where the wires meet? What do you use here? The little plastic screw things?(hows that for technical)

Yep, I used wire nuts to connect all of the wires.

>If I use the PFO socket, dont I have to take it apart(the end of the wire that is)? Meaning I know on my PFO socket that I have now there is a wire that comes out and has an quick snap device on the end that attaches the ballast.

Yes, you'd have to cut off the quick connector and attach the wires manually. Attach the hot wire (should be black again) to the LAMP wire from the ballast. Attach the neutral (should be white) to the other COM wire on the ballast. Attach the ground wire (green or copper) to the ground wire going to the plug (which is also connected to the ballast box)

>How important is the ground?

I would say grounding the setup is vital. You want to give the juice somewhere to go if something goes wrong - otherwise it will go through you!

>Brian I am sorry if I am loading you up with so many questions, thanks for your help...

No problem. If something still isn't clear, fire away!

Brian



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Old 10/10/2000, 02:39 PM   #15
bjmumy
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Allen,

Any metal box will do. The boxes I got are for putting a breaker or switch outside. They would just mount to your house and have a cover held in place with a screw. Ammo boxes might work well also. I remember someone on this board used a metal toolbox even. You really just need something to contain all the wires and stuff that you can mount the ballast to that won't melt or catch fire (hence the metal part!). I'll try to take some pictures tonight.

Brian


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Old 10/10/2000, 02:39 PM   #16
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Tim,

The tank that I am looking at this for is my FO(75G) that I am converting. To be quite honest I dont plan on getting the lights until next year. I want the LR, about 20 lbs now, to be around 200 lbs, and I want to add more LS, its about 4 inches now. I also plan on taking the sump out and replacing with a modified ATS like I have on my reef. Its sitting in the garage now waiting for me to get around to do the plumbing. Lastly I just have to for some reason finish my reef before I can start another one. I only have 2 places left for corals and already know what I want in those places. Hopefully HA will have one of them(black sun coral, but will probably take orange if looks good or red sea xenia).

Anyway, I really do appreciate your offer.

Once this thread is done I am going to print it out and save it in my "fish file" until the time is right.

Its really just a montary issue, other things are more important to take care of first. Like those nagging student loans....


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Old 10/10/2000, 02:44 PM   #17
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Brian,

Great info, that really did help. Pictures for the DIY challenged would be great! Thanks again....


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Old 10/10/2000, 03:02 PM   #18
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Staceon,

Either way you can check out how I wired and setup mine, if you want!




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Old 10/10/2000, 06:16 PM   #19
bjmumy
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Lightbulb Pictures

Ok, here is one of the boxes:

Notice how I ran both the wire to the outlet and the wire to the lamp through the 1 punch out hole. You can also see the send of the power cord in this pic.


Here's the label on the inside of the lid of one of the boxes I used:



Here are a couple pictures with the cover taken off of the box:




And here's what the wiring to the socket looks like:



I hope you find the pictures useful!
Brian


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Old 10/10/2000, 07:31 PM   #20
MrSandman
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Whatever you guys do, DON'T continue this thread on email. I am following every part of it!! hehe..im also in the market for some MH's and found this thread to be very useful and perfect timing BJ, Im also electrically challenged just like Staceon...hehe..(now i don't feel so bad). Maybe you should go into business and buy lots of MH's components and assemble em yourself and sell em as complete sets?? I'm sure i would be the first in line. Just a thought.


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Old 10/10/2000, 08:40 PM   #21
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I know someone who works for Graybar.It's my husband!!!! He said he would get ballasts for everyone but his handling fee would be as much as your entire lighting system would cost. Graybar Electrics are pretty much all over the U.S.
Keep us posted on the MV ballasts. I need to get a lighting system put together for my new 120. Everytime I think I have it figured out what I want to use I read something in a post that makes me reconsider what I had decided on.
TnReefer



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Old 10/10/2000, 09:39 PM   #22
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AWW!!! talk about being excited one second and then slamming face first into the ground the next. why you gotta tease us like that? The only thing about ordering from graybar is that you have to be a business. Therefore i am outta luck.


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Old 10/10/2000, 11:29 PM   #23
RicoJ
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OK where do I find these Advance MV ballast from Graybar model number 71A3802 locally?

Thanks!

Rico.


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Old 10/11/2000, 06:40 AM   #24
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Rico,

Graybar is a store that may or may not be in your home town. If you don't have a Graybay, any electrical supply place that sells Advanced Ballasts will do. I think Andvanced has store locator on their web site http://www.advancedtransformer.com you can find a retailer near you there.

Good luck


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Old 10/11/2000, 07:18 AM   #25
David Newman
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FWIW, last year I went through the Iwasaki ballast research process, including asking the manufacturer for a recommendation. They suggested either a Magnetek (1030-92) or an Advance (71A3572). Both have capacitors. I went with the Magnetek which has worked well.Yesterday I sent the following e-mail to the manufacturer and will post any reply I receive:
"A few questions about which of these Advance ballasts would be most appropriate for use with the MT250DL lamp: 71A3572 or 71A3802. If both will work, would you expect any operating characteristics to be different between the two ballasts? Will either affect the life of the lamp?"

David


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