ballast cord getting warm

  • Thread starter Haggardass
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Haggardass

Haggardass

711
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That's perfectly legal and fine. This was most likely due to poor connections or backstabbed receptacles. The configuration of the receptacle will only allow plugs that won't overdraw. Assuming we're talking about listed and legal equipment and not shit that some dumbass homeowner built because they were under the misconception that they were smart enough to "figure it out" themselves.
I'm going to try my new ballast if it doesn't fix it then start with the plug and see from there
 
U

Underground

215
28
OK well than it's either:
  • Backstabbed receptacles, worn receptacles, or other poor connection near receptacles (Most likely one of these.)
  • Undersized cord.
  • Bad molded plug

I read this and it sounded like the OP's cord from ballast to wall was too hot to touch? If so, replace it and see if that helps. 20 amps will serve your stated load, but it's close.

Best practice? Put all your big ballasts on 240v circuits. MUCH safer that way.

It very well could be the cord. I'd try it on a known good receptacle if not immediately obvious. Plug should fit tight. And not have any tension on it either. Heat and cool cycles will affect the properties of the metals and exacerbate the problem. Even if it physically looks good, if the contacts have been heated beyond their design they may not hold the amount of pressure on the plug that they should. Which will then cause heating. Creating a vicious circle that will only continue to worsen.
 
Haggardass

Haggardass

711
63
Ok so I'm going to replace my socket and see if this cord stool gets hot
 
U

Underground

215
28
I couldn't just throw a240 volt socket in a 120 hole could i? I'm thinking no but don't want to assume lol
Absolutely not. Especially if you do not know 100% what you are doing. If you put 240 to a 120 recep than you could end up plugging a 120 device into it. Like I said earlier, plug configurations are designed for specific use. We have testing and listing organizations as well as codes to ensure safety and proper operation. Amateurs circumventing these are what cause problems from a simple malfunction to a as severe as death.
 
ttystikk

ttystikk

6,856
313
Absolutely not. Especially if you do not know 100% what you are doing. If you put 240 to a 120 recep than you could end up plugging a 120 device into it. Like I said earlier, plug configurations are designed for specific use. We have testing and listing organizations as well as codes to ensure safety and proper operation. Amateurs circumventing these are what cause problems from a simple malfunction to a as severe as death.

Believe it or not, there is a device I've seen marketed in the hydro magazines that plugs into two 120v circuits and then 'combines' them to provide a 240 outlet. I didn't look closely at it, but such a device seems to be asking for trouble!
 
U

Underground

215
28
Ok so I'm going to replace my socket and see if this cord stool gets hot
That's your best bet. And DO NOT replace with a 20 amp receptacle if this is not a 20 amp circuit. Remember what I said about configurations being designed for use? Well a 20 amp plug can plug in to a 20 amp receptacle. If these are on a 15 amp ckt than you can potentially overdraw the circuit. It's different the other way around. You can have multiple 15 amp receps on a 20 amp circuit. No individual recep has the capability (under normal circumstances) to overdraw the circuit. But even one 20 amp on a 15 amp circuit can potentially overdraw due to different design limitations of specific configuration.
Most likely causes, in order:
  1. Worn receptacle.
  2. Backstabbed receptacle, or multiple wires not pigtailed.
  3. Worn or poorly manufactured cord.
  4. Bad capacitor.
Obviously ignitor is functioning if lamp is starting. You can have a bad capacitor and still function depending on ballast design. Just functions at a lower voltage. Or you can have a bad cap that will make the ballast draw 2x the current. Most ballasts have a power factor of .50 before before a cap is added. And .90 after cap. The reciprocal of .50 is 2. So with a bad cap, multiply current by 2. With a good cap, multiply by 1.1 (reciprocal of .90) That's why a 1000W ballast will draw around 1100 watts.
 
U

Underground

215
28
Believe it or not, there is a device I've seen marketed in the hydro magazines that plugs into two 120v circuits and then 'combines' them to provide a 240 outlet. I didn't look closely at it, but such a device seems to be asking for trouble!
It is. Plus if both circuits were on the same phase than you wouldn't get 240 and you'd be overloading the neutral to boot.
 
Haggardass

Haggardass

711
63
Absolutely not. Especially if you do not know 100% what you are doing. If you put 240 to a 120 recep than you could end up plugging a 120 device into it. Like I said earlier, plug configurations are designed for specific use. We have testing and listing organizations as well as codes to ensure safety and proper operation. Amateurs circumventing these are what cause problems from a simple malfunction to a as severe as death.

I didn't think so I was just crossing that off my list I gate dealing with electrical it scares the shit out of me so I would never even think of doing it, i just didn't know if i could have someone come in and toss a 240 plug in there where the 120 would come out of, but I'm sure the wording is all different gauges and such.
 
Haggardass

Haggardass

711
63
That's your best bet. And DO NOT replace with a 20 amp receptacle if this is not a 20 amp circuit. Remember what I said about configurations being designed for use? Well a 20 amp plug can plug in to a 20 amp receptacle. If these are on a 15 amp ckt than you can potentially overdraw the circuit. It's different the other way around. You can have multiple 15 amp receps on a 20 amp circuit. No individual recep has the capability (under normal circumstances) to overdraw the circuit. But even one 20 amp on a 15 amp circuit can potentially overdraw due to different design limitations of specific configuration.
Most likely causes, in order:
  1. Worn receptacle.
  2. Backstabbed receptacle, or multiple wires not pigtailed.
  3. Worn or poorly manufactured cord.
  4. Bad capacitor.
Obviously ignitor is functioning if lamp is starting. You can have a bad capacitor and still function depending on ballast design. Just functions at a lower voltage. Or you can have a bad cap that will make the ballast draw 2x the current. Most ballasts have a power factor of .50 before before a cap is added. And .90 after cap. The reciprocal of .50 is 2. So with a bad cap, multiply current by 2. With a good cap, multiply by 1.1 (reciprocal of .90) That's why a 1000W ballast will draw around 1100 watts.
Well to hell with this magnetic ballast I'm going to plug in that new ballast Thursday and see what happens and then go from there, I'm thinking the damn cord is the problem honestly this thing looks to skinny to be a computer cord much less run this big ass light.
 
