Best 600w Ballast?

Discussion in 'General Marijuana Growing' started by inhaleindica, Jan 23, 2012.

  1.  
    inhaleindica

    inhaleindica Active Member

    What would be the best ballast for a 600w you could buy? I am looking to upgrade from my 400w hps to 600w. I a magnetic ballast guy but I would be open to digital or electronic ballast. I would want an efficient ballast not the one that would jack up the radio/electronic frequency as I am in an apartment and I want to keep it down low. The most expensive one is not necessarily better. Thanks ahead of time.
  2.  
    Thedillestpickle

    Thedillestpickle Well-Known Member

    Good questions, Id like to know the same but for a 1000w.

    Its so hard to know which way to go, I read alot of bad experiences with the digital ballasts, such as lower bulb life, emitting radio noise and faulty ballasts from the factory

    I dont hear the same bad stuff about magnetic, but apparently they are less efficient, more noisey and dont burn as bright?

    I want to hear some recommendation for ballast that people have been able to rely on over the years. What's your "old faithfull" ballast?
  3.  
    inhaleindica

    inhaleindica Active Member

    I have been thinking the same thing. I have no problem with my 400w magnetic ballast but they run hot. I use a fan in front of the ballast. The noise doesn't bother me. I have the 400w magnetic and digital but have no comparison since I haven't run the digital one yet.

    Edit: I mean I have the Electronic ballast
  4.  
    Thedillestpickle

    Thedillestpickle Well-Known Member

    Yes they do create quite a bit of heat, I didnt think it was so much until I tried stuffing the ballast into a small enclosed space where it got very warm. But compared with the light itself, I think it amounts to probably 10% of the total heat being generated(but I just made that number up) If your running your lights in cool tubes then it could be quite a big fraction of the total heat produced.
    You can always keep the ballast on the outside of the grow room. but then your room is less stealth.

    I think If I were to buy a ballast right now I would buy either a 600w or a 1000w MH/HPS 120/240V Magnetic ballast, because they are cheaper and from what Ive read more reliable. unless someone can convince me otherwise.

    I watched a video once where a big time grower was talking about how he Hates the digital ballast because they strike too hard and it wears out bulbs way faster. He uses a light intensity meter and measures the initial intensitiy and monitors all his bulbs switching out when they get to only 60% initial intensity. He also buys the cheaper bulbs rather than the high end pricey bulbs because he feels its better to swap out the bulbs more frequently to maintain a higher intensity from the bulbs. These were oppinions of someone who had been growing for a long time and had learned things the hard way, but he may be a bit old school and biased towards older technology. Would like to hear some more oppinions based on experience

    Edit: we all know how hydro store employees/owners like to convince you to buy all kinds of stuff you dont need... well I asked for a dimable ballast when I went into the Hydro store and he convinced me to go with a magnetic ballast because he said digitals burn out bulbs faster and especially the dimable ballasts. according to him dimming your lights hurts the bulbs drastically. He could have made more money by selling me a more expensive product, so I trust there must have been some experience going into his advice.
  5.  
    inhaleindica

    inhaleindica Active Member


    Those are the exact reasons why I am sticking with the magnetic ballast and letting the electronic ballast just sit and build up dust. I mean I do tons of research and always had stronger comfort feeling with the magnetic and its cheaper and easier to maintain if something goes wrong with it. I was suggested by my hydro clerk to go with Magnetic. So that is a good sign ha.

    Interesting Theory about the blubs. I have grown with standard 400w hps but I just feel that it didn't produce the compact buds that I was looking for. I got the 430 Sunagro which I am glad I bought that as I have improved yeild and density but the buds were smaller in size, but compact. I don't see the necessity to buy the most expensive blubs. You can find a really good quality blub for 80 or less. No, need to go off buying the 150 dollar ones. I mean come on how much better would it be?
  6.  
    Thedillestpickle

    Thedillestpickle Well-Known Member

    I just bought a 1000w MH bulb for 45$

    I also just got myself a 1000W magnetic ballast... JUST plugged it in 5 minutes ago, and it buzzes way way louder than my 400 or 600... like 10 times louder... shit!
    its a peircing noise I'm pretty sure I can hear it right now and im not on the same floor. I will have to find a way to silence it but I know you cant just smother it with padding or itll overheat. guess you wouldnt have that problem with 400's or 600's
    I'm not trying to have a super "stealth" cab, but I have people that live above me, I don't want them to be bothered by any noise, or get curious as to whats causing it

    Anyways it might just be the particular magnetic ballast that I got, but thought that would be a good heads up if you were at all thinking of going to a 1000w
  7.  
    inhaleindica

    inhaleindica Active Member

    You could create a box around it and put a small computer fan to vent the heat out of the box. That might help with the noise. What would I know anyways since I am hard of hearing ha.
  8.  
    Thedillestpickle

    Thedillestpickle Well-Known Member

    I piled some old cardboard egg crates ontop of it! hahahaha its working reduced the noise by at least half. I am now a happy customer

