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converting a home security light into a remote ballast grow light (the OG FAQ)


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Original OG FAQ[/B] Viewed: 590 times Rated by 48 users: 9.40/10]

How do I convert a home security light into a remote ballast grow light?

Contributed by: Spliffco, Inc.

For some reason growlight manufacturers are completely ignoring the small, personal grower. A quick look around Overgrow and you can see some very respectable bud being grown under 150's, and even 70 watt HPS lights. But the smallest ready made remote ballast growlight you can buy is a 250 watter, and they usually cost well over $150 (US).

So, as usual in the medicinal herb growing world, you need to take matters into your own hands.

Here’s how to turn a 150 watt HPS security light available at most Home improvment stores, into a nice remote-ballast grow light.

Materials & Tools:

Regent GT150H, (About $79)
Heavy Duty extension cord of suitable length
One heavy duty grounded electrical plug end (male)
Electrical box*
see note below
Electrical box plate
Romex cable connectors (3)
Wire nuts
Bolts, nuts washers
Strip of metal to secure ballast
Project case from Radio Shack ($6.99) #270-253A

5/16 nut driver (for removing parts from the casing -- regular pliers will work)
Philips head screwdriver
Regular screwdriver
Power drill and assorted bits
Metal file
Wire cutters
Utility knife or wire stripper
Diagonal Pliers

Wiring Diagram
Be careful...

Remove guts

Remove the guts from the casing - bulb socket, ignitor, light sensor socket, ballast. The ballast was glued to the casing. I heated the casing for a couple of minutes on an oven burner (high), and when it was getting too hot to hold, I put it on the floor and wedged a hammer between the ballast and casing and popped it out gently. **
see note below this is not always required - many people have found that leaving the ballast untouched inside the enclosure it came with is easier and doesn't require buying a separate box, certainly in the one this tutorial was done with this makes sense but with the vapor type lights and even the mini-floods this is not required and may in fact increase risk of hum


These security lights are designed to automatically turn on when it gets dark, so there is a built in light sensor that needs to be removed.

Remove all wire nuts.

Disconnect the white wire that comes out of the sensor (currently connected to all 3 other white wires).

Disconnect the black wire that comes out of the sensor (currently connected to the black “power in” wire).

The red wire coming out of the sensor is currently connected to the black wire coming out of the ballast. Remove the red wire, and then connect the black wire coming out of the ballast to the black “power in” wire.

Reattach wire nuts (there were 5 originally, now you only need 4).

Refer to the wiring diagram!


The socket on this particular light had some metal wiring connectors that stuck up and made it impossible to attach to the electrical plate without some modification (sorry no photo). Just pull the black and white wires off of the connectors, and cut the connectors down flush with socket base with diagonal pliers. Now loosen the connectors (screws inside the socket), slip the wires under them and tighten them back down. Please use some plastic electrical tape on the end of the socket to prevent any chance of the metal from the connectors making contact with the electrical box cover plate.

Secure the cord in the electrical box with a romex cable connector and wire it to the socket: black to black, white to white, secure with wire nuts. Some electrical boxes have a green screw inside to fasten ground wires, use that if yours has one, otherwise fasten the green ground wire to the box using one of the cover plate screws when you tighten the cover plate.


Hopefully you can see the wiring clearly in the photo, but if not, refer to the wiring diagram for details.

You’re going to have to cut some holes in the Radio Shack project box for the power cords and some bolts to hold the ballast, ignitor and ground wires down.

I used a short length of metal (plumbing department) to secure the ballast. The ignitor had a notch that made it easy to bolt down. The ground wires from both electrical cords are screwed to the base of the box.

Cut a short length off the socket (female) end of the extension cord and wire it appropriately (again - see diagram). Wire the remaining electrical cord, including the grounded male plug to the other end of the box.

Use a tie wrap to bundle up the wires in the box and try to keep them away from the ballast, which will heat up during use.

If you've done everything right, it should light.

Now, build a reflector and you’ve got a nice little custom grow light.

Safety Warnings:
Always wire the male plug to the bulb socket and the female receptacle to the ballast to avoid possible electrocution! Always use an all metal project box which already has ventilation cooling slots, or if your project box has none, please cut adequate cooling slots, or drill several vent holes in the ballast enclosure (project box) to allow the heat to escape the box. Not adding the cooling slots or holes, could result in failure of the insulation and/or the transformer. Also, please be sure the enclosure is located in a well ventilated area to aid cooling.

OK and for those who have a capacitor in the system here's a wiring diagram for that.

This is what I used for a ballast/starter enclosure. I was able to fit both items in one of these metal boxes (4" square) and a metal lid was added - very inexpensive and works well for me. I have the regents compact 150 found at lowes fwiw.

If you cannot fit everything in here you can also find other enclosure boxes at home depot (near the house fuze boxes - they're in cardboard boxes so read the labels) for a bit more $$ but they are nice and some are vented and some are made for outdoors.

I just wanted to add this as people may be thinking that they need to get the radio shack box because it was what is in the above tutorial - this is not the case and I myself found the radioshack project box to be inferior to what can be had in the electrical department at a home improvement store.

Another option is to leave the ballast in the original case and use that as a ballast box. This makes the wiring very easy as you're just splicing a section of heavy duty extension cord, extending the wires to the socket as well as splicing in another section to extend the wires to the plug - i.e. you don't have to follow a wiring diagram.

ReeferDan said:
i got my vapor tight 150w hps for $20, its on e-conolight in the row all the way to the right.

I re-used the case as well to house my ballasts. All i needed for each to make a clean remoted ballast was 2 8' extension cords per each light.

