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Cheap lighting option?

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Cheap lighting option?
Old 11-17-2011, 08:48 PM   #31
 
Well gain would depend upon what bulbs you are running. The 13 watt CFLs I have cost me less then a dollar each. I'm not totally up to date on the cost of ballasts but $10-20 sounds right for a single or dual T8 bulb ballast, PC and T5 ballasts cost more. Ballast is often the most expensive part of the fixture. They are also pretty bulky. These real ballasts generally have a pretty long life of 5-10 years. The 'driver' above would probably last a year or two before you would have to replace it. A lot would depend on how you wire it. It gives you free range over the amount of energy you put into a bulb. Its a little difficult to explain, but a 4' NOT8 produces 28 watts a 4' HOT5 produces 54 watts. The only real difference between these two is the amount of energy going into the bulb. The same goes for any bulb though. Usually referred to as overdriving. The overall efficiency goes down and so does bulb life.

Basically what I'm saying is you could take a $1 extension cord, the proper wattage CFL, and a T8 and get it to light. You could overdrive the bulb or underdrive it to you liking. Everything on a whole will be more compact. You could probably use NOT5 bulbs the same way.

That 13 watt driver actually had no problem lighting a 15 watt T8 though its under driven a little. And it light it better then the All-glass hoods do.
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:00 PM   #32
 
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That's interesting but how safe would that be on the long run?
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:26 PM   #33
 
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I have read that one thread you wrote today and some others about the gutter fixtures and pretty sure I can do that. Seems straight forward enough. Which is why I was thinking about doing that but if that's not going to give me enough lighting. Is there something else I can do along those lines?
The gutter fixture with just vertically mounted spiral compacts should give you enough light if you can get around 100 watts of CFLs in there that will put you in about the middle of the medium light range IMO. It would be pretty simple. Just remember reflectors. Doing things cheap is one thing, but being cheap to the point were you loose light output is another. All fixtures should have a reflector even if it tinfoil or something.

As far as what I have been showing in the last few posts, its an option if you want to cheaply run some type of bulb other then spiral CFLs like power compacts, T8's, or T5's.

Quote:
That's interesting but how safe would that be on the long run?

Well how it is in the pictures isn't safe at all as its just held together with electrical tape and those wires are not even rated for that high of a load...lol. Done properly and within reason there isn't a risk as long as you keep humidity down.

I said 'within reason' as risk can go up a great deal if you overdrive. I frown on overdriving a bulb as in the end its generally not worth it. Its done more often then it should be but you take a dual T8 fixture and rewire it to overdrive a single bulb, that bulb gets double 'watts' than its suppose to but actual light increase is only going to be about 50%. It also shortens bulb life, increases heat, reduces efficiency, and there is a risk of the bulb breaking. So as long as you stay within reason and don't go buy a 30 watt CFL and hook it to a 15 watt T8 things should be fine.

Wattages don't match up exactly, but using a 18 watt CFL for a 15 watt T8 isn't a big issue. For certain bulbs this may actually have to be done. It will be easier to say once I've played around with it some more. As bulbs get thinner I'm pretty sure they need more voltage, thats why a T8 fixture doesn't light a T5. It may take a 20 watt CFL to properly light a 14 watt T5. If your over-driving its going to get a lot hotter than normal. The T8 I hooked up is underdriven so its going to stay much cooler then normal. Its been on for an hour and its barely warm to the touch. Though its a 15 watt bulb its probably only producing 10-13 watts.

Once I've played around with it some more I'll make a thread with more certain explanations and some DIY/step by step. Wiring is a lot easier then it looks. Ballasts and drivers are really forgiving on wiring. You can rearrange wires in different ways and it will still light. Theres more combinations that work then don't work. Even if you have no idea what your doing you can likely still wire a light just through trial and error.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:00 PM   #34
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikaila31 View Post
Rain gutters are not tall enough for vertical mounting.
Thanks for all the advice so far Mikaila. I am just a little confused on something though. In one post you said there is not enough room to vertically mount the Cfl in the gutter fixture and another one you are saying that would work for medium part of the medium range of lighting but how does one make it fit vertically then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikaila31 View Post
The gutter fixture with just vertically mounted spiral compacts should give you enough light if you can get around 100 watts of CFLs in there that will put you in about the middle of the medium light range IMO. It would be pretty simple. Just remember reflectors. Doing things cheap is one thing, but being cheap to the point were you loose light output is another. All fixtures should have a reflector even if it tinfoil or something.

