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Old 08-11-2006, 05:54 PM   #1
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Can I overdrive this ballast?

I have a 2 bulb 48" F32t8 fixture, electronic ballast from Home Depot, no idea what the ballast factor is, but the ballast itself has 2 blue wires on one end each going to one lamp apiece, and a single red wire on the other side which jumps at the end by a short white pigtail to the lamp next to it. It says: "For single bulb operation, cap one blue wire", which is how I have been running it in my Fish Only tank... Can I overdrive this for adding live plants, or should I just add another bulb and hook the blue wire back up? I am operating only one bulb for space reasons right now (the fixture itself is more offset towards the back of my canopy) so I'd like to drive the one bulb that is closer to the center of the canopy instead of illuminating the back wall...

So my edit is this: I think it is not possible, since the ballast is printed with the following:

1 bulb @ F32t8 line amps = .40
2 bulb @ F32t8 line amps = .32

I take this to mean that running two bulbs underdrives them, and that to overdrive one isn't poosible with only one wire to one end, and two wires to the other. Make any sense to anyone, cause I don't know jack about lights?!

Should I have posted this in the hardware section?
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Old 08-12-2006, 06:30 PM   #2
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You can overdrive a bulb, but not a ballast. The ballast is only capable of putting out so much power. I would not mess with experimental wiring schemas, as this is no-kidding high voltage on the lamp end of the ballast.

You may want to consider picking up VHO ballast that can overdrive your bulb. I personally trust Ice Cap for such things, but it's been done with plenty of other brands as well.

You might also consider building your own hood that has space for more bulbs.
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Old 08-12-2006, 07:01 PM   #3
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Yeah, I mean the bulb when I say overdrive, I should have said "can I overdive with this ballast"... All the schematics I have seen show two wires going into each end of the bulb, and my cheapo ballast has ony one wire total for each end of the bulb, so I answered my own question. My only option would be to get another cheapo ballast and run the bulb off of both ballasts, for a true 2x overdrive, but I think CO2 is more what I am going to be after than more light anyway. Thanks alot tho, maybe thats why nobody has anwered my stupid question.
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Old 08-13-2006, 05:10 PM   #4
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I assume that since it is T8 that it is eletronic (typical visual difference is an electronic ballast has square edges, whereas Magnetic have rounded.) but yes, you should be able to attach the other blue wire to the ballast. This will result in about 50% gain in light or 2xODNO.

If it says "electronic" or "Magnetic" then that would give you a definate answer. If you can read the exact part number / manufacturer off it then we can give you a definate answer.
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Old 08-13-2006, 06:30 PM   #5
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Thanx Wizz, it is electronic... so you're saying that this (see illustration) is safe? Thats the only wires coming off the ballast: two blue, one red... Model is ACCUPRO # AP-RC-232IP-120, but I Googled the s#!t out of that already and came up with nada.
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Old 08-13-2006, 10:53 PM   #6
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That is how I have mine hooked up, however on mine the red wire is connected to both pins through jumper.
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:06 PM   #7
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Thanks that was the stumbling block... I couldn't figure out if both pins should be energized. I greatly appreciate it.

(edit) Well, I tried it today, and although it's not a huge boost in light, it's definately an obvious one. I am happy with the results (see photo comparison, one before one after), as it puts more light where I want it, which in this case was my goal. This canopy was built by myself, and it can be modified to move the light fixture forward and center both bulbs over the tank, but this is going to be a "low-tech" tank with only java fern and other plants that can live in low wattage and I only need one bulb burning (plus I am going with a DIY CO2 injection which after reading other posts I think is of more imporance to plants)). The deciding factor here will be this: Am I benefitting from overdriving one bulb as I suspect that since the circuits are now "sharing" the load, the ballast will actually draw less current for the given wattage than if I was burning two seperate bulbs? Since the info on the ballast says the line amps are .4 for a single bulb and .32 for two, I am actually getting 60 watts at .4 amps instead of 64 watts at .32 x 2 (bulbs) making this MORE efficient for me? I suspect my math is incorrect here, because burning two bulbs actually UNDERDRIVES them with this ballast when wired stock, right? So I would'nt actually be GETTING 64 watts of light because the bulbs draw less juice when the load is being divided instead of shared? Did I just learn something today? At least I feel like I did... This is all common knowledge for most of you guys I am sure, but thanks for teaching an old newbie some new tricks!!! This hobby is the shizzle!
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