Most of bulbs, which are suitable for growing plants, are not particulary easy to connect. There is no way to simply plug in, but you would be in need of a separate ballast of matching power. These ballast are necassary to limit the electricity and protect the bulb from damage. This is essentiel in particular if you use HPS-Systems, but also for some kinds of fluorescent bulbs, which are widely used for seedlings or cuttings. Its not important for CFL-Bulbs, which got build-in ballast-like technology.
Important for all systems: take care to use cable end sleeves to the wires to avoid system failures and damages, which are not covered by warranty.
Ballasts for fluorescent lamps
Ballasts for low-power CFLs are known as “sockets”, because they consist not only of a power-regulator, but also of a reflector. They are easy to mount by an appliance coupler. Take care you are choose the correct length and adapters, if you are not going to buy an complete set solution. There will be no way to use a bulb, which wont fit explicit to the socket.
For fluorescent lamps: ballast and reflector two-in-one solotion
Ballasts for HPS-Bulbs
Power supply for a HPS is a little bit more “gamy”. You will have to do the wiring by a diagram printed on the ballast itself. It is not recommendable for rookies and non-electricians, because there are not details except the diagram. Most countries do not allow to provide instructions by security reasons and you would have to get in contact with a specialist, if you are not familiar with electric mountings. Just one thing: if you own a two-part ballast with external ignitor, take care of fit the screws between ignitor and solenoid. Sticking on would not do!
typical ballast (analog) for HPS
Things are more easy with electronic ballast, which have a static power connection. But growers will do the part to the reflector by theirselves. There are usually couplers for the reflector, but most reflector does not provide a suitable counterpart.
Special case CFL
no need for a ballast: CFL bulbs
Beside the negative storys about CFL’s you can read in your daily papers: if you want to leave a separate ballast, there are nothing better then bulbs with build-in ballasts. Usually, there is an E40 socket, which allows a very fast mounting to every proper socket.