Once I've played around with it some more I'll make a thread with more certain explanations and some DIY/step by step. Wiring is a lot easier then it looks. Ballasts and drivers are really forgiving on wiring. You can rearrange wires in different ways and it will still light. Theres more combinations that work then don't work. Even if you have no idea what your doing you can likely still wire a light just through trial and error.
I understand the difference of doing something cheaply and cutting corners so to speak. I definitely plan on putting in something for a reflector. Thanks for the tip!
Also I will wait for your thread on the new setup before I attempt that one! LoL
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Old 11-18-2011, 12:08 AM   #35
 
Fitting them in there horizontally will give you medium lighting, If they were vertical it would be more. I'll PM you a link that may help, I can never remember the rules for linking to competing sites.
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Old 11-18-2011, 12:16 AM   #36
 
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Originally Posted by Mikaila31 View Post
Fitting them in there horizontally will give you medium lighting, If they were vertical it would be more. I'll PM you a link that may help, I can never remember the rules for linking to competing sites.
Okay Thanks again Mikaila!!
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Old 11-18-2011, 08:24 AM   #37
 
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Has anyone mounted one of the pre-made fixtures from a home improvement store inside the shell of their old fixture?
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Old 11-23-2011, 04:07 AM   #38
 
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Mikaila you say that mounting the spiral lights vertically is tie best ways as it has less restrike that way. Also they won't fit vertically in a rain gutter. Well I was thinking what if I made a hood for the tank that the rain gutter would fit in plus lifts the lights up higher to be mounted vertically. I know they would still hang down a little lower that way but would it work? Also mounted like that I could use the aluminium roll in the rain gutter and probably some on the underside of the hood for reflectors. In your opinion would this work?
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:47 PM   #39
 
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Mikaila you say that mounting the spiral lights vertically is tie best ways as it has less restrike that way. Also they won't fit vertically in a rain gutter. Well I was thinking what if I made a hood for the tank that the rain gutter would fit in plus lifts the lights up higher to be mounted vertically. I know they would still hang down a little lower that way but would it work? Also mounted like that I could use the aluminium roll in the rain gutter and probably some on the underside of the hood for reflectors. In your opinion would this work?
Yeah that would work. This is the big downside to using CFLs. You get more light out of them mounted vertically, but there are not many fixtures they can fit in vertically....

I use CFLs over my paludarium and one tank. All are mounted horizontally. It is less efficient but the tank is only 12" deep. It also has a lot of wattage. Its a standard 15 gallon with 2x13 watt CFLs and a 15 watt T8 it has essentially 3wpg. Probably more now since I modified the T8 a few days ago and its likely being overdriven now(even though I recommended not doing that lol). This however is an example of how flawed the WPG rule can be because I run that tank as low-tech. My high tech tanks on the other hand has 2wpg and 2.75wpg and are hard to manage long term without CO2 and fertilizers.

Also I'll probably make this more frustrating but mounting spiral CFLs vertically in the hood with the base up is going to have a significant impact on their lifespan. That position puts the ballast in the worst possible place because its going to get very hot.

I've been playing with CFL ballasts for a couple days now. So far I've been really liking my idea of rewiring these. Though I have gotten mixed opinions about it elsewhere. I rewired that T8 fixture to see how long that ballast lasts. Though it should last a reasonable time considering costs and it also runs cooler then if it was in the CFL. I expect at least 2 years out of it. You were originally thinking NOT5 bulbs and if it was me I would go this route if your local menard's or similar carries the 2 pack in the 6500K option like mine does. It would require wiring the CFL ballasts to cut costs. In my tests I had no problem lighting a 28 watt 46" NOT5 with a 26 watt CFL ballast. Issue here is it was underdriven and I never did test how many watts it was actually running at. If you are actually interested in this option I can test a 21 watt 34" NOT5 with a 23 watt CFL ballast too see if you are actually getting 21 watts out of the bulb. I suggest this method because including the cost of the 6500K 46" NOT5 bulb I could light it for $15 using just local supplies. It would just need to be mounted in the gutter with reflectors. Mounting the bulb would be the only difficult part is I've no clue were to get T5 endcaps or bulb clips locally. You can always source them online though. I would actually redo my CFL fixture to run NOT5s using this method but Menard's only had the 6500K bulbs in 46" or 34" options. I need 22" bulbs.

Last edited by Mikaila31; 11-23-2011 at 10:56 PM..
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:28 PM   #40
 
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I havent had the time to go to lowe's or home depot this week to actually check out my options as to what is available here locally as I have not had a day off in 10 days. I plan on going this weekend though. I not sure what bulbs they carry right off hand either. I wouldn't mind doing the NOT5s if they have them. I know they carry T8s as I get them for my 55 gallon fixture there. You would definitely have to walk me through this step by step though because like I said that's way over my head. LoL. When I find out for sure what I can get I can get back with you on my options.
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