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FAQs

SolisTek Digital Lighting

SolisTek Support

Frequently Asked Questions


Should I use Pulse-Start or Probe-Start lamps in a SolisTek digital ballast?

What's the ANSI rating for a SolisTek digital ballast?

Can I use a different wattage lamp in the SolisTek 1000w digital ballast?

Can I run a 400 watt lamp in the SolisTek 600 watt dimmable ballast?

Can the Matrix ballast run in 24 hour mode without the internal timer, or with an external timer?

What is THD%, and why is it important for digital lighting? 

What do the Error Codes E-04 & E-05 mean (matrix series ballast)?

Do you recommend using a flip box?

How hot does the SolisTek digital ballast run?

What is SenseSmart Technology and what does it do? 

Does the amperage draw change when the ballast is dimmed?

Does the amperage draw change when using the SolisTek digital splitter?

Is there a preferred way to mount the ballast and how far apart?

Why is tinned wiring important?

What lamps are compatible with SolisTek Digital Ballasts?

Can SolisTek digital lamps be mounted vertically?

What is Kelvin?

What is Low-Iron glass and why is it important?

Why CRI is important?

Why do you offer 3 kinds of Metal Halide lamps?

Is the SolisTek 10K Metal Halide lamp a good choice for vegetative growth?


  
Should I use Pulse-Start or Probe-Start lamps in a SolisTek digital ballast?

Only Pulse-Start lamps should be used with digital ballasts. Probe-Start lamps are designed with an igniter in the loop, which is improper for the circuitry as the system was not designed this way.  If you notice, most Pulse-Start lamps have only 2 electrodes entering the glass envelope. Probe-Startstyle lamps are equipped with a third electrode, which is not needed required in digital ballasts.  Using a probe-startlamp in a digital ballast is not recommended and causes necessary stress on the lamp and ballast.

(For example, if you run a pulse-start metal halide lamp in a switchable magnetic core and coil ballast, you would switch the magnetic ballast to
HPS mode (even though its a MH) because this includes the igniter in the loop, as the igniter is not designed into the pulse-start style lamp.  Probe-start lamps have an igniter built in, not proper for digital ballasts)

Read more about probe-start incompatibility here:  Probe-Start and Electronic Ballast Incompatibility



What's the ANSI rating for a SolisTek digital ballast?

To date, ANSI has not published any standards for high frequency digital MH/HPS ballasts. They have standards published for high frequency florescent ballasts up to 400w but that's about it. Technically speaking there is no current rating schedule that applies to high frequency HID lighting, however SolisTek digital ballasts will run lamps to ANSI specification for the lamps operational perimeters like a core and coil. However adding high frequency electronic circuits does change the lamps performance beyond the scope of testing previously preformed by ANSI on 60hz core and coil ballast which add new variables not yet fully studied by ANSI. As more information is published we will update this information. 

In the interim, SolisTek is the only company in the industry to pair lamp and ballast engineers together to harmonically pair SolisTek digital lamps and ballasts together for the lowest THD%, best efficiency and maximum outputs.

 
Can I use a different wattage lamp in the SolisTek 1000w digital ballast?


Yes, you can use different wattage lamps in the SolisTek 1000w digital ballast, however it is not recommended and you may experience shorter lamp life.  A 1000 watt ballast outputs 200-250V to the lamp, while 400 &600 watt lamps operate on 100-150V to the lamp. 
 
When utilizing the SolisTek Digital Splitter, the output voltage is split so there is 100-120V to each 600 watt lamp.


Can I run a 400 watt lamp in the SolisTek 600 watt dimmable ballast?


Yes, you can run a 400 watt lamp in the 600 watt ballast dimmed to the 400 watt setting.  Since the voltage output for the 600w ballast is the same as the 400 watt lamp this combination has no issues.

Can the Matrix ballast run in 24 hour mode without the internal timer, or with an external timer?


Yes, the Matrix ballast can run on 24 hour mode with no timer.  If you have a program schedule set, the PRG LED light on the ballast will be on.  To turn off this feature, simply long hold the "PRG" button on the ballast for 3 seconds until the PRG LED light turns off.  The ballast will now run 24 hours, or you can use an external timer.

What is THD%, and why is it important for digital lighting?  

THD or Total Harmonic Distortion is a very complex subject that can go into a lot of detail.

In short, the measurement of THD measures how clean the output signal is going to the lamp.  The lesser or lower the THD%, allows for the components in a digital lighting system to produce a higher quality digital signal by reducing harmonic distortions added by the ballast.

