How to set up a magnetic ballast

How to install a magnetic ballast?

Today, we can find on the market a considerable number of ballasts or power supply units for indoor gardening. Most of them - for example, electronic ballasts - are easy to install since they don’t require prior manipulation from the user.

250W ETI magnetic ballast
250W ETI magnetic ballast

But what happens with magnetic ballasts? These sometimes may require some type of installation prior to their use.

On this article we'll show you how to install a 250W ETI magnetic ballast easily and safely. In this way, you'll have no problems when setting up the lighting system of your indoor grow room.

Magnetic ballasts are very easy to install. We only need a flathead screwdriver  to connect the cables to the ballast's terminal strips. 

Normally, all magnetic ballasts have an assembly plan printed on them to check how to connect the cables. But, in order to avoid confusions, we are going to tell you step by step how to install it. It only takes  2 minutes and you'll make sure that you're installing the ballast properly.

Assembly plan of a 250W ETI ballast
Assembly plan of a 250W ETI ballast

Characteristics of the 250W ETI ballast

If we take a look at the ballast we observe that it basically consists two parts. The front part, where we find the terminal strip  (where we will connect the cables) and the rear part, which contains the remaining components of the ballast.

Rear side of the 250W ETi ballast
Rear side of a 250W ETI ballast

If we take a closer look at the front part, where we find the terminal strip, we'll notice different letters that will help us to install the ballast. We'll have to connect the power cable and the lamp cable to this strip.

These letters tell how us how to connect the cables
These letters tell how us how to connect the cables

On one side of the terminal strip we'll have to connect the power cable, while we'll connect our lamp holder to the other side of the terminal, where the HPS bulb is mounted to light up the growing space.

How to connect the power cable to the ballast

We'll start by connecting the power cable to our power supply unit so we can connect it to an electrical outlet. This cable has a conventional wall plug on one end and 3 colored cables on the other: blue, brown and green/yellow (ground wire).

Cables of the ballast
Cables of the ballast

Position the ballast so you can read the letters above the power strip. We'll read, left to right, the letters F-F-N-N-LR-LA.

Now we only have to connect the blue cable to the strip marked as LR and the brown cable to the one marked as LA.

How to connect the lamp holder/reflector to the ballast

Well, we now have everything ready so our ballast receives electricity, but we sill need to bring this electricity to the lamp holder. Normally, one end of the cable is already connected to the reflector or has a Plug&Play connection to do so. On the other end of the cable we have, again, 3 colored wires: brown, blue and green/yellow (earth connection).

Ballast with 2 connected cables
Ballast with 2 connected cables

Now we only have to connect the brown wire to the first strip (marked as F) on the left side of the ballast. On the other hand, the blue cable is connected to the strip marked as N, and the ground connection cable (yellow/green) must be connected to one side of the ballast to be properly grounded.

ETI ballast ready to use
ETI ballast ready to use

We now have the ballast mounted and ready to work, so we just have to put the bulb and connect the ballast to the electricity outlet to check if everything is ok. Remember to use a timer to set the photoperiod for your plants, 18/6h for growth and 12/12 h for bloom.

250W lighting kit
250W lighting kit

We can finally begin our grow!

Happy harvests!

Comments in “How to set up a magnetic ballast” (3)

I have problem to set up. Are the grounded wire is so important? U said about the left side ground wire. The right side? The other wire s edge that go to the lamp? What about the other 3 grounded wires? Sorry for my english. I did evwrything correct and not starting the bulb!!!
Michael Robinson
Same set up for the Xtrasun magnetic ballast 600W. Thanks I purchased and came without cables nor instructions. Your info was very good. Now my Xtrasun is setup and running. Much thanks
Dani Alchimia
Hi Michael, We're glad it helped! Best!
Dude you did the opposite of what the guide on top of the ballast did no?
Dani Alchimia
Hi mate, It may seem so, but notice that the cable for the lamp has a 3-pin plug for the reflector, it can be confused with a normal power plug. Basically, the lamp cable goes on the right, the power plug goes on the left. Best!

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