Frequently Asked Questions
Ceramic Metal Halide
1. What is Ceramic Metal Halide lighting?
Also referred to as Ceramic Discharge Metal Halide (CDM) and Light Emitting Ceramic (LEC, a trademarked term), Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) bulbs are tuned to allow superior color spectra and color rendering. Unlike Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS)lamps which typically use quartz or polycrystalline alumina (PCA) respectively, CMH bulbs include an arc tube manufactured with ceramic. Ceramic is able to operate at a higher temperature than arc tubes constructed of Quartz or PCA which allows for a more ideal mixture of gasses that are capable of producing richer spectral output.
CMH lighting is not new, and has been commercially available through Philips for over 20 years. In recent years however there have been many new developments with CMH as higher intensity double ended lamps and compatible low frequency square wave ballasts to drive them have become more widely available to consumers. Although 315W CMH lamps can offer outstanding full spectrum light with color accuracy very close to the sun's, until more recently the 315W lamp has presented a limitation for many serious gardeners as they are restricted by the lamp's footprint and intensity.
2. Does CMH lighting offer advantages for gardening?
3. Is blue light useful for my garden?
Growers will experience a variety of benefits from CMH lighting systems, including:
Amongst the richest spectra of color available in grow lighting.
Long lifespan providing bulb life of 95%>@20,000 hours when powered by our low frequency square wave ballasts.
Lower heat output than HPS lighting, potentially allowing for reduced energy consumption from air conditioning, as well as closer placement to canopy for greater intensity.
CMH lamps produce efficient Photosynthesis Active Radiation (PAR) per watt.
Our 630W Double ended (DE) line of CMH lamps range from 1.8-2.0 μmol/s per watt.
High levels of color accuracy with Color Rendering Indexes(CRIs) ranging from 85-97.
Yes, blue light is useful for plant growth. A variety of functions have been found to be regulated by blue light receptors. Amongst the primary benefits is inhibition of stem elongation in vegetative cycle which contributes to tighter internodal spacing, and thus in turn can improve yield through more efficient use of space. Blue light receptors also enhance photosynthesis by regulating the opening of stomata, pores which release water from the plant through transpiration and absorb carbon dioxide. Many other functions are regulated by blue light receptors including transition into flowering, guard cell development, and leaf expansion amongst others. Although relatively low levels of blue light are required for functional photosynthesis, normal growth is not possible without blue light.
4. Is light intensity relevant to my garden? How important is the distance between bulb and canopy?
As one of the primary external factors of photosynthesis, light intensity is critically important to your garden. Increase in light intensity is proportionate to increase in photosynthesis up to a point of diminishing returns at which other limiting factors may be encountered. Gardens reach this point upon achieving 1500 .
The intensity that your light delivers is directly related to the distance that the light must travel to your garden. This is defined by the inverse square law which states that the intensity of radiation is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. Simply put, this means that as light travels twice the distance, it in fact delivers only one quarter of the light. As a gardener raises their light to accommodate clearance for hot grow lights, they quickly sacrifice the PAR delivered to their garden. The lower temperature output of CMH lighting can help growers to place their lights closer to their canopy than with HPS, allowing for greater PAR to be delivered to their garden.
1. Do you drop ship?
No, we do not drop ship. When you place an order with us, you are ordering directly from a Northern California distributor out of our current stock on hand.
2. How quickly will my order be shipped?
Our goal is to ship out your order within 3 business days of being processed. You will be notified after your order has been processed and shipped.
3. Will I receive a tracking number?
After your order has been shipped, you will receive an email containing your tracking number. In order to ensure that we can supply you with the tracking number for your order, please include a valid email address. Unless you sign up for our newsletter updates, you will not receive any other correspondence that is not directly related to you order.
4. I enjoy the buyer protection offered by Ebay. Can I purchase your products through Ebay?
We are happy to accommodate growers who feel more confident purchasing through Ebay. If you are ready to place an order but would prefer to order through Ebay, please contact us! We will work with you to make a custom order available to your specifications.
5. The product that I am interested in is out of stock, or has not yet been released. Can I arrange to be notified upon stocking?
Absolutely. Whether you would like an alert when our 1000W line becomes available, have your eyes on a product that is out of stock, or would like to receive periodic exclusive discounts, you may sign up for our newsletter.
6. What forms of payment do you accept?
We currently process secure payments through Authorize.net and accept major credit cards including Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover®, Diner's Club, JCB as well as money orders. We also accept PayPal. For customers who prefer to pay with a money order please contact us before placing your order, which will be processed and shipped after your payment has cleared.
