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Old 01-08-2015, 06:43 AM #1
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Philips 315w CDM Elite (CMH)

Overview -

I've been debating about making a thread for the Philips 315w CDM Elite lighting for some time - the main CMH thread has gotten so large that it is very difficult for people to access information on this particular variant of the CMH family. There is an immense amount of good data there, and I would encourage people to read it simply for the background, but I would like to keep this thread focused on the 315. There are enough variations of it to create plenty of confusion all by itself, so I'll leave the other members of the CMH family to those that have experience with them.

First, an overview and a bit of my personal history with lighting. I've used most of the available technologies over the years and had most recently dabbled pretty heavily with LED fixtures. I had built my Hybrid PL-L/LED fixture after using a Lumigrow ES330 for a while, and was getting ready to update it from PL-Ls to white LEDs. Spurr had made occasional mention of a revolutionary new CMH fixture that Cycloptics was developing, and it had caught my interest since I had used MH in the past and much preferred the natural spectrum over HPS. Although LEDs and the Hybrid had worked well, I disliked the "Martian Landscape" effect from the predominantly red/blue mix. The Hybrid worked well in that respect because I could simply turn off the red LEDs while working on the plants, but the cost and extensive labor involved in updating the fixture had me considering alternatives.

I'd been in contact with Cycloptics for quite some time while they were in development, and was ready to make a decision just as their product came to market. However, their fixture was (and still is) only available as an open fixture and I needed enclosed fixtures because I don't run A/C. I'd been monitoring eBay for quite a while, and some 315 ballasts and 930 T9 lamps started showing up from industrial auctions so I decided to build my own fixtures. The Bell 600w reflector wound up being the perfect size for my applications, and once I could find the damn sockets (see below), I was on my way.

As it turned out, the fixtures were easier to cool than my LED fixtures had been. This was because the LEDs just kicked the heat into the tents and depended on overall ventilation to cool things, whereas with the Bell hoods I re-directed that same airflow through the reflectors and moved the hot air out of the tents before it had a chance to heat anything up. The light is about as "natural" as indoor lighting can get, the plants are infinitely easier to troubleshoot and far more pleasant to spend time with. As a side benefit, yield went up by roughly 20% and there was no longer a need for the SCROG screen and intense canopy management because penetration is so much better. I seriously doubt that there are any commercial LED fixtures currently available that can touch the performance of the 315s, although the advent of white COBs has once again got me interested in DIY.

This technology, in my view, is best suited to small growers. By the time you get up to around 2000w of lighting, you are looking at a damn serious investment with these unless you luck out and find a bunch of parts from eBay or an industrial liquidator and are capable of building your own gear. I bought ballasts for $35-50 each, but it seems like sellers have caught on to the value of the parts now. The good thing is that with wider interest, the price of lamps has come down from absurd (@$500 each) to somewhat reasonable ($70-100)
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:44 AM #2
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Ballasts -

I have seen catalog pictures of three different Philips ballasts for this family of lamps, but have only personally seen one version. It is catalog #1ZTMH-210315-R-LF, has both Philips and Advance names on it, is enclosed in a black sheet-metal housing approximately 5"w x 7-3/8"h x 2-1/4"d (mounting ears not included) and is rated for 200-277 volts. The ballasts can optionally power 210w lamps by changing an internal DIP switch selection, have a dimming function via a 0-10vdc signal (this will normally go from 50-100%, but there are other versions - I bought three of them on eBay that have factory labels saying that they will only dim to 70%), and are very efficient (thus cool-running). The ballast overhead for the 315w lamp is only 17w, so they can be mounted in a pretty tight enclosure. These are low-frequency ballasts and will need an external transformer to step up the voltage if you only have 120v available.

