Time to replace my MH ballast!!

Discussion in 'Equipment, Lighting, Hardware, Aquarium Filtration' started by Nicolas Sabrun, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Nicolas Sabrun

    Nicolas Sabrun Well-Known Member

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    My dual 175W MH ballast gave up all of a sudden but I am not sure if I want to get a new one.

    First, Dual ballast are not so easy to find so I would need to get two separate ballast which could get expensive.

    So here is the thing, the tank is a standard 55 G ( 48x12x20) with a closed canopy. The canopy is about 8" high. I want to be able to keep SPS/LPS in it in the future

    So what do you guys think I should replace my light with?

    My budget is limited so NO high end led for me.

    I am still running 2 VHO for the moment and I could used the same ballast to power 4 T5 HO instead.

    I thought about black box led but they would be really close to water.

    Any DYI or suggestion regarding lighting?

    Thank you
     
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  2. mcarroll

    mcarroll Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member

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    If you can do a really simple DIY, check out this in-wall 55 gallon:
    gu10 lighting over my 55g.

    I've built a few of these for non-in-wall situations.

    If you did one, you'd order the bulbs with lower power lenses. As-is it's designed to sit 12" off the tank.

    You would have to ventilate the hood if it's not already. The whole array would only give off about 40-50 watts of heat, but they still have to breathe.

    Total cost would be about $70 for the lighting parts.
     
  3. bif24701

    bif24701 Well-Known Member

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    Look at SB Reef Light light bars prone of their other fixtures. Well proven LED fixtures and not as costly as others with similar hardware.
     
  4. Nicolas Sabrun

    Nicolas Sabrun Well-Known Member

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    I looked into gu10 build before. I am concerned that they will be really close to the water and end up with a spotlight kind of look.
     
  5. Nicolas Sabrun

    Nicolas Sabrun Well-Known Member

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    Sbar are nice but out of my budget unfortunately. At $ 190 each for a 48", I am sure they are nice but $ 400 for a new light is not going to work for me.
     
  6. Dirk Griffin

    Dirk Griffin Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    For a halide replacement if interested, I have
    brand new Pfo dual 175 ballast $225. It is a pulse start which means it will work with Ushio bulbs as well as any other ones.
    Also have new UVL 454 Vho bulbs in many lengths........yes there are many still using/buying these bulbs!!!
    plus shipping
    Also have various-new length/sized reflectors and mogel sockets if it is time for replacing them as well......
     
  7. Dirk Griffin

    Dirk Griffin Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    A Pfo ballast, the one you may want is in a sealed box. This is a pic of another Pfo ballast. Connecting to this ballast is easy if you do not have other Pfo equipment.
    Also have LOTS of halide choices with many different hoods and ballasts available

    IMG01290.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  8. Nicolas Sabrun

    Nicolas Sabrun Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. It is a little much for a ballast. No offense but single 175w electronic ballast runs for about $70 on ebay.

    For that kind of money, I would prefer to go with an alternative to halides. I love mh but in the long run, they can get quite expensive.
     
  9. Dirk Griffin

    Dirk Griffin Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    No offense taken, Pfo were some of the best ballasts made and is priced accordingly. These are also not electronic



     
  10. mcarroll

    mcarroll Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member

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    They are deployed in a strip format, so no. :)

    If you're stuck with using the canopy and not making any changes to it, you'll want some different lenses than the 30º standard.

    60º would be correct for 6".

    If the top of the canopy is only 8" and you have to mount the sockets to to that, then the emitters would be at least 6 cm closer, or about five and a half inches off the water. Depending how thick the top is, maybe that'd be more like five inches.

    Serious question: Is there any chance of doing away with the canopy? These lights aren't perfect I'm sure, but they are much better living room citizens than a halide system. There's very little light spill outside the tank – close to zero. Depending on your skills with mounting them, they can actually look somewhat fashionable. There are even different makes of Gu10 that can come in all-white, all-black or other colors, vs the standard anodized aluminum heatsink look. Just a thought. :)

    The limits to GU10's, such as they are: no control, no dimming, no sunrise/sunset. (Ok, possible with some bother....)

    If you're willing to spend up, you can definitely do custom LED's, so if you are particular, color is whatever you want. Simple blue+white is still tried and true, but that's just easy and inexpensive – not a limit.
     
  11. Nicolas Sabrun

    Nicolas Sabrun Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the info.

    However, I am stuck with my canopy. I need to keep the cat from fishing. lol

    GU10 seems the way to go. However, I checked my height and I only have 5" 1/2 from the bottom of the top to the rim of the tank. It is about 6" 1/2 to the water surface.

    My tank is 48"L x 12"W x 20"D so should I go with a 120 degree lenses since the light would be closer to 3" from the water?

    After some reading, it appears I would need about 24 leds to cover my whole tank in one row. or Should I go with 2 row of 12 leds and used a 60 degree lenses??

    I just want to make sure I order the right gu10 the first time. :)

    Thank you
     
  12. mcarroll

    mcarroll Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member

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    Ventilation is good?

    The potential of getting wet and salty will actually be a bit of a concern. There aren't any exposed electrical bits, so they're "splash resistant" in a very limited way...but that's not going to help with a real splash (say from one of those huge Tangs)...and I wonder about salt spray. Will you be able to get them up out of your way when you're feeding or working on the tank?

    I'm not sure any other LED system is going to be any better suited to the space either though. And none are as cheap as this that you'd want to experiment with them. ;)

    So....

    Yes, 120º lenses would be the ticket. I think I'd start there. If you can find frosted 120º lenses, I think I'd select them.

    You can always get replacement 60º lenses and a second row of bulbs later if the 120's don't work for whatever reason. Just remember that will be a significant bump in intensity – doubling the intensity from each bulb and doubling the amount of bulbs – so make changes gradually. I'd add the new 60º bulbs one at a time, once every few weeks until the new row was populated. Then I'd swap the lenses on the old lights one bulb at a time every week or two until that row was done. Something like that.
     
  13. Nicolas Sabrun

    Nicolas Sabrun Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again for all the infos.

    Ventilation should be fine. I have 2 fan on one side of the canopy that were keeping of the MH previously so I am sure they can handle the Leds.

    Splashing would be the biggest issues specially at feeding and water drip during regular maintenance but I think it is still worth giving it a shot.

    However, would it be better to go with 3x1W or 3x3W? I know it will make a difference in the number of bulbs needed which would take less space in the canopy but does it make a difference in light coverage as well?

    And you mentioned something about intensity which I kind of want to have control over. How to I go about making these dimmable?

    Thank you for your help
     
  14. Nicolas Sabrun

    Nicolas Sabrun Well-Known Member

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    Also, where can I find the blue gu10 led?

    Do you have a link to a good source?

    Thank you
     

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