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Re: Where to mount ballasts for new hood

>I am building my own hood and am wondering where is the best place to put >the ballasts. My new tank is a 75 gallon. I have 2 ballasts each running 3 >bulbs. I thought about mounting the ballasts below the tank but then there >are more wires running up the back of the tank and under the hood and I >want to have a clean a look as possible. I thought about mounting it under >the hood but I'm not sure if I will have room due to the 6 bulbs. I'm also >worried about heat buildup.
>My last option is to mount the ballast directly to the back of the hood. It >will stick out an inch but less heat will get into the tank. That will also >keep most of the wires under the hood.

You will have a fair amount of heat with the six bulbs and the
six/three/two ballasts depending on what type you use. I would recommend
the use of a fan if you put everything in the hood, or at the very least
some good convection cooling (try duct vents from the hardware).

You could mount the ballasts in an external enclosure, and I know of one
that would probably work for you and is cheap (email for info if you are
interested). You can get multiconductor cable to run between the ballast
enclosure and the hood, as well as multiconductor connectors if you want to
do a really nice job of it. Above 4 conductors though you have to go to
wire supply houses instead of hardware stores though (standard SJ and SO
cabling is made in configurations of upwards of 60+ conductors as standard
product). For your lights I'm assuming maybe 24-36 wires which, using 18
awg cable, is going to be in the $2-3 per foot range or more.

>What would be the best option?  Also does humidity play a role on where to >mount them.  I will use a cover glass except at the back where my cannister >filter and CO2 runs into the tank.  Is it bad to have the ballast right >above there.  

You could use exterior-rated ballasts that are OK to use in humid areas.
You'd be best off keeping the ballasts dry though -- the humidity will at
the very least rust everything and gradually degrade the electrical
connections you make.

I could see the CO2-laden spalsh water as a possible problem. The acidic
spray might be trouble for metal ballast enclosures.

>These are ballasts that run T-12 lights. I picked then up at a Western >Extralite and I am using Chroma 50's.

The installation for ballasts isn't much different between
PCF/VHO/T12/T8/MH stuff except for some wiring differences and lots of heat
in the case of MH. Most of the tips (wire/placement/ventilation/etc.) apply
to pretty much any type of ballast you'd install for tank lighting.


Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator