View Full Version : amp/watt draw on icecap 430 ballast?

06/20/2010, 03:31 PM
has anyone checked the watt or amp draw on their 430 icecap ballast? I checked mine running 2 80watt t-5 bulbs and got 3.3amps which comes out to to almost 400 watts. Ice cap responded in the manufactures forum once but wont respond back now. I would like to run these but not at that much electrical expense.

06/21/2010, 10:04 AM
The Icecap 430 ballast can not consume near 400-watts. Here is the specs for the ballast:

- Mode: IceCap 430-008
- Input Voltage: 120V A/C
- Input Current: 3.3 Amps
- Power Factor: > 60%
- Operating Frequency: 22-24 KHz
- Minimum Starting Temp.: -40C
- Max. Allowed Area Temp.: < 50C
- Type: 2 Outdoors
- Sound Rating: A
- Enclosure Overall Dimensions (Inches): 11 1/4 X 3 7/32 X 1 3/4
- Approval: cULus
- Thermal Protected: Class P

The amperage will not tell you how much wattage the setup consumes. You must factor in the power factor. The power factor must be known for all inductive loads to know the wattage. The Icecap ballast has a normal/low power factor. If you measured 3.3amps and the ballast was operating with a 60% power factor, the wattage would be 237.6watts (input voltage x amperage x power factor = wattage). How did you get the 3.3amps? IMO that seems slightly high for 2 T5 80watt lamps. It’s difficult to say what is going on without measuring the input voltage, amperage and power factor.

06/21/2010, 02:15 PM
Using a Kill A Watt meter, my 430 ballast is drawing 2.12 amps and 148 watts. It's running 2 - 39w T5's and drawing more wattage than what I expected.

06/21/2010, 02:50 PM
148-watts for two 39w T5HO lamps is pretty close to spec when you include ballast losses. With an input voltage of 120V the power factor would be slightly under 0.60 (60%).

06/21/2010, 02:51 PM
I used an inductive amp meter over the hot wire of the power plug. It is a fluke meter which is not a cheapo meter. Using ohms law, with at 3.3 amp draw at 120 volts it figures out to be 396 watts give or take. way too much for driving just 2 80watt bulbs.
2.12 amp draw is also crazy for just 2 39 watt bulbs. I realize that they are overdriven but that too seems excessive.
this is making me start to think about selling this ballast, especially if this is normal for ice caps.

06/21/2010, 02:54 PM
The Kill-A-Watt meter by P3 International is a good tool for end users. This meter measures the wattage correctly and includes the power factor. Some of the other power/wattage meters available do not include the power factor and will give false high readings on inductive loads.

06/21/2010, 03:00 PM
You MUST include the power factor when calculating the wattage for inductive loads. Your wattage can not be 396-watts with two 80-watt T5HO lamps. It is closer to 237.6 watts assuming your power factor is 0.60 (60%). Calculating volts x amps only works correctly with resistive loads.

06/21/2010, 03:07 PM
How is power factor figured? does it work the same for pump motors. I have 2 sedra pumps that are pulling 180 watts not using any power factor.

06/21/2010, 03:56 PM
The power factor is a phase shift between the voltage and current waveforms. The power factor will differ with each inductive device. Many devices have power factor correction circuitry that brings the power factor above 0.90 (90%). The power factor must be measured with pumps, motors or any inductive device. The Icecap 430/660 ballasts have been known to have a low power factor. This question has come up a few times about the high amperage draw. You can use an oscilloscope to get the power factor. The distance between the waveforms gives you the angle. The angle in degrees is the power factor. You can also calculate the power factor with a wattmeter that measures power and a meter that measures the voltage and amperage. The simplest way for an end user to measure true watts or the power factor is with a plug in Kill-A-Watt meter.