View Full Version : IceCap 660/VHO Problem

01/06/2000, 09:20 PM
My VHOs stopped firing yesterday after only a couple of months of service. I fiddled around with the plug a bit and found that the bulbs in the 1 and 2 hole would fire for a second or two, but the bulbs in the 3 and 4 hole wouldn't flicker at all. After a half-dozen power ups/downs, they all finally fired and stayed on.

I assumed that a bulb had gone bad, so I got in tonight and started moving bulbs around to try and figure out which one had gone. I even cycled a couple of good NO bulbs into the mix. But no matter how I moved the bulbs around, the 3 and 4 hole would not fire. I did prove that all of my bulbs would fire (momentarily) in the 1 or 2 hole.

I'm wondering which of the following might be true:

a) I've got a bad bulb or bulbs

b) I've got a bad connection in an endcap somewhere

c) I've got a bad ballast :(

d) Something else entirely ???

Anyone got any ideas how to troubleshoot this and figure out which of the above I'm up against?


01/06/2000, 09:55 PM
i had that problem one time and it was my ground wire on the ballast that should be screwed in on one of the ballast holes. try that and see what happens !?!??

also check your endcap connections and make certain they are not nasty from salt [email protected]?

hope that helps.

01/06/2000, 10:05 PM
I had a similar problem a while back when i changed out all four bulbs. The new bulbs would flicker a few seconds then go out. After a few times of this the ballast blew...whoofff...and i smelt the electronics burn. pu I contacted ice cap and was directed to send in my ballast. I had my ballast back in 7 days. They have very good customer service so do not hesitate to call them right away! Sounds like it could be bad.

[This message has been edited by Mikey (edited 01-06-2000).]

01/07/2000, 12:10 AM
Same thing happened with my IC430. Went up in a puff of smoke as I persisted to plug in the ballast several times when I knew there must be a problem. IceCap replaced it no questions asked and it was out of warranty. Great turnaround time too.


01/07/2000, 12:29 AM
The guy I order all of my on-line reef stuff from (John at J&L Aquatics) just told me that he won't sell IceCap ballasts anymore because more than 50% of them come back to him within the first couple of weeks. He said that IceCap now tells him to receive the broken ballast and ship a new one to the customer, and then send the broken one to IceCap...unfortunately he said that their customer service has gone WAY down hill. I don't know if this is a problem unique to Canada but it sure sucks for me cuz I was counting on using an IceCap 440 for the lighting on my newest project...A nano reef.

Could anyone tell me what's up with that?


Green Lantern
01/07/2000, 08:36 PM
I had some problems with my VHO 660 awhile back. The store that sold it to me gave me some crappy bulbs that were just a little to big in diameter. Made putting endcaps on the bulbs difficult. They switched all my bulbs to Coralife VHO no problems since. The problem I had was they would just go out. I'd turn them back on and they's flicker off again.

Incidentally Canadian, I just discovered John at J&L Aquatics and he is offering a product I think from Kent called Phytoplex Plankton. Do you know if it is any good.


01/08/2000, 01:00 AM
Green Lantern,

Unfortunately I've never used this new stuff by Kent. Hopefully if someone else here has they can tell you all about it. If you can't get any feed-back about it just call John. He's really honest and he'll give you the low-down on it if you ask.



01/08/2000, 08:53 AM
RE: icecap 660

there is a local lighting store in vancouver that sell the icecap ballast , i purchased mine here [ best price i could get $250can ] if you add the exchange on this is a good deal .
he also told me that they have redesigned the ballast lately so any newer ballast purchased should have a lot less problems .
also able to get vho bulbs from this store for around $20 - 30 can . most other local stores have them for around $38- $45 can.
any candians interested , let me no i'll send you the address. they said they'll ship them out as well .


Larry M
01/08/2000, 10:48 AM
Braveheart: If you haven't discovered the problem yet, here is a similar thread from the archives:

Larry M

See my tanks at Northern Reef (http://www.homestead.com/larry_reef/index.html)

01/08/2000, 12:49 PM

That place is Advance Specialty Bulbs right? John told me all about them as an alternative. Do they have the new ballasts? If so I think I'll order the ballast from them.



Scooby Doo
01/09/2000, 09:33 AM
Wow. Looks like I've made Reef Central history! As the thread Larry reference, my ballast was the culprit.

Icecap repaired the ballast at no cost.


01/09/2000, 10:15 AM
Rus, can you provide me with the address? Tia.

01/09/2000, 04:29 PM
Please call IceCap @ 800-742-3227 ext. 25 and ask for Dave. If he is unavailable ask for Chris or myself, Andy. Your initial problem was most likely a break in your circuitry, which can be caused by a bad endcap, broken filament or loose wire. If your endcaps aren't mounted it's likely a poor connection. If you have an Ohm meter, testing from the end of the harness (the part usually inside the ballast)and going color to color (blue to blue, ...) you'll discover where the break is. The side that flashes on/off is OK. It's one of the two lamp circuits on the other side that have the problem. Repeatedly turning the ballast on and off can eventually cause a problem by itself.
As far as the comment that 50% of the ballast come back, who believes that? People don't spend what they do on an IceCap ballast because they're unreliable.

01/10/2000, 12:32 AM

I'm just reiterating the apparent problems that one of the most trustworthy MO suppliers I've dealt with has had. I'd love for him to continue selling your ballasts. Here's his number: 1-888-840-1146, ask for John. Give him a call and ask him what the problem has been.

As it is, he will no longer sell them and now I'm trying to get one from Dan at MOPS in Ontario (for some reason he hasn't responded to the email that I sent him 3 days ago).

If indeed you have improved your ballasts maybe John's been getting an usually large number of older, less effective ballasts.

All I want is my damn ballast :(


01/10/2000, 08:04 AM
here's the address for where i bought my ballast and bulbs in B.C [ much better price than local fish stores ]


unit 2 20010 100A Ave
langley B.C.
v1m 3g4

1 800 663 1120
1 604 513 8500 fax. [ 1 604 513 8200 ]

if you try this , let me now how you made out , i hope this helps out a little


[This message has been edited by rus (edited 01-10-2000).]

01/19/2000, 07:25 PM

Just wanted to let everyone know that this turned out to be a ballast problem. I proved it by plugging my ballast into another reefers existing 660 harness. It behaved the same way on his.

Shipped the ballast off to IceCap, but haven't got it back, yet.