Metal Halide for cheapskates

Big Daddy B

New member
I'd like to get a thread going that everyone can post what sort of DIY MH they have used. I hope that we can archive and use this as a reference. I am getting ready to build my first MH setup and would like to get every possible DIY MH ideas captured on one thread.

I'm also looking for an answer to the following question:

I've heard that Iwasaki bulbs are actually Mercury Vapor. Can the cheap industrial lighting setups work for the Iwasaki bulbs then??


actually, I am running a MH bulb on a MV ballast as we speak. ignatz and I did some research, went to home depot, and a few hours of work later, had a 175 halide that fires off of a MV ballast. There was a big thread going on at AL about it, I will try and recap it all soon, unless ig wants to talk about it....


The quest ( and the questions) continues...

Here is a link that will provide you with the necessary information on Iwasaki lights:

This is all the information you can get on these products in America from the American distributor. (I called them and got the run around. They promised to send product information, but never did.) The basic jist of it is that, according to EYE, you should only run the 250W and 400W bulbs on a Mercury Vapor ballast. I have had reports from other reefers that have run these bulbs on a Metal Halide ballast with no problems.

Like Goby said, he and I built a MH setup using a mercury vapor ballast. Before we began, we asked electricans about the combination and they said that it would work, and it did. If I were going to do a DIY MH setup, I would go to the following link:

and get all the information you can concerning temperature (Kelvin) adjusting stage gels. I would use a 4300K bulb with the gel. (BTW - Did I mention that Home Depot sells 4300K Metal Halide bulbs from Panasonic?).

Ok I was just looking at the Rosco site and they have a color filter that converts halogen bulbs to 5500K. Would it be possible to go with just 1000wt halogen bulbs and convert the temperature to 5500K. This would be a much cheaper option than even metal halides and should put out a similar amount of light. I would still have to check the par just ot make sure.

I dont think that halogen has the par, and it gives off WAY too much heat. Yes, sure, a MH gives off a lot of heat as well, but the PAR is much better (I believe) but would LOVE to see what you can find on it. Let us know if it works!!!


The quest ( and the questions) continues...
There was an article in the paper about the replacement for the microwave,it was a hallogen oven using the lights for heat.Would it be like El Nino for a tank?
Just as a note 7 years later I did try a color filter on some MH lights for awhile and while it did work the filters didnt last long enough to make it worth while.
Did you use the standard theatre gel or did you get glass frmo rosco?

Rosco sells both soft and hard filters, Id imagine you could order glass lenses to convert the color temp and they should hold up for a good while, they are made to hold up to some beefy theatre and film setups. The soft gel is cheap but does have to be replaced often........... Sorry former stagehand in me had to chime in:)
I used the soft gels wasn't aware at the time they made a hard version. A lot of this initial experimentation was due to the lack of available higher color temp bulbs along wiht the high prices of what was available. Would be intersting ot see what an Iwasaki woudl do with a 10k gel filter on it in par.
I tried the 60 and 65 Rosco under 400w 6500k Ushios. I tried placing the gels in an acrylic box(not totally enclosed at the gel) and vented the heat outside with a fan. That worked great for the heat. Mike do you still have pics of that? I was not happy with the growth rate so I pulled them off and added 3-140watt act. That was about when this thread started. Now I would recomend looking at Sanjay's reports. Some of the 250w are pretty impressive. The heat of a 400w is much greater than a 250w not mention the electricity diff. Overall the 250w is a better bang for your buck per watt.