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Unregistered
09-28-2006, 04:36 PM
I wish to get a thread going where users can give input based on their real world experiences with their Lumatek digital ballasts.

My experience involves the following comparison:

Light A: Hydrofarm 1kW HPS with Hortilux bulb (4 months old)

Light B: Lumatek 600W HPS with new Hortilux bulb

Both are using Hydrofarm Radiant reflectors with lens kits installed.

Both lights are next to each other over a 4' x 8' E&F tray, each light is covering a 4' x 4' area. Both lights were kept at a canopy distance of 18".

Lumatek claims "Test data has shown that a Lumatek 600 watt ballast produces within 5% of the useable light of a 1000 core and coil ballast!"

The claims of within 5% usable light are not translating into within 5% production. I am not getting within 10%.

The light at a given distance is noticably brighter with the 1kW 'old school' system. Looks yellow under the 600 watt digital, but white under the 1kW.

Interference Issues: Nutradip trimeters go crazy if the ballast cable isn't 100% shielded, no remote ballast relocation without special shielded wire and good shielded splices.

Serious cons: Can't run off generator or inverter. I can't get a good reason why from Lumatek either.

I would try a 750W digital setup however the ballast not working with backup power eliminates it from the running as power is bad in my area in the winter.

David G.
09-29-2006, 05:45 PM
Starting a thread on Lumatek digital ballasts sounds like a great idea.

Just to comment briefly, the information BGH posts in its item descriptions is almost always provided by the manufacturer. In some cases, based on BGH experience or valued customer comments, we will add our own extra information to the description in an effort to help educate our customers and provide them with the information they need to make an educated decision on whether or not they should purchase the product. Such is the case with the Lumatek ballasts.

Based on numerous customer requests, BGH ran its own testing on digital ballasts and published a short article detailing our results that was sent out to everyone on our email list. If you did not receive a copy of this article you can find it on our website in the article archive section. It should be noted here that since we ran our tests, the Galaxy ballast has gone through some improvements and although we have not completed our evaluation, so far it looks like the Galaxy performs at least as good as the Lumatek. As soon as we complete the evaluation and testing we will let everyone know our findings, so please don't make any premature assumptions.

There are many different ways to test a ballast, and there are many different factors that can be evaluated. As such, Lumatek's testing provided one set of numbers regarding light output, BGH's testing provided another, and Sunlight Supply provided yet another. Basically, it's easy for 3 different companies to test a digital ballast and get 3 different sets of numbers, which is one of the reasons I think this thread is such a good idea. Hopefully other digital ballast users will chime in with their results and experiences and help provide customers with as much information as possible in order to make an informed buying decision.

On a final note, we are currently evaluating a digital ballast that claims to work with generators. If anything comes of this we will be sure to let everyone know.

Unregistered
12-28-2006, 07:14 AM
I've had a Lumatek (400) almost since BGH started carrying them .
They are dead quiet . So far 100% reliable .

Case temperature is similar (by feel) to my PL magnetic ballast , but overall heat output is very much less .

Light output (checked with 2 light meters) using same bulb is higher than the magnetic ballast . BTW - comparing any light with your eyes is silly . Especially different bulbs , even if they are from the same manufacturer . Growth you can judge . . .

I have had no problems switching from HPS to MH back to HPS .

I obeyed the instructions , went to the auto parts store and got crimp-on ends to connect to the socket , I have had zero rf interference issues . (inside a PL Lighting Systems hood which probably provides extra shielding )

As to the remote location of the ballast , maybe BGH could measure the ballast to fixture cord (mine is tied up neatly) , I remember it being pretty long (10 feet?maybe more). Don't they sell an extension , or can't you find shielded cable in your area ? Soldering and shielding any splice would seem prudent , and a metal junction box would seem proper to me .

The Lumatek ballast is one of the best purchases I have made . I am 100% happy with it's design and performance .

NJGardener
01-22-2007, 12:09 PM
On the subject of running electronic ballasts from generators, unless there is something the manufacturer is not telling, I've got to presume it's a precautionary (read: warranty) issue. Small portable genertors are very prone to voltage surges as loads vary as a percentage of rated output. I have a 5000 watt (continuous) 6,500 (peak) gasoline generator that surges terrible unless I have a minumum of a 1000 watt resistance (incandescent) load on it. One I get the 1000 watts connected, it runs pretty smoothly and I can add additional load on. Once the other (constant) load is running, I can drop the resistance load. Probably a good constant load on this generator is 2-4,000 watts. If you can afford it, one of the whole house standby generators that run off propane or natural gas, in the 10-25 kw range would probably run electronic ballasts without a problem (need to have a pretty good load on it.)

