T5 Ballast question

Lukey2018

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Hey everybody,

So to start off, I don't live in the USA, and where I live the options for buying lights for a reef tank are somewhat limited. I bought a T5HO fixture (4x54W) and I have 4x54W T5 bulbs ready to use.

After some issues and troubleshooting, I have found that I need to replace the ballasts. Let's just say the ballasts it came with are some of the worst I have ever seen in all my research online. See picture for reference.

DSC_0517.JPG

DSC_0518.JPG

DSC_0519.JPG


Fortunately the interior of the fixture is very accessible and easy to work on, so I am looking into replacing the ballasts. As can be seen, the ballasts are unmarked, they look like a bunch of components wrapped in some heat shrink. So I have no idea of their specifications. Also, I am puzzled why there are 4 of them... 1 for each bulb. From what I have found in my research, it appears that most fixtures, even cheaper ones have 1 ballast for 2 bulbs. Most of the time anyway.

So my questions are:

1) What are some good recommendations for ballasts to run 4 ATI T5 54W bulbs? (Where I live, HEP is rarely available and crazy expensive, but Philips is available...) {Also, from what I can see, the Phillips Centium Advance ballasts are no longer on the Philips website.... possibly discontinued?}

2) Would this work? https://www.lighting.philips.com/ma...er-iii-for-pl-l-lamps/913713028366_EU/product

3) Regarding the wiring, with the current setup there are 4 wires running from each set of tombstone endcaps to each ballast (2 wires from each individual endcap). Does this mean the endcaps are non-shunted? In addition, there are 3 power wires running from each ballast (not sure if that is normal or not).

4) Unless I am mistaken, the Philips ballast I posted the link for, only has 4 spots available to place the wires from the endcaps in. What recommendations would you guys have on how to wire that exactly? Considering that there are currently 2 wires running to the ballast from each individual endcap. So with 4 bulbs that would be 8 wires running to 1 ballast... if I choose to go with 2 ballasts (because these ballasts can take 2 bulbs apparently, according to the specs on the Philips website)

I apologize for my lack of electrical knowledge. This is just a project I am trying to see what it would be like to try this... I appreciate any help... please!
 
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RocketEngineer

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2) That would work. Need to use slightly different wiring than what you had previously.

3) Ok, might need to find a better wiring diagram.
938F14CE-AAC2-4285-AD84-D3002AD12C30.jpeg

Top one. Notice the two caps wired together. That’s key. The three wires come from the wall.

4) There appears to be a wiring diagram on the ballast case. As long as the ballast says it can power two bulbs, it likely has some directions to wire it.

Hope that helps.
 
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Lukey2018

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2) That would work. Need to use slightly different wiring than what you had previously.

3) Ok, might need to find a better wiring diagram.
938F14CE-AAC2-4285-AD84-D3002AD12C30.jpeg

Top one. Notice the two caps wired together. That’s key. The three wires come from the wall.

4) There appears to be a wiring diagram on the ballast case. As long as the ballast says it can power two bulbs, it likely has some directions to wire it.

Hope that helps.
Thankyou very much for your reply!

I just want to ask where you got that wiring diagram? I'm not sure sure it's the same product as the Philips one I'm looking at.

My main concern with wiring the Philips one is that it appears to only have place for 4 wires to the endcaps... Which has me scratching my head on how to wire up more than 1 bulb on it because each bulb (set of endcaps) has 4 wires to the ballast....

Any ideas?
 

RocketEngineer

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Reading the documentation, it handles 2 bulbs. Somewhere in the download files should be a wiring diagram. It gives me errors but if you can find that and post it as an image here, it probably makes more sense. The one I showed is one I found quickly but is very similar to what I used on my last few wiring efforts.
 
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Lukey2018

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2) That would work. Need to use slightly different wiring than what you had previously.

3) Ok, might need to find a better wiring diagram.
938F14CE-AAC2-4285-AD84-D3002AD12C30.jpeg

Top one. Notice the two caps wired together. That’s key. The three wires come from the wall.

4) There appears to be a wiring diagram on the ballast case. As long as the ballast says it can power two bulbs, it likely has some directions to wire it.


Reading the documentation, it handles 2 bulbs. Somewhere in the download files should be a wiring diagram. It gives me errors but if you can find that and post it as an image here, it probably makes more sense. The one I showed is one I found quickly but is very similar to what I used on my last few wiring efforts.
Thankyou again for your replies, I appreciate it. So I actually found out the one I'm looking at buying is slightly different to the one I posted the link for in the original post. The one I can buy is actually this one:


The specs appear the same, but this has 6 connections for the wires from the endcaps.

I've attached some of the best photos I can find of it. What do you think? I'm still a bit confused how to turn the 8 wires into 6... if you know what I mean?
Screenshot_20210524-172543.png
Screenshot_20210524-164519.png

34a22e78ea7236896e322133e686833b.jpeg
 
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Lukey2018

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Thankyou again for your replies, I appreciate it. So I actually found out the one I'm looking at buying is slightly different to the one I posted the link for in the original post. The one I can buy is actually this one:


The specs appear the same, but this has 6 connections for the wires from the endcaps.

I've attached some of the best photos I can find of it. What do you think? I'm still a bit confused how to turn the 8 wires into 6... if you know what I mean?
Screenshot_20210524-172543.png
Screenshot_20210524-164519.png

34a22e78ea7236896e322133e686833b.jpeg
Sorry, the second photo is not quite correct. It looks like this apparently
Screenshot_20210524-181456.png
 

RocketEngineer

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Okay, that matches my experience. If you look at the diagram, connections 1 and 2 go to one end cap of bulb 1. Connections 5 and 6 go to one end cap of bulb 2. Connections 3 and 4 are a little more tricky as it forms a big loop. Connection 3 goes to the unconnected end cap of bulb 1, the second wire from that end cap connects to the unconnected end cap of bulb 2, then the remaining wire from bulb 2 comes back to connection 4.
 
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Lukey2018

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Okay, that matches my experience. If you look at the diagram, connections 1 and 2 go to one end cap of bulb 1. Connections 5 and 6 go to one end cap of bulb 2. Connections 3 and 4 are a little more tricky as it forms a big loop. Connection 3 goes to the unconnected end cap of bulb 1, the second wire from that end cap connects to the unconnected end cap of bulb 2, then the remaining wire from bulb 2 comes back to connection 4.
Thankyou! That I think explains it very well. I still have a question though about the endcaps. I'm not sure how to tell they are shunted or un-shunted? Which is preferred?
 
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