Genuine Quality Ballasts
Light is the key ingredient in the growing environment that determines how well a plant grows. High intensity discharge lighting is still proven to be the most efficient method of plant lighting, with high power ranging from 150W up to 1000W. The 600W magnetic HID ballast system is the most popular choice for growers that are vegetating their plants through to the fruiting/flowering stage due to the efficiency at which it converts power (watts) in to quality growth light known as PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation). As a result there is a wide variety of magnetic ballasts available on the market and new brands emerging all the time.
Recent industry research on all new 600W magnetic ballasts on the market revealed that many of these ballasts do not deliver 600W to the lamp. This is a major quality issue, as all major lamp manufacturers design their lamps to run at a certain power. Therefore if you do not deliver the correct power to your lamp it will not operate correctly and the efficiency will dramatically decrease. A properly performing 600W ballast can deliver up to 33% more light than an underperforming 600W ballast. The loss in power from an underperforming ballast has a detrimental effect on plant growth and overall yield.
Why are so many ballasts underperforming?
In order to appear better value, some manufacturers are cutting corners in everything from design and build to the sourcing of cheaper, less reliable components. Many from outside of Europe are not obliged to meet the same standards of quality control or even to meet the higher mandatory standards that protect European consumers. The result is a proliferation of poorly manufactured and less reliable ballasts that deliver far less power than they advertise.
To ensure you know what to look for when buying a magnetic ballast, we have made it simple with the Genuine Quality mark. Genuine Quality magnetic HID ballasts draw the right amount of power – not too little, not too much – to run your HID lamps efficiently. They use durable components that meet strict EC specifications and CE standards meaning they are safe, reliable, less expensive to run due to their efficiency and have a longer life span. All magnetic HID ballasts carrying the Genuine Quality mark have been manufactured using the following industry quality standards:
Genuine Quality Standards
Supplies correct power to the lamp (BS EN 60923)
The ballast should provide the correct power to the lamp to within +/-3%. To find out more go to Genuine Power.
The product must be CE marked.
Grade 2 winding wire (BS EN60317-1)
A ballast is an inductor made of copper or aluminium windings. Winding wire comes in Grade 1 and Grade 2. Grade 1 only has a single coating of insulating resin. Genuine Quality ballasts use grade 2 meaning it is has two coats of insulating resin for thermal and electrical durability.
Precision winding means every turn and layer of winding wire is precisely wound so as each wire is perfectly in line and parallel to its neighbour. Low cost ballasts commonly use scramble wound coils. Precision winding is a slower and more expensive process that near eliminates the possibility of breakdown between winding wires.
Matched timed igniter (BS EN 61347-1) (BS EN 61347-2-1)
Igniters should be matched to the ballast and ideally should be timed to protect the ballast in the event of a lamp failure. If the igniter is not timed, in the event of a lamp failure the igniter will continue to try and ignite the lamp until the unit is switched off. This puts the ballast under a lot of strain due to the high igniter pulse voltage that can quickly degrade a ballast.
EC approved Capacitor (PFC) (BS EN 61000-2-3)
Capacitors should meet European specifications with a suitable power factor as close to 1 (unity) as possible. Low cost capacitors have a lower power factor meaning they draw wastefully high currents from the supply.
Vacuum impregnation with resin – Class H (180C) insulation
Epoxy-polyester resin coating protects the ballast and provides insulation. Genuine Quality ballasts use vacuum impregnation to completely seal all areas with no gaps for insulation properties that are second to none giving complete protection.
Note to magnetic ballast manufacturers: If you would like to use the Genuine Quality and Genuine Power marks and can meet these standards, email firstname.lastname@example.org.