Also "noise" (spikes) from the generator portion of the system can damage the electronic circut boards -- where as the old magnetic type can absorbe quite a bit of punishment. I would think that a 1,800 watt line conditioner upstream of each ballast would clean up most of this "noise" and prevent damage to the electronic ballast.
In view of the above, it would seem that using a generator would be feasible with electronic ballasts if the following can be met:
1. Good quality generator (electrical side of the generator)
2. Adequately sized generator (see discussion above)
3. Ability to partially load the generator to smooth out fluctuations before switching in electronic ballasts (plugged into line conditioners).

Of course, you'd like to have the manufacturers input and OK on this type of setup.

As far as running off of inverters goes, unless it's an expensive and sophisticated device, the standard inverter just "chops" the direct current to give it the appearance of alternating current -- sort of an on-off-on-off cycle. Some inverters actually switch the voltage between positive and negative, but it's still pretty much a "square" wave instead of the nice smooth "sine" wave of good A/C power. This "rough" wave form stresses the circuits and it they are not designed to handle it can kill them instantly or substantially reduce the life.

Unregistered
02-07-2007, 02:40 PM
I obeyed the instructions , went to the auto parts store and got crimp-on ends to connect to the socket , I have had zero rf interference issues . (

I bought a 250w model back in late 2005. I love it but the RFI is off the hook taking out most of the AM dial almost one hundred feet in all directions. Of course, as has been pointed out, Hydrofarm won't do anything about it.

Can anyone describe what these "crimp-on ends" from the auto parts store are? Are the the solution to the RFI problem? My model came with a shielded cable but no ground, just hot and neutral leads.

Unregistered
02-10-2007, 09:51 AM
Sure I'll try to help.
The crimp ons are metal ends that are squeezed onto the bare wire ends . They come in at least two varieties and several sizes of each variety .
You will have to get at the back of the socket and check for size and type . If your socket has blades you buy the opposing/matching push on ends . If it's a nut on post they make a washer type crimp on . Get the right size and finish the ends properly .

Someone else will have top help with the ground answer , I'm not tearing down my system to look , but isn't there a ground wire that attaches to the J box that your socket mounts to ? I'm almost positive there is . And I think that may be your real problem , just a guess , but get those ends anyway and do it right .

Clyde

Unregistered
02-12-2007, 06:58 PM
Someone else will have top help with the ground answer , I'm not tearing down my system to look , but isn't there a ground wire that attaches to the J box that your socket mounts to ? I'm almost positive there is . And I think that may be your real problem , just a guess , but get those ends anyway and do it right .

Clyde

Trust me, my model came without the third ground wire, and I was told to expect this when I asked questions before buying on the chat-help function of this site. I opened the junction box attached to the socket and removed the old standard ballast wiring which included a ground wire and rewired the Lumatek to it with only hot and neutral leads.

So let's say the RFI problem is the lack of grounding and the ballast can't be salvaged. Is there a 250w model available now that has the RFI bug fixed? I've good things about the new, blue 600w, but nothing about the 250s.

sHArK
03-12-2007, 06:53 AM
As to the remote location of the ballast , maybe BGH could measure the ballast to fixture cord (mine is tied up neatly) , I remember it being pretty long (10 feet?maybe more). Don't they sell an extension , or can't you find shielded cable in your area ? Soldering and shielding any splice would seem prudent , and a metal junction box would seem proper to me .

I read that you suffer a drop in light output when your cords get to long.
I have actually thought of shortening mine to see if I get an increase since cords are cheap and if I ever move to a spot I need distance, I can either bring the electrical socket to a reachable distance or simply spring for a new cord.
As I recall this was mentioned in the little palm sized book " Hydroponic Basics"

That being said I have a Lum 600w and have been very happy with it. No noise, no RFI issues (Though I do have a ground)
my ballast was bought only 3 months back so perhaps it is a diffrent Revision..dono
The case does run hot, but doesnt effect the system as its on the outside of the 8' x 8' chamber. I thought about pointing a fan at it, but figured why waste the energy. Oh and being a newbie I have nothing to compare this product to..

Unregistered
09-01-2007, 08:50 PM
My experience w/ Lumatek: Original purchase from BGH may 28, 2006. 400w,(enhanced hp bulb) 120v silver color unit w/non-detatchable cord. No rf interference, but unit died in 3 weeks of use. BGH promptly replaced the unit with a similar one that lasted just 3 or 4 months.

