Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #466 -Reply
RE transformer question
I have a solution to the problem of home-brew transformers for UGH
systems. I fabricated a prototype system that has been in continuous
operation for well over a year.
The transformer I used is the type sold for outdoor low-voltage lighting.
The unit provides 12 vdc and has a 24 hour timer built in. I called the
manufacturer and got extra pins to turn the unit off/on but found that with
the low wattage I use continuous operation was ok. I could not tell if the
transformer was properly isolated but since the unit was not approved
for underwater lighting use I opened it to see if there was a wiring
diagram inside. (there wasnt). The unit appeared to be well constructed
and I suspect the caution against underwater use has more to do with
liability concerns than real danger. I also feel that it is safer than
anything 99.9% of us could ever manufacture at home. Just be sure to
use GFI circuit breakers on that circuit. As a bonus it is also much
cheaper than the high-end components I have seen to construct a
My unit is rated at (I think) 300 watts but my cable was constructed for
only 50 watts in a 75 gal tank. Results are hard to measure but with all
the other goodies, (CO2, fertilization) my plants are doing great.
I have been wanting to make my own fertilizer and came across the
sources for CSM posted 6 Jan. Note that Plantex has a 1-800 number,
800 565-4769 but will not sell direct. The distributor they refered me to
has no idea what CSM is. I'm working the problem but with the cost of
commercial plant solutions and the growing number of my planted tanks I
could bankrupt myself out of the hobby soon.