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Old 02-14-2004, 02:39 PM   #1
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Working on DIY fixture

Ok so I am making some changes...

I am tired of my single MH pendant hanging over my tank for a few reasons. I think it looks kinda funny first off. Just doesn't seem very pleasent to look at to me. Second, the metal is hot as heck when the bulb is on. Not a very safe thing to have around at head height, especially being in a retail store. And finally, I don't have any fluorescent lights (i.e. 03's) to supplement the MH.

So I am going to be building a hanging fixture that will enclose my existing MH bulb plus two other 55w PC's. I have a couple requirements for the fixture.

1. The fixture needs to be the same width as my tank (~13"). This was a problem for me at first as I didn't know how to incorporate a MH and florescents in the same space without the two coming to close to one another.

2. The fixture can't be any longer than my tank (~30). This is actually easy. 55w PC's come in 24" size. If I build the fixture out to 30", it will give me plenty of room inside for fans, wiring, etc...

3. The fixture needs to be tall enough to hide the wiring, reflector, bulbs, etc... I am shooting for about 8" tall. That should be enough to hide everything.

4. Unit must be able to be hung from the ceiling. I am thinking hooks screwed into the side or top of the unit will easily allow it to be hung. I have plenty of support and struts about the tank so this should not be a problem.

5. The reflector in the fixture must house the MH and PC's all at once. I didn't want to bother with individual reflectors for each bulb. Not only do they cost more, but they also take up space inside the fixture. At ~13" of width, I don't have a lot of room to move around.

With all this in mind, I went on the net to browse around to see if I could find, for sale, what I am wanting to build. After investing a little, I found that Coralife makes pretty much what I was looking for:
http://www.hellolights.com/5500k3.html



Of course their fixture starts at $399 and it only has NO bulbs installed. But at least this gives me a working model for what I want to do.

Next up, I needed to find a reflector to house the entire unit of bulbs. I know that I could make a simple reflector out of roof flashing, but I thought that perhaps a polished mirror type metal would work best. I was having some difficulty finding what I needed in the space I needed to put it in. Then I found this beauty:
http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merch...y_Code=Sockets



As you can see from the pic, I can either put 1 VHO on either side or 1 PC on each side and install the MH in the middle of the two. Perfect!!

Next up, I needed to find encaps for the PC's. This site also had exactly what I was looking for: http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merch...paratecompacts



I have a buddy of mine working on getting me a Workhorse 5 ballast, J-Box (to install the ballast remotely), plugs, and outlets at no cost. Always good to have a friend in the electrical business. I'll be making a trip to Home Depot on Monday to pick up some misc stuff (i.e. screws, nails, wood for project, fans, etc...) I think I am going to use 1/2" wood as that should make it fairly sturdy. I will also be spacing the boards in the top of the unit to help the fans (one installed on each end for a total of two) in removing the heat associated with running that MH in there. Very similar to what this guy did:
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaver...ood/im0007.jpg

Just thought I would share this info. I'll post pics and updated progress on this project next week as I begin to build. Should be fun to do. I have wanted to customize my lighting for a long time. Just was to lazy to build the fixture to do it in.

FYI, total design budget for this was $150 (without bulbs). I should come under than. Much cheaper than the Coralife fixture I posted above that only works with MH and NO bulbs!!

No copyright infridgment intended on any of the above pictures. All picture sources included
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Old 02-17-2004, 10:51 AM   #2
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[Update]

Finished building the canopy yesterday. Here are a few pics.

Canopy is 31" X 14" X 8". I am borrowing a 4 1/2" hole saw from a friend today so that we can cut holes for the 4" fans that will go on each end.

The reflector will be in on Wed. and the lights will come in on Friday. Hopefully I will have finished construction of this thing built by the weekend.

I guess now I should start thinking about how to hang the darn thing.
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Old 02-17-2004, 10:52 AM   #3
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Here is another shot...
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Old 02-18-2004, 11:15 AM   #4
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Fans were added yesterday (Tuesday). Borrowed a 4 1/2" hole saw from a friend. I actually tried cutting the hole with a jig saw. But failed miserable at making a perfect circle...

Both fans were purchased from Radio Shack. There 4" 65 CFM VAC fans. I'll probably end up hooking them to one of the 120VAC phases coming from the MH ballast or tie them into the fluorescent ballast. Haven't decided yet.

Oh yeah, incase anyone is wondering why I left spaces between the top 1X4 boards, this is to help with heat escape. With one fluorescent ballast, two PC bulbs, and one 250w metal halide bulb things will get pretty hot inside the fixture. This is why the MH ballast will be remotely mounted away from the unit.
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Old 02-18-2004, 11:17 AM   #5
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Another shot...
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Old 02-18-2004, 11:38 AM   #6
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if you have the option, find some rubber washers and use them on both sides of the screws for the fan. It will dappen some of the vibration noise from the fan. (if you find it to be an issue)

its looking like you're off to a good start though.
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Old 02-18-2004, 12:12 PM   #7
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Good idea, BillyZ!!
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:27 PM   #8
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Even though I'm not posting a lot, I'm very interested in your progress!

I'm going to build a similar hood soon - please keep posting progress and pics!
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Even though I'm not posting a lot, I'm very interested in your progress!
I'm going to build a similar hood soon - please keep posting progress and pics!
I was going to posts some pics this afternoon, but time got away from me. I will post some Friday morning that shows the new work I have done.

Just to let you know what I did today, I decided to use a Workhorse 7 instead of a Workhorse 5 ballast. I also decided to mount it in the fixture itself instead of installing it remotely. All wiring has been complete for the fluorescent fixture. I will be wiring up the MH tomorrow. I also installed switches on the front of the canopy so that I can turn the MH and fluorescent on and off independently of each other. The fans are connected to incoming hot phase that runs to the fluorescent fixture but are connected before the switch. This was done so that the fans would always be running regardless of whether the switch was on or off. Also since my fluorescent fixture will come on first and then turn off last, the fans will ways run when the lights are on.

I'll post some news pics tomorrow.
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:26 PM   #10
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try looking at hydrophonics sites they carry the same lights just not in canopy for alot less.You can get a 400W MH w/bulb for like $250-300
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