A THD rating of < 1% is considered to be the high end of the scale. This reference applies to high frequency electronic ballasts which generate the THD that the lamp broadcasts. The lamp is literally broadcasting the frequency and any signal noise generated by the ballast. All electronic ballasts have a different level of THD.

Some popular e-ballasts are running from 250% to 400% THD! That level of THD is a very large, unacceptable number.  These THD’s are causing massive problems for the lamp and ballast and are producing huge amounts of signal hash, which translates into poorer light quality.

More in depth information about THD% click here.



What do the Error Codes E-04 & E-05 mean (matrix series ballast)?

The SolisTek LCD Matrix ballast error codes E-04 and E-05 are error warnings that are commonly experienced when the ballast triggers the safety sensor for either open circuit or short circuit.  All SolisTek digital ballasts run a series of tests, what is referred to as SenseSmart pre-ignition checks.  The ballast will send a millivolt signal to the lamp to detect a multitude of information andtriggers sensors if there are any conflicts. 

If you experience an E-04 or E-05 error code warning, it means that the ballast has detected a conflict.  These safety checks are to help you identify & eliminate any potentially hazardous electrical scenarios in your system. 

Check all your connections to make sure nothing has become loose.  If you hang lamp cables, make sure the cables are secured to the wall so gravitation pull does not affect the integrity of the connection. 


More commonly than not, the lamp is the issue.  If your ballast suddenly stops working and shows E-04 or E-05 your lamp may be nearing the end of its life.  Replace the lamp and see if the ballast detects the error. 
Note: Even though the lamp in question may work in another ballast, the digital signal has deteriorated and become weak and is not acceptable for a SolisTek ballast.  This actually prevents a bad or poor quality lamp from being used.

We always encourage isolating the situation.  If there is a ballast in question, test it in a known working power source with a working lamp and reflector.  Test the ballast independently to eliminate any other factors and variables that may cause the error.

A 1000W ballast requires a 600V rated lamp cord to run properly.  Do not use any lamp cords rated for less than 600V, this creates too much impedance and will affect light quality.


Do you recommend using a flip box?

We do not recommend using a flip box system with any electronic ballast.  Using a flip box style controller requires the ballast to be in operation 24 hours a day with no down time.  In reality, there is no power source that was designed to run for 24 hours.  This will cause stress to the ballast components and may cause damage to the ballast.


How hot does the SolisTek digital ballast run?

Ballast temperatures are highly variable given the ambient temperature of the room and if your ballast location is well ventilated.  All electronic ballasts will operate at a higher temperature on 120 volt than 240 volt. The preferred ambient temperature for ballast operation is between 75-78° F. A general rule of thumb, for every 1° of ambient temperature increase you can expect up to 3° increase of the ballast temperature.

  

What is SenseSmart Technology and what does it do? 

SenseSmart pre-ignitions diagnostic is a safety system of sensors that the ballast cycles through on startup.  It detects any conflicts that are present in the system including:  open output, ignition failure, end of lamp life, over/low voltage, high/low internal temperature, thermal, overflow current, and short circuit. This safety check system is to help the user identify and eliminate any problems or conflicts in electrical setup.


Does the amperage draw change when the ballast is dimmed?
  
Yes, the ballast amperage draw will decrease as the ballast is dimmed. 
Below is a output chart for 120/240 volt:

120V 400W 600W 1000W SOLISBOOST   240V 400W 600W 1000W SOLISBOOST
Power 400W 600W 1000W  1040W   Power 400W 600W 1000W  1040W
Input current 3.5A 5.25A 8.75A 9.1A   Input current 1.75A 2.625A 4.375A 4.55A



Does the amperage draw change when using the SolisTek digital splitter?
When using the SolisTek Digital Splitter the amperage draw stays the same as operating a standard 1000 watt lamp.


Is there a preferred way to mount the ballast and how far apart?
  

The ballasts can be mounted universally.  If you have decided to mount the ballast with output facing down, we highly recommend to use the provided hardware to secure the lamp cable to the wall.  This is to ensure that gravitational pull does not affect the integrity of the connection. 


Ballasts should be mounted with a minimum of 6" spacing in between to allow for proper ventilation.

*Note: General rule of thumb, winding or coiling lamp cords typically cause 1 volt loss per layer of coil.


Why is tinned wiring important?


Copper wire possesses exceptional conductivity, making it an essential component in many electrical systems. Coating the wire with tin provides it with even more durability and strength. Tinned copper wire lasts up to 10 times longer than non-tinned wire. It also resists water corrosion and provides enhanced conductivity and lowers impedance.  Tinned copper wire is more expensive than non-tinned wire.  However, the initial investment can prove prudent over time as tinned copper lasts much longer.


