The boost function on a digital ballast

I have acquired another vented hood plus digital ballast. What I have noticed is there’s a boost function on some of these ballasts. Other than the obvious what do these boost functions do and are they bad for the bulbs in the long term

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Bulbs have tolerance as part of their design and are able to take more (and less) energy than they are rated for. The minimal amount of energy/temperature increase from the boost function won’t alter the lifespan of the bulb. That said, the change in intensity and color spectrum is negligible. It’s doubtful you would notice any difference in your plants. To me (note: this is my opinion only) the boost mode is more of a sales gimmick than anything else.


@TommyBahama that’s what I was thinking. A bit like the sport button on a 1.2 Corsa. I thought it might be some sort of over current type feature that would shorten the lifespan of the bulb and as such I have never used it

2 reasons to use the boost function (according to the manual that came with the ballast), last couple weeks before harvest to fatten the buds up more, or if using an old bulb (more than 2 flowering seasons on it) to boost it back close to original light output and squeeze another harvest out of it.

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@Hellraiser both of these ballasts are second hand and didn’t come with manuals. Both are like new as in they’ve seen very little use. Interesting point about the last 2 weeks of flower though. Manual aside, what’s your thoughts on the boost feature. Waste of time or worth a punt? :sunglasses:

On the last 2 weeks of flower boosting, don’t know about that. Seems it would be more beneficial to boost throughout flowering rather than waiting til the last 2 weeks.

For the 2nd reason - to make an older bulb push out more light to get more use from it - that I can believe as HPS bulbs degrade with use. That extra 10% juice could have a six month used bulb almost back to new bulb light output (assuming it lost 10% light output in 6 months) for another flowering session or 2, specially if you are using the expensive eye Hortilux bulbs.

I buy new eye hortilux super hps bulbs yearly and my boost is always on.

I figure that in my setup, I’m losing some light right off the bat because I use cooltube style air-cooled hoods. The glass (from the air-cooled hood) between the bulb and my plants causes a 5-6% loss, and even a small amount of dust in there could cause another few percent. Also the air cooling of the bulb itself causes some loss as HPS bulbs need to be a certain temp to generate the amount of light it can. Cooling it brings down the temp in the bulb causing it to not put out as much light.So I may be only getting around 90% of the light from a brand new bulb. So using the boost pushes it back up to what it should be. I don’t care about spending a little more on electricity, or premature bulb failure, gonna replace the bulb soon anyway and shelf full of spare bulbs.

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On my 600 watt ballasts, the boost kicks them up to 660 watts (10% more juice).

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I figured I was losing light output through the cooling and the glass in the cool tube. Both my bulbs are new, can’t remember the make though. I will try the boost function for this grow and see how things go. Thank you for your insight. The last 2 weeks of flower doesn’t make sense either, I will go with it tonight and see how I get on