Support

Our Support team is here to help with all of your horticultural lighting enquiries. Check out our constantly updated resources, F.A.Q and troubleshooting guides to keep illuminated about HI-PAR!

Frequently asked questions

Which lights are right for me?


That’s a big question, with a lot of important factors to consider before buying. We firstly recommend the use of our lighting calculator to work out exactly how many fixtures are ideal for your room size. The exact luminaires, layout and spacing depends on your crop requirements, environmental influence, electrical and budget restrictions. When selecting a lamp, our top 5 suggestions from our customer support team were:

  1. 315w CMH fixtures are generally used for increased essential oil production. They’re suitable as standalone lights or as ‘mixed-spectrum’ solutions (meaning they can be efficacious when used alongside a HPS fixture).
  2. 600w SE HPS fixtures output a powerful PAR light; perfect for heavy fruiting or flowering crops!
  3. 600w DE HPS fixtures are more powerful than their SE equivalent; always ensure you plan for 1m distance to canopy when using these fixtures!
  4. 1000w HPS fixtures generally cover around 1.5m2 with enough PAR light for seriously productive and heavy commercial crops.
Mixed spectrum lighting delivers results! It’s worth experimenting with CMH and HPS combinations to cater to various stages of plant growth. The results and production economy can be unbelievable!




What exactly is HID lighting?


HID (High Intensity Discharge) lighting are a type of electrical gas-discharge lamp which produces light by creating an electric arc between electrodes housed inside an arc tube.

These lights require a ‘Ballast’ to act like a transformer and provide the correct electrical current to ignite and maintain the gases within the arc tube. The bulb is mounted in a Reflector to effectively direct the light towards the crop.
Most horticultural lights use a quartz composite or ceramic composite arc tube. The different mixture of gases within this tube influence the result light colour and intensity that the plants can utilise!




How are digital ballasts different to the old magnetic style?


Magnetic Ballasts use what’s known as a ‘choke’ to regulate power output. A choke is a steel core with a metal wire coiling around it. The steel core is usually laminated steel plates. The wire coil is often copper or aluminium. Together, the core and coil create an electromagnetic field that regulates the output voltage. Digital ballasts however use solid state circuitry to transform and regulate the power output to the lamp. They’re smaller, lighter and more efficient at regulating the current than their magnetic predecessors. Most magnetic ballasts are designed for HPS lamps OR MH, or run a basic switch. Digital ballast technology allows the fixture to recognise which kind of lamp is fixed and sent the appropriate currents.

  • Financially, digital ballasts are between 3-5% more efficient in operating costs.
  • They output a much more efficient PAR light, with less heat and better globe longevity.
  • Digital ballasts are also dimmable, boostable and have a longer lifespan!
Our most powerful lighting solutions use 400v (EL) high frequency digital lighting technology. The average increase with 400v (EL) operating frequencies is between 8-10% when compared to 230v/240v equivalents. Benefits of a Magnetic Ballast:
  • Cheaper to buy
Benefits of a Digital Ballast:
  • Cheaper operating
  • Lightweight
  • Reduced heat
  • Silent
  • Consistent, high light output
  • Dimmable
  • Overdrive function
  • Longer life




Single ended or Double ended?


Single-Ended (SE) bulbs have been traditionally used in commercial and horticultural applications for decades. It uses an ‘Edison-Thread’ to attach the bulb into the Reflector. Double-Ended (DE) bulbs were more recently utilised in commercial horticulture (mostly glasshouse production) with 3-phase power or indoor rooms with higher ceilings. DE bulbs operate at higher frequency (400v/EL) to output more efficient PAR light per watt, with higher intensity. We recommend the use of SE bulbs in grow tents and small room applications, especially where height is restricted to 2m or less. Our Digital dimmable ballasts allow you to efficiently use these smaller spaces with effective intensity. We generally recommend maintaining a minimum 60cm distance to canopy when using Single-Ended bulbs. DE bulbs are ideal for taller tents or larger rooms as they can be mounted higher above the canopy. This provides a larger spread of light. We recommend maintaining a 1.0m minimum distance to canopy when using 600w DE bulbs. Our 600w Digital Ballasts are capable of recognising whether the bulb is a single-ended or double-ended, 240v or 400v (EL); and they will send the correct ignition current and operating current to manage the lamp with near-perfect efficiency. 1000w HPS bulbs are seriously powerful lamps that can output over 2100umol/s! We always recommend maintaining a 1.5m minimum distance to canopy when using these commercial fixtures. Our 1000w Ballast is only recommended for use with DE (400v/EL) lamps.




