Plant lighting is the most important part of any growing system. With indoor gardening, it is vital that you ensure your plants have the right level of light to thrive as they would do outdoors. High intensity discharge lighting is the most efficient way of doing this. The HID ballasts used to power these lamps are available in magnetic and digital models, magnetic being the longstanding popular choice for growers as they are cheaper to buy and equally powerful.
It is important to remember that when you buy a ballast, lamp and reflector system you are effectively ‘buying light’. The quality of HID ballast you use to drive the lamp can mean the difference between a successful crop and a huge loss in yield. Lamps driven by a poor quality ballast do not receive the correct power and therefore suffer a dramatic loss in light.
Over 2011 and 2012 the UK market place was flooded with cheap low quality ballasts. As part of research and development, leading ballast manufacturer Maxigrow Ltd analysed the many new magnetic ballasts on the market. Over 90% of all the ballasts tested underpowered 600W lamps by up to 33% less than a 600W Maxibright Compact ballast. Many ballasts analysed were not manufactured to EC standards and some were not even fit for sale. Through this testing as a quality supplier of lighting it became apparent that the quality of lighting on the UK market was slipping fast with the exception of only a few manufacturers who were still genuinely manufacturing HID lighting components to EC standards. It was through this realisation that Genuine Quality was formed to set basic quality standards for magnetic HID lighting and promote testing ballasts for yourself to both growers and store owners. Currently Genuine Quality members are Maxigrow Ltd and Century Lighting Ltd.
Genuine Quality Ballasts
So how do you know what is a good quality ballast before you buy? To ensure you know what to look for when buying a magnetic ballast, we have made it easy with the Genuine Quality mark.
Genuine Quality magnetic ballasts have been manufactured to a range of EC specifications and quality standards, the top specification being that the ballast provides the correct power to the lamp. A Genuine Quality ballast will have a nominal rated life span of ten years and will be efficient and safe to use.
Manufacturers keeping to these EC standards are able to join and carry the Genuine Quality mark on their products by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.