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Re: Cooling down light fixture

Giancarlo writes:

> I have a mixture of T-12 and CF lighting on my tank and this thread made
> me think about the heat generated in the light fixture which originally came
> with the tank.  It is an all-glass twin T-12 fixture with no modifications 
> so ever (yet).  Being a "cheap" product, does anyone feel this kind of
> fixture would perform better with a cooling fan mounted on one end (or both)
> or should I assume that these were designed to cool themselves down to
> optimum temperatures?  Also, does anyone use solar panels to run their
> fans?  (I have a few extras and was thinking it could save me some time
> in avoiding the wiring...)

Don't assume anything made on the planet is designed properly.  Consumer 
products get lots of corners cut, and it may or may not be cooled adequately.
Instead, get a thermometer (one of the metal kind that goes up to the 
of boiling water), and measure what YOUR temperature is running in YOUR
fixture.  Remember, higher temperatures = shorter life for electronic 
Cooler temperatures = longer life.  As for solar panels, those put out about
18 volts without load.  How much they'll put out under the load of a fan will 
variable, depending on the capacity of the solar panel and the current draw of
the fan.  You can negate the voltage variation (hold it down to a "safe" 13-14
volt level) by putting a small lead/acid storage battery across the solar 
If the solar panel is designed for a peak current (amperage) beyond the safe
charging level of the battery (about 10% of the rated current of the battery),
then you'll need a regulator to prevent the battery from being overcharged.  
If the solar panel is only rated for an amp or so, then it could almost 
be used directly on the fan without regulation.  But you'll have to cobble up 
design and then test it to see what you ultimately get for results.  I have 
panels installed at my house that could drive a thousand fans.  For my
installation, a high quality regulator is mandatory.

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