U

Underground

215
28
If that were the case, it would be warm along it's entire length. Since it's in the first 3" than it's most lilely one of the causes I already outlined. Either way, you should make sure that recep is good before you plug something else into it.
 
Haggardass

Haggardass

711
63
If that were the case, it would be warm along it's entire length. Since it's in the first 3" than it's most lilely one of the causes I already outlined. Either way, you should make sure that recep is good before you plug something else into it.
Ok that makes sense thank you for your help
 
SodaLicious

SodaLicious

533
43
That's your best bet. And DO NOT replace with a 20 amp receptacle if this is not a 20 amp circuit. Remember what I said about configurations being designed for use? Well a 20 amp plug can plug in to a 20 amp receptacle. If these are on a 15 amp ckt than you can potentially overdraw the circuit. It's different the other way around. You can have multiple 15 amp receps on a 20 amp circuit. No individual recep has the capability (under normal circumstances) to overdraw the circuit. But even one 20 amp on a 15 amp circuit can potentially overdraw due to different design limitations of specific configuration.
Most likely causes, in order:
  1. Worn receptacle.
  2. Backstabbed receptacle, or multiple wires not pigtailed.
  3. Worn or poorly manufactured cord.
  4. Bad capacitor.
Obviously ignitor is functioning if lamp is starting. You can have a bad capacitor and still function depending on ballast design. Just functions at a lower voltage. Or you can have a bad cap that will make the ballast draw 2x the current. Most ballasts have a power factor of .50 before before a cap is added. And .90 after cap. The reciprocal of .50 is 2. So with a bad cap, multiply current by 2. With a good cap, multiply by 1.1 (reciprocal of .90) That's why a 1000W ballast will draw around 1100 watts.


I'm going to see if I can find that old socket i had that was a 15amp on a 20 amp circuit. I'll take a picture. 15amp plug ins on a 20 amp breaker is not o.k. IME
 
Haggardass

Haggardass

711
63
Idk a lot about electricity but i think as long as you don't load 20 amps on a 15 amp outlet it's ok, now a 20 amp outlet on a15 amp breaker would be bad, but like i said idk anything about electricity i just think it makes sense to me.
 
U

Underground

215
28
How are you going to know what the load is unless you are constantly monitoring it? A 15 amp receptacle and a 20 amp receptacle look slightly different. That's because the plugs (male end) are slightly different. The neutral side (left when receptacle is ground down) on a 15 amp is vertical. Most commonly on a 20 amp it looks like a sideways T. This is because a 20 amp is designed to take either a 15 or 20 amp plug. The neutral blade on a 20 amp plug is horizontal. The reason for this is that it is safe to plug a 15 amp plug in to a 20 amp receptacle because different organizations (ie: UL listing laboratories, ANSI, etc.) test manufactured equipment. Any device with a 15 amp plug configuration cannot draw more than 12 amps (other than start up current) or it won't get it's listing.
So any homeowner (or other amateur) messing with configurations, using incorrect repair plugs, or otherwise modifying installations and/or making installations without specific knowledge of what they are doing, are potentially setting themselves up for risk of personal or property damage of themselves or others and even death.

Electricity needs to be taken very very seriously. There may be problems you cannot even see. Conductors or equipment may be far exceeding their design temperatures and you will not physically see or smell that until it's too late. Even then you may only see that something isn't working without seeing the cause, which could have been putting anyone in the vicinity in danger.

Here is a NEMA configuration chart, it may help you understand the different plugs and receptacles.
87370955.png
 
SodaLicious

SodaLicious

533
43
Hmmm...sounds like a real safety issue thanks for sharing!



Yeah no doubt. I was told that a 15 amp receptical was fine to run on a 20 amp breaker... If it says 15 on your receptical, and your breaker says 20 its NOT OK!
 
Haggardass

Haggardass

711
63
well i said to hell with it and just bought another ballast i got a nextgen 1000 and the cord is nice and cool to the touch I really do think it was the cord because i let it run for a while and while the whole cord didnt get to hot to touch, it did get warm. thank you for all the help guys.
 
U

Underground

215
28
It is ok to run 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp breaker. But not the other way around. The plug configuration prevents any device being plugged in from overdrawing. (As long as you don't have unqualified people building or modifying cords, cord caps or equipment) If there is only a single receptacle on a circuit, the rating of the receptacle and the overcurrent device have to match. Most of the time that a receptacle melts it's due to the receptacle being backstabbed instead of conductors being under screws. Followed by worn out receptacles creating a loose plug fit and aluminum conductors on non listed device. If you have aluminum branch circuit conductors and you replace a receptacle make sure it says its cu/alu rated and not cu only. Aluminum expands and contracts more than copper (cu) so the screw heads are bigger to accommodate this. Also, never put cu and alu under the same wire nut unless you have the listed wire nuts with the grease in them.

NEVER EVER backstab devices. Even if you have more than two conductors for each side. In that case, pigtail them. ie: put the 3+ conductors plus a 6" pigtail in a wire nut. Run the pigtail to the device screw.
 
fishwhistle

fishwhistle

4,686
263
Can you explain what you mean by 'backstab' underground?
 

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