I recently updated my grow room with a better light system choosing the Phantom 600 Watt digital ballast. Besides going from a single 1000w HPS to 2 600 watt bulbs I went from using the standard magnetic ballast to a digital ballast.
I had been hearing horror stories about Lumatec ballasts at my local hydro shop and wanted to avoid those. I originally started out trying a set of Quantum ballasts but the results were quite disappointing. The price was right and they had good reviews but mine sucked. They got very hot, the fans were noisy and they also had a weird throbbing, pulsing sound, like out of Dr Frankenstein’s lab that I could hear all over my house. So back to Amazon they went.
Personally, I think these ballasts are all made in the same factory and are basically the same ballasts, they just paint Lumatec purple and Quantum orange.
Instead of giving up on digital ballasts, I decided to spend a bit more money and get a pair of Phantom Digital Ballasts, also dimmable and also 600 Watt. Boy am I glad I ponied up the extra cash.
My magnetic ballast was bullet proof and worked pretty well too. But my grow room is small and since it is in a closet ventilation is tricky. It has exhaust into the attic area but there is no where to put an intake vent that wont be seen by prying eyes.
Intake is from the adjacent room under the door which is fine in the winter but not the summer. I needed a way to keep temps down and needed to replace my old ballast. I also added 2 air cooled blockbuster reflectors to my room. So this is a total rework of my grow room. Temps are now at least 10 degrees cooler.
The real reason I switched is in the video below. Watch it because it’s a real eye opener. Although there wasn’t much difference in PAR output among digital ballasts they produced 39% PAR than a comparable magnetic ballast. This is huge, especially when you consider how much you are paying for electricity. Not to mention plants can never really get too much light. So I was sold on digital ballasts from that point on.
Phantom 600 Watt Digital Ballast Review
OK so now that you know why switching to a digital ballast is a good idea here’s my review of the Phantom ballast.
Even though it doesn’t have a fan (one less thing to break) it runs very cool. Yes it gets a bit warm but definitely not hot. You can comfortably leave your hand in place when you touch it.
The power cords are heavy duty and long enough to easily reach a power source. It also has built in breakers as an added safety feature. There is a dual plug so you wont have to worry about different plug styles on any reflector you want to use.
I really like the extended handle on this unit too. If you want to mount on a wall you have airflow around the entire ballast. So the Phantom offers the versatility to be wall mounted, stood on end or set flat.
This unit is dimmable and offers 60, 75 or 100% power. What I noticed is this unit powers up gradually which can save bulb life. Other ballasts seem to switch over immediately and are full on when activated. But the Phantom powers up gradually over about 10 minutes time. It also dims gradually when you lower the settings.
These units have a reputation for being bullet proof and extremely reliable too. This was a big concern for me initially, especially after hearing all the horror stories about other digital ballasts. So far I have been running mine for about 6 months without even a hiccup so they live up to their reputation.
I highly recommend the Phantom 600 Watt Digital Ballast if you are setting up a new grow room or replacing an old magnetic ballast. You will get more light, less heat, and use less electricity too.