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Old 09-29-2005, 07:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help with wiring bulbs

On the following image you can see how one wires 3 compact fluorescent bulbs to a Workhorse ballast:


I want to use only one ballast to power 3 bulbs. But instead all 3 bulbs being on all the time I want one of them to be on 10 hours and the other 2 to come on for only 3-4 hours in the middle of the day.

I've connected 1 bulb to the ballast using the yellow wire and one of the red ones. That's the bulb that will be on 10 hours. The ballast is connected to the timer.

My idea is to connect the yellow wire permanently to the 2 bulbs and have a second timer connect the red wires for the 3-4 hours work time;

1. Is it safe to use a second timer connected to 2 of the red wires coming from the ballast?
2. Is it safe to have the yellow wire permanently connected to the other 2 bulbs?

--Nikolay
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Old 09-29-2005, 08:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd be careful, if I were you! Seems alittle dangerous. I don't know how you would do that, since you want different things to happen to certain lights. So here's my 2 cents:
First off, IMHO, don't you need 2 different ballasts? You want to turn on lights at different time, instead of all turning at once. That's where it sounds dangerous!!! One wrong move and something bad (I don't want to type it) So why don't you use 2 ballasts, maybe that'll help. Good luck.
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Old 09-29-2005, 08:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Having th eyellow wire connected would not hurt anything as the circuit would not be completed. While the yellows are technically not neutral or ground wires, they can be considered as such.

I have often considered trying this myself but could never figure out how to do it. If it worked at all, you would have to have a timer on each red wire so that the timer acted as a switch. Also, if you simple connect the red wires to the timer, where you plug stuff into it, then the red wires woudl get a full shot of 120volts when the timer came on...that can't be good. I don't think the timer would run off of th epower from th ered wires so that means you have to rewire the timer so that the clock still works but when the gears rotate and activate the switch, it is not connected the the power supply. Not sure which timers you can do this to but I have looked at the insides of a broken walmart timer and it looks like it could be bypassed in that manner. Biggest problem is getting the timer back together after you take it apart.

I wonder if there is any kind of timed switch that would do this? Wonder wher eone starts looking for that?
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Old 09-30-2005, 04:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Erirku,

Using 2 separate ballasts is what I originally intented to do. Safety and common sense pays off in this hobby I was hoping to hear if the 1 ballast thing would work but Dennis definitely convinced me that I was on my way to probably blowing my bulbs and ballast.

Dennis,

Great answer! Stupid me - of course the cheap mechanical timer let's electricity flow from its prongs to the device! Somehow I imagined that it just makes a contact bettween 4 separated wires. I will look for such "timers" but using a new ballast and timer maybe more reasonable.

--Nikolay
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Old 09-30-2005, 11:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I vote 2 ballasts/ 2 timers. If you are going to have more ballast than lamps, you should ODNO.

Revisiting ODNO:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21257

I think the WH ballast needs to be serial lamps though...

(sorry for the cross-post)
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Old 09-30-2005, 01:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Remember that the ballasts convert the 120V coming in to something much higher. I don't know the specifics of the ballast output. If you wanted to switch the red wires, you'd need to know the voltage and current carried by those wires. I'd imagine the current would be very low, but the voltage woudl be very high. Ideally, you would want something like a mag-starter or relay of some sort. This way you could use 2 timers, one to control the ballast as originally planned, and the other to control the relay. The relay would take the 120V signal as an on/off switch and allow power to flow through the red wires. I'll say it again to be perfectly clear: you will need a relay or mag-starter that could handle the voltage put out by the ballast. You may be able to find a suitable relay at Radio Shack, but I think you'll have better luck at McMaster-Carr or Grainger. However, expect to pay a good amount at MMC or Grainger (600V Mag-starters go for around $100 to start).

Just get the extra ballast. Besides, this way you can use the ballasts to overdrive your bulbs and get more light output from them. I'm not sure if overdriving CF bulbs works, but you could give it a try, I suppose.

-Dustin
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Old 09-30-2005, 02:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks all!

A second ballast it is.

--Nikolay
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Old 10-06-2005, 11:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I think that switching one/two of the bulbs with one ballast will work just fine. The ballasts are designed to handle the situation where one or more of the bulbs go bad. Note that with some bulbs off, the other bulbs will have SLIGHTLY more light output, due to the fact that the ballast factor increases a bit with fewer bulbs on the load resulting in more power to remaining bulbs.

Last edited by shalu; 10-06-2005 at 12:29 PM..
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Old 10-06-2005, 01:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This is not true shalu. In electronic ballasts, they are designed to always output the same amount per lead, whether or not it is connected. Buying a 4 lamp ballast and conecting it to one lamp with only one lead will not give you any more output per bulb. However, if you conect more than one lead to a bulb, it will be brighter, but not by a linear factor. For example, 2 leads does not equate to 2x the brightness. 3 leads per bulb does not equal 3x the brightness. You lose some efficiency when you do this and consume more energy as heat, thereby reducing the amount of current available for luminescence.

And in magnetic ballasts, assuming it works for 4 lamps like the one niko is talking about, it should turn itself off or flicker/dim when one bulb goes out. Only when that burnt bulb is replaced will the ballast drive the rest of the lamps. If it doesn't turn off or flicker/dim, it won't overdrive the bulbs because it cannot handle the unbalanced situation.

I'm not trying to start a flame war.

-Dustin
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Old 10-06-2005, 03:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titan97
This is not true shalu. In electronic ballasts, they are designed to always output the same amount per lead, whether or not it is connected. Buying a 4 lamp ballast and conecting it to one lamp with only one lead will not give you any more output per bulb. However, if you conect more than one lead to a bulb, it will be brighter, but not by a linear factor. For example, 2 leads does not equate to 2x the brightness. 3 leads per bulb does not equal 3x the brightness. You lose some efficiency when you do this and consume more energy as heat, thereby reducing the amount of current available for luminescence.

And in magnetic ballasts, assuming it works for 4 lamps like the one niko is talking about, it should turn itself off or flicker/dim when one bulb goes out. Only when that burnt bulb is replaced will the ballast drive the rest of the lamps. If it doesn't turn off or flicker/dim, it won't overdrive the bulbs because it cannot handle the unbalanced situation.

I'm not trying to start a flame war.

-Dustin
Learn about ODNO and power consumption here:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21257

With ODNO, light increase is not by a linear factor with power consumption, actually MORE than linear. Another myth debunked. I proved that 4x lead does not use 4x power, which has misled so many people for so long. Multiple leads to a single bulb(ODNO) is DIFFERENT than single leads to multiple bulbs in terms of power consumption.

The difference of ballast factor has NOTHING to do with ODNO, actually. Read any ballast specification, you will see what I mean. Take Advance standard 4x ballast, for example. At 4 bulbs, ballast factor is 0.88, meaning each bulb will draw 32w*0.88=28watt. At 3 bulb connection, BF=1.0, it will draw 32w. And I measured that at one bulb only, it draws 40watts, BF=1.25.

In additon, electronic ballast has load sensing, which makes it possible to support many bulb configurations. For example, I can connect a 18" 15w bulb to a ballast lead for F32T8, it still draws close to 15-16w power, not 32w.

You don't seem to have actual experience with this

We are NOT talking about MAGNETIC ballasts here at all.

Last edited by shalu; 10-06-2005 at 03:55 PM..
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