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Best MH ballast... ?

1453 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Mike
I'm looking to get 3 new (or used if I can find good ones) MH ballasts, because the ones I bought off ebay have proven to me that I am not as smart as I think I am. Despite being able to wire all the electrical in my own house, I cannot figure out how to wire these ballasts... LOL.

Anyway, I've done alot of reading, and it seems like the overall concensus is pointing to the Icecap MH ballasts, since they are supposed to make the bulbs last longer? Can anyone concur, or give me better recommendations? Also, where would be the best place to buy them? I found the Icecap MH 175's for $105, and the 250's for $115... Are these good prices? Is there a better deal to be had? I really only need the ballasts as I already bought the spider reflectors, have lots of romex laying around and I can make my own power cords (not with the romex, with old tool cords and/or extension cords).
Also, If I do buy the Icecap ballasts, do I need the heatsink for them?

Any input will be greatly appreciated.
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Look at Happyreefing.com "Krusk" has some nice electronic ballast and retro kits. Also diyreef.com has some also. I saw a thread on RC about Icecaps not being able to fire XM bulbs or just having problems with them.-Bob
My bulbs are Ushio right now, tho I may try others... And yeah, I had read that about the XM bulbs... Its stated on the DIYreefs page...
I did look at happyreefing, but there doesn't seem to be alot of information about the MH ballasts he has, not even a brand name, so I can't even look it up or find comparisons to other products... I don't mean anything personal to him, cuz I've been told by a number of MR peeps that Krusk is a great guy... but without that information, I'm just not willing to spend the money..... I can get the Icecaps for the same price as he has the no-name whatever kind he carries for.

And yeah, DIYreefs.com is where I found those prices... also found a similar deal on ebay, but with a company that I have dealt with already, and would prefer not to deal with again.
I've bought 8-250watt retro's from Justin at diyreef so far and have had no problems. He's a great person and hobbiest too. Krusk carries the EVC brand I thought, pm him and ask.-Bob
I did alot of research on MH ballasts too because I was going to get a MH setup (but not anymore:( ). Icecap was my choice hands down. Try Premium Aquatics (a sponsor), if their price is higher they'll match it. They are in indiana and if you tell them to use airborne express (now DHL) your package will arrive next day. I've ordered from them about 15 times and always got my stuff the next day. Their service is awsome (can't say that for marine depot at all). I never did call krusk to see what brand\kind of ballasts those are, I'm interested in knowing.
In the FWIW column... Dr. Sanjay Yoshi and Dana Riddle did a bunch of studies a couple of years ago on ballasts and they determined that the PFO magnetic ballasts are on eof the best ways to go for several reasons.

1. Bulb life for an MH bulb is not extended any by using electronic vs. magnetic ballasts... you basically get 12-18 months tops regardless of the ballast you use.

2. The magnetic ballasts, although slightly higher in energy consumption, give off a greater PAR value from the bulbs.

3. With the price difference between magnetic and electronic, it would take approx 7 years to recoup the higher ballast cost in energy savings.

You can get a PFO dual 175 watt MH ballast set-up right now for around $130 and a dual 250 watt for around $170 brand new. This is roughly half the cost of an equivalent electronic ballast set-up. The electronic ballasts will only save you about $1 per month... maybe $2 if you have a long MH photoperiod.

Just my $0.02
The new icecap MH ballasts are alot different form the ones out 2 years ago.
I bought from cool touch lighting on e-bay,got 1 dual 175 mag ballast with pulse start,quick connect moguls,nice 48 inch reflector ,with shipping $230 had it for a couple months been great so far.:D
75G.reefguy(or gal) :)

I'm sure they are somewhat different and I use an IceCap 660 for my VHO's... electronic ballasts are proven to provide longer life for VHO bulbs though and for some reason the VHO electronic ballasts use substantially less power than the magnetic VHO ballasts.

Even with the new style IceCap ballasts though, they do not offer that much energy savings over the mag ballasts and they do not extend MH bulb life. Even though I am a huge fan of IceCap stuff (especially their customer service) I simply do not find any qunatifiable data that would support the extra cost.
Sueet,,, what ballast did you buy?? Is it a Cap and Coil magnetic ballast?? I MIGHT beable to help you out with wiring it.

Let me know what the model number is on the ballast.
greenb said:
Sueet,,, what ballast did you buy?? Is it a Cap and Coil magnetic ballast?? I MIGHT beable to help you out with wiring it.

Let me know what the model number is on the ballast.
Pm'd you with the ballast #... Thanks.
If you ever go with cap and coil, I have 4 for sale. 175w Advance M57 ballasts. $20 each.
Ok mine's a different model but it should wire up the same way.

Here's how mine goes.

1. Black Wire from Power Cord goes to the 120v wire on the
2. White Wire from Power Cord goes to the wire labeled COM.
3. There should be a second COM and that goes to the white
wire on the Socket.
4. The Black wire on the Socket goes to 1 side of the CAP.
5. The other wire on the Cap goes to the wire labeled CAP.

Hopefully this wil help you out.
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I like it simple so I go plug and play. I just got a slightly used RO III with a 250 DE 10K from Krusk at happyreefing.com

Great deal and as always a great guy to deal with.
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