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Old 11-26-2006, 02:47 AM   #1
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DIY T-8, 4 x 24" light fixture.

I just completed my new light fixture for my 28 gallon bowfront aquarium, so I figured I would show how I did it and maybe this will help someone down the road.

Items needed:
(2) shoplights from Home Depot. (part# 732-334. comes in a grey and white box)

(4) 24" aquarium blubs. (purchased at home depot and lowes)

(1) sheet of 3/8" plywood or whatever you want to use.

(1) roll of 10" x 10' flashing.

nails and paint.

Tools needed:

tape measure, circular saw, sander, and hammer.

This project took two days to complete and cost me around 50 bucks.

(2) shoplights: 16 dollars.

(4) 24" light bulbs: 24 dollars. (hopefully you can find them cheaper)

(1) 3/8" small sheet of plywood: 5 dollars

(1) roll of 10" x 10' flashing: 6 dollars

As you can see the most expensive purchase was the light bulbs themselves. It really only cost me 26 dollars to build this whole fixture minus the lights.

The wiring is completed as show on the ballast itself. No major electric work needed. Just push the correct wire into the correct socket and that's it. I wired both ballasts to run off of one plug, you can wire it to run off of two if you wish.

I did not include the dimensions used for this fixture as it would change to suit your needs.

(If you have any questions or feel that I need to add more info, just PM me.)

EDIT: this fixture does not have an on/off switch. I run all my lights off of timers, so I have no need for one.

Two shotlights, Flashing, bulbs, and wood from Home Depot. This is the whole light fixture minus some nails and paint.


These are the Sunpark SL-15 ballasts I removed from the shoplights. Just 3 screws and they come right out.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg diy_light5_153.jpg (99.8 KB, 96 views)
File Type: jpg diy_light6_757.jpg (93.0 KB, 93 views)
File Type: jpg diy_light7_784.jpg (106.4 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg diy_light2_188.jpg (81.3 KB, 89 views)
File Type: jpg diy_light1_115.jpg (52.3 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg diy_light_197.jpg (36.3 KB, 95 views)
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Old 11-26-2006, 08:50 PM   #2
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Thanks for detailed effort. I`m sure it will be used.
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Old 11-26-2006, 10:37 PM   #3
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I have a question--what are the benefits of overdriving?
of course, it uses less space, but considering that it still uses the same amount of power, and the tubes need to be replaced more often, doesn't that mean more spending?
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Old 11-26-2006, 10:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicalfish
I have a question--what are the benefits of overdriving?
of course, it uses less space, but considering that it still uses the same amount of power, and the tubes need to be replaced more often, doesn't that mean more spending?
The whole purpose would be to save room. It uses less power then two bulbs would. If you cool the fixture properly, the bulbs will last just as long as a non-overdriven bulb.

I currently have (4) 2 x ODNO T-8 bulbs running on my 75 gallon tank. I could not fit (8 ) T-8's on it. The bulbs cost 4 dollars for two, so replacing them every 6 months is not a big deal.

This fixture is not overdriven BTW.

EDIT: overdriving helps those who already have a fixture the most. If you have a dual strip light and want more light, then all you have to do is overdrive it for 8 bucks and get 70% more light out of it. ie take a 48" dual strip light that is not overdriven. You get 64 watts of t-8 out of it, but if you overdrive it, you get 110 watts out of it for 8 bucks. If you do not provide additional cooling, then you will be replacing bulbs more often. So take costs of bulbs into account before you overdrive something.

IMO, I would rather spend 8 bucks to overdrive the fixture and replace the 4 dollars bulbs (per pair) every 6 months, then spend 100 bucks or more for a new fixture.

better example:

On my two overdriven fixtures (48" 2 x ODNO), it costs me 16 dollars a YEAR to replace the bulbs. These fixtures put out 220 watts of T-8.

Now lets look at a CF fixture that puts out about the same amount of light. A Coralife Aqualight Double Compact Fluorescent Strip Light that is 48" puts out 260 watts of light (40 more watts then my ODNO fixtures). It costs 200 bucks for the fixture. The bulbs need to be replaced every year. So the replacement costs of the coralife fixture is 28 dollars a bulb x 4 or 112 dollars a YEAR to replace the bulbs.

I would rather spend 16 dollars a year to replace my ODNO bulbs, then to spend 112 dollars a year for CF bulbs.

Lets look at a HO T-5 fixture. An orbit T-5 fixture, that is 48" long and puts out 216 watts, is 200 dollars also, but the bulbs only have to be replaced every TWO years at a price of 18 dollars a bulb or 72 dollars every TWO years. This is still way more then my 16 dollars a year or 32 dollars every TWO years that it costs to replace the ODNO bulbs.
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:34 AM   #5
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oh, very nice...
So, instead of having a gigantic canopy for all the lights, overdriving can be used to save some space, okay I see...
I am not a fan of compact fluorescents on my tanks. I use CFs on my other light fixtures though, such as lamps and ceiling fans--those spirally ones.
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicalfish
oh, very nice...
So, instead of having a gigantic canopy for all the lights, overdriving can be used to save some space, okay I see...
I am not a fan of compact fluorescents on my tanks. I use CFs on my other light fixtures though, such as lamps and ceiling fans--those spirally ones.
That is correct. Or in my case, I had a dual strip, but wanted more light and didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new fixture. So I just overdrove the lights and took the family out for dinner with the money I saved.
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:26 AM   #7
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The thing with shoplights is the problem with light being spread all over the place. Your best bet is to build your own canopy/reflector like rkilling did to prevent light loss. If you've ever stood eye level with a shoplight you'll see just how much light is really lost.

When I build mine I'll be taking the extra shoplight fixture and cutting pieces of it to extend the reflector on the fixture I use. This way I can prevent light loss and get more light into the tank. Will take some tweaking but hey, it's better than tossing the other fixture out!

rkilling, I bet that combo of bulbs looks killer over the tank. Really looks cool in the pictures. Good work.
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Old 11-29-2006, 02:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burks
The thing with shoplights is the problem with light being spread all over the place. Your best bet is to build your own canopy/reflector like rkilling did to prevent light loss. If you've ever stood eye level with a shoplight you'll see just how much light is really lost.
No doubt. Shotlights are made to light rooms and not aquariums. I make sure to mention that when someone asks me about putting one on their tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Burks
rkilling, I bet that combo of bulbs looks killer over the tank. Really looks cool in the pictures. Good work.
I wish I would have gotten 6500K instead of the 4100K. It looks and works fine and all, but I like the looks of 6500K better. Thanks for the comments. Randy
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