CMH or HPS?


CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide) lamps are the newest innovation in medical horticultural lighting technology. They utilise a ceramic composite arc-tube within the HID bulb that outputs an incredible amount of PAR/PBAR light. The light output of these lamps has a CRI (Colour Rendering Index) of more than 90%. CMH lamps are incredibly useful for essential oil and resin production. As the light is so similar to day/sunlight; plant growth is more natural with complete profile of flavonoids and terpenes in flowers. HPS lamps utilise a more yellow colour temperature (see CCT) that has been proven to encourage larger and heavier floral growth. They can also be mounted further from the canopy, meaning less fixtures can cover a larger cultivation area. Our personal recommendation is to mix spectrums of CMH and HPS lighting depending on the stage of growth. Try using CMH fixtures for strong vegetative growth and supplementing with HPS for the generative (flowering) stages of growth.




How do I get the best from my HI-PAR Dynamic Reflector?​


HI-PAR Dynamic Reflectors allow you to adjust the venting, footprint and ballast mount of your individual luminaire. They are the worlds most adaptable reflector! The adjustable Dynamic venting on each side of the Reflector will allow you to passively exhaust the heat from the bulb out the top of the reflector. Our independent research testing has shown that allowing a slight vent at the top of the reflector allows the bulb to operate more efficiently, with up to 10% more PAR light output when compared to a closed hood reflector. The Dynamic reflector venting also allows for asymmetrical reflection to ensure your luminaire footprint is precisely customised for consistency in your room! They can be mounted with one or both of the vents closed to increase reflectivity in a certain direction. We also allow you to attach your ballast onto the reflector, as a ‘Euro-Style’ All-In-One luminaire. This keeps your cables neat and tidy, which in turn reduces RF from your fixtures. The reflector can also be operated with the ballast outside of the room as this can reduce heat output.




What’s the difference between square-wave and sine-wave ballasts?


Firstly, we need to understand that all ballasts act as a transformer to convert energy into a higher current which can ignite your HID bulb, and then reduces this current to operational amperage.

The charge emitted by the ballast can be low frequency as are typical magnetic ballasts around 50-60Hz sine wave, high frequency true sine wave (our digital 600w and 1000w ballasts operate around 120,000Hz) or square wave (which uses a lower operating frequency but with a different form of electronic charge, around 50Hz). See the graphic displaying the different types of wave and we can understand how the square-wave outputs a solid light.
Square wave current operates CMH (315w) bulbs significantly more efficiently and safely than high frequency ballasts. This means more usable PAR light for your plants and better bulb longevity from your 315w lamp. The wave length is more consistent and so is the resulting light output. When the incorrect lamp is used alongside an unsuitable ballast (or cheap, poorly made ballasts); acoustic resonance will occur in the arc tube.

Acoustic resonance is the periodic electric power injected from ballast to cause a pressure wave propagating inside the arc tube of the lamp. This affects the light output stability, consistency and drastically reduces the lamp lifespan, it can even be dangerous with certain lamps!

Square wave ballasts may emit a slight humming noise on ignition, but this is perfectly normal as the ballast adjusts to the most efficient amperage. It’s always best to discuss the correct combinations of ballast, lamp and reflector with your local hydroponic retailer, or feel free to contact our team for their illuminating advice!





 
 

Troubleshooting

My light isn’t turning on properly! What’s happened?

