Product Review: More Spectral Analysis Of 150 Watt Double-ended Metal Halide Lamps

In an earlier article, I presented the spectral analysis of five 150W Double Ended (DE) lamps along with 4 different ballasts. Since the publication of the previous article I have received 9 more 150W DE lamps. In this article we present the analysis of the lamps shown in Table 1 along with the ballasts used. The ballasts tested are a selection of electronic and magnetic ballasts that are commonly available to a reef aquarist. The magnetic ballasts for these tests were a Venture M81 and the electronic ballasts used was the Icecap electronic and Giesemann ballast as used in the NOVA II fixture. The test setup used is identical to the setup used in [1]. As usual the same equipment was used and the lamp to sensor distance was set at 18″, thus allowing direct comparisons to be made with all our prior results.

Spectral data was collected for the bare lamps as well in a shielded situation, since almost all applications recommend using the lamp in a glass shielded fixture. A 1/8″ glass shield taken from the PFO fixture was used. The glass shield was placed on top of the sensor to eliminate any stray unshielded light from reaching the sensor. This would allow us to determine the impact of the glass shield on light output.

The data collected is presented as follows: The spectral data and light output for each of the lamps is first compared using a single ballast. This allows for direct comparison of the spectral differences between the lamps. The next section presents the data for each lamp when used with different ballasts.

Table 1: List Of Lamps And Ballasts Tested
150W Lamps150W Ballasts
HIT(BLV) 10000KM81, Icecap, Geisemann
Giesemann 10000K
IceCap 6500K
Iwasaki 50000K
Radium 20000K
XDE 10000K
XDE 20000K
Coralvue 20000K
Aqua Connect 14000K Plus



Spectral Output Of The Lamps (Single Ballast)

Since the ANSI- M81 is the recommended ballast, we decided to compare the lamps using this ballast to establish a baseline performance.


Figure 1. Spectral Plots of the lamps on M-81 ballast

The figure 1 below shows the spectral output of the 8 different lamps when operated by the same ballast (ANSI-M81), with the power consumption, PPFD and CCT shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Comparison of PPFD, CCT, and Power use of the different 150W DE lamps with the M81 ballast (unshielded)
LampPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFDCCT
HIT(BLV) 10000K228122.21.8983.129128
Giesemann 10000K215123.61.8276.49519
Ice Cap 6500K206123.51.7996.17060
Iwasaki 50000K198121.91.7451.16na
Radium 20000K228122.61.9858.3na
XDE 10000K202122.11.7577.39445
XDE 20000K1811231.6128.8na
Coralvue 20000K1981231.7136.5na
Aqua Connect 14000K198122.21.746.0na

These lamps are often recommended for use in fixture with UV shielding glass. To determine the impact of the UV shielding glass, the lamps were tested with the shield placed over the sensor. Table 3 shows the impact on PPFD and CCT of using a 1/8″ UV shielding glass removed from a PFO lighting fixture.

Table 3: Comparison of PPFD, CCT, and Power use of the different 150W DE lamps with the M81 ballast (shielded)
LampPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFDCCT
HIT(BLV) 10000K228122.21.8967.48245
Giesemann 10000K215123.61.8260.98552
Ice Cap 6500K206123.51.7978.76817
Radium 20000K228122.61.9847.06na
XDE 10000K202122.11.7561.18349
XDE 20000K1811231.6123.26na
Coralvue 20000K1981231.7129.3na
Aqua Connect 14000K198122.21.737.3na

The use of the shield resulted in a drop in the PPFD ranging from 18%-20.2%, with a larger drop in the UV and blue ranges, consistent with the range observed in our previous studies on other 150W and 250W DE lamps.


Figure 2. Spectral Plots of the 150W HIT 10000K Shielded Lamps


Comparison Of Lamps Under Different Ballasts

In this section we present the results of testing the different lamps using different ballasts. For each lamp, the 3 ballasts were used to fire the lamps and data is presented for the unshielded and shielded case. Spectral data is only provided for the shielded case, since we feel that most lamps will be used in this manner.



