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Old 08-20-2006, 08:54 AM   #1
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18" - 20" DIY lighting

I took an in-person trip to Home Depot, and an online visit to Lowes, and I could find neither an 18" shoplight, nor a ballast that supports 18" bulbs. Is there any way I can rig a ballast rated for 2' bulbs with 18" bulbs, or should I just order slimpaqs? The slimpaqs seem very reasonably priced, I'd just have to wait longer for shipping.

Any opinions on putting a 24" fixture on a 20" tank? The ends are dimmer than the middle, so there's not a ton of light waste.

Goal: High light 10 gallon. So many people offered me clippings for my 2.5 gallon desktop, that I am not sure I have room for all the promised plants. I want the 10 gallon to serve as my "art box" for the other two more aquascaped tanks. Given that the WPG rule breaks down on very small and very large tanks, I think I've correctly estimated that 2 T5HO or 3 T8 bulbs would equate to high light. (Unfortunately the slimpaq 18" seems to not come in HO, will take quite a few of those.)
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Old 08-20-2006, 01:45 PM   #2
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It's not a DIY solution, but you could go with either a 1x40 watt or 2x40 watt Current Satellite Fixture. You'd need to swap out bulbs to dial into the level of lighting that you'd want. With a daylight and 50/50 bulb in the 2x40 watt fixture you could have fun with Very High Light. I'm currently using one of the 2x40 watt refurbished units from the linked vendor and it's working great.
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Old 08-20-2006, 02:25 PM   #3
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Maybe I should hunt the local LFS stores for a PC fixture. I'm kinda in a hurry to get this tank set up before the plants come! The 75 gallon will do for temporary holding, but not long term. I thought it would be a quick shot to pick up a shorter shoplight...

I'm seriously considering the oversized hood option if I can't find a fixture locally. The sunpaqs are less tempting now that I realize the smallest one doesn't come in HO.
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Old 08-20-2006, 08:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Is there any way I can rig a ballast rated for 2' bulbs with 18" bulbs
I haven't done this yet, but I believe so since most electronic ballasts are "load sensing." Another alternative is wiring two 18" bulbs in series and using a 36" rated ballast to fire them. Electrically it should be the same.
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:38 PM   #5
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The paper I had found on sieral wiring said that 120 v was not enough to fire two lamps, but this was common in Europe where the voltage is higher. If the bulbs are short enough it will work?
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Old 08-21-2006, 02:59 PM   #6
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You may be right; since voltage will split among the bulbs maybe its below the threshold of firing the bulbs. I perhaps incorrectly assumed a "load sensing" ballast would see it as one long bulb and discharge whatever was needed to fire it. I'll defer to those more experienced until I try it: sorry.
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Old 08-21-2006, 06:01 PM   #7
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I have not given up on the idea. I found a long discussion of 120v users managing it. They are also overdriving the bulbs to get more light per bulb.

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...threadid=48133
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pl...ting-odno.html
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Old 08-21-2006, 06:14 PM   #8
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Not sure as to how DIY you're looking, but AHsupply has another option to put out there. Their 36W bright kits would probably do the trick. You could use either 1 or 2 and then swap in a 50/50 to get to where you wanted. The only real downside imo is that the 1x36 kit is around $40 and you still have to get a bulb ($16-18 ) for it. They've also got tips for DIY enclosures as well.



In any case, the current satellite fixtures are probably cheaper than this route anyways (if you can get a refurbished unit).
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Old 08-21-2006, 06:33 PM   #9
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If possible, I'd like to DIY this just to be able to get the parts locally and have this up and running in the next few days.
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Old 08-21-2006, 07:24 PM   #10
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The cheapest and easiest (and readily available locally) for 10g tanks would be the screw in CF bulbs into an older incandescent hood. Or I'm sure you could rig a screw in socket into some other type of DIY enclosure. It's not hard to get

I understand that this is probably not the route you're looking for (it could end up looking pretty craptacular), but blank sockets are readily available at just about any hardware store.

Good luck.
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