Electronic Ballast

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  #1  
Old 03-17-02, 07:34 AM
dmilligan
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Question Electronic Ballast

I am wiring a GE B432I120RH ballast up for a 4 light fixture to be installed in a mini green house. I have followed the wiring diagram from GE at:
http://www.gelighting.com/na/downloads/ballast.pdf

So far I have not been able to get anything out of the ballast.

When I plug it in, will the ballast do anything i.e. hum, get warm, etc? Does it require a load in order to do this?

I tried a second ballast and the results so far have been the same.

Any troubleshooting tips etc are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
 
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  #2  
Old 03-17-02, 08:12 AM
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dmilligan,
Did this ballast(s) come with fixtures, it is just that the manufacture leaves it to the installer to wire the whole thing, including the sockets and all? Or is this a replacement ballast for fixtures you already have? It could be that the sockets are not the correct type (T8 bulbs that are designed for electronic ballasts like this have a different socket from the generic type. (T12 bulbs are the traditional way) The two side of the socket are electrically bridged.) You are sure you have the sockets wired properly ,a nd in the proper placed coresponding to the bulbs, and 120 V at the supply?
It could be the bulbs, are they standard T8 bulbs? It couyld be that the ballast recognizes bulbs are connected, but not of a compatible type, therefore does not provide power to the lamps.
Tell us the information on the end of the bulbs.
Make sure your grounding to the fixture is good.-this affects starting. There is a reason why the manufactures alwasy say connect the grounding wire(s), and don't cut off the grounding prong.

gj
 
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Old 03-17-02, 08:31 AM
dmilligan
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This is a home made light fixture, off the shelf ballast from home depot. End caps are: GE BP-FM, Product Code: 80627.

I followed the diagram found in the ge pdf file and have the two yellow wires connected to the 4 end caps on one end of the fixture - I am using 18 AWG wire from the end caps and then using a wire bridge? (not sure of the proper term) by 3M which allows the placement of three wires into it and then clamps down across the three wires to connect them. The far end caps are connected in a similiar fashion connecting each end cap to either a red or blue wire.

As for the input power, I am using a 3 pronged standard cable similiar to what would be found on a personal computer. I believe it is 12 AWG stranded. I have matched up the black w/ black and white w/ white and the ground wire is in place. I have the fixture plugged into a 15 Amp strip which is in turn connected into a standard 3 prong socket feeding back to an GFCI receptacle. The source power is 120V AC.

There is a light on the power strip indicating that it is receiving power. I have verified the via another device that I am getting power to the socket in question.

I am using 4 ZooMed (http://www.zoomed.com) lights which are T8 lights (25 Watt models) F25T8 is part number I believe. There is something that came with the lights stating that the first time lighting it could take 5 minutes for them to fire but then they would turn on almost instantly after that. I have had the fixture turned on for about 10 minutes to see if that would change anything.

Thanks,
-Dan
 
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Old 03-17-02, 04:29 PM
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I'm reading the responce, its hard to judge the wiring aspect with out very specific description, or detailed pictures, BUT
I note that you specify 25 watt T8 bulbs.
I looked at the pdf file, I didn't readily spot that much info about the ballast beyond the basics, >>>> Look at the ballast, and see if it specifies F25 bulbs, (36"). Some electronic ballasts for T8 bulbs accept them , others do not. Some will, with only certain bulb configurations.

If I could easily post a picture, I would, I have never had sucess with this, also my computer is acting up with image files.
Looking at Diagram 7 (page11 of GE/Magnatek booklet (pdf file))
there are two blue and two red wires. each bulb gets one red or blue wire.(all red and blues are on the one end of the fixture) If the sockets were designed for T8 instant start systems, the contacts inside the socket are connected to each other (bridged), if you have the standard T12 sockets from HomeDepot, you will need to put the wire into one side of the socket, and then use a jumper to the other.(there are two holes on each side correct? check for continuity between the two side of the socket without wires connected with a multimeter.) One yellow wire will go to the bulbs on the red wires, the other yellow wire is shared with the bulbs connected to the blues.

are the leads coming from the ballast long enough to reach the sockets, or are you having to splice wire onto them to make reach? You must use wire with the proper voltage rating for these types of fixtures. Check the voltage rating of the red/blu/yellow wire on the ballast. are the 1000V rated?

You certainly do have a interesting project. Was the reason you are making your own fixtures is that you can't get b 4 bulb 3ft fixtures that are for T8 bulbs?

gj
 
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Old 03-17-02, 04:32 PM
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In reading the entry you made again, did the sockets come with the ballast? If they did, the sockets are the right type.
gj
 
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Old 03-17-02, 04:50 PM
dmilligan
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For wiring, I am using two strands of 18 AWG wire from each end cap and then combining them with one of the blue or red wires from the ballast. For the yellow leads, I do a similiar wiring arrangement but combine the wires down from 4 wires to 1 so one yellow will go to two end caps and the other will go to the other two end caps. I broke out the multimeter and attempted to measure the voltage across the bulbs (one probe on one end cap and one on the other) - not sure if this is correct however. I did get some differential on the meter - around 8 volts. I had the meter setup to measure AC which I am assuming is correct. Do you by chance know what I should see for voltage at the end caps? Any information is appreciated. My current plan of attack is to ring out the wiring, verify the voltage at the end caps if possible and then possibly try different bulbs in case the ones I purchased are not compatible with the ballast I purchased.

My original reason for doing it was for my aquarium - I wanted to build a 4 light fixture to increase the overall wattage going into the tank - the best I could find that was reasonable in cost was a two light fixture using two 20 watt bulbs. After doing this, I discovered my fish tank leaked. I then picked up a new one and this one was only 30" in length, my original was 36". So following that I mentioned to my wife that she could use the 36" one for a mini green house and I could make the light fixture (it looked easy...). I also couldnt find any 36" light fixtures that would be usable on the tank. I could use 24" but then would have to stagger them and it seemed better to go with the 4 bulbs across the whole tank.

Thanks for the all of the help,
 
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Old 03-17-02, 04:56 PM
dmilligan
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No the ballast was stand alone in the box, the end caps were a separate purchase.
 
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Old 03-18-02, 07:21 PM
dmilligan
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Just as a follow up - I was able to get the lights working as expected. When I rung out the wiring, I noticed a loose wire connecting to one of the end caps and also a couple of the connections I had were not solid. Once I fixed that, the lights came right on.

Thanks for all of the help, it is greatly appreciated.
 
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