Drewpdog said:
i did it like reefer dan and drilled out the case it came with it actualy worked out realy nice. I cut off a 2 foot section of the 9 foot cord i had wire the fixture to the existing enclosure and then wired in the plug.

And finally a quick run down of where you can get a HPS security or miniflood light to do this with by wattage;

first cash and carry in the usa

50w - homedepot
70w - pretty much anywhere - this seems to be the most common
100w - homdepot intermittenly maybe lowes
150w - lowes

in Canada I understand you can find 150w at rona (hopefully someone up north can fill me in with some others)

not sure on UK

online in the usa e cono light is a good choice for a 150watter that many people have used w/o issue - here's an offsite link to the best deals

this is a 150w for $20 and that includes a lamp (bulb for an HID is called a lamp - this is awfully confusing for folks at first... ) this is the one above that reeferdan used

another option online for venture ballast kits which include capacitors - which help to maximize the power factor of the ballast - where the power factor is a measure of how much current your ballast draws over how much it uses - having a bad power factor increases the load on your circuit (but not you bill) to the point where the 150 is putting 300 watts of load on your circuit (but again not costing for 300 watts!! ) - if you've got older wiring or lots and lots of other draws on the circuit or are planning on running a half dozen lights it could be a concern.

These guys have any size ballast from 35watt on up - actually you could put together a 400 watter pretty cheap ... you'll also need a socket - medium is recommended for 150watt and smaller - although 150s can be mogul or medium - larger lamps are all mogul. they have them under
Home » Catalog » Light Fixture Sockets » HID Lamp Sockets
pipedream said:
Energy efficient high-quality HID lighting parts at good prices
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Harry Gypsna

Dirty hippy Bastard
Nicely recovered man.... This is the thread that got me addicted to the online growing forums and persuaded me that just maybe growing wasnt a hobby only for ppl who had money to begin with.
Incidentally also relevant is my DIY thread on a Low Bay 400 watter- like this but bigger.....
Here it is http://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=16776
I will remove the link if you feel it is out of place in ur thread sugabear..... :smile:
C'mon ppl, lets see ur homemade....
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Pass That S**t!
Awesome repost SB, the 150w club should be flipping by now. also love the refined circuit diagram. :wave:
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bookmarked, does homedepot still carry these? didnt see it on the site
What about a diagram for a switchable MH/HPS? I know it uses an HPS ballast so I would switch the ignitor, but should I put it?



Well-known member
St0n3r homedepot only carries 50, 70, and 100 watt HPS security lamps. Lowes does however carry the 150 watt HPS lamps.

northcoastmed I don't know how to make these switchable. I think you need a different type of ballast for that.
Didn't find a wiring diagram but since switchables do use an HPS ballast
it looks like we have another DIY project to add to Pontiac's lighting section! :chin:


I built one of these exact set ups but the ballast set up gets so crazy hot in just a few minutes of running I'm scared to use it.
jesseazy said:
I built one of these exact set ups but the ballast set up gets so crazy hot in just a few minutes of running I'm scared to use it.
you are like me. i am to scared to run my 150watter from e-conolight that i remote ballasted my self i am just to scared that it may cause problems and start a fire.so i ended up buying a used micro sunsystem 100watt hps grow light insted.i know that this light might also cause a problem but i feel alot safer knowing that this light and ballast is made for growing plants indoor.


I paid $60 for my 150. Cheers :joint:

This was back in Sept, I must have done this right after Suga posted it. Still haven't scrapped the reflector but I tilt the light 45 degrees to get better intensity.


carlosdedurango.. you must be kidding.. you know some illigal prob wired and assembled it,, and your worried that YOU have it wrong.... ouch... you know the transformer (ballests) are suposed to get hot,,, thats why they are in a vented box or OUTSIDE,,,

IF It dont burn in the first hour (or less) I would call it BLESSED!!! just check your wires,, and ground that bitch,,,,


Well-known member
carlosdedurango I can understand how you feel, but it really is pretty easy to wire, just make sure to ground the ballast box and ground the cord to the reflector.

jesseazy Yes the ballast does get hot - I mounted mine outside my grow cabinet. It's too hot for me to hold my hand on it, but it's no where near hot enough to cause any problems.

For those who may not want to DIY to get a 150 there is one called floralux that comes complete with a hood and glass lenses for around $100 USD. HTGsupply has them.

FWIW I used a 4" square junction box from homedepot and I was able to fit the ballast and starter in there from a regent 150. With romex clamps for the cords and a few extra punchouts punched out it makes a decent ballast box - better than the radio shack project box in the DIY IMHO.

thanks for sharing the pics man - that is a great stealthy out of cabinet setup - the use of the reciever as a ballast box is cool.
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Active member
Hi folks :wave: ,
I like the lights you're using and would love to setup a small 'grow-box' with a 70~150wHPS but I'm not too sure where to get em in the UK?. There's bound to be a source around somewhere!?!.

When I saw the security light mentioned in the title I had to check the unused security light I had in the cupboard but it's a 500w halogen unfortunately.

It's got the P.I.R motion detector on the bottom etc but there is a wiring diagram with it.

Pity it's no good for anything as it would have given me 500w free! :woohoo:

Regards, Esskie


Active member
St0n3r said:
is it too hot to put in a rubber made?

Can't find the link but I remember seeing a grower here who tried some CFLs in a Rubbermaid, with the Rubbermaid giving off toxic fumes from the heat. It wasn't melting or burning or anything like that, but just being warmed gave off fumes or a smell that made the grower dizzy.

Another Rubbermaid micro grower suggested lining the heated area with Mylar to reflect the heat, and to separate the lights from the canopy with glass / plexiglas and air-cool the CFL area above.

I've seen a few Rubbermaid growers here, so I'm it's definitely doable.

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