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Old 04-15-2008, 09:22 PM   #1
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1 MH bulb out of 3 very dull?

I bought a used (very used) 3x175 mh unit off a local reefer. Looks like this was a retro kit in a Hamilton canopy. So, the guy had one bulb only when I bought it and showed me that it worked in all 3 sockets. He was practically giving this thing away after trying to sell on the board for months without any interest.

Anyway, I got 3 new Hamilton bulbs from hellolights and eagerly fired them up just now. The first 2 burn nice and bright, but the 3rd is very, very dull. I switched around the bulbs and fired it up again - same results in the same socket with a different bulb. It seems as though the first two are burning just fine, but the 3rd socket just stays dull, even after leaving it on for 10 minutes.

I am a MH newbie, admittedly. Any ideas what could be going on here? Is this maybe a faulty socket (seems unlikely) or a ballast thing?

Any help would be appreciated. Although this unit was very cheap - I hope I didn't waste my money.

Thanks.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:18 PM   #2
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I`m wondering if anything is wrong with the ballast?
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:03 PM   #3
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I nearly electrocuted myself hooking up my DVD player - won't be much help. The fact that the one bulb he had worked the same when he attached it to each outlet individually has me thinking ballast though
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:15 PM   #4
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Is it a separate ballast for each bulb or 1 for all 3? Does the ballast have info on it like how many bulbs it fires?
maybe it was only meant for 2 bulbs.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:18 PM   #5
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I think Hamilton's use a magnetic ballast. You probably have 2 ballasts. One to fire 1 bulb, 1 to fire 2. IF it's a magnetic ballast it has a capacitor. A dim bulb usually means the capacitor is going bad. It can be replaced.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:22 PM   #6
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Well, it is 1 box which (being a complete MH dope) I have no idea how to open - so, I don't know at this time how many ballasts are housed. But, the ballast is actually a Energy Saver Unlimited Inc. ballast, as it turns out.

I posted a question on RC as well and someone also suggested the capacitor is gone. Maybe I can get someone from my local reefer club to take a look at it for me and lend me a hand for beer or something.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:56 PM   #7
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ESU is Coralife. So you have 1 remote ballast that runs 3 bulbs? Never saw that before.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:21 AM   #8
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Well, it's 1 box. Within that box may be 3 (or 2) separate ballasts just in one housing, but dont know how to crack this thing open.

Maybe I can give Coralife a call and ask a few questions. Not sure how helpful they would be.
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Old 04-17-2008, 01:14 PM   #9
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I agree with the capacitor being gone. Does the ballast have 3 connections/plugs coming from it or just 2? I have a dual 175 (PFO) that is all in one box but has 2 power cords and 2 plugs for the sockets. If there are 3 ballasts there should also be 3 power cords.
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Old 04-18-2008, 01:50 PM   #10
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No. One power chord. It says on the back of the ballast 3x175. I'll post a photo of the box itself later tonight.
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