All SolisTek products including our ballasts, reflectors and lamp extensions all utilize tinned copper which prolong the life and use of your SolisTek products.  



What lamps are compatible with SolisTek Digital Ballasts?

Most name brand HPS lamps are compatible with SolisTek digital ballasts.  We recommend using Pulse-Start metal halides for all electronic ballasts.  SolisTek has a matched ballast and lamp system.  We are proud to say that we are the only ballast and lamp manufacturer that harmonically tunes our ballast and lamp sets together for maximum efficiency and the industries lowest OUTPUT THD%.


Can SolisTek digital lamps be mounted vertically?

Yes, SolisTek digital lamps can be mounted vertically.  If you are experiencing and unstable arc stream with metal halide lamps, it is possible that the ballast you are using is emitting a poor quality output with high THD%.


Metal Halide gases are much more prone to fluctuations in the arc stream when mounted vertically.  SolisTek matched sets produce a stable arc stream when mounted vertically.  There usually is an approximate 100 hour seasoning / burn in period with metal halides lamps where the gas chemistry combines and settles.

What is Kelvin?
  
The Kelvin Color Temperature Scale is a measurement of discriminating colors for the human eye. Color temperatures over
   5,000K are called cool colors (blue/white), while lower color temperatures (2,700–3,000 K) are called warm colors (yellow/white through red). This is a measurement for the human eye, but serves as a reference for helping consumers know which lamp to buy for which stage of growth.


SolisTek Digital Lamps have been developed for living things; plants, people, reptiles, fish. Traditional lamps were made for human vision and relied on peaks of energy for the human eye.

SolisTek understands not all growers can budget four lamps for every fixture, so the "one lamp system" means you could use the 4K for all stages of plant growth if needed.  Your plants will get photo-chemical reactions with a SolisTek digital lamp that's more than could be achieved with any traditional lamp that was made for human vision.
       
HPS - Recommend for the majority of flowering when growing annual plants.
4K - This is a Full Spectrum light good for all stages of growth.
6K - Popularly used for vegetative growth.
10K - Use during the last 2-3 weeks of flowering to allow better ripening and finishing.


What is Low-Iron glass and why is it important?

Look at "regular" glass and you'll notice a slight green tint (especially when viewing the edges) that becomes more noticeable when the glass is thicker. Often this is not an issue, but in many applications – like indoor gardening & horticulture, where light is required to pass through glass  – clarity becomes more important. And that’s where low iron glass is clearly better.

Low iron glass is specially made for exceptional clarity, and will not dull or distort the true colors in the color spectrum. Whether it’s referred to as “extra clear,” “water white” or “low iron,” the glass is made to be crystal clear and virtually tint-free.

What makes low iron glass so pure and sparkling? One of the main ingredients in all glass is silica sand, which has naturally occurring iron oxides. These oxides are what cause the greenish tint in glass. But low iron glass is made from a high grade of silica sand that is almost completely free of iron oxides. By reducing the iron content you reduce the greenish tint and increase light transmission, brightness and clarity. In fact, low iron glass can have as little as 10% of the iron content of regular glass, allowing it to transmit 91% of light, compared to 83% for regular glass.

Why CRI is important?

The color rendering index (CRI), sometimes called color rendition index, is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. Light sources with a high CRI are desirable in color-critical applications such as photography and cinematography, and even horticulture.  It is defined by the International Commission on Illumination as follows:

Color rendering: Effect of an illuminant on the color appearance of objects by conscious or subconscious comparison with their color appearance under a reference illuminant

Numerically, the highest possible CRI is 100, which is equivalent to natural sunlight.  The higher the CRI, the better quality of light.

Why do you offer 3 kinds of Metal Halide lamps?

There are 3 metal halides lamps because each lamp represents a Kelvin rating or color.  Kelvin ratings over 5,000 Kelvin are identified as "cool colors" (blues & whites).  Lower color temperatures (2,700 - 3,000 Kelvin) are referred to as "warm colors"We offer spectrum selections of 4K (Daylight), 6K (Blue Cool), & 10K (Super Blue finisher).  HPS lamps can be used as a "warm color" spectrum.

Is the SolisTek 10K Metal Halide lamp a good choice for vegetative growth?

Yes, the 10K lamp is a good choice for vegetative growth.  Providing blue spectrums encourages shorter inter nodal spacing and will create shorter, bushier plants.  Plants that are known to stretch do incredibly well under this spectrum during vegetative growth.