Re: T-8 lighting construction

     >From: MMacG1167 at aol_com
     >Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 10:49:39 -0500 (EST) Subject: T-8 lighting 
     >I'm considereing replacing the four T-12 bulbs (in 2 shoplights) over 
     >my 55 gallon tank with a T-8 system (probably 4 bulbs as well). I 
     >know a lot has been discussed about lighting in general and T-8's in 
     >particular, but never having done anything  with DIY lighting before, 
     >I'm afraid I still need some hand holding. I did some searching and 
     >found that there are in fact 48" T-8 bulbs (contrary to what I was 
     >told at Home Depot), 
     T-8's come in almost as many lengths and flavors as T12's - they're 
     just harder to get retail.  Try lighting stores, Grainger, etc.
     >and that I need a rapid-start electronic ballast specifically made 
     >for T-8's 
     or instant start (electronic ) ballasts
     >(they come in 2 and 4 bulb varieties). 
     Once again the ballasts come in just as many flavors as T12 preheat 
     ballasts.  i.e. 1,2,3,4, etc. bulbs, dimmable, miser, etc.  With a 
     four bulb layout I would pick a ballast that can handle the bulbs in 
     parallel so that if one bulb burns out they don't all go out.
     >After this, I need some help. I know I need to get a reflector (one 
     >that is 12.5" or less in width) somewhere, but will there be anything 
     >beyond that? I know there are things like endcaps, lightracks, 
     >starters ( and other things?), but do they usually come built in to 
     >the reflector? Or are they even neccesary? If I do need them, I'd 
     >appreciate some advice on how complicated they are to assemble (lots 
     >of wiring?) and where I might find them for sale.
     Try bastardizing the shoplights for a cheap alternative.  I believe 
     preheat T12's use a medium BiPin base which is the same base that the 
     T8 uses so the shoplight ought to be able to hold the T8's as well.  
     Also the T8 only needs the ballasts - no starters.  The wiring 
     schematics are usually included with the ballasts.  
     >Thanks for any help,
     >Matt MacGregor
     Nigel Campbell
     ncampbel at ccmail_dsccc.com