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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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Old 04-18-2008, 05:13 PM   #11
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Wow that's very interesting. normally each ballast needs its own power cord. You may have to send it back to the manufacturer to get it repaired. I'd like to see some pics of it!
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:25 PM   #12
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So, here is a pic of the ballast. I also included a pic of the lights themselves...I covered the actual lights with paper towels but as you can tell the light all the way to the left is very dull. The other two seem fine.
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Old 04-19-2008, 10:17 PM   #13
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Can you get the box apart?
How heavy is it? If it's magnetic, it will weigh about 20 lbs (give or take) with 3 ballasts in there.
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Old 04-20-2008, 03:02 AM   #14
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First check all connections. look for loose or corroded connectors. Its possible that some water has gotten into them.
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Old 04-20-2008, 10:51 AM   #15
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It's pretty heavy, probably 20lbs sounds right. I have no idea how to open this. Looks like there is locking similar to duct work around all sides. I'm going to try and maybe contact coralife to see if I can get some help cracking this thing open before going any further.
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Old 04-20-2008, 03:02 PM   #16
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I would definately get in contact with Coralife. There could be an issue with that model ballast and they know about it. Before doing anything else or even running the lights more I would be calling them.
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