Up until now, the best retail price that I have seen for this ballast is $162.50 from the following link - https://www.ballastdiscount.com/metal...10315rlfm.html
*Edit* - And here is another:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishywater View Post
I just purchased the ballast for $157.50 here:https://depotlighting.com/iztmh210315rlfm-p-6976.html Shipped for 173.66
*Edit* There is now a higher-voltage version of the Philips ballast for anyone running on 480v. This version will run on voltages from 347-480v, and is P/N HZTMH210315RLF. https://www.usa.ecat.lighting.philips...3701261302_na/


There are also ballasts made for this lamp by GEL and Welthink. The GEL ballast is even more expensive than the Philips version, but is advertised as extending lamp life considerably as well as making slightly higher light levels. I've read that this ballast is actually made in Germany and relabeled by GEL. It's target market is to be competitive against LED-based street lighting as a retrofit, so in theory at least, it should be quality gear. Welthink seems to be at the upper end of Chinese gear - they do make some LED fixtures that have had decent reports. I've read that they tend to put out lower light levels than the Philips equipment, and possibly shorter lamp life. For whatever it's worth, I think that Philips/Advance would be very difficult to beat. They are industrial quality equipment, which is on a substantially different level than most gear aimed at growers or coming out of China.

There are a number of ballasts available from China that are advertised as being capable of driving these lamps, but I haven't heard of anyone that has actually used them. The people who have investigated them closely have reported that the manufacturers do not appear to really know what they are dealing with regarding this lamp. Then there is that quality issue......

*Edit (12/13/15) - There are now a couple of new entries into the ballast market.

The Hydrofarm Phantom 315 is available as a ballast, a hood, or a combination of the two. The ballast is a nice-looking plug & play package that runs on 120vac-240vac, but does not have a dimming function. The reflector is a vertical lamp design and has an air-cooling kit as an option. They appear to be competitively priced, particularly for the complete fixture. I've seen the ballast for around $190, the reflector for +/-$135, and the complete fixture for around $340 including a lamp. Ballast - https://www.hydrofarm.com/p/PHBC3150 Reflector - https://www.hydrofarm.com/p/PHR3150

Another contender in the ballast market is SunPlix, which also will run on 120v-240v. At this time, they are quite expensive (over double the competition) and a couple of early adopters of them have had infancy failures with them. They are claiming extended lamp life, out to 50,000 hours.

*Edit* - All of the ballasts for the 315 are low-frequency digital ballasts. Many of the lamps in the CMH family are retrofit lamps for magnetic ballasts (both 400 & 1000w HPS), but the 315 uses digital exclusively and is not compatible with high-frequency digital ballasts - high frequencies are supposed to shake the lamp apart. I've seen one report of a high-frequency digital from Europe being used with them, but the Philips spec is for a low-frequency source. Additionally, for accurate color expression, much tighter power regulation than a magnetic ballast is capable of is required.

Last edited by rives; 12-14-2015 at 03:44 AM..
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:45 AM #3
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Lamps -

There are a number of different lamps in this family, and each of them seem to have had spec sheets with minor variations released innumerable times. The bi-pin lamps appear to have been designed from a clean sheet of paper. These first used a PGZ18 base, and a T9 envelope. I was skeptical about the base design for a couple of reasons - it seemed like an answer in search of a question, and they were unbelievably difficult to source. The only manufacturer's that I could initially find were in Germany and Italy, and they had minimum order quantities ranging from hundreds to thousands of units. After several months of looking, I found a US company (Mitronix - https://lighting.mitronix.com/item/me...-halide/k577a?) that started building them and they had a minimum order of 10. There were some problems with the first versions because Philips made a slight change in the base when they came out with the PGZX18 version for open-fixture usage and didn't publicize the change for some time. Mitronix replaced all of the bases at no charge after they got their design updated - they are an excellent company to do business with. After that was worked out, I found that the base design was far superior to the Edison (mogul) screw base. It indexes the internal supports of the lamp in exactly the same spot each time, so there is no shadowing from it. The lamp makes a partial turn in the socket and locks into place similarly to automotive lamps, so there is no possibility of under- or over-torquing the lamp in the socket. This is something that I would have appreciated numerous times at the top of a 40' ladder when trying to relamp fixtures in an industrial plant.