    I was thinking the same thing, create a soundproof box and have it vented by a fan.... ahh soo much work! I'll probably wait until I have all my ballasts purchased then create one big box with one good sized fan. and a decent amount of passive intake/exhaust to provide some extra venting in case the fan were to ever stop working. It sounds like a good way to make a fire hazard. Even if I can just smother 3/4 of the noise though I'm happy so I wont make it too enclosing

    wow no one else is putting any input into the thread?
    I may be wrong but arent the bulbs used for the digital ballast also cheaper? I mean I pay 40$ for a 1000w HPS, it may not be top of the line, but with the money I save I can replace it more frequently to keep it close to initial lumen output.
    Also I know they don't make CMH, and I dont know if your interested in ever using a CMH(I think they should only be used as a supplement not a main light source) but the CMH bulbs only work in Magnetic ballasts. They havent made a 600w CMH yet, or a 1000w CMH, but I dont see why they wouldnt be coming out with them in the next couple years. If you get a digital ballast you wont have that option.

    one thing Ive noticed is the pro growers you see online. In the really high end grow rooms you see its alwasy magnetic ballasts.
  9.  
    alotaball

    alotaball Well-Known Member

    It shouldnt be that loud.. something might be wrong.. Magnetics are still very reliable and easy to repair... IF your gonna go digital.. DONT go cheap.. gotta go name brand such as a newer model Lumatek .. Lots of the cheaper and earlier digitals were unreliable and burnt bulbs.. Just go for a decent magnetic.. put it on a brick or hang it from the handle so it can cool easily .. dont ever set it on carpet or cardboard.. if its humming really loud make sure its not vibration and the rubber feet underneath are in good condition. Most ballast fires come from them getting too hot and something flammable/combustible being around them... IF possible try to get one that is switchable and will accept 120/240 v just incase your situation ever changes ....Always try to keep it out of the grow area as you mentioned :)

    On the CMH.. they are GREAT .. but like you mentioned.. only for supplemental or veg lighting .. the lumen output isnt great.. but the spectrum is Excellent ... I believe they dont go beyond 400 right now because of the high operating temps.... and never look directly at that bulb .. it can make ya pretty blind for a while :) . Good luck on the grow and your decision ..
  10.  
    Thedillestpickle

    Thedillestpickle Well-Known Member

    Alotaball now you got me worried there is something wrong with the ballast, It is the same make as my 400 and 600 from what I can tell. its nothing fancy doesnt have any fancy logo's or anything on it, just a flat white painted metal box with 120/240V switch, and MH/HPS switch. The 600 barely makes much noise. you cant really hear it over the fan, but the 1000 is really buzzing, its a sharp buzz that cuts through all the others noise. I will ask about it at the hydro store but I don't anticipate they will be too keen on the idea of replacing it for me... and I'm not too keen on hauling it to the hydro store... thats a 5 mile hike with my backpack and the thing weighs a shit ton!

    I guess I'll just live with it. Ive heard that magnetics get louder over their lifetime too... soo I have that to prepare for too lol
  11.  
    alotaball

    alotaball Well-Known Member

    Ya I dont know dill.. my fans are louder then any of my ballast and I have 2 1000's and a 400 running... Normally when they get loud something is wrong.. the rubber is warn.. they are dirty .. or something is going out. Cant imagine back packing that thing lol. Just be careful .. dont want to have a fire or anything .. Im sure you made sure its on the right voltage and stuff? Make sure the bulb is threaded in real good.. I would say open her up and clean it.. but if its brand new ... shouldnt be a issue. Make sure all the bolts are tight and its not the case vibrating .. And if you insulate it to reduce sound.. not only will you risk fire.. but the heat build up will reduce the life of the ballast.. it needs to be able to breath freely ... Good luck

    '
  12.  
    Thedillestpickle

    Thedillestpickle Well-Known Member

    Alotaball, all I have done is place egg crating around it loosely, it still has lots of air to breath, and I check it after 3 hours and it was fairly cool to the touch. I'm not going to take it apart beause it will void the warantee unless I can peel off the warantee voiding sticker very carefully and replace it without it being noticeable lol

    Its sitting on a concrete floor so it isnt transfering the buzz into any kindof soundboard. It buzzes the same whether I life it up or have it sitting down.

    Its definately on the right setting(120V and MH) because I checked that 5 times over. I always screw my bulbs in tight and I'm using an ANSI M47 bulb with an ANSI M47 ballast so its not that either.

    I will just assume its the nature of the larger ballast, I dont know what else I can do, but I will mention it to the hydro store guys, I will see if they can fire up one of these ballasts for me at the store and I will know if it is the same buzz I'm hearing with mine of not, then I will know if if it is worth it for me to bring the ballast back to the store or not. Sure don't want to take it back my shoulders are still hurting from carrying it home last night lol

    I hate not having a car... I wonder what goes through peoples heads when they see this guy walking around with a 100L bag of perlite haha(in a black garbage bag of course)
  13.  
    alotaball

    alotaball Well-Known Member

    Maybe that model is just LOUD lol.. good luck .... I wasnt suggesting taking it apart.. but just making sure the bolts are tight holding the casing on .. but if its a humm and not a vibration.. then .. it is what it is lol. GOod luck..and get a car! :)
  14.  
    vilify

    vilify Well-Known Member

    I know with my old 1000w mh, the ballast case used to rattle against some metal, which would make it loud.
    used to have to literally beat it to get it to stop lol..

    neither of my current ballasts are loud.
  15.  
    Thedillestpickle

    Thedillestpickle Well-Known Member

    It does almost sound like the sound is coming from something physically moving. It sounds like the worlds biggest vibrator lol

    I will try beating it and see what happeneds lol

Share This Page