250w Metal Halide ballasts - useful for anything besides lighting?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by RogueRose, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. RogueRose

    Thread Starter Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    I have access to some NIB 250w ballasts. They are 120/277 and have a fairly beefy cap in them. Here is a link to the model:


    I am contemplating what to do with the ones I have acquired. It seems they are listed for a decent price so maybe ebay is an option if I can't find a use for them. I had one that wasn't working and getting the copper out was a major PITA with the fact is was encased in tar like substance. (heating allowed it to drip out, though slowly). They are worth more on Ebay than the copper alone, obviously.
    I was wondering if there is anything else they can be used for. I am in need of a higher amperage 12-14.4 charger but I don't see how I could convert this to run that low.

    Is there anything else that these can be used for. it has a 2.3 : 1 ratio. IDK if it could be used for HV or not (will the insulation support 400-1Kv? (I'm not planning on that use now, but just curious for possible future projects.)
  2. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
    Unfortunately you found out the exact downfall to that design. They are a messy pain to take apart and do anything with.

    Now with the regular open frame style they ar not much different that a common microwave oven transformer for modifying to do other stuff with other than they are substantially better built.

    As for scrapping them for copper the easiest way to do it is to simply toss them on a fire and burn them clean. I've probably done over thousand ballasts of that design that way over the years.;)
    RogueRose likes this.
  3. RogueRose

    Thread Starter Member

    Oct 10, 2014

    IDK if you have dealt with these models, but I ended up unwinding the secondary onto a spool and it seems be excellent length (probably 1,100+ft of .o31").

    I was contemplating freezing the tar at -130F and hitting with a hammer, but I am afraid that will shatter the copper.

    As far as burning the tar, It seems to burn pretty cleanly if done correctly. I used a propane burner to melt burn and them pipe the exhaust, along with probably 2-3x as much fresh air, through a burning drum of charcoal or coal. It does a beautiful job of incinerating any particulate matter and gives cleaner air than burning wood.