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HID fixture repair - HPS or MH - How to


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#1 Myc

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:21 PM

From salvaged parts, let's see if we can make an operating High Pressure Sodium luminaire shall we?
Safety first. Never work on an energized ballast. Disconnect and remove the input power source prior to serviceing these type luminaires.
Neatness counts. Easily 90% of all product failures are the result of careless installation. Be neat! I'll demonstrate how.
Let's see what we have to work with here:
Materials overview.JPG
A donated junk fixture. The former owner bought another one thinking he was SOL with this one.
The 250W HPS ballast is good.
The capacitor is good.
The ingnitor was found to be the culprit by process of elimination.
The luminaire lacks a lamp base. In this case we want a Mogul base.
So a trip to the salvage yard and $15 later, we have a Mogul base as well as material from which to construct our new lampholder.
Let's get started.
First and foremost, make sure that the case in which the ballast will be mounted is properly bonded to the equipment bonding system. The term "ground" is a mis-nomer and I'm trying to clear it up one person at a time.
fixture rebuild overview.JPG
3-prong properly bonded.JPG
The above photo demonstrates a properly bonded system where the case and all metal parts are equipotential. In other words the parts which are electrically conductive are all tied together to form a single, equal plane. Note the use of a 3-prong 'grounding' power supply cord - the black cord.
Also note the use of the white lamp disconnect/ power supply. The green wires from both are securely bonded to the frame of our enclosure.
Secure the ballast using the hardware provided. The manufacturer provides eight screws as well as mounting rails and associated hardware for the installation of their product. Use all eight screws. These objects are very heavy and when dropped - can become dis-lodged from their mounting surface and damaged (or cause great damage to whatever they hit on the way down). Use all of the screws provided. You should have two screws left over - one for the capacitor and one for the ignitor which we'll cover in a minute.
Now that we've done the most important part, let's iron out this massive mess of wires.
mess of wires.JPG
First I'll share some tricks that may help keep track of these items.
A ballast (or transformer) has two windings - a PRIMARY winding and a secondary winding - which I've labeled in the photos for ease of locating them.
The PRIMARY winding is - you guessed it - where the power enters the transformer. The primary winding may be composed of a number of options - this one has quite a few so let's address them as they come up for simplicity purposes.
I'll wire this luminaire for 120v operation since it is probably most common.
By process of elimination we'll sort this through.
First locate the common wires
They will be marked "com"
In older ballasts - there may only be one "com" wire
In newer ballasts - two are provided for convenience
locate common.JPG
Next, we'll observe the various voltage options or "taps"
This is a multi-tap ballast
Not all ballasts are set up this way - you may have fewer options
The tap we're using is the 120v tap
120 volt tap.JPG
It is follwed in sequential order by the 208v tap
208 volt tap.JPG
Which, in turn is followed by the 240v tap - note that it is poorly marked
240 volt tap.JPG
And finally, by the 277v tap - poorly marked as well
277 volt tap.JPG
Note the ascending order of the tap sequence from 120v (lowest) to 277v (highest)
tap sequence.JPG
Kinda neat how that works out eh? The taps are all connected at varying points along a single strand of wire which has been wound around an iron core. The resistance at any point is mathematically predictable and that is how the various input points are chosen.
Point being that if the labels are destroyed, you always know that the tap closest to the "com" wire is your lowest voltage input ~ ascending from there. Contact a qualified electrician if you cannot identify the "com" wire. Seriously, stop now. You could be seriously injured in the test phase if you take a wild guess.
Bundling the un-used taps will assist in both neatness and help eliminate confusion later. Nylon zip ties are recommended. Just snug the zip tie enough to do the job - don't pinch it tight.
unused taps.JPG
Leave the power input leads alone for now and let's move to the capacitor wires - labeled "cap"
There will be a single cap wire extending from both the PRIMARY and secondary coils in most cases.
capacitor wires.JPG
Install the capacitor and connect the "cap" leads from the transformer to the two wires or terminals of the capacitor. One "cap" lead from the PRIMARY winding to one lead of the capacitor. The remaining "cap" lead from the secondary winding to the other lead of the capacitor.
connect capacitor.JPG
Now we'll move to the ignitor which has three leads - usually red, white, and blue.
Red is "X1" or "LAMP"
White is "X2" or "com"
Blue is "X3"
Install the ignitor with your remaining screw and begin connections with common - labeled "com" or "X2"
connect ignitor - com.JPG
The white lead from the lamp disconnect/ lamp power supply
One of the "com" leads from the PRIMARY winding of the transformer
And the white lead from the ignitor - labeled "com" -
Three wires joined together using the wire terminals provided with your kit.
Do Not Attempt to twist these leads and use tape. If that was your plan, stop now and go get high-temperature wire nuts. Failure to do so will result in equipment damage, serious injury, or death. This is serious business! Be safe.
Next we'll identify the "X1" (Red lead from the ignitor) and the "X1" lead from the secondary side of our transformer - this may be labeled "X1" or "Lamp" and the black wire from the lamp disconnect/ lamp power supply
The red lead from the ignitor
The black lead from the lamp disconnect
And the "X1" or "Lamp" lead from the secondary side of the ballast
All join together under a single terminal
connect ignitor - X1-lamp.JPG
Finally, let's connect the remaining Blue lead from the ingitor to the remaining lead from the secondary side of the ballast - labeled "X3" (both leads should bear this label). Join them together under a single terminal.
connect ignitor - X3.JPG
Now we're left with one remaining "com" lead and one 120v tap lead for final connection to the power input source.
connect supply ii.JPG
Connect the "com" lead from the primary side of the ballast to the white wire of your 3-prong 'grounding' power supply cord.
Connect the 120v lead fro the primary side of the ballast to the black wire of your 3-prong 'grounding' power supply cord.
Now here's what separates the men from the boys.
Neatly bundle and secure all wires within the ballast compartment.
Tug all wire terminals to check that they are snug and don't pull off easily.
Check all screws for tightness.
tidy up.JPG
Replace all covers and secure with screws provided.
complete install.JPG
You might find it handy to write luminaire system data and replacement part numbers on the outside of the case for quick reference.
Neatness is important. The temperatures inside the transformer enclosure reach extremes. Any materials resting against the transformer body itself will be destroyed by extreme temperatures.
Use only non-combustible materials for enclosures - no wood, or even plastics will suffice. Plastics only if much research into temperature tolerances have been observed. Adequate ventilation is a must.
Look, I don't want anyone to think I'm being a know-it-all.
This is serious. These types of devices are easily capable of igniting a structure - home, apartment, whatever. Taking shortcuts is just putting you and your loved ones at risk unnecessarily.
If you're not comfortable with what you've done so far, there is no shame in asking for help. I can't say it enough, Be Safe.
Let's test this puppy!
test luminaire.JPG
The lampholder in the above test was not safely connected and I will not demonstrate how I did it.
Instead, if you'll join me later, I'll show how to construct your own kick-ass lighting cabinet with this bad-boy and maybe another one if we're lucky.
You'll have the finest vegetable garden on the block in no time!
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#2 johnnydigital

