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Old 02-10-2007, 11:30 AM   #1
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DIY Lighting question

I am getting ready to purchase the materials I need to do a custom hood/lighting setup for my 55g. My intention is to stay between 1.5 and 2wpg.

Under a bench in my shop, I have 4 or 5 older shop lights that are still in working order. From what I can gather on the web, the ballasts in this type of light are usually capable of running a 40watt bulb. Can the parts I need, including ballasts, be scavenged from these and used for plant lights? If so, would I need 3 ballasts to run 3 36(ish) watt bulbs? Or is it possible to run fluorescent bulbs in series?

I've have a bit of experience with wiring and lighting. Just not much when it comes to fabricating my own. Usually, I am dealing with purchased units that just need hardwired into a house or shop.

Any help is appreciated!

EDIT: I just came in from the shop where I found 2 ballasts that are rated for 2 bulbs at a max of 40 watts. I am really hoping to be able to use these.
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Old 02-10-2007, 12:31 PM   #2
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I recently tried the same thing with older shop lights for my 55....I wanted to take 2 of the older 48" x 40w x T12 fixtures(80w total), and make 1 - ODNO light giving me 120w.... What I discovered was you have to have electronic ballasts to overdrive the light, so I scraped old fixtures, and bought 2-new shoplights for under 20.00 at Ace,,, followed the link below,,,and a half hour later had my 120w light...

http://tristan.homelinux.net/fish/ta...ofit/index.htm
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40gal community - wet/dry/sump -1.8wpg - planted w/Brazilian Sword,Melon Sword,Anacharis,Bannana plant,Crypt,Hornwort,Java moss
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55 gal QT/Breeder/Experiment
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=91209
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=95417
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:09 PM   #3
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Well, at this point, I am not looking to max out the wattage of the ballasts, let alone overdrive them. I am planning, thus far, to have 3 - 36 watt bulbs (one 10K and 2 6.5K) and a fourth bulb (on a switch by itself) to use just for viewing. Havent decided on what bulb this will be yet (open to suggestions). So my total wattage for growing should be 108. But will probably be a bit less.

Good link there though. Is very interesting indeed.

EDIT: And I dont think I was clear about the 2 ballasts I pulled out of the shop. They will both run 2 40w bulbs each. 160w total possible.
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:24 PM   #4
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Doooh,
yeah 2 ballast,,,2 bulbs per,,,yeah
I got my bulbs @ Home Depot,,,Sylvania daylight 40w 5600k
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Fish - 3 Neons-1 Chocolate Albino Pleco-1 Gold Spot Pleco-2 Lavender Gouramis

55 gal QT/Breeder/Experiment
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=91209
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=95417
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redswi
Doooh,
yeah 2 ballast,,,2 bulbs per,,,yeah
I got my bulbs @ Home Depot,,,Sylvania daylight 40w 5600k
Roughly what did those bulbs cost you? Just curious. Seems grow bulbs are pretty expensive everywhere I have looked thusfar.

So, I'm thinking I wont have too much of an issue with getting this setup to work. With the exception of getting all 4 bulbs in there. I could go with smaller bulbs, T5s or even T8s would give me more room but I am planning for the worst case scenario (T12s).
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:49 PM   #6
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just checked the pkg...boy was I off...LOL...

Phillips brand "daylight deluxe" 2325 lumens / 40w / CRI 84 / temp 6500k...6.97=2pk
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40gal community - wet/dry/sump -1.8wpg - planted w/Brazilian Sword,Melon Sword,Anacharis,Bannana plant,Crypt,Hornwort,Java moss
Fish - 3 Neons-1 Chocolate Albino Pleco-1 Gold Spot Pleco-2 Lavender Gouramis

55 gal QT/Breeder/Experiment
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=91209
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=95417
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Old 02-10-2007, 02:01 PM   #7
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$6.97 ?????? For 2!!! I've been seeing prices like $13 - $18 for one.

THANK YOU! For that bit of info. I'm going to go to HD now and have a look around. Only 5 minutes from me. Well, maybe 10. Doubt I pick up bulbs right now but need some other things for other projects around the house. (Pride of ownership, my Butt! This place is gonna nickle and dime me to death. 8O )

:::::EDIT/UPDATE:::::

OK. Before I left for HD, I did a bit more research on the ballasts that I had and found that they, for whatever reason, were highly recommended for use ONLY with a T12 bulb. However, I was not deterred. I went to HD for other stuff as I said before and had a look at their bulb selection.

I found the ones you mentioned redswi. They were a bit more expensive here. About $9 or so. And then I found T8 32w 6500k for $5.97(2pack). (WTF? LOL. I just looked at my receipt to verify that and noticed they charged me $6.97. Oh well.). Anyway, I grabbed 2 packs. Just down the row a bit, I found an automatic light timer for $4.97. Bet that's cheaper than the $20 my LFS wants for one.

Now I needed new ballasts as mine were for T12 only. Whoa! $30 for one and I needed 2. Then I noticed right beside the ballasts there were shop lights that held 2 T8s or T12s up to 40w for $7.98 a piece. Hmmm .... $16 or $60? Not much of a decision. (Anyone need brand new shop lights minus the ballists? They're free! Come and get em.)

In short, other than the lumber, which I already have, I picked up just about everything I need for my DIY hood for $34.87+tax. Not bad, if I do say so myself. And to think, if redswi hadnt mentioned those bulbs, I would probably have spent a great deal more on em elsewhere and pretty much tripled what I paid.

Now I just need the weather to break so I can go out and build it. (no heat out in the shop)

Thanks again redswi
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