The PGZ18 T9 lamps have single jackets and are intended for use in enclosed fixtures ONLY. The CMH lamps operate at extremely high pressures and temperatures, ranging up to approximately 2500-3000 psi and the internal temperatures can reportedly range up to 1000° C. Lamp failures, while rare, are nothing to be screwed around with. These lamps are available in 3000K (Philips "930") and 4200K ("942") versions. The 930 is rated for 30,000 hours life, 37,800 initial lumens, 120 lumens/watt efficacy and 90% lumen maintenance at 10,000 hours. The 942 is rated for 24,000 hours life, 36,200 initial lumens, 115 lumens/watt efficacy, and 90% lumen maintenance at 10,000 hours.

The PGZX18 T12 lamps have double jackets and are designed for open fixture use. The "X" suffix denotes that the sockets are incompatible with the PGZ bases, and are designed to keep you from using an enclosed-rated lamp in an open fixture (the PGZ sockets accept both versions). I have been unable to find a domestic supplier for the PGZX socket. These lamps are also available in the 930 and 942 versions. The 930 is rated for 20,000 hours life, 36,200 initial lumens, 115 lumens/watt efficacy and 90% lumen maintenance at 10,000 hours. The 942 is rated for 20,000 hours life, 34,700 initial lumens, 110 lumens/watt efficacy, and 90% lumen maintenance at 10,000 hours.

All of the above lamps were designed for architectural use, so Philips came out with a lamp that had the spectrum optimized for horticultural use. They used the T12 design that could be used in open fixtures, and enhanced the spectrum significantly. This lamp, originally the "Agro" (part #415216) and subsequently renamed to "Green Power" (part # 41521-6) is 3200K with a substantial increase in the far-red portion of the spectrum. It is rated for 20,000 hours life, 33,000 initial lumens, 104 lumens/watt efficacy and 90% lumen maintenance at 8,000 hours. I've used both the standard 930 and the Agro/Green Power, and there is a measurable improvement.

There is also a mogul-base version of the lamp available, but only offered in a 4,200K version. It is rated for 20,000 hours life, 34,300 initial lumens, 109 lumens/watt efficacy and significantly different lumen maintenance with 87% at 5,000 hours. The UVA output of this lamp is roughly 3x that of the Agro/Green Power and the 930's, and 1.5x the 942 T lamps. This lamp is offered in a very reasonable kit with the ballast and socket from Advanced Tech Lighting, but be forewarned that it is a one-man shop who has a spotty reputation for timeliness - https://advancedtechlighting.com/cdmmw.htm

Some links to suppliers of the 315w Agro/Green Power. Check shipping costs - some of the suppliers make up for low prices with high shipping or only use UPS:

GrowGreenMi, $77.78 https://growgreenmi.com/philips-mastercolor-cdm-lamp-315-w-argo-p-3100-k?gclid=CL3e39i8lMMCFcECaQodIC wADg

BulbAmerica, $74.30 https://www.bulbamerica.com/products/...FRaBaQodX78Alg

Growershouse, $94.95, on sale now 10% off, but high shipping cost, https://growershouse.com/philips-mast...amp-t12-3100-k

Horticultural Resource, $79.79, decent shipping cost, https://www.horticulturesource.com/ph...12-cs--p13536/

Greener Hydroponics, $79.30, high shipping cost https://www.greenerhydroponics.com/Ph...-_p_81225.html

I haven't used a 4200K lamp yet, but here is something for people to consider:
Quote:
Originally Posted by LargePrime View Post
Readers may care to note that the 942 bulbs with the more blue (4200K) spectrum are considered by some to grow better than the agro 3100K.

Last edited by rives; 01-16-2015 at 02:29 AM..
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:46 AM #4
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Fixtures -

Commercially available fixtures are very limited and very expensive.

The Cycloptics Green Beams (https://www.cycloptics.com/greenbeams) takes a novel approach to lighting in that their focus is on providing very uniform lighting, using the walls as an integral portion of the system. Their early target market was retrofitting growth chambers at horticultural research facilities, and they can provide extensive modeling for your lighting needs. As mentioned above, they only have open fixtures available although they have been working on a design for mechanically-ventilated reflectors for some time. They have offered all of the above ballasts, with voltages covered from 120v to 480v.