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:36 PM

Nice Man! Got yourself a great ballast there... and them joints are not cheap. A few years back I had a 1000 watt Son Agro ballast that stopped working and I figured it was fried. I gave it to a friend who also happened to be a residential electrician and he was able to get it working again for me. If I remember correctly, only the HPS have igniters right?

#3 Guest_jay pheno_*

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:37 PM

sweet ,,

kinda how i built mine , got a ballast rebuild kit then stuck it in a old pc power supply case , :rasta:

#4 Guest_jay pheno_*

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:41 PM

only the HPS have igniters right?



yes an you can wire in a switch to bypass it ,, mh / hps

#5 Myc

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:03 PM

sweet ,,

kinda how i built mine , got a ballast rebuild kit then stuck it in a old pc power supply case , :rasta:


That's what I was aiming for with this thread.
Some safety and good habits - then go salvage parts and construct one from scratch.
You still need the disconnects and everthing for safety but a creative mind will find a suitable alternative to those high-dollar molded plugs

Or you can pirate just such a plug if you sift through enough industrial electrical surplus and know what to look for.
My main goal was so that people don't chuck these expensive lights like 'dude' did.
They sold him a new one at the garden supply and offered him some chump change in exchange for the fixture core. $50 for the fixture - reduced incrementally depending upon what was wrong with it.
I repaired the thing and provided a new lamp for around $90 - this included the salvaged Mogul base/ scrap HPS fixture.

#6 johnnydigital

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:11 PM

I thought so, because I know that the HPS bulbs that go into MH ballasts have the igniters built into the bulbs.

#7 DrDee

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 08:16 PM

Hi Myc,
Nice write-up. I've been cobbling together HID ballasts for over twenty years. I buy a ballast kit which includes transformer, diode and igniter...no box or bulb. I screw everything to a board with a wire cage around it for good cooling.

One little comment, and I don't really know the danger on this...the unused input wires can be a source for stray electricity that's induced by the transformer. Shocks can occur but I suspect they would be high voltage but low amperage. So to eliminate that risk...be sure to put wire nuts on the ends of those wires before you bundle them up. This was new info to me so I thought I'd pass it along.
Let there be light!
Dee

PS: I always screw mine to the wall to minimize risk of exposure to water. And bond everything properly as Myc says.

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#8 Myc

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 10:38 PM

One little comment, and I don't really know the danger on this...the unused input wires can be a source for stray electricity that's induced by the transformer. Shocks can occur but I suspect they would be high voltage but low amperage. So to eliminate that risk...be sure to put wire nuts on the ends of those wires before you bundle them up. This was new info to me so I thought I'd pass it along.
Let there be light!


Hey Doc!
Thanks for the extra bit of information. I totally forgot this step and it is very important!! Astute observation.
The remaining un-used tap conductors will have induced current on them. While the current may be low (as you pointed out) it will be equal to the input ampere rating ~ so around 2.7 amps of current at a voltage of 120v.

Any current level (measured in amperes or 'amps') - ABOVE .03 amperes - can kill a human being under the right conditions.
So 2.7/.03 = 90 This ballast has the current potential to kill you 90 times over (per second).

This transformer shipped with high-temp heat shrink boots on the ends of the un-used tap conductors. Also have a little dollop of varnish on some of them so no danger in my case.

But to re-iterate your point,
A great number of ballast failures can be attributed to not properly securing the ends of the tap conductors with an insulated splice terminal.

Edited by Myc, 14 May 2009 - 07:36 AM.


#9 Indonesia

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 01:17 AM

Nice thread Very helpful for diy'ers. Better than just using a wiring diagram if its your first time with a ballast.
Keep up the good work!

:rasta:

#10 Myc

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 07:27 AM

Nice thread Very helpful for diy'ers. Better than just using a wiring diagram if its your first time with a ballast.


Thanks for that other reminder.
Not all ballasts are the same.
Yours may appear quite different but I assure you all transformers are created using the same principles.

Here are some useful wiring diagrams:
http://www.advancetr...p?S=core ~ coil
Use the above link if you are familiar with your setup.
Lamp type, lamp wattage, just fill out the electronic form with the appropriate information.

Troubleshooting info here:
http://www.advancetr...aqs.jsp?pbid=45

The above link covers all kinds of technical questions. There seems to be no - single, uniform answer to every general question.

For example:

If I remember correctly, only the HPS have igniters right?


Correct in most cases, however, low-wattage Metal Halide fixtures use an ignitor as well as many others. So a "yes" answer does not always apply. I have deliberately avoided such answers so as not to create too much confusion.
The above link(s) will help a reasonably capable DIY'er figure out what's wrong with their setup, address the problem, order the correct parts, find lost or missing wiring diagrams, etc.

You can do it!
Hope I can help.

#11 suckerfree

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 07:34 AM

Hi Myc,
Nice write-up. I've been cobbling together HID ballasts for over twenty years. I buy a ballast kit which includes transformer, diode and igniter...no box or bulb. I screw everything to a board with a wire cage around it for good cooling.


i do the same, cept i use a cheap 10 dollar tool box from walmart to house everything
http://mycotopia.net...hps-system.html
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#12 DrDee

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 08:22 AM

yes an you can wire in a switch to bypass it ,, mh / hps



Seriously? Will have to try that. Like your avi...keeping with the true DIY spirit!

Suckerfree...I liked your thread and the toolbox idea. The wire cages I use are great for cooling but water would be disasterous.

Cheers guys and very useful thread Myc...
Dee

#13 the_other_chap

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 12:40 PM

And another quick point - The capacitor can hold substantial charge, even if a ballast has been switched off for a while.

Avoid touching the capacitor terminals unless you want neat little holes burned in your fingers. ;)

Even if you discharge the capacitor by shorting out the terminals, the voltage can creep back up in a few minutes (although not usually to a high enough level to cause problems).
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#14 Foster

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 04:33 PM

Another great thread Myc! Excellent info all around folks.

Good point the Other Chap. Caps will give ya a jolt if you're not careful. Thanks for that addition.

I also build my own. Have a 1k, a couple 150's, a 70, 2-400's, .

Having a problem with one of my 150's popping the gfi/gcfi/gfci. Whatever you may call it. First one I've ever had do this.

Thats another point I would like to make. If you can, always use a ground fault interupter outlet. Will save you from a shock if you lose your negative/ground. :)

Also like Myc said, dont just twist n tape wires. If you can, solder those leads, and use high temp wire nuts. Better safe than dead ;)

#15 DrDee

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 03:42 PM

Myc and/or anyone else who knows...

There was some mention of the need for a special mogul socket when using a hor. MH bulb. That's to locate the bulb at a specific rotational position.

My question is...do any of you know how to tell if you have the bulb/socket positioned correctly? Can you tell by looking at the filament of the bulb, or by the configuration of the socket?

I've been using universal bulbs, but I have a few horizontal ones laying around that I don't want to use till I understand how that works. I believe the socket has some sort of stop or click/detent, but that's the extent of my understanding.

Thanks...
Dee




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