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Old 06-15-2003, 07:26 PM   #71
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Hey for those of you who bought LoA lights... I bought two I think they are 6500K, for my 29 gallon tank. I am thinking of pulling them from the casing and mounting them onto my hood, and keeping both fanned. Will this set up last long and is this a good idea for a freshwater heavily planted tank??? Thanks all. The sad thing is that I've had these lights for about 2 months but am in summer classes... 280 miles away from home. But yeah I bought these things almost in a rush of exceitment, but get to go home for a week soon, and am thinking of finishing the hood. Please tell me your opiions or suggestions... thanks everyone!!!
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Old 06-15-2003, 07:34 PM   #72
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I was thinking that a glass canopy could be put under the lights (so I woudn't need the casing and keep a fan running for each of the two lights... I heard it makes them last a lot longer... agreements, disagreements on this and the above post?? thanks!
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Old 06-15-2003, 09:48 PM   #73
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When considering the Watts per Gallon theory, I have to ask....do you base it on the lumen rating or watt rating? If it is based solely on watts, I think it is virtually irrelevant. What should be taken into consideration is the amount of lumens being pushed from the lamps and into the tank.

Technically, you could have 2 identical lamp/ballast systems within two diiferent fixtures or reflector kits and get different results. Do the fixture and retrofit kit manufacturers even have the efficiency ratings of their fixtures on their product literature? In my brief research of aquarium/coral lighting, I have yet to see a manufacturer with photometric reports available, let alone UL Listings. It worries me that this information is not published and I find it very hard to believe these products have not been registered with UL.

If this doesn't seem to make much sense, let me try to put it in terms you may better understand. Suppose you have a 75 Gallon Tank and want 3 watts per gallon. If you were to buy (4) T5 HO lamps with 54 Watts each you would come up with 220 watts. But next you must also look at the ballast factor. An Osram Quicktronic T5HO ballast has a ballast factor of 1.10. You need to take the wattage and multiply by 1.10 (220 * 1.10 = 240 watts). So, on top of lamp wattage, you also need to consider ballast factor.

Now suppose you have two fixtures - Fixture A and Fixture B have identical ballast and lamp combinations with a maximum total of 20,000 lumens. Fixutre A has a reflector built with profits in mind and only has a efficacy of 85% while Fixture B was engineered for performance and has an efficacy of 98%.

Using the same exact wattage, Fixture A will push out 17,000 lumens while Fixture B will push out 19600 lumens. That is an extra 2,600 lumens! Without knowing what the fixture efficacy is, you have no idea.

I have created and built a T5 HO fixture for Industrial Warehouses with a fixture efficiency rating of 101%. I am in the midst of designing retrofit kits and fixtures for standard size aquariums utilizing both T5HO and T8 with PLUS ballast. Obviously my challenge is to achieve similar results.

The members of this site have helped me out tremendously already. In my first post I stated that I want to help you all by building quality efficient fixtures and retrofit kits. You all have given me a lot of information to kick start the research I needed. My goal is to be able to manufacture quality fixtures and kits for you and save you some money. In all honesty..I think some of the prices I have seen so far are a bit ridiculous. I hope I am not stepping on anyone's toes...but at the same time I am sure the true people of this site (the hobbyist) really don't care if I am or not. They just want good product at a FAIR price.

If you want to contact me, please email me at Kalvarez@skrenergy.com
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Old 06-15-2003, 09:59 PM   #74
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IME the ballast factor means absolutely nothing to the output of the lamps you are using. No matter the ballast factor, the lamps are only going to put out what they can. The ballast factor is added in when doing power consumption ratings. On any Flourescent or MH lighting fixture, if you place at least 10 to 15% on top of the wattage of the lamps, you can add it up and it will equal the cost of electricty for running that fixture based on your cities price per watt.

Lumen rating on flourescent IME is not as good as MH. I am finding it now to be cheaper to go MH than Flourescent and it is better quality light.. You may want to look into making cheaper MH kits. Fact being fact, MH gives more bang for the buck and produces better results IMO. I have also found that it is cheaper to buy lights from Indoor Growing sites than Fish Store sites. Check it out... You may be surprised...

