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Old 03-12-2006, 08:54 AM   #1
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Location: Murrieta, CA
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Trouble with Fluorescents on MH Retrofit kit

Waiting for a response from Coralife, and was wondering if any one could help me with a MH/NO fixture (clearance, now sold out (no link..) on drfostersmith) . I do not know if it is the ballast, the end caps, the wiring, or just my ignorance. This is a Coralife metal halide, fluorescent retrofit kit (2 x 175 watt metal halide, and 2 x 40 watt normal output fluorescent) it uses magnetic ballasts (I'm guessing this is the problem, do magnetic ballasts not run rapid start bulbs or is it that they're high temperature/frequency bulbs? (10k / 20k etc...)

Here is my problem. I cannot get any of my new Coralife bulbs to work ( I have tried with 10k / 20k / and Actinic 03 ) At first I thought I just needed two bulbs of the same Kelvin rating, because I had originally planned to run 1 Actinic 03 bulb and 1 20k bulb in the unit. But that did not work, they flicker and one will light up to about 1/4 strength.

So I went to the local fish store and bought 2 10k Coralife bulbs. Same result, flickering and 1/4 strength at best in only one bulb.

I "double checked my math" by testing these bulbs in an old fluorescent fixture, they work fine. Then what is really strange, when I run 2 standard kitchen temp bulbs (GE) in the metal halide /fluorescent fixture, it runs perfectly. by the way, no problems with the metal halides (I am using XM 20k 175 watt) Does this mean a fluorescent magnetic ballast cannot handle high Kelvin bulbs? Or could it be the Coralife bulbs which are "rapid start for use in standard or electronic ballasts" (what is a "standard ballast, is that magnetic?). Do I need a special bulb for use in a magnetic fixture? I am thinking that I do, at least the LFS agreed, however, they didn't have any to buy and test out. Tech support at drfostersmith was confounded but thought it might be the "type of bulb ie rapid start vs something else" Does anyone have any links to these if this is the problem?

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Old 03-13-2006, 04:51 PM   #2
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Check with the Dr. Foster and Smith Customer Service. They should be helpful. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/general.cfm?gid=314.

The only thing I can guess is that the magnetic ballasts are interfering with each other?
I've heard plenty of horror stories about mixing the wrong MH bulb with the wrong ballast, but Florecent should be rather interchangable. You're not putting VHO bulbs in an NO fixture, are you?
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