Sun Systems offers their LEC fixture for a few dollars less than the Cycloptics. They are made in either 120v or 240v versions and are also an open design with a vertical lamp.

In the US, there are a handful of other businesses that are fabricating fixtures from these components (Rocky Mountain Grow Lights, etc.), and in Europe there are several (D-Papillon, Dimlux, etc) but they haven't made it across the pond that I'm aware of.

*Edit (12/13/16) - There have been substantial changes in the complete fixture offerings over the last year. Nanolux now has both single- and dual-lamp fixtures available. Hydrofarm has the Phantom 315, also available as separate components as mentioned up above in the ballast section. Sun Systems has expanded the LED line to include a commercial fixture, and several people are offering conversion kits that allow you to use your existing hood.

DIY Reflectors -

It's a pretty simple matter to change out the socket on a reflector to the PGZ18 style. Some modification will be necessary - the mounting screws are slightly closer together than the screws on a conventional Edison mogul base (30mm vs 35mm, or roughly .2"). On the Bell 600MV hoods that I used, the lamp was almost perfectly centered in the hood when mounting the socket to the provided bracket. Larger hoods will probably need a spacer between the socket and the mounting point to properly center the lamp since it is a comparatively small lamp in the HID world. Other than complete fixtures, I'm not aware of any reflectors built for this lamp.


Last edited by rives; 12-14-2015 at 03:55 AM.. Reason: DIY information & picture.
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:47 AM #5
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Old 01-09-2015, 01:45 AM #6
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Hey rives..Always seems like someone on these forums is always reading my mind.....could be the smoke of course. I am going to upgrade my lighting systems. Going all 240v. I have a 7x7 room and was thinking of putting 6 of these in it with 16 plants in an rdwc system. Right now I have 2x1000 watt and a 430 watt.
Cost isn't really an issue for me, seems with the energy savings in this upgrade if I can recoup it back in other areas, power saving and/or harvest.
My questions are the following:
What distance can these be hung from the canopy?
I was thinking of going 4x600 watt hps for 2400 watts. How many 315's would I need to equal that?
What kind of power savings can I expect?
I'm looking into the sun system models.
Thinking of using 2 for my veg room too. So I'm hoping to get as much unbiased information as possible. And maybe a deal from the G-store...fingers crossed.
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Old 01-09-2015, 01:59 AM #7
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And after doing a little more reading and pricing I'm tempted just to go with the SS LEC630's x4. Pricey but they seem like they would fit my space really nice. Not to change the topic from the 315's..sorry.
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Old 01-09-2015, 02:32 AM #8
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I've run anywhere from about 30" above the canopy to within a couple of inches of touching the glass when I ran out of room. The GreenBeams are actually meant to be rigidly mounted, so the clearance could be substantially more.

You can search the large CMH thread for tenthirty's posts to verify this, but if I recall correctly, he found the 315s to be pretty equivalent to 600w HPS.

Each 315 will use 342 watts with the ballast losses included, so they should be very close to half the consumption of 600's and just under 1/3 of 1000's.

The 630's are still basically the same fixture, just with two of everything that I discussed above. It would be interesting to see how even their light distribution is with two lamps mounted in one reflector like that - it seems like the hot spots from overlap would be damn near inevitable. At that price, I think that I would go for the Cycloptics gear and hit Flip (the owner) up for a discount. I'm pretty sure that he will work with you.
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:31 AM #9
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The GreenBeams look really nice. I'll be contacting them within the next couple weeks. I didn't think about the hot spots or the fact the ballasts are built in which would be more heat for me in the garden. Thanks. Once I get things setup, which won't be till March I'll update the thread.
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Old 01-09-2015, 06:26 PM #10
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Went back and read through the CMH thread. I feel like Neo when he got his first training implant..I also came to the conclusion this isn't the lighting setup for this room. I'm thinking of getting a tent this summer to run some long flowering sativas and will be using the Greanbeams for that. Thanks for all the information rives. Your diy hybrid build is great. My grandpa was a master electrician, the guy never bought anything he could build he would've loved that article.
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