 

Don’t worry. Horticultural lighting is a very technical science and we often underestimate the requirements for a safe and successful grow facility. We firstly need to run through some basic checks to see what has caused the problem.

 

The first stage is to check the external environment and surroundings for any hazards or potentially influencing factors. Be sure to go through our checks to solve the illuminating mystery!

 

Peripheral Checks:

 

  • Does your house or facility have good quality electrical wiring with a sufficient current?

    • Some buildings have a mere 10A line in their walls whereas others have 20Amp.

    • Industrial facilities can vary from 20A upwards of 100Amp.

    • Older houses wiring may have degraded and may need checking
       

  • Do you have too much load on an individual line

    • E.g kettles and heaters can use a lot of electricity from a line

    • Multiple ballasts, fans, reflectors, air-conditions and other peripheral devices can put a serious strain on home and even commercial power supplies!
       

  • Is the ballast in a safe location?

    • Free from direct heat, sunlight, water or excess moisture?

  • Are the cables and power-boards tested and tagged? Have you tried without the powerboard or extension cable?
     

Is there a problem with your ballast?

 

Our ballasts operate using smart-ignition software and soft-start technology. This allows them to safely fire multiple ballasts at precisely timed intervals, and will never re-strike a hot lamp as this can be dangerous.

 

If a ballast is not turning on immediately, it may be using these features to wait 2-15 minutes before striking the bulb. Always ensure to wait 20-30 minutes when testing the functionality of a ballast.

 

If the ballast is still not firing after an extended period of time, try our easy troubleshooting to ascertain what is causing the issue.

 

  1. Try running the bulb and reflector with a known working ballast.

  2. Try unplugging and waiting 15-20 minutes before plugging back in.

  3. Try different cables

  4. Try a different powerpoint

  5. Take the ballast into your local hydroponics retailer for further testing

 

Is there a problem with your reflector?

 

Reflectors are rarely problematic however it is worth understanding the best ways to examine and maintain reflectors for the best efficiency. Always ensure to clean your Reflector with our HI-SHINE Reflector wipes to maintain output. Reflectors can lose 10% efficiency after just 12 months due to dust and general use.

 

If you have ascertained that your ballast is perfectly operational. It’s easy to test if the Reflector is working correctly.

 

  1. Check the bulb mount in the Reflector.

  2. Wait 15-30 minutes while the unit is turned on.

  3. While the fixture is unplugged, try gently re-seating the bulb and make sure the thread is not tightened too much.  

  4. Test a known working bulb and ballast combination in the Reflector

  5. Take the reflector into your local hydroponics retailer for further testing

 

 

Is there a problem with your bulb?

 

HID bulbs are generally very reliable and effective means of illuminating your crops. However, they do operate in very harsh conditions with fluctuating humidity and temperatures. Always ensure you treat your bulbs with care, and never touch the glass with bare fingertips.

 

If you are having issues with your bulb, it’s worth checking the following simple steps:

 

Make sure you wait until the bulb has fully cooled!

 

  1. Remove the bulb and check for any physical damage, breakages or burn marks

  2. Carefully wipe the bulb with a dry, glass-safe cloth or paper towel

  3. Re-seat the bulb and test with a different ballast & reflector

  4. Take the globe into your local hydroponics retailer for further testing

 

If all none of the above has shed any light on your issue (pun intended), please bring your equipment back to your local hydroponics retailer. They will be able to provide further testing on site before sending back to the distributor.

 

Always bring your proof of purchase receipt when claiming issue under warranty. We want to ensure you have the best experience with all HI-PAR products and our generous warranty is specified on all HI-PAR packaging. 

User Manual Downloads

Click to download user manuals for the following:

315w CMH Controllable Ballast

600w Controllable Ballast

630w CMH Controllable Ballast

1000w Controllable Ballast

Control Station Unit

BALLAST:

 

A ballast is a component used in an electric circuit to moderate changes in current. In digital lighting, the ballast regulates the current to provide sufficient charge to ignite a HID bulb and then stems the flow to regulate the bulb operating current at a lower amperage. Our ballast listings all display the start-up and operating current of our ballasts when used with suggested bulbs.

