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- To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
- Subject: RE: Lighting
- From: Bill Wichers <billw at waveform_net>
- Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003 14:23:02 -0400
My original idea was to go with 2 MH bulbs of about 5500k (this will be
around a 4 foot tank, I will go 3 bulbs if I can go with a 6 foot tank).
And I was going to use CF lights on a separate timer for additional lighting
because I already have a hood with 2 55watt units I can disassemble and use
Sounds about right. I don't think you'll need anything in addition to the
MH lights though.
as I please. But I would really like to know where you are getting the 175w
MH ballasts for $25 bucks. I'll take 2 please. :) Finding a place to buy
cases for them in the Tampa area shouldn't be hard. Where did you find the
bulb sockets and wiring that goes from the socket to the ballast? Is the
ballast already wired for 110v? I've got lots of things I can use to make
the reflectors. Thanks for the message.
I get the ballasts locally from Madison Electric which is a fairly large
wholesale electrical supply house in Michigan. There is sure to be a local
branch of an equivalent place near you. The ballasts I got were made by
Advance Transformer. They come as a kit with the ballast, the ignitor (a
capacitor really), and a mounting bracket. They are "universal" wired
ballasts meaning that there are leads for 120v, 208v, 240v, and 277v
supplies. All you do is pick the voltage you need (probably 120v) and
connect to that wire. There is a diagram with the ballasts that explains
all the connections and it is very easy. The supply house should also have
the ceramic mogul sockets you'll need. I got the kind with attached
high-temp wire pigtails for something like $7/ea. A lot of the reflectors
you can get will already have the sockets though so check the reflectors
before you buy sockets.
I got the aluminum enclosure from Fair Radio Sales in Lima, OH
(http://www.fairradio.com). They no longer have exactly the one I have, but
they have some similar cases for about the same price. You want something
large enough to hold everything with lots of air around the parts, well
ventilated, and made of metal. The case I use was originally part of an
aircraft telephone system (or so I think -- it says "In Flight Phone" on it
The wiring from the sockets to the ballast I made. I use a 16/3 cable type
SJEOW if I'm remembering correctly that is a water-resistant, black cable
rated for 105°C (the temperature rating is important for the MH fixtures
due to the heat the bulb generates -- the lower-temp wire tends to get
brittle over time when exposed to high heat and bad insulation on a light
is not what you want over your water-filled tank). The stuff I have is made
by Coleman Cable. I got a 250' reel through one of my distributors I work
with at work for around $60 a few years ago. You can probably find a supply
house that will cut you a shorter length. I used funny little connectors
for the cable that I got from DigiKey. They are made by AMP, can be water
sealed with a gasket kit, and cost only maybe $7-8 per mated pair. I used
those since they are different from all the other connectors I use so I
knew I wouldn't accidently plug a pump into a ballast by mistake.
BTW, Aquatic Lighting Systems (http://www.aquaticlight.com/) has DIY MH
reflectors for reasonable prices. They aren't the usual "reflectors"
included in retrofit kits that are just flat sheets of aluminum either.
To dig a little deeper in this, what type of MH bulb is recommended by you
guru's out there. I was assuming a 5500k would be best. What type of CF
bulbs would be best to go along with the MH. If I have the two types of
lighting it seems like I could cover some gaps that any one type of bulb may
have. As someone else had guessed this will be a main show tank, hopefully
a wall build in or a center piece room divider type with all four panes of
glass being viewable.
Either a 5500K-5600K or a 6700K depending on your personal preference. I
personally like the appearance of the 6700K bulbs a bit better than the
lower color temps. If you hang the MH lights 12-18" above the surface of
the water and space them 24" or so apart you'll get pretty even lighting
coverage in the tank using typical reflectors.
UNIX Systems Administrator