Hi everyone! I've always been a fan of mercury vapor lights in particular, but as they continue to dwindle out, I've decided that I want to buy one or two and possibly restore them. The only problem is that they don't make ballasts for mercury vapor lamps anymore, and I know little to nothing about working with electricity.
So I guess I have a few questions;
First, I've heard that probe start metal halide ballasts will work as a replacement in older fixtures that need a ballast replaced. Is this true?
Second, I am a fan of the Westinghouse OV-25's and the early model GE M-400s, but I also found some clamshell fixtures that don't appear to have any room for a ballast inside. I'm guessing you had to have the ballast outside the fixture somewhere?
Third, I've been looking on eBay and the prices tend to range around $200 including shipping, which is really quite high. Are there any better sources online (or perhaps brick and mortar) for finding these fixtures? I live in Georgia, and all the electrical companies switched to HPS a long time ago, and are now transitioning to LED, so I'm not sure if they would have any fixtures this old laying around.
I guess my last question would be, do you have any advice for converting the leads so that they can be plugged into a standard indoor outlet, and also, if there's anything I haven't thought of, please feel free to tell me.
First, check your local recycling yards for old lanterns. If they have what you want and it is in good condition, you can maybe try and offer some money for a few (like $60 for 3 or something). If they are HPS or MV and the ballasts are fried or gone, you can use a equal wattage probe start metal halide ballast for mercs 175w and up
As for plugging a light into an outlet, you can just attach a standard everyday power cord to the terminal block in the lantern (make sure it is grounded) and it will work to plug it in this way. If you can't find a good cord, you can use an old computer power cord with the end cut and stripped off.