There are typical two different types of ballasts for HID bulbs, magnetic and electronic (or digital). Although magnetic ballasts are reliable and last for a long time, they have obvious drawbacks such as bulky, heavy, making noises, and un-controllable. In recently years, electronic ballasts have gained popularity especially in the horticulture industry. While the majority of digital ballasts, which are high and ultra high frequency ballast with range of 50 KHz to 200 KHz, work well with Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium, they may have resonance issues when used with Ceramic Metal Halide. A low frequency digital ballast, 100-400 Hz, is a perfect match-up with CMH bulbs. Compared with high frequency ballast, the low frequency ballast has the following advantages:
- Compatible with CMH, MH, and HPS
- Much less Radio Frequency (RF) interference
- Lasts longer
- Completely avoid resonance problem for HID bulbs
High Pressure Sodium (HPS), Metal Halides (MH) and Ceramic Metal Halides (CMH) are different types of High Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs. Their wattages range from 50W to 1000W. The typical arc tubes in HPS, MH and CMH are made of translucent aluminum oxide, quartz, and ceramic respectively. Ballasts are needed to light up those HID bulbs. Since ceramic arc tubes will sustain much higher arc tube temperatures, the CMH bulbs will deliver better efficacy, color rendering and color stability.
A typical HID bulb has a frequency between 10 KHz and 300 KHz. While the bulb is lit by an ultra frequency ballast, both ballast output frequency and bulb internal frequencies will gradually change. When those two frequency get close, resonance occurs. The HID bulbs, particularly CMH bulbs, will fail if resonance is not stopped quickly. However some ballasts may have a senor to avoid resonance. Check your ballast manufacture for detail information.
Value of CMH compared to HPS & MH
When it comes to indoor horticulture, just like the sun, grow lights provide food for your plants. Much like people, when plants consume food, the amount of food and quality of food is equally important whether through the soil or photosynthesis. For example, if we eat a lot of food with no nutritional value our health obviously suffers. On the flipside, with the right AMOUNT of NUTRITIOUS food we are healthy and productive. It’s the same for horticulture lighting, the Par Value is the amount of food and the light Spectrum is the nutrition for plants.
HPS and MH emit a good amount of food but lack the nutritional value needed.
Cultilux CMH is the perfect combination of food (high Par value) and excellent nutrition (some UV, full spectrum)
Therefore, Cultilux CMH is the best overall HID lighting choice to insure proper nutrition for your plants, because our spectrum peaks match Chlorophyll A and Chlorophyll B stimulation.
Value of LED compared to HPS & MH
Since the introduction of the Light Emitting Diode or LED into the horticulture industry there has been arguments and aversion to the modern alternative as compared to HPS and MH. Depending on how long each light stays on per day, a single LED grow light could last almost 10 years or even longer. By comparison, MH bulbs last roughly 10,000 hours, and HPS bulbs last 16,000 hours. Besides the longer life span, LEDs maintain their brightness throughout their lifespan. As time progressed and technology was further perfected, LEDs caught up to or surpassed the performance of their HPS/MH counterparts in yield, quality and efficiency.
This comparison of HPS vs LED shows LEDs are now in a league of their own. This comparison shows the advantages of LED over HPS or MH lamps.
- Energy Consumption
- Heat Displacement
- Photosynthetic Photo Flux (PPF) & Density (PPFD)
- Life Expectancy
- Return On
Radiation Safety & NRC Certificate
Krypton 85 is a radioactive material incorporated in most CMH which is rigorously controlled by the Federal government. Since the product is licensed by the United States National Radioactive Commission (NRC), the Krypton 85 in our bulbs is guaranteed to be safe for humans, animals, plants, and environment.