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Re: PC Lighting / Endcap / DIY Hood Question



>I have searched around, and it looks like the waterproof endcaps
>(specifically the ones from CSL and from Champion Lighting)  are pricey --
>about 30 bucks per socket w/ cord.  I already have the PCF setups (one AH
>Supply 96 watt and one 2x55 watt Oceanic strip), so I don't like the idea >of
>spending 90 bucks for some endcaps.  To further complicate things, the 96
>watt is a square / Panasonic-style pin arrangement and the 2x55 watt >sockets
>are the straight / German style.
[snip]
>I read on http://home.pacifier.com/~tab/55W.htm that "using Plastidip" can
>be used to waterproof / insulate the standard plastic sockets.  I guess >that

All those niche-market aquarium products are that way. Not much economy of
scale when the scale is small :-(

Your best bet is to use a silicone-based dip around a normal socket and the
tube. I would get some teflon rod (http://usplastics.com) that is the same
size or *slightly* smaller than the tube and use it as a form. You will
need to put something in the contact holes too to keep the silicone out.
After you've build a little jig you can make the "DIY waterproof encaps"
easily-ish. Silicone dips that are intended for electronic components are
available from the larger electronic distributions houses like
Avnet/Arrow/Newark. They are commonly used to weatherize PC Boards that are
used in military applications and are thus rated to +125 C (for milspec)
and shouldn't have a problem with the water or UV from your tubes. I can
see about finding you a part number for some if you're interested. I know
3M makes several variations. The stuff is NOT cheap though.

>I would be able to keep the same sockets I have now.  Finally, I will need
>to remote-mount the 2 electronic ballasts in my stand, and I have some
>experience with this, but does anyone have any suggestions for type / >source
>of wire to use between the ballasts and the sockets?

Ahh, my kind of question ;-)

What you need is a water resistant (no one says water "proof" anymore)
cable that can deal with 105 C. The PC tubes I've used only need two
wires, but you might want a ground (third) wire for a reflector or safety
shield of some sort. I use Coleman Cable's "Seoprene" SJEWA cable. I use a
16 awg, 3 conductor cable that I got for about $60 for 250' from Anicom (my
old distributor, RINP (Rest In No Peace -- they made lots of work for me in
the spring)) that folded in January. What you want to do is find a local
distributor that works with power cableing (try Anixter -- a large
wire/cable distributor that IS still in buisness) and see if they can cut
you a short length from stock. You might ask about endcuts since they will
generally let short pieces (<50' or so) of this stuff go cheap since no one
will buy less than a full reel usually. Other suitable cable types are SJOW
and SJOOW from the Carol (brand) Super VU-tron line or the Essex/Royal
(hmm, don't have their binder handy, but they make a comparable product).

The Carol and Essex cables are only available in BRIGHT safety yellow
unless you have them run you some 40+ thousand feet. I use the Coleman
stuff myself since it comes in black which is nice -- MH lights make enough
glare by themselves.

BTW, tin (wet with solder) the conductors of the stranded cable first so
that they will lock properly in the sockets. Most of the sockets are
intended for solid wire and will not properly hold stranded wire.

    -Bill

*****************************
Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator