Jump to content

Digital Ballast Vs. Analog Ballast


Recommended Posts

Was wondering if switching to a digital ballast would save much on my electrical bill.

 

I am currently using a analog Ballast, which raises my bill by about $30, but money is getting tight and I am looking to make some cuts.

 

If its only a few bucks in savings, then I guess I wont mess with it, but if its a $20 - $30 difference a month then I will make the invesment.

 

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 61
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Digitals have 20-30% more light output using about the same power.

i would love to hear the math behind that!

 

iv actually measured several with a PAR meter, including different bulbs... most show negligible differences.

 

digi ballasts have a hot spot just the same as mags... some digis measure higher using a temp gun.

 

u been marketed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Digi's wear bulbs faster and any lumens gained is lost twice as fast due to bulb wear. So over the course of a 1 year bulb life,... it equals out. ;-)

 

Overall, you won't save more or get enough lumens to make any difference. Heat I guess.

 

We are talking coffee money at best here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A buddy of mine recently bought a light, the bulb in it is long and skinny and it fits in the hood sorta like a t5, as in the electricity goes in one end and out the other, but the glow of the bulb and the light thrown out look like hps. It's supposed to put out as much light as a 1k and a 600 do together but still only uses around 1 k watts.i texted him what it is called but he hasn't replied.anyone know what I'm talking about? He said it retails around 600 bucks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will first say, I cannot speak for the last year or so of any upgrades to the "digital bulbs".

 

But the whole concept of digital bulbs was made because normal bulbs exploded on digi ballasts. Not because some special something else. Avoiding rupture only.

 

;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i would love to hear the math behind that!

 

iv actually measured several with a PAR meter, including different bulbs... most show negligible differences.

 

digi ballasts have a hot spot just the same as mags... some digis measure higher using a temp gun.

 

u been marketed

PAR is not all the story.  PAR only measures the light intensity that is in the spectrum that plants use.  It does not measure the total energy given off by a light.  HID lights flicker.  A PAR meter does not see the off time in a lamp, but the plants do.  Since a magnetic ballast has more off time than a digital ballast, less light energy is given off over the same amount of time.  The off time is visible to the human eye with an analog ballast.

 

A good analogy would be filling a bucket full of water.  If you have a digital and analog hose to fill the bucket both using the same pressure(PAR) the digital hose will fill the bucket faster.  This is because the digital hose spends more time on than the analog hose.  Plants utilize the total energy, so the intensity along with the amount of time the light is at that intensity will give the complete picture.

 

Since light bulbs are now being designed to run with the higher frequencies they do not lose their lumens like the old style bulbs.  Many even claim that a digital bulb will degrade slower because a digital ballast strikes the bulb in a less harmful way.

Edited by thanks2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A buddy of mine recently bought a light, the bulb in it is long and skinny and it fits in the hood sorta like a t5, as in the electricity goes in one end and out the other, but the glow of the bulb and the light thrown out look like hps. It's supposed to put out as much light as a 1k and a 600 do together but still only uses around 1 k watts.i texted him what it is called but he hasn't replied.anyone know what I'm talking about? He said it retails around 600 bucks.

he is likely firing a commercial phillips bulb (two contact points, one at either end) and firing it with a gavita. heres the link

 

http://www.gavita-holland.com/index.php/products/gavita-power-line-high-performance-lighting/item/gavita-pro

 

 

which gets me back to the 20-30%, as even gavita suggests a max potential difference of up to 8% improvement in light output. and that factors in the pulse factor and less than ideal compoments in a cheaply made mag ballast and bulb. if ypu go high quality components in a mag, u might see a 1-3% difference, which is negligible in my book.

 

thanks- thanks for the response, but the differences that other less than credible companies (marketing machines) put out is crap. the numbers arent real. and i have run side by sides in the real world- you use a marginally smaller amount of power, get negligible improvements in output, run just as hot, and most brands fail much more frequently. but were i to buy another digi... gavita is the highest in actual research & build quality. the most credible of the bunch.

 

keep it green

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have gone thru the introduction of the digital ballast and their original bulb problems and the many varieties of digital ballast.   I have found that the level of bs in the ballast sales claims are no different than those of the nutrient sales people. 

 

The only special thing about a "digital" bulb is the digital ballast can now light or as they say, "strike" them and they are less likely to explode internally.  The business about them running cooler seems to be related to the fact that some of them have fans.  Since the fan is cooling the internals, the case feels cooler.

 

Power wise I have put KWH meters on three different digital ballast and two different magnetic lights for a week.  1-2% savings.   When I have challenged the manufacturers on this issue they make the claim that the digital ballast slows the degradation of the bulb output (Mal's reference to 50% drop over a year in output).  One manufacture claimed that bulbs would still be at 75% after a year.   At that point you start to get into questions of does the spectrum change over time.

 

My conclusion, change the bulbs at a min. yearly and buy a well established name brand dimmable  ballast with a warranty.  That said, no reason to switch if you already have a magnetic ballast.

Edited by semicaregiver
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i can admit that a dimming function can be quite handy

 

if u give credence to what gavita says, matching the power frequency of the ballast to a specific bulb will cut back on the resonance & early degradation, though i would suspect dimming to alter the bulb life & spectrum as u sugest semi. gavita's solution is to build their ballasts specifically tuned to that phillips bulb. would like to sample one, but i could see playing with these in the future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i can admit that a dimming function can be quite handy

 

if u give credence to what gavita says, matching the power frequency of the ballast to a specific bulb will cut back on the resonance & early degradation, though i would suspect dimming to alter the bulb life & spectrum as u sugest semi. gavita's solution is to build their ballasts specifically tuned to that phillips bulb. would like to sample one, but i could see playing with these in the future.

With regards to the Gravita light, I believe you are talking about a "plasma" type light. They have been around for several years now and do not seem to have caught on. I first saw them three years ago at a Maximum Yield Grow Show ( They have the Michigan show coming up next Sat,Sun in Novi, great show by the way). They sounded like the next great step in lighting. They are used for industrial lighting and commercial greenhouses. Last year I had a chance to talk to their distributor sales manager at the show in Novi, I think the distrutors are the H & G (House & Garden). He claimed the spectrum was only good for veg.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My. Buddy has his over plants he just put in flower, now mind you it's a good 4 feet above the plants and there looking better than the ones underneath his reg 1k lights about 2 feet from tops....not to mention its covering twice the space.im gona a wait and see what the end result is compared to his normal lights(same kind I'm using)but am really thinking about getting one or two.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share




×
×
  • Create New...