Frequently Asked Questions – Page Two

Frequently Asked Questions – Page Two

Frequently Asked Questions Cont.


What are the major differences between magnetic ballasts and electronic ballasts?

Frequency output to the lamp and energy conversion from electricity to usable light are the biggest differences between magnetic ballasts and electronic ballasts. Magnetic ballasts produce a frequency of 60 Hz. Electronic ballasts vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the frequency produced can be 400x that of a magnetic ballast. Magnetic ballasts produce more heat than electronic ballasts, thus making electronic ballasts more energy efficient.

Are electronic ballasts more energy efficient?

Electronic ballasts are more efficient at converting electricity into usable light. Growers report in a slight decrease in electrical usage, with a slight increase in light output. Because the electronic ballasts produce very little heat compared to magnetic ballasts, growers will also save on air conditioning.

How much energy will my light use?

An average lighting system will increase your electricity cost about $8 to $20 per month. The exact amount depends on the wattage of the system and the number of hours operated. To calculate your cost, multiply the bulb wattage X the number of hours of operation and divide by 1000. This figure is the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity used. (Example: a 400 watt lamp running for 18 hours will use 7.2 kilowatt-hours). Check your power bill for the cost of each kilowatt-hour. Then multiply the number of kilowatt-hours used by the cost of a kilowatt-hour (K/hr) to figure the cost to run your light for that many hours.

Do I need special wiring in my house for my lighting system?

Lighting systems are available in a variety of voltages. The standard used by most gardeners is 120 volts which plugs into a standard wall outlet. These days, most ballast can also be used with 240v wiring. When using several grow lights, 240v circuitry can provide options for running thousands of watts on a single timer. Standard wall outlets will work for small installations.

What voltages are available for HID and fluorescent lights?

HID systems are available in 120 volt, 208 volt, 240 volt, 277 volt and 480 volt. Fluorescent lighting varies, but most are available from 100 volt to 277 volt.

Will I save on my electric bill if I run my system with 240 volts?

No. Electric companies base your electrical bill on Wattage, not Voltage or Current. While ballasts wired for 240 volt will draw less current and run a little cooler than one wired for 120 volt, it will not save you money on your electric bill.

How often do I need to change my light bulb?

Most lamp manufacturers rate their lamps by “Average Life Hours” and usually claim 10,000 to 24,000 hours. These ratings are based on when the lamp will completely fail to come on. They do not factor in loss of intensity or loss of color. Growers who demand the highest yields from every crop will change their lamps every 2 – 6 months. Never use a grow lamp for more than 10 months, or decreases in growth will inevitably occur



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