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Old 08-16-2008, 07:36 AM   #1
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How to switch fluorescent lights


I'm making my own lighting system for my aquarium, and what I would like to know is this:

I'm planning on using 1 ballast meant to drive 4 lights to drive 2 (overdrive the lights 2x). Therefore, two wires would run to one end of each bulb, instead of one wire running to one bulb. Anyway, I would like to be able to do two things - switch each bulb on independently (i.e. not the whole ballast, just one bulb at a time); and I would like to be able to switch whether I am overdriving the bulbs either 1x or 2x. In other words, my idea is to install a switch which will connect either zero, 1, or 2 of the 'hot' wires to the end of each bulb. Will this work, or does a certain number of wires need to be in use at any given time in order for power to be going through it? It is a GE432-120RES-DIY ballast, it says it can drive either 3 or 4 T8's of different sizes. Incidentally, I will be running T12's, which as I understand it may have a slightly shorter life due to the instant start on this ballast which is made for the higher power requirements of T8's. This doesn't concern me since I have to replace the bulbs at least yearly anyway.

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Old 08-16-2008, 12:12 PM   #2
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How to switch fluorescent lights


First and formost, you can not over drive the lamp. The lamp will light to the brightness designed, and will not be dimmer than designed.
Also using a t-8 ballast to drive t-12 lamps will not only shorten the life of the lamps, but the ballast as well.
Your best bet is to find something made for this application.

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Old 08-16-2008, 03:15 PM   #3
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How to switch fluorescent lights


Yeah, bad idea, try this sight.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...fm?c=3578+3733
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Old 08-16-2008, 03:28 PM   #4
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How to switch fluorescent lights


Overdriving lamps is a very common application for reef tanks - just do a search on ODNO (over driven normal output). I'm already doing it on another tank, and it provides approximately a 50% increase in brightness.

My question isn't whether I can overdrive the lamps, it's whether I can switch the lines powering the bulbs independently.
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