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Old 09-14-2006, 12:15 AM   #1
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my brain almost blew up...

ok, check out this idea.
i can't figure out how to put a pic right here, so scroll down real quick before i explain. that's the top skeletal view of a canopy for a 55 gallon. each of those 12 "knobs" represents a 13 watt screw-in compact flourescent bulb. easy enough right? now the cool part... i could hook the bulbs up on some sort of timer so from "east to west" they lit up in the morning, then all 12 stayed on until evening when they would in turn shut off two by two. i'd have to work out the timing, but i could potentially get 2.83 wpg for as much time as i wanted plus a cool sunrise and sunset effect.
so far in the idea only one question; the screw-in fixture, will it produce to much heat?
i think this would be super cool, please share your ideas and opinions with me cause i just may try to build it if it seems feasable
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Old 09-14-2006, 12:18 AM   #2
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cool idea. it would be effective but those bulbs loose alot of effective light due to restrike. u make actually have a lower wattage than u think. and yes they will produce A LOT of heat. u would need a fan on both ends sucking the heat out to make it effective. cool idea though.
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Old 09-14-2006, 12:21 AM   #3
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i'm not familiar with restrike, what does that mean? and when you say a lot of heat do you mean more than typical, or would it just need your average air movement through it?
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Old 09-14-2006, 01:17 AM   #4
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Restrike is the term for when light is lost because it is hitting another part of the bulb instead of being directed outward. The spiral shape of most of the compact flourescent bulbs means that there is a lot of the light from the inner part of the spiral that is hitting the other half of the spiral and getting absorbed. If you are using the U shaped bulbs this will be a significantly smaller issue.
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Old 09-14-2006, 01:33 AM   #5
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exactly as purrbox describes. and yes it will be more heat than normal. put a bulb in to a fixture and leave it on for a few minutes then go put your hand underneath. feel the ehat that is coming off then compare that to a normal bulb. both will be hot but that many bulbs running side by side in an enclosed area will be very hot. if u get 2 decently powered fans though it should take care of it. there are ceaper and easier methods to DIY lighting but u wont get as dramatic of a day/evening/night effect. i would suggest a 4X t-8 ballast. i bought one for 25 bucks and the end caps were about 5. the ballast i bought will allow me to run up to 4 48" t-8 bulbs and anything under that. they can all be different lengths if u want to since the ballast will sense the size of bulb and power it appropiatly. this will be cheaper, run alot cooler and be more light effective. plus u can get all the different colour bulbs to give yuor aquarium a much nicer look than the yellow of the screw in pc bulbs. for a 55 gal 4 48" t-8 bulbs would give u 128 watts or 2.32 WPG. which is actually higher after the conversion. its up to u though. i really like yuor design.
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Old 09-14-2006, 03:06 AM   #6
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Sounds like an interesting idea, but why not just go a little higher, say 20W bulbs. That may also make up for some of the loss from having 13W bulbs, and they are U-shaped. But yes, they do get quite warm. Now if you could set the fixtures so there's vents above the bulb, that will help as well, as a lot of the light that goes straight up is bounced back at the bulb anyways and is lost due to restrike. So if you were to think it out, you could probably have a great setup without the use of fans. But fans would help keep it even cooler. I have 2 20W bulbs over my 10G and it's warm, but not hot. And that's partly due to vents directly above the bulbs, and heat rises.

Edit:
Also, the vents don't have to be in the reflectors. If you are setting up individual reflectors as well, you can have even larger vents in the top, and not in the reflectors. The heat will flow over the edges of the reflectors and up and out of the top through the vents.
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:19 AM   #7
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I think it's a neat idea, but i'm not sure if you would really like the results. At least I'm not sure _I_ would. Instead of a "sunset" look I think you would just end up with a gradually increasing shadow. What you could do, instead of turning them on and off left to right maybe a dispersed pattern would be better. Something to gradually lessen the light equally over the tank rather than going from all dark on one half to all dark on another half.

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Old 09-14-2006, 09:50 AM   #8
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thanx for the thoughts, everyone. i have put a little more thought into the design since the discovery of restrike. i could certainly use u-shaped bulbs instead, the screw-ins were my initial thought cause that's what i was looking at at lowes website when the "light came on", no pun intended, lol. and i could surely use less bulbs with a higher wattage to cut down heat, but as mentioned, it would result in a less dramatic effect. so, i'm going to research my bulb options a little deeper and come back with a more solid plan. as far as the sunrise sunset part, it would really be for the fish and not me, psychotic i know! what i'm thinking is that all the bulbs would be on for 7-8 hours straight, with the sunrise and sunset show only using an additional hour at the beginning of the day, and an hour at the end.
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Old 09-14-2006, 04:17 PM   #9
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keep us updated on your plans as they develop!

Us salties get away with this easy because of the actinic lighting. My actinic (strong blue) lights are scheduled to turn on one hour before and off one hour after my 10k (bright white) lights come on. Gives the tank a fantastic deep blue dusk look.
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Old 09-14-2006, 05:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr funktastic
u would need a fan on both ends sucking the heat out to make it effective. cool idea though.
Another idea would be this: if there is a large enough space in between the bulbs, then one pushing the air in and another pushing the air out would probably help the most in controlling the temperature. But you don't want the fan(s) to blow directly onto a bulb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyZ
but i'm not sure if you would really like the results. At least I'm not sure _I_ would. Instead of a "sunset" look I think you would just end up with a gradually increasing shadow
I agree, but maybe the "look" can be achieved using different temperature bulbs? Like a transition from 6700k to 10k? That way the morning and evening can look more yellow and during the day more "white"? If you can find the correct "color" bulbs, then alternate the 6700k and 10k, and then during the sunrise and sunset, only run the 6700k, and then 1 hr after sunrise to 1 hr before sunset run the 10k. That should make for a good transition without shadowing too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyZ
My actinic (strong blue) lights are scheduled to turn on one hour before and off one hour after my 10k (bright white) lights come on. Gives the tank a fantastic deep blue dusk look.
Ha! Menards sells blue pc bulbs (they are blue coated, so they count as real light), and they are beautiful! Put some in the alternating pattern and you have the blue look...oooh fun!

http://froogle.google.com/froogle_cl...02171222371659
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