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Old 08-21-2006, 07:33 PM   #11
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It is an option if the overdrive thing doesn't work.
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Old 08-21-2006, 07:52 PM   #12
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i just built a hood for my 5.5 gal tank. i used a fixture given to me that was made for a 15" bulb and i had another made for a 18" bulb. i put a 15" bulb in the 18" fixture and it worked fine. if u truly want to do to DIY then go to an electric supply store and simply ask for a ballast for however much light u need. i think 3 15" t-5 would be more than enough light. u can buy ballast that are made to support a variety of different combinations of bulbs. i have a ballast that is made to support up to 4 48" t-8 bulbs but i am running it at only 3 24" bulbs. very simple to hook up since the instructions are right on top of it. home depot sells alot of 18" light strips aswell so i am suprised u couldnt find any. the hood is also really easy to make. its only 5 peices of wood and u can use all glue if u arnt handy with drills and hammers. i really prefer a DIY hood casue u can make it exactly the way u want to.
here is the hood i just made. simple but efective. looks nice to


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Old 08-21-2006, 08:01 PM   #13
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I have been thinking about setting up 8 sockets over my three 10 gallon tanks for lighting. All spaced evenly in the stand I built for them. Should be more than enough light. Paint the surface white for good reflection and voila, enough light for all 3 tanks. 3 of these bulbs over one 10 gallon tank would be awesome light but would still only be medium high light IMO. They would easily fit over the tank in a custom made fixture. On different switches you could even control how much light the tank gets through the day.
Sorry, I was thinking about putting in standard light sockets to use 20-25 watts screw in fluorescents, that's what i am thinking about using.
Good site for ballasts
I know nothing about overdriving them but I would assume a 25 watt ballast on a 17 watt light is overdriving and they have them.
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:20 PM   #14
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that isnt overdriving. overdriving is when u use a ballast designed for more than one bulb but wire it up as 1. for example: if u have a ballast made for 4 bulbs but u only wire up 2(each end cap has room for 4 wires to go in like this .. .. and u normally only use 2 of the holes) it tricks the ballast into thinking that it is powering 4 instead of 2 and u get a bulb over driven 100%. or if u wired all 4 into one bulb(a little tricker to do) u get 400% overdrive(i think, correct me if i am wrong) overdriving is a great way to get more power over a smaller space but it also burns out your bulbs alot faster. its great if u are using cheapy bulbs from home depot but not if u are using good bulbs. if u power a 17 watt light with a 25 watt ballast it automatically(usually) sensors the size of bulb and adjusts the power out put. i hope that makes sense
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:44 PM   #15
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Well, I was on the way to Home Depot when those last few posts came in, so I have what I have:

6" x 10' flashing for grounded reflector 4.48
2x florecent socket pairs 7.94
Machine screws for attaching ground wire to reflector 0.98
Washers for machine screws 0.98
8' power cord 6.14
2x Daylight T8 18" bulbs 13.18
Electronic 4F32T8 ballast (yeah, overkill) 29.97
Plywood leftover from other projects 0.00

Project total: $63.22

I hope to do assembly tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes. I plan to run the two bulbs in serial, and overdrive them 2x. (15 watts * 2 bulbs*1.5 overdrive effect = 45 watts.) If I decide this is not enough, I may increase the multiplier. The max I could do with this ballast is 4x, creating 60 watts NO.)

The end effect will be similar in effect to the AH supply 2 x 36 watt Bright Kit for $62.99. All I'm really saving here is shipping. I wouldn't recomend this course for everyone. The Professionally assembled kits have better studied performance characteristics, and come with a warranty.

If you DIY this one, note that there were slightly cheaper ballasts ($20 range) that would have worked for this project, but the one I picked up could replace the magnetic ballasts on my main tank (no overdrive) if the little tank doesn't stay up. One of the two ballasts in the main tank is slow to light, so I'll likely be buying another ballast if the little tank never comes down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr funktastic
...it tricks the ballast into thinking that it is powering 4 instead of 2 and u get a bulb over driven 100%. or if u wired all 4 into one bulb(a little tricker to do) u get 400% overdrive(i think, correct me if i am wrong)
Minor correction:
2x overdrive, 100% gain in effective wattage
3x overdrive, 150% gain in effective wattage
4x overdrive, 200% gain in effective wattage

These numbers are rounded, the efficiency of the bulb is hurt by elevated temperature, which goes up with overdriving. There are also issues with the ballast factor going down with more wires in use.

BTW mr funktastic, I like the detailing on your hood. Did you do that with a router or molding?
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:54 PM   #16
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Now that we are on the subject and I know it is not overdriven, is there any real performance difference to get a ballast that is F32T8 to drive a F17T8? I know it is overkill but if it helps in the performance and maybe makes the ballast last a little, if not a lot longer, it might be worth it. I don't think I would ever overdrive a setup but having the option of 4 bulbs in all different K ratings should make for a beautiful light color. That and I would probably burn the house down.
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Old 08-21-2006, 11:50 PM   #17
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the ballast and bulbs will run alot cooler. i can hold onto my bulbs after they have been running all day and it is olny warm to the touch. compared to a stock hood that the ballast is made to support just the ublb size its made for. the ballast will also run cooler. dskidmore - i used a router. very quick and easy. i like it better than moulding becasue there are no seams where u attach the moulding. plus it is easier to do. thanks by the way
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:34 AM   #18
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Sorry dskidmore, I didn't mean to hijack another thread. Is a lot of information I am going to need and I don't know how to ask the questions. Thanks for being patient and not yelling at me. I wanted to be an engineer because electronics are just way out of my league.

I want to see what your hood looks like when it is done. The more I see the closer I am to doing my own.
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fish_4_all
I want to see what your hood looks like when it is done. The more I see the closer I am to doing my own.
Will do. I hope to get initial work done tonight:

1. Will at least take stock of the wood on hand and assemble a box. (Nothing as fancy as funktastic's, plywood doesn't route too well.)
2. Will install reflector, likely just line the box, as I'm not advanced enough to make the perfect curved M reflector.

Might have to wait till tomorrow:
3. Physically install Ballast and end caps.
4. Wire it up.
5. Stand back with fire extinguisher, power up for the first time.
6. Test for RF interference, and if necessary, shield the wiring.

I have a digital camera, will take pictures as I go. You'll get to see the goofy background on this tank, that I made when I was a kid.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:35 AM   #20
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A) Forgot about a previous appointment, made no real progress today.

B) Flashing has sharp edges and is spring loaded. Learn from my mistakes. On the positive side, it doesn't look like it will have residual curl to work out.
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