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Old 02-14-2007, 06:57 PM   #1
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My DIY Light Fixture.

Hello everyone.

I thought I would share some pictures of my light fixture. I have a question to ask also. But first, I will tell you about it.

I bought everything I needed for this at Home Depot for under $70. It could have cost me much less if I would have had the lumber on hand like I normally do. And if, I hadn't decided to use toggle switches. I used them so I could turn off 3 bulbs and leave one (going to be a red bulb) on for night viewing.

I can barely walk into my shop/garage due to it being full of my mothers stuff. She fell on hard times and I had to move her in with us. But that's another story for another day. So, I built the box in my driveway on a 20*F day using a handsaw, circular saw, hammer & nails and glue. Oh! And I used a RotoZip to fix an "oops". All in all, I think it turned out decent.

I intend to do a much nicer unit when I can use real tools to do so. I also intend to paint it once the temperature rises this spring.

Here some pics. A question to follow.







In this last photo, where the bulbs attach on the right, you can see my "oops". I made an error in my measurements of the bulbs and the sockets and hade to remove a bit of material to get them to fit. Oh well, you cant see it from the outside.

My question. I was thinking of adding a piece of plexiglass or maybe screen to the bottom (between the tank and the bulbs). Do you think this is necessary? The bulbs will be 4-6 inches above the water I think. I know fish can jump pretty well. But do you think they would jump up into the light fixture?
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Old 02-14-2007, 07:05 PM   #2
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Very nice job, especially out in the cold!

I'd be more worried about the potential for splashing water up on your ballasts, bulbs, and wiring. Maybe at 6" you'd be okay though. I think if you enclose it you'll probably want some cooling fans to be installed.
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Old 02-14-2007, 07:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by neilanh
Very nice job, especially out in the cold!

I'd be more worried about the potential for splashing water up on your ballasts, bulbs, and wiring. Maybe at 6" you'd be okay though. I think if you enclose it you'll probably want some cooling fans to be installed.
Water and electricity dont mix? Since when? I never even gave the safety aspect a thought. Very unlike me. I will install the plexi.

There will only be 96watts at any one time running. You think it will get that hot? Hot enough for a fan or two? I see no problem installing them if they are necessary. I've got a couple old PCs I can scavenge them from easy enough. And I am sure I have 1 or 2 power chords lying around somewhere too.
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Old 02-14-2007, 07:29 PM   #4
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I think one computer fan would take care of it if you had an opening on the far end for the air to leave. It's really not that hot, relative to a computer case.

I've always wanted to make a computer cooling system that heated my fish tank. I'm sure I'd end up with a fried, wet motherboard or a tank full of cooked fish.
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Old 02-14-2007, 07:45 PM   #5
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Nice job!!!

I agree with the plexi and the fan...not only will it protect, but will also help prevent condensation...I recomend you seal your wire nuts with silicone to make the connection water tight
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Old 02-14-2007, 08:48 PM   #6
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Ahhh!!! More of the unthought of! Condensation.

Good idea on the wire nuts redswi.

I have a partial sheet of plexi. It's only 1/8" though. I thought about using 2 layers but it's not quite large enough for that. So, just gonna use one layer. I will look for thicker on the next unit I build though.

This is my first aquarium top. So, keep the suggestions coming if you got em. Hopefully, in 6 or 8 months I will be in a position where I can use my shop to build a better one. All the suggestions here will definately play into that one.

Thanks for the compliments everyone.
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Old 02-14-2007, 08:53 PM   #7
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You could probably get away without any active cooling, but you'd want passive, at the very least. A vent grill in the top centre of the lid, and an inlet hole on either end near the bottom. That would make the hot air exiting the top pull cool air in the bottom as it exited.

And if you do go with a 12v fan for airflow, keep in mind that they're much more efficient at pulling air OUT of an enclosure than pushing it in. Use them as exhaust fans (possible at the rear, centre), and cut inlets on either end, as described. This will, again, create a convection/forced air setup that will push hot out the back and pull cool in the sides as it creates low pressure inside.
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Old 02-15-2007, 09:45 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the help folks. Today, I added plexi and a PC fan to the unit.

I'm not real happy with the results. It's not anything wrong with the setup and additions. Just my workmanship and the placement of my intake holes. I think I might have rushed it a bit and without thinking about the end results.

Oh well, not much I can do about it now. I guess the more I think about it, the more I just have a problem with the intake hole locations. As for workmanship, one cant really expect good results when working with crappy pine lumber.

The seam in the picture is due to using 2 scraps of plexi rather than purchasing a new one large enough. I pointed out the intake holes as well (for the blind). When the lights are on they look like a couple of eyes staring at you. I have a few ideas how to remedy the problem though. I should have put them in the rear of the unit. I wired an outlet inside the unit to plug in the fan adapter. That way, when the timer turns on the lights, the fan will come on with them (and off).

I think, other than paint and some waterproofing of the connections as per redswi's suggestion, it's pretty much as finished as I am going to get this one. I learned a great deal about this type of an enclosure doing this project. I will definately be able to build a much nicer one later this year. This one will suffice until then. Thanks again folks!



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Old 02-15-2007, 11:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
When the lights are on they look like a couple of eyes staring at you.
If you place a block inside the lid about 1" away from the holes it will cut the light escaping without blocking the air...(a baffle of sorts)


Quote:
I'm not real happy with the results. It's not anything wrong with the setup and additions. Just my workmanship and the placement of my intake holes. I think I might have rushed it a bit and without thinking about the end results.
It looks good...now quit beating yourself up...I have guys at the shop that don't do this good.
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http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=91209
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=95417
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:38 AM   #10
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I think it looks great

you could even get some black colored screen material and staple to the inside of the intake holes... that would diffuse the light and still allow for air flow.

Good Job!
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