Testing the new 4 foot SG lamps


Had a fun day pushing the new Solacure SG-1-40 prototype. I feel bad calling it a prototype, as I know I’m going into production with this exact lamp. Even the “prototypes” aren’t marked as prototypes. Awesome lamp, to say the least. Very much the same as the big brother SG-1, only easier to use for most applications. I’m guessing this will be a best seller once we get production quantities.

I tested using the Workhorse 7, Workhorse 8 and SunHorse ballasts. On the whole, I think the SunHorse ballast did the best job. The Workhorse 7, however, was a bit disappointing and I didn’t do a lot of tests with it. I still have the bench loaded with the lamps, so I may try some funky wiring methods with the 7. The Workhorse 8 did surprisingly well when wired in VHO modes, of which there are a couple of different ways, using 2 or 3 lamps. The problem is that 3 lamps is an odd number for most applications, unless you are using 6 or 12 lamp rigs. Tripling the wiring to two lamps (which is WAY OUT OF SPEC FOR THE BALLAST!) gave me 80 watts per lamp and the output was insanely high. For high production systems, this is the way to go, although it will generate a bunch of heat.

For grins and giggles, I thought I would wire up the SunHorse in VHO mode. Keep in mind, this is a 40 watt format, and I was pushing almost 100 watts to each lamp. I ended up getting twice the regular output, although I have no idea what this will do to lamp life. The actual components can handle it (the cathode/anode set is rated for 120w), but this puts some serious wear and tear on the phosphors themselves. At this stage, I wouldn’t recommended it until more testing can be done.

I published a power chart on the website showing relative output using the different ballasts, but for now, it is probably better to just call me. I expect I will configure 3 or 4 different kits using the same ballast, to cover all the different applications. Things get complicated when you are pushing this much power. Oh, and they can still just be run using an off the shelf 40 watt FR40T12 ballast, so that makes them especially easy to work with. For horticultural use at 12 hours a day, this is an acceptable configuration and they will end up lasting 4 seasons (guestimate at this point), although it will take at least one lamp per two plants. I also tested them at 32 watts, and they performed just fine, with the type of performance drop off you would expect.

So the design concept works flawlessly, they have been tested and operate within expectations from 32 to 99 watts, an unprecedented 300% wide margin, and one not seen on ANY fluorescent UV lamp by any other maker except Solacure. All you have to do is figure out which power level is right for you.