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Old 08-24-2006, 12:28 AM   #21
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Promised progress shots:

Building the box:



I seemed to be missing my box of short deck screws, so I built this mostly with drywall screws. Worked all right, only had to back out a couple and re-drive with stronger clamping.

Not very pretty. If I was thinking long-term, I'd paint/stain it at this point.

The roof flashing I'm using for my conductive reflector.


Reflector half completed:


I found that although this metal is soft enough to work with your hands, the pliers give a much sharper bend. Speaking of sharp, desipte thinking I had learned my lesson last night, I did get several shallow cuts doing this work.

Layout test:
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:38 AM   #22
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looks good so far. u may want to re think your placement of the ballast. it will produce alot of heat aswell as the bulbs so u mahave issues. plus the coller u run the ballast the longer it will work and the better. other than that it looks like u are off to a great start. cant wait to see the finished product.
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:54 AM   #23
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There is room to place a small fan on either end of where the ballast is. Might be easier on me later if I make the holes now though. I'm going to order a few extra fans next time I get computer parts.

I also have the option of turning the ballast 90 degrees and attaching it to the sidewall, giving a bit more clearance between the ballast and bulbs.
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:57 AM   #24
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if u can doa fan it should be ok... but if not i highly suggest mounting it exteriorly. i hope it works for u!
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:13 AM   #25
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The ballast directions are very clear about mounting to a grounded housing, so I'd have to figure out another set of shielding if I mounted it outside.

Although a remote ballast would give me an excuse to leave the wires long enough to use in my other fixture.
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:21 AM   #26
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I would agree with the fans, especially if you are overdriving. A couple vents in the ends for airflow could be good also. It could get really hot. I love the design and the look, much more like what I was planning to design but I would have 4 bulbs in mine and no overdrive. Really nice and will look really good stained in a dark walnut.

BTW, what made you decide to go with the folded metal? I have thought about using metal mirrors in mine when I build it. Would be really easy to make an "M" type reflector then if I go to that extent with 60 watts over the top a 10 gallon with 4 bulbs anyway it might be overkill but worth the try for a larger tank.

Looks good and I can't wait to see how bright the tank is. Get your fish some sunglasses!
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Old 08-24-2006, 02:17 AM   #27
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Knowing that, I would have done the same thing. Either that or take another piece of the metal and put it on top. This is why when I go to make mine I will build the housing and take it to my uncle who works for an electric supply company and let them tell me how to do it! And yes, I will ask about discounts but don't keep your fingers crossed.

As I said, me know noffin about electrical stuff except how to instal the physical parts. Wiring is for the ones who know what they are doing.
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Old 08-24-2006, 09:58 AM   #28
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All high-powered florecents need grounded conductive reflectors. I'm not sure what the diffrence is between the cheap lights with the plastic reflectors and no groud wire, and the electronic ballasts that are very clear about grounding in thier installation instructions, but I figured following thier advice was wise.

Given the end-caps I had picked out, I wasn't sure if I had enough clearance for proper M reflectors, might need more clearance under the bulb. The ballast is also required to be attached to a grounded case, so some of the conductive lining would be required there even if I did have M reflectors. This is also a quick and drity project, I'm not trying to hard to make it nice, just want to get something up quickly.

Quote:
Get your fish some sunglasses!
Fish? What fish?

If I keep this tank up in the long term, may turn it into a shrimp haven. I've been interested in the idea of breeding ammano shrimp. I have an estuary tank design for shrimp fry that I'm dying to see if it works in practice.

Question:
The major concern with heat is reduced bulb life? This is a plant tank, no fish, so I'm not worried about cooking anybody.

Would there be a problem with running this for a few weeks without the fans? I think I need to mail order the fans, and I want this running tonight.
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:17 PM   #29
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do a test run fr a few hours to see the kind of heat it is producing. if it is to much then dont run it. if it isnt then u can run it short term without the fans. my ballast is not a cheapy one but i am running it without a ground. that is why i mounted mine externally so it wont be near water. and my power coard is grounded.
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:21 PM   #30
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I think the worse case scenario would be your heater would turn on less frequently. I wouldn't worry about the fans until you find its putting out more heat than you want.

I've DIY'd two overdriven hoods now with electronic ballast and don't use fans on ether of them. In both of my hoods the ballast throw off much more heat than the bulbs, and my ballast's are installed much like yours but vertically to the inside back wall.
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