HIT 10000K

Table 4: 150W HIT 10000K Shielded and Unshielded
BallastPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFD (UnShielded)CCT (Unshielded)PPFD (Shielded)CCT (Shielded)


Giesemann Megachrome 10000K

Table 5: 150W Giesemann Megachrome 10000K Shielded and Unshielded:
BallastPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFD (UnShielded)CCT (Unshielded)PPFD (Shielded)CCT (Shielded)

Figure 3. Spectral Plots of the 150W Giesemann Megachrome 10000K Shielded Lamps



IceCap 6500K

Table 6: 150W Icecap 6500K Shielded and Unshielded
BallastPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFD (UnShielded)CCT (Unshielded)PPFD (Shielded)CCT (Shielded)

Figure 4. Spectral Plots of the 150W Icecap 6500K Shielded Lamps




Iwasaki 50000K

Table 7: 150w Iwasaki 50000K Shielded And Unshielded
BallastPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFD (UnShielded)CCT (Unshielded)PPFD (Shielded)CCT (Shielded)

Figure 5. Spectral Plots of the 150W Iwasaki 50000K Shielded Lamps

Radium 20000K

Table 8: 150W Radium 20000K Shielded and Unshielded
BallastPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFD (UnShielded)CCT (Unshielded)PPFD (Shielded)CCT (Shielded)

XDE 10000K

Table 9: 150W XDE 10000K Shielded and Unshielded
BallastPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFD (UnShielded)CCT (Unshielded)PPFD (Shielded)CCT (Shielded)

Figure 7. Spectral Plots of the 150W XDE 10000K Shielded Lamps

XDE 20000K

Table 10 150W XDE 20000K Shielded and Unshielded
BallastPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFD (UnShielded)CCT (Unshielded)PPFD (Shielded)CCT (Shielded)

Figure 8. Spectral Plots of the 150W XDE 20000K Shielded Lamps


Table 11: 150W Coralvue 20000K Shielded and Unshielded
BallastPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFD (UnShielded)CCT (Unshielded)PPFD (Shielded)CCT (Shielded)

Figure 9. Spectral Plots of the 150W Coralvue 20000K Shielded Lamps

Aqua Connect 14000K Plus

Table 12: 150W Aqua Connect 14000K Plus Shielded and Unshielded
BallastPower (Watts)Voltage (Volts)Current (Amps)PPFD (UnShielded)CCT (Unshielded)PPFD (Shielded)CCT (Shielded)

Figure 10. Spectral Plots of the 150W Aqua Connect 14000K Plus Shielded Lamps

Comparison of the 150W DE Lamps

Figures 11 and 12 show graphically the variation in the PPFD of the lamps when used with different ballasts and the variation in PPFD vs. power consumed by the lamp ballast combinations. The spectral differences were shown earlier in Figure 1. As seen from these plots, there is very little variation among the electronic ballasts. As usual the higher PPFD values are for lamps with lower CCT. The XDE 20000K and Coralvue 20000K had the lowest PPFD even when compared to similar lamps in its class – Radium and Iwasaki. The higher PPFD values are typically from higher K rated lamps. This data can be used to directly compare the results from out previous studies since they are all taken at the same distance from the lamp.


Figure 11. PPFD Data (Unshielded) for all lamps on all ballasts



The 150W double ended lamps are very attractive choice for lighting, and in fact we feel they are a better choice when compared to the 175W single ended lamps – based on the fact they produce as much light as the 175W lamps and consume less electricity. Also, the smaller size of the lamps makes it more effective in a reflective fixture. The electronic ballasts for the 150W lamps are also attractive because of the size, weight and heat issues, but they seem to slightly under drive the lamps as compared to the magnetic ballast. There now are a large variety of lamps in this class available to the hobby and hopefully this article along with the previous one on 150W DE lamps will help the reef aquarist make an informed choice.


Figure 12. PPFD (Unshielded) vs Power Consumption



We would like to thank several people whose help made this study possible. They were kind enough to provide us with lamps and ballasts for testing: Patrick at PFO Lighting, Brian at, Andy at IceCap Inc, Phil from Giesemann and Edward from Aqua Connect. Finally, we would like to thank Dr. Paul Walker of Penn State University for the use of the spectroradiometer and dark room for testing the lamps.



  1. Joshi, S. and Marks, T., 2002. Spectral Analysis of 150W Double Ended Metal Halide Lamps and Ballasts.
  Advanced Aquarist, Advanced Aquarist
Sanjay Joshi

 Sanjay Joshi

  (51 articles)

Sanjay Joshi in real life is a Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Penn State University. He has been a reef addict since 1992, and currently keeps several reef aquariums at home including a 500G SPS coral dominated reef. He also co-manages the 500G aquarium at Penn State. He has published several articles in magazines such as Marine Fish and Reef Annual, Aquarium Frontiers, Aquarium Fish, and Advanced Aquarist. In addition, he has been an invited speaker at several marine aquarium society meetings in the US and Europe. He received the MASNA award in 2006, for his contributions to the marine aquarium hobby.

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