Grow lights need a power source, and that’s where grow light ballasts come into play. If you are buying individual components of a grow light setup, you will need to purchase a ballast. Otherwise, grow light kits that we sell come equipped with ballasts. A ballast provides ample voltage to create an arc when the lights are turned on. Once done, it regulates the current, ensuring a steady supply of light. It prevents the grow light from overheating and popping off. The more you use an HID light, the more power it requires to operate, and that’s what ballasts ensure.
The wattage of your grow lights is a critical consideration when buying a grow light. Ballasts do not function properly if their wattage does not match with the grow lights. A high wattage ballast coupled with low wattage lights will blow the lamp; conversely, the low wattage ballast might not supply enough current to light up the lamp. Standard residential sockets can operate 120-volt ballasts with no apparent problem. If you are a commercial grower, you will need a 240-volt addressed.
Digital ballasts are more advanced than magnetic ballasts and easily outperform their magnetic counterparts in every department. Magnetic ballasts are a simple technology that became outdated with the introduction of digital ballasts. The only benefit that they have on offer is the lack of RFI, which happens to be a problem with digital ballasts. Digital ballasts are compact in size, offer 30% higher efficiency, and produce significantly lesser heat. Their dimmable function is what sets them apart the most. This functionality allows growers to regulate light intensity and wattages with ease. It also allows for the regulation of heat in the grow room, helping you maintain an ideal temperature at all times. One thing where growers complain about digital ballasts is that they create RFI. This problem can be easily solved through RFI or EFI shielding. Make sure you check the compatibility of your grow light system with the ballast. For example, a 315-watt CMH ballast works with a 315-watt grow light.
A ballast optimized for SE bulbs will work with DE bulbs and would malfunction with DE bulbs. A DE Ballast, on the other hand, works well with both SE and DE bulbs.
LED grow lights are equipped with a driver that performs the functionality of a ballast. This is one of the most important reasons for the popularity of LED grow lights in the indoor gardening world. If the driver stops functioning, you will need to replace the LED grow light as it comes integrated with the light system. You can call us at 866-GRO-INDR and learn more about selecting the right ballasts for you by speaking to one of our expert growers. You can also visit our learning centre to learn about grow lights.