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    New Vertex Electronic Metal Halide Ballasts

    Vertex Aquaritstik‘s apparent quest to dominate the reef equipment industry is gaining momentum with the success of their new Electronic Metal Halide Ballasts. Available in 175w, 250w and 400w sizes, these ballasts feature lower electric consumption, cooler operating temperatures, and are claimed to have the highest power factor on the market. For plug and play […]

    Vertex Aquaritstik‘s apparent quest to dominate the reef equipment industry is gaining momentum with the success of their new Electronic Metal Halide Ballasts. Available in 175w, 250w and 400w sizes, these ballasts feature lower electric consumption, cooler operating temperatures, and are claimed to have the highest power factor on the market. For plug and play operation the ballasts come with their own male and female connections and fittings, allowing easier installation and maintenance.

    Vertex Ballast

    We got our hands on the new ballasts in all three sizes. Physically the units are well made with the internal components being protected by an aluminum container that doubles as a heatsink. Two thumbs up for the raw metal color, easy connectors and machined finish.

    Vertex Aquaristik Metal Halide Ballast

     

    On average Sanjay Joshi found the Vertex ballast to draw 7.7% less than the competing Galaxy and Lumatek. While this lower electric consumption did correspond to lower output, it was in direct correlation with one another and on par (pun intended) with both the Galaxy and Lumatek ballasts. 

    As an electronic, the Vertex ballasts can fire a myriad of bulbs, both double ended and single ended. We have not yet tested one out on the finicky Ushio 250 DE lamps, but users of the ballast have reported no problems so far. The exterior and interior seem to suggest the ballast is nearly the same, if not identical, to another electronic halide ballast on the reef lighting market.

    All Vertex metal halide ballasts come with a 2 year warranty. Metal Halide lamps and a 150w Electronic Ballast are on the short list for future Vertex lighting products. Full stats on the 175, 250 and 400w models below:

    Vertex Ballast Features

    •  Fully electronic, capable and versatile bulb management
    • >0.99 Power factor for greatest efficiency
    • UL & CE approved
    • Finned, extruded aluminum casing maximizes heat dissipation while protecting electronic components
    • Silent, unobtrusive operation
    • Includes all necessary connections
    • 2-year warranty

    Technical Data

    • Input Voltage 120V/230V
    • Input Frequency 50/60Hz
    • Power Factor >0.99
    • Operating Temperature -10 ~ 50 °C (14 ~ 120 °F)
    • Ignition Voltage 1.6KVp
    • Starting Time < 5 seconds
    • Restarting Time 5-6 Minutes

    175w Data 

    • Dimensions 8¼” x 4¼” x 3¼”
    • Input Voltage 120V/230V
    • Input Current 1.55A/0.85A
    • Input Power 185w/183w
    • $100USD

    250w Data 

    • Dimensions 9¼” x 4¼” x 3¼”
    • Input Voltage 120V/230V
    • Input Current 2.19A/1.19A
    • Input Power 262w/260w
    • $115 USD

    400w Data 

    • Dimensions 12¼” x 4¼” x 3¼”
    • Input Voltage 120V/230V
    • Input Current 3.45A/1.88A
    • Input Power 412w/410w
    • $135 USD

    See Vertex ballast instruction manual here [PDF].

    13 Comments

    1. July 28, 2009 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

      ” The exterior and interior seem to suggest the ballast is nearly the same, if not identical, to another electronic halide ballast on the reef lighting market.” …oh yes, can I name the brand? 😀

      In terms of ratings etc, how does this ballast compare to the other one, the same?

      Could this just be yet another rebrand/rebadge product?

    2. Gardiner
      July 28, 2009 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

      Hmmmm, I think it rhymes with SmiceCap.

      I can’t wait to see them compared. That crazy Calfo!

    3. Andy
      July 28, 2009 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

      Drawing less power while putting out proprotionally less light doesn’t seem to me to be something to brag about. Surely it’ll take more than that for their “quest to dominate the reef equipment industry” to gain momentum.

    4. Greg Carroll
      July 28, 2009 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

      I think the major issue is that the efficiency (PAR/watt) is just as good as the best on the market. Some would welcome the 7% energy savings as long as it is not at the cost of efficiency. If maximum output is the most important, why look into electronic ballasts.

    5. Andy
      July 28, 2009 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

      You can save 7% off the energy cost by cutting your light cycle by 15 minutes on an 8-Hour day, and not lose light intensity. You don’t need to buy a ballast that puts out even less light than competing ballasts that already put out less light than a magnetic ballast.

      If the ballast was somehow more efficient (producing MORE light per watt) it’d be impressive.

    6. reef
      July 28, 2009 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

      Its rebadged ballast

    7. Greg Carroll
      July 28, 2009 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

      “Its rebadged ballast”
      As is every other Electronic Ballasts in our industry. Well except for maybe Lumatek. Most every company subcontracts their ballast manufacturing along with many other products that they produce. Manufactures in this industry have become more marketers rather than producers.

    8. eric michael
      July 28, 2009 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

      @Greg — Agreed on all points.

      @Andy — You cannot drastically increase the luminous efficacy of a metal halides. It is largely limited in the lamp and actual lighting technology, not the ballast in this case. These ballasts are extremely efficient at driving lamps. As Greg said the PAR/watt is just as good as other ballasts on the market… with a low price, 2 yr warranty, and quiet operation to boot.

      If an aquarist is looking for pure PAR numbers then electronics should not be used at this time. Some future electronic ballasts may be an option 😉 however, magnetics are the best in terms of PAR…and also the least efficient in terms of PAR/watt.

      PAR is not everything and can be quite misleading without considering other factors.

      Regarding Greg’s last statement, this is largely correct. Our industry is much too small to develop aquarium specific ballasts (and other products). It is simple economies of scale. OEM subcontractors can be found that will make a better product for a lower price. That is not to say the aquarium companies do not have input into the specs, appearance, etc.

      There is nothing wrong with this, many ballasts for Osram, Phillips, etc are all made in a similar manner.

    9. Andy
      July 28, 2009 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

      Eric– that’s exactly my point, you can’t significantly increase the efficiency of MH lighting. And yet, you write in your note to me above: “These ballasts are extremely efficient at driving lamps.”

      These ballasts *aren’t* extremely efficient at driving metal halide lamps. They are just as efficient as any other electronic ballast. They consume *less* electricity and produce *less* light. You said so yourself: “While this lower electric consumption did correspond to lower output.” This is not an increase in efficiency; increasing efficiency would be the same output while consuming less electricity, or greater output while consuming the same or less electricity.

      If you want to lower a lamp’s power consumption while simultaneously lowing it’s output, turn it off a bit earlier. Same effect without buying a new ballast 🙂

      I’m not saying these are bad ballasts. I’m just saying they aren’t any more or less impressive than any other electronic ballast out there.

    10. July 29, 2009 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

      @Andy– If you are to quote, please include the full passage 😀 “and on par (pun intended) with both the Galaxy and Lumatek ballasts.” As indicated here, it can hold its weight with the top electronic ballasts on the market, with an improved warranty and a lower price. And yes, the Vertex is efficient at driving Metal Halide lamps as are the other two ballasts mentioned– lets not also forget the PF of >0.99.

      When it comes to ballasts, except for a few rare occasions of bulb responding with increase intensity, they are not the place the look for tremendous efficiency gains. What sets them apart is cost, size, noise, and performance. The Vertex performs well in all these categories.

      No one is implying you will save a tremendous amount on your electricity bill with this ballast. However, if you’re in the market for one it is worthy of consideration. In the face of photoinhibitaion I know a few advanced aquarists that will take the 7% drop in power as a benefit. This coupled with the ability to drive numerous lamps is why electronic ballasts are so popular.

      And lastly electronic ballasts are not equal, many are quite poor.

    11. Greg Carroll
      July 29, 2009 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

      Also you need to take into account of the price of this ballast. Per Marine Depot’s website (the only website that I found that sells Vertex, IceCap, Galaxy and Lumatek ballasts, the other brands sell anywhere from 30% – 80% higher costs than the Vertex. At that price, I don’t see how the Vertex ballasts can be overlooked as a strong contender in the MH ballast market.

      One thing needs to be mentioned though. The Vertex’s 2 year warranty is quite a bit shorter than the 5 year warrantees of the Galaxy and Lumatek. I have no idea what the IceCap warranty is.

    12. Blesson Mathew
      September 10, 2009 at 8:50 PM | Permalink

      Nice looking ballast.

    13. October 15, 2010 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

      Great read and informative, thanks.

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