I contacted Lumatek and got great response and service, they even paid shipping both ways. They sent me a new blue unit w/ detachable cord. It has lasted almost a year and died. I avoided the Relighting enhanced bulb and instead used Sunmaster MH and Hortilux HPS. I have left phone messages at Lumatek on Aug 27th and 28th,gave them 2 contact numbers and e-mail, and have yet to hear back. {benefit of doubt.....perhaps they are on vacation and failed to say so on their message system}

When the ballast works, it works great. We will see how well Lumatek handles my warranty issue this time. I will give them a few days after Labor day to get back to work and honor their warranty. I will update this post as soon as I can report on results.

David G.
09-02-2007, 09:19 PM
If you don't hear back from them in a timely fashion, please contact us or reply to this thread. Although the manufacturer (Lumatek) is responsible for handling/honoring the warranty, it is our policy to stand by our customers, and so we will intervene on the customers behalf if there is a problem. We will support you in any way we can to get your issue resolved as quickly as possible.

willard3
09-03-2007, 07:06 AM
My experience w/ Lumatek: Original purchase from BGH may 28, 2006. 400w,(enhanced hp bulb) 120v silver color unit w/non-detatchable cord. No rf interference, but unit died in 3 weeks of use.

It sounds like you have nasty power conditions coming from your elec supplier, ie, low voltage, transient spikes and etc. Digital ballasts want clean power as does all computer-controlled equipment.

Unregistered
09-05-2007, 10:24 AM
Thanks David, I'll let you know...I'll try calling again today(9/5/07), left another message yesterday, still no response.

As to my power supply: Major city power, never had any problems with my computer or any other digital equipment. Ballast is on a quality surge protection power strip and no problem w/ other items there.

A large part of my decision to lay out the extra bucks for a digi ballast was the guaranty offered by Lumatek.

Unregistered
09-07-2007, 10:01 PM
BGHydro was helpful in connecting me with Lumatek for service. They told me at Lumatek that there is a fuse to check on my 400w blue unit. I did, it is ok, and Lumatek will replace my unit.

Unregistered
09-18-2007, 03:05 PM
BS, I have been running my Lumatec 600w ballasts off my Honda Generator w/inverter for over a year now with no problems. What is this I read you cant use them with generators, you just have to have a good inverter.

TimSkarda
10-21-2007, 01:56 PM
My Lumatek quite working after the first day. I am just starting the warranty process. It did produce more light that a standard ballast, but I now have a standard as back up.

Unregistered
10-22-2007, 01:25 AM
BS, I have been running my Lumatec 600w ballasts off my Honda Generator w/inverter for over a year now with no problems. What is this I read you cant use them with generators, you just have to have a good inverter.
You have a gasoline generator?

Sunlight Supply
10-29-2007, 12:53 PM
FYI almost all E-ballasts do work on generators, the Galaxy and Lumatek are very similar and both do work on generators. The reason we advise customers not to use them is the failure rate greatly increase when using one. Most generators are harder on equipment than standard grid power, and even the core and coil ballasts have a huge increase in defective components (probably 3 to 4 times). On a core ballast it's usually the Cap that fails and that's an easy fix. If a component fails on an E-ballasts theres no repair for it since the guts are all potted with a hard resin.

daak
11-01-2007, 03:42 PM
I just purchased this ballast to replace my Xtrasun and every time I try to start the Lumatek it trips my GFCI outlet, the Xtrasun works find any ideas about what the probelm is?

Unregistered
06-08-2008, 06:22 PM
I'm experiencing the same problem with the same ballast from BGH.
ballast is purple.
:/

rtslush
06-16-2008, 01:41 PM
Sold a few that must have shorted. The customers claimed that the ballast shot flames out of BOTH sides. After hearing that I decided that we should probably hook one up and see how long it lasts. 3 MOnths is the longest I Have been able to run one straight. As for the flames, I saw them. They came out of one side. Melted the power cord and almost started the wooden no holds bar frame on fire. Although I am happy to report that during all of this, the light remained on.Lol Although the light meter does read more light , and the ballast runs cooler(not noticably). Fire is not cool!!!!!!!! I do wish to express that new tech always has bugs. But magnetic ballasts are simple to fix last twenty years and DONT CATCH ON FIRE AS EASILY.Had I not been here to stop it i am confident that it would have burned down my shop.Anyways i will continue to sell them and continue to sell magnetics. In the end i would say lumatek - and watch for it. Magnetic- forgetaboutit.

Unregistered
06-25-2008, 07:37 PM
I just got a 600w lumatek from BGH and I got 1 day out of it. Lumtek has said its my bulb. Which I picked up at the same time (grolux HPS) so they are sending me a cable to bump the voltage up. well its been over a week now and no adapter. Not a good start on my first e-ballast.