BTW, I am not trying to discourage the use of flourescent lighting...I just think MH is better...
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Old 06-16-2003, 12:51 PM   #75
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for a 29 gallon tank what would be best... MH or Flo's in your opinion? I mean I guess I am going for something around 100 watts to about 120. thanks!
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Old 06-16-2003, 12:55 PM   #76
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FW or SW? If FW, I would go Flour. For SW, PC or 1 - 175 MH with a NO Actinic..
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Old 06-16-2003, 01:18 PM   #77
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oh sorry its FW, thanks
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Old 06-16-2003, 01:30 PM   #78
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With the lights of America 65 watts... has anyoen tried to attach the ballast part of it away from the bulb? I want to take the light out of the casing and mount it in my 29 Gallon hood, but not exactly sure what to do with the ballast part of it. I intend to have two fans hanging from the back to cool it (this is a lift hood, so there is no back on it). Thanks everyone
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Old 06-16-2003, 05:01 PM   #79
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most (if not all) electronic ballasts support some degree of mounting the ballast separate from the fixture

if you can, post some pictures of the insides of these LOA lights, I've never seen one up close, and they don't sell them in Michigan

things to keep in mind about wiring is ... keep your wires as short as possible ... the more energy your ballast has to 'waste' to power a long piece of wire, is less power it has to deliver to the bulb, which means less brightness

sure, if you like EE there are rules and formulas that can be used to calculate fun things like resistance, voltage drop, capacitence, etc etc ... but those will just give you a headace ... another thing to think about, that is of little concern to most DIYers:

electronic ballasts generate and utilize "high frequency" electrical energy (around 42kHz) ... this energy when used to ionize the plasma in a bulb will not only travel through the bulb, but also radiate from it ... most fluorescent fixtures are grounded and have a metal or metalized reflector to absorb this radiation and direct it back into the electrical supply (heh, another source of problems entails with that) ... if your reflector is plywood painted white, or just a sheet of aluminum that isn't grounded, then this radiation is just being spewed forth into the room, to be absorbed by whatever is there ... if you have computers, radio or television, this can cause interference ... there is also a train of thought that big tanks need a gadget called a ground probe ... I don't know if it's even been proven that sufficient voltage differential could build up between the tank and it's surroundings as to cause a problem, but I dismissed it as another marketing ploy

if you have a millivolt scale voltmeter, set it to AC, plug one end into the ground socket on your electrical outlet, and hold the other in your hand ... then walk about the room, and notice how much voltage you are sinking from your surroundings! I measured over 4 volts at one point in time, sitting infront of a 21" crt monitor, and the room was generally full of electrical devices... sounds healthy eh?

a sidenote regarding the fans:

be sure the fans "exhaust" the hot air, don't try to blow in 'cold' air ... blowing on the bulbs with a fan will cause part of the bulb to be a lot cooler than the other parts, leading to dark spots, and could stress the bulb reducing it's lifespan and output
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Old 06-21-2003, 02:41 AM   #80
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Hey everyone, well today was just awesome. For a long time I've had these 65 watt LoA's just chillin' in my closet waiting to be put into a 29 gallon hhood. I built the 29 gallon hood very poorly and gave up. Tooday though.. was just sweeeeet! I recently got a 37 gallon tank, and today I spent the entire day with my fiance creating the hood for the 37G tank. Not only did we create a beautiful hood, but managed to set the LoA very nicely into the hood. I will show pics as soon as I get my hands on a digital camera.. unfortunately I am hom and like a bum I left my camera in Gainesville. My dad was awesome for wiring the thing up and my fiance was watching my mistakes. But alas a varnished hood was created. I will honestly cry is it actually doesn't fit when I go back to my tank in gainesville but I think it should.
Believe it or not I actually have a question in all of this. I made a backless hood and was wondering what and where about fans in this size hood. I have two 65 watts running in the hood... mind you the buls are bare, I took out the self ballast and the bulb and thats all I used.. so no actual container is in this. I plan on putting an acrylic cover over the water to protect the bulbs. But yeah I am not sure where to put the two fans (if that is enough) and where.
Also should these bulbs break or something.. any one know if power compacts (which I think these LoA's are) use the same screw in power thingy (very technical as you can see). Like should my bulbs burn out or what not.. can I simply buy a better bulb (power compact) and just use the self ballasts from LoA together, so long the bulb doesn't exeed the watt consumption the original bulbs used (65 watts)? Thanks everyone!
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