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Old 08-01-2004, 09:17 PM   #1
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Questions about MH Ballast and Bulbs

My 180g came with an Energy Savers Unlimited AF3MH175 ballast, two 175W and one 225 or 250 (the round type) bulb (all 10k).
I assume this must be antiquated, since I can't find a reference to that model anywhere on their website, they don't seem to be selling MH ballast at all any more.

My questions:
Since I don't have any history as to the age of the bulbs, how can I tell when it's time to change them?

What is the maximum wattage of bulbs I can use in the 3 fixtures?

I would like a bit more blue tint to the tank (I do have two 40 watt Coralife 100% Actinic bulbs aswell), the current ones are a bit too yellow for my taste.

Would 20k be too blue?

Also someone told me that MH might break (explode?) when they get old. Fact or Fiction?

Thanks in advance for any information.
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Old 08-01-2004, 09:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Since I don't have any history as to the age of the bulbs, how can I tell when it's time to change them?
When in doubt dont use them at all. MH bulbs are good for a year and at that point they start to faid out and lose specitrum.

Quote:
What is the maximum wattage of bulbs I can use in the 3 fixtures?
From the model number my educated guess is 175W.

Quote:
I would like a bit more blue tint to the tank (I do have two 40 watt Coralife 100% Actinic bulbs aswell), the current ones are a bit too yellow for my taste.

Would 20k be too blue?
Different brand of MH bulbs will have a different apperance even at the same kelvin rating. YOu might want to try a different brand 10K bulb or move up to the 20K bulb. The too blue question is more of a personal preference than anything else.

Quote:
Also someone told me that MH might break (explode?) when they get old. Fact or Fiction?
Dont know about that but I can tell you they will explode if they come into contact with water while hot. So make sure they stay out of the splash zone.
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Old 08-01-2004, 09:58 PM   #3
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Thanks,
It also says 175 W, 120V, 5.4 Amps on the sticker.
What I am trying to find out is whether I can use 3 x 250 W Bulbs on this ballast.
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Old 08-01-2004, 10:09 PM   #4
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NO.

With MH ballast you must match the bulb and ballast wattage. Each ballast will only light a single 175W MH bulb.
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Old 08-01-2004, 10:34 PM   #5
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Well, it's got two 175W and one 250W on it now. The two on either end are the slim ones, the one in the middle is the oval shaped one.
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Old 08-01-2004, 11:23 PM   #6
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Who makes the bulbs?...Shape isn't really a factor, could be just different maufacturers. Fishfreek is right, 1 bulb- 1 ballast and they MUST be matched to operate correctly. If they are not matched correctly they probably won't even work, and there IS the potential for the bulb to explode but that is highly unlikely.

Earlier versions of MH bulbs would explode when they were used past the recommended lifespan, but that was years ago. Technology is much better today and that worry has since been laid to rest.

Mike
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Old 08-02-2004, 12:10 AM   #7
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This ballast feeds three sockets. I can't check right now, because the lights are still on, but I remember the long ones are Hamilton 175's, not sure if there is any writing on the round one.
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Old 08-02-2004, 09:41 AM   #8
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Well what you got then is a single ballast enclosure with three ballasts inside.
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Old 08-02-2004, 09:38 PM   #9
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Yes that's what I have.

This is what is written on the fixtures:
4KV pulse rated -Triboro

Just checked the middle bulb (the baseball shaped one), no writing on it, so it could be a 175 W aswell.

Now with 3 x 175W, that's not enough light for a 180g....

With the price of the bulbs, I can't really take the chance and get 3 x 250W.
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Old 08-03-2004, 04:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
With the price of the bulbs, I can't really take the chance and get 3 x 250W.
If the ballasts are for 175 watt, you won't be able to use 250 watt
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