1. I already own a double ended reflector. Can I use my reflector to run CMH lamps?
Yes, our double ended CMH lamps are compatible with double ended reflectors. You can save money by simply upgrading ballast and bulb, as you will not require a special reflector in order to run CMH lights.
2. I own a Hydrofarm reflector. Is your ballast compatible with Hydrofarm lamp plugs?
Our ballasts use Sunlight Supply style lamp cord receptacles. You will still be able to use your Hydrofarm reflector, but will require a lamp cord plug adapter. These are available from Hydrofarm.
3. I have a complete fixture. Can I separate the reflector and remotely mount the ballast?
Yes, the reflector is secured by wingnuts that can be easily removed should you desire to mount the ballast remotely. A second hole has been installed on your reflector for mounting or hanging with an eye hook. For gardeners that prefer to separate the ballast and reflector, we offer a 15 foot lamp extension cord. Keep in mind that ballasts do generate heat, which is typically not desired in proximity to your garden.
4. I require more than 15 feet distance between ballast and reflector. Can I connect multiple lamp extension cords to achieve my desired distance?
No! Please do not connect more than one lamp extension cord in a row. Doing so could potentially expose you to the risk of causing a fire. If you require greater distance, contact us and we can arrange up to a 60 foot lamp extension cord for you.
5. How frequently should I replace my CMH lamp?
There is a direct relationship between useful wavelengths of light delivered to plants and their growth rates. As your bulbs output decays, your plants growth rates will slow down. It is generally suggested that bulbs be replaced when they reach 90% output.
Our CMH lamps are rated between 90% output @ 10-12,000 hours depending on bulb when powered by a compatible high frequency ballast. When powered by our low frequency square wave ballasts however, growers will achieve 95%> output @ 20,000 hours! This means that on a 12 hour light cycle, growers will benefit from a solid 5 years of high performance from our CMH bulbs. We do recommend monitoring lamp output periodically with a PAR meter to most accurately gauge the appropriate replacement timing.
6. How closely to my canopy can I place my lamp?
Several variables will influence just how closely you can place your lamp to your garden. Specific crop and environmental conditions such as ambient temperatures can play a role in determining this distance. As each garden is different, we advise starting at canopy distance of not less than 24" for 630W or 30" for 945W to reduce chance of plant stress as you learn how your DE CMH lamp will interact with your crop within your gardening space.
7. I have multiple ballasts. Do I need a separate remote control for each ballast?
No, each 630W ballast can be controlled by any 630W ballast remote. Although it is wise to keep a back up remote in case you damage or lose yours, you are not required to use a separate remote unique to each ballast.
8. I damaged or lost my remote control, and need to order a replacement. Do I need to synchronize my new remote?
No, your replacement remote will be immediately ready for use to control all of your 630W ballasts.
9. Does my IR remote control require line of sight in order to operate?
Yes, in order for your remote to control your ballast or fixture power setting, it will need line of sight with the ballast's wattage display. Please keep line of sight requirements in mind when mounting your ballast or fixture.
Warranty & Returns
1. Do you offer warranties for your products?
Ceramic Solutions 630W Digital ballasts and fixtures are protected from manufacturer defect for 3 years from time of purchase. Our 630W 3000K-Red and 4200K lamps are protected from manufacturer defect for 6 months from time of sale when used with Ceramic Solutions 630W Digital ballast or fixture. 945W 3000K-Red and 4200K lamps are protected from manufacturer defect for 6 months from time of sale when used with low frequency square wave ballasts.
Please retain copy of receipt for your records as this will be critical to facilitate warranty process.
To facilitate warranty, you will not be required to incur high shipping cost by sending a defective unit directly to our factory in China, but instead simply contact us to arrange shipping to California. Upon receipt of defective product, we will forward the defective product to the manufacturer for you to be evaluated and replaced, and will assume cost of shipping your replacement unit to you.
We understand that you need any warranty replacement products as soon as possible and we don't want you to go without for a minute longer than absolutely necessary! Therefore, subject to supply we will ship you your replacement product from our current stock as quickly as possible upon receipt of your warrantied product. This way you do not have to assume cost of shipping to our manufacturer in China, or wait for international shipping.
We certainly hope you will not need to take advantage of our warranty, but should the need arise please contact us as soon as possible for further instructions and to initiate the warranty process.
2. What is your return policy?
We only sell new products, never open box returns or manufacturer refurbisbed products. Therefore, outside of manufacturer defect all sales are final. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us prior to your purchase.