Unregistered
03-24-2010, 04:38 PM
I run several lumatek 600 240volt...never a problem in two yrs.Using Solarmax bulb...never had one burn out.
If running 240 v you must not use the neutral wire from the panel..Two hots and a ground only.I have heard of ppl. overlooking this who had issues with Lumatek..
I have heard that Hortilux will not work very well with these ballasts..
btw af runs a small shop and sells Lumatek and in two yrs and sales in the hundreds has only had a 600 110V returned for warranty...????
As for RF interference try running a ferrite clamp on your power cord..These clamps cost a dollar each...and should cut down on the RF.....
Only the new generation Lumatek are suppose to be generator compatible. The new Lumatek is generation 5. ballasts prior to these new ones are not warranted for generator use.
Just what I ,ve read and from talking to Lumatek reps...
hope this might help

btw all Lumateks are made in China ...and so is everything else these days
JR

John M.
03-29-2010, 02:46 PM
In the coming days BGH will make the new Lumatek brand HPS (400w/600w) bulbs available.

Keep this thread active with user feedback with that combo!

Unregistered
05-16-2010, 09:04 AM
I just recently had a lumatek go out after continuously powering off. It wouldn't run more than 4hrs before just shutting off. I also noticed it ran considerably hotter. It also short my breaker a few times before finally going out taking the bulb with it. I happened to be there to witness the sparks fly from the reset button. I've had no luck with lumatek tech support either after a week of waiting. I don't have the select-a-watt model w/ dimmer. I'm running the previous model that just sports the reset button. I'm thinking of going w/ a galaxy after seeing one perform just as quiet if not quieter and cooler than the lumi's.

I also notice there is a new type of magnetic ballast that supposed to run cooler than the previous models if anyone has any experiences with that there's another thread started for that ballast in this forum. (Don't wont to hijack this thread.)

Hey BG ever thought about performing new tests that mirror your previous ones about ballast performance and RF interference? There's been a lot of changes since the article was written and I'm sure many would like to know where the current models stand in comparison to each other.

David G.
05-23-2010, 07:05 PM
That's the first time I have heard of a Lumatek ballast exhibiting the symptoms you mentioned; it is definitely an isolated incident. How old is your ballast? There is a very good chance it is still under warranty. Please reply to this post or send me a private message if you still haven't been able to reach someone at Lumatek; we can definitely help you with that. And, if you purchased your Lumatek from BGH, you don't even need to contact Lumatek; just contact us and we should be able to take care of it if you purchased it within the last 5 years.

I will absolutely share your idea regarding an article that revisits ballasts, as you are correct - a lot has changed!

Unregistered
05-31-2010, 09:25 PM
That's the first time I have heard of a Lumatek ballast exhibiting the symptoms you mentioned; it is definitely an isolated incident. How old is your ballast? There is a very good chance it is still under warranty. Please reply to this post or send me a private message if you still haven't been able to reach someone at Lumatek; we can definitely help you with that. And, if you purchased your Lumatek from BGH, you don't even need to contact Lumatek; just contact us and we should be able to take care of it if you purchased it within the last 5 years.

I will absolutely share your idea regarding an article that revisits ballasts, as you are correct - a lot has changed!

Thanks for the response and your offered assistance!!!!!! You're right it is still under warranty.

I was able to get a local store to return it for me, currently waiting for the replacement to come in. I had to purchase another ballast because I couldnt due w/ out the light in the mean time. I ended up buying another lumatek. Why? Well my other pick was the new galaxy select a watt model. Although a bit more expensive it came with three wattages 400/600/1000 and is also reported to be dimmable. While although I preferred the wattages over the lumatek which offers either a 600/400/360 or a 1000/750/600, in the end it was the clearly visible FCC certification sticker on the lumatek that was no where to be found on the galaxy that sealed the deal for me.

My newer dimmable/select a watt lumatek has run flawless so far. (only 2 wks lol!) When my replacement comes in i'll have it on standby in case such an event should happen again.

What have I learned. Shop at BGH for all your grow needs!!! EXCELLENT customer service. I didn't expect for you to offer assistance with my lumatek situation but am really thankful. I was stuck contacting lumatek because the store I originally purchased it from ceased all dealings with them. Could to know BGH continues to stand behind their merchandise. If I would have come back to this post sooner I would have purchased the new one from BGH. Thanks again.

Hopefully there will be an update ballast comparison in the future. Thanks for taking note.