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Old 11-14-2004, 03:10 AM   #1
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Need help w/ Fluorex bulbs, external ballast

Here is the story: I've got 2 65 watt Fluorex bulbs made by Lights of America and a GE 432 Max/N ballast. Per the following thread from this board -

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=12909

- I wired up the bulbs to the ballast. My problem is that the lights will not start reliably. The bulbs usually just glow VERY faintly. I noticed that if I touched the bulds, the glow increased slightly. I did some research on the internet and came across several references to the necessity of having a ground metal reflector within 1" of the bulb in some cases. Just as an experiment, I tried a piece of aluminium foil with a ground wire attached. If the foil is wrapped around the bulb it will start. Encouraged, I got a piece of aluminium flashing and fashioned two reflectors and soldered a ground wire to each. Unfortunately, these do NOT work. They bulbs will only start if I have foil wrapped around at least 3/4 of the bulb. The foil has to almost surround the bulb and has to extremely close to the bulb (less than a quarter of an inch). Even if I put the aluminium flashing reflectors right on the bulb, it won't start unless the flashing completely surrounds the bulb. From what I saw in the above post, Electrobes didn't even use a grounded reflector. Anyone have any ideas what might be going on here?

Further details on my setup: Per the post by Electrobes, I opened the bulbs and by-passed the starter (removed it, soldered wires together). The ballast as 2 red wires, 2 blue wires and a yellow wire with each of those pair. So, I hooked 2 reds, 1 yellow to one bulb and 2 blues, 1 yellow to the other.
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Old 11-14-2004, 10:42 AM   #2
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Have you got another ballast you could try? I use the LOA fixtures (believe it or not) for thier intended purpose...as outdoor floodlights. On one of mine, the "ballast" died. I removed the starter from the bulb and used a Sylvania Quicktronic 2x32 ballast. The light has worked perfectly ever since. Possibly the start circuit in your ballast is weak?
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Old 11-14-2004, 07:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I can pick up a 2X32 ballast and try hooking of the 2 bulbs to it to see how it starts. I was going to add 1 more bulb eventually when I get some DIY CO2 setup, so could go ahead and the ballast now.

Are the Lights of America fixtures which use this bulb grounded? Do you know? Did you hook up a ground when you hooked up the replacement ballast?

Also, have a couple of other questions, do you know how hot your bulbs usually get? Mine seem to be running 150-180 F. Also, the ballast runs warm to the touch.... not so hot I can't touch it, but it is quite warm.. probably case temp of 120+ F. This is my first experience with electronic ballast... I know they are supposed to run "cooler" than magnetic ballast, but wasn't sure just exactly how hot/cold they normally ran.

Thanks,
Jason
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Old 11-14-2004, 09:43 PM   #4
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Alright, got another GE432 ballast and still having the same issue. The bulbs basically have four u-shaped tubes which are wired together. The u-tube where the "hot" wire attaches is the only one of the four which is glowing. Again, if I take the ground off the reflector and attach it to a piece of aluminium foil and wrap the foil around the bulb, it fires right up.

Anyone have ANY ideas????
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