 

CCT:


CCT (Correlated Colour Temperature) is a measure of light source colour appearance defined by the proximity of the light source and relating its colour to the colour of light from a reference source. It is generally measured in Kelvin; however this can also refer to a different scale of measurement.

 

CCT values are intended by the lighting industry to give specifiers a general indication of the apparent "warmth" or "coolness" of the light emitted by the source. E.g. 2000k is warm yellow and 6400k is cool white.
 

CMH:

 

CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide), often referred to as ceramic discharge metal-halide (CDM) is a source of light that is a type of metal-halide lamp which is 10-20% more efficient than the traditional quartz metal halide and produces a superior color rendering index (85-96 CRI).[2].

 

CMH lamps use a ceramic composite arc tube which allows arc-tube higher temperatures compared to HPS/MH lamps, which results in better efficacy, colour rendering and colour stability. CMH lamps also have a significantly longer life than HPS or MH lamps.

 

CRI:

 

The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colours of objects in comparison with an ideal or natural light source (such as the sun).

 

CRI values for HPS are 20-40, depending on the lamp type. CRI values for CMH is generally between 85-95% similar to ‘ideal’ sunlight.

 

GLOBE:

 

A globe (lamp or bulb) is the key source of illumination for your crops! In horticulture, these are predominantly HID globes that use an electrical current to ignite the gases within an arc tube. Horticultural bulbs are usually HPS (High Pressure Sodium), MH (Metal Halide) or CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide).
 

HID:

 

HID (High Intensity Discharge) lighting are a type of electrical gas-discharge lamp which produces light by creating an electric arc between electrodes housed inside an arc tube. These lights require a ‘Ballast’ to act like a transformer and provide the correct electrical current to ignite and maintain the gases within the arc tube.

HI-PAR Glossary

 
HPS:

 

HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lamps work by creating an electric arc through vaporized sodium metal. Other materials and gases are used to help start the lamp or control its colour. The HPS lamp consists of a narrow arc tube supported by a frame in a bulb. The arc tube has a high pressure inside for higher efficiency. Sodium, mercury and xenon are usually used inside the arc tube. The arc tube is made of aluminium oxide ceramic which is resistant to the corrosive effects of alkalis like sodium.

 

KELVIN:

 

Kelvin (K) describes the colour temperature whilst taking into account the actual temperature of the filament. Because LED’s and fluorescents do not use heat to create light, a kelvin reading is irrelevant. When colour temperature is estimated in relation to the colour of the light, it is often referred to as ‘correlated colour temperature’ (CCT)

 

MICROMOLE:

 

To keep it simple, a photon is a particle of light. Photons are counted in micromoles (µmol) and one µmol is 602 quadrillion photons. Blue photons have shorter wavelengths than red photons and your plants use these photons for photosynthesis. It takes roughly 8-10 photons to bind one molecule of CO2.  As red light produces more photons than blue light, this means it is more efficient for photosynthesis (in PAR light (µmol) per watt of light generated.

 

PAR:

 

Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), specifies the wavebands of radiation between 400 to 700 nanometers (nm) that plants are able to use in the process of photosynthesis. All wavelengths between 400 and 700 nm contribute to the photosynthesis, in addition wavelengths carry information that plants can use.

 

PBAR:

 

There is critical information for plants beyond PAR wavelengths; in the UV range below 400 nm and in the far- red region above 700 nm. These areas and their relative ratios strongly affect plant growth. Hence, it is more accurate to refer to photobiologically active radiation 280-800 nm.

 

REFLECTOR:

 

A Reflector is the unit that holds a bulb in place and effectively directs the light back down onto the canopy. There is a wide range of reflector designs and materials, and a big difference between them! Our range of Dynamic and Sunstorm Reflectors are designed with premium MIRO Aluminium and unique engineering for near-perfect light reflectivity and consistent light output footprint!