how to get more light cheaply. DIY style =) - Page 2
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » TFK Resources » DIY Aquarium » how to get more light cheaply. DIY style =)

how to get more light cheaply. DIY style =)

This is a discussion on how to get more light cheaply. DIY style =) within the DIY Aquarium forums, part of the TFK Resources category; --> This might look best so far: 28-Watt T5 Neutral Fluorescent ALTO Light Bulb-206136 at The Home Depot Philips 28-Watt T5 Neutral Fluorescent ALTO Light ...

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools vBmenu Seperating Image Search this Thread vBmenu Seperating Image
how to get more light cheaply. DIY style =)
Old 01-22-2013, 04:51 AM   #11
 
This might look best so far:
28-Watt T5 Neutral Fluorescent ALTO Light Bulb-206136 at The Home Depot

Philips 28-Watt T5 Neutral Fluorescent ALTO Light Bulb - 4ft long, instant start

Any reason it wouldn't work with a 23w CFL ballast?

Thanks,
Roman
romanlutsk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2013, 01:23 AM   #12
 
the 23 watt ballast would work, tube would run at best 23 watts probably a little less tho. Nothing is entirely wrong with that, you would lose a little light output but tube life typically increases. You can drive the 54watt or the 28 watt t5 lamp, those wattage designation numbers simply reflect the ballast the bulb is advertised to be used with in the end as far as i know normal output t5s and high output t5s are exactly the same as far as the bulb itself, the real difference is the ballast that drives the bulb. They are only marketed differently due to different wattage and life expectancy of the bulb. However it is the ballast that determines the wattage. You hook the 54 watt bulb to the 23 watt ballast it will run 23 watts at most, same with the 28 watt bulb.

You can not run 2 ballast together. I've done it before simply as an experiment and to be honest it did 'workish' and the ballasts didn't instantly short/fry eachother. That said they sounded like angry bees most the time and half the time they would not light the bulb. Bulbs run AC current so there is a 'pulse' or wave or current moving through the bulb very fast. When you suddenly add 2 ballasts they both create waves and those waves often interfere with eachother which is what typically happened. The bulb did not light properly but had some flickering/pulsing thing going on and the ballasts buzzed strangely as they tried to cope with eachothers interference. Given time they would pretty quickly kill eachother that way. Only way I could get them to light fully was to turn one ballast on then flip the other on and off repeatedly until eventually, by chance, you get their frequencies to line up somewhat they can work together. It was something interesting to try out but I highly do not recommend it for an actual fixture. The ballasts will not last long running that way and I have no intention of testing dual ballasts any further as their is a chance it could result in one of them catching fire. I honestly expected them to short out the moment I turned them on wired that way. Its interesting that they didn't but its still not a viable or safe method to light a bulb using dual ballasts.

When I originally built this fixture I had no use for it. So it sat around a long time, at least 10 months. However that 55 watt PC fixture I used in the pictures to compare it to died 2-3 months ago. It needs a new ballast and dunno if it ever will get one. In the mean time the T5 fixture I built has been running on that tank just fine for a few months without any issues.
Mikaila31 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 05:06 AM   #13
 
Thanks for the quick and detailed reply, even on an old thread.

I ended up getting this lamp:
28-Watt T5 Neutral Fluorescent ALTO Light Bulb-206136 at The Home Depot

add hooking it up according to your instructions and it works like charm - just added it to my vertical hydroponic setup (can send you some pictures, if you like)

However, when I tested the bulb earlier, I had it on for about an hour and noticed that some dark patches appeared near each end. I wonder what that means. I remember I had wires touching the glass of the bulb in those places - perhaps the EM field from the wires was attracting the electrons and it damaged the inside coating - should I replace the bulb in that case?

Also, the ends gets pretty hot when it's on (over 120F), but the rest of the bulb remains cool - does that happen to your bulbs?

Finally, how important is it to match the type of start (instant, rapid, preheat) of a bulb with that of a ballast? Can I use the rapid lamp with instant ballast?

Thanks again,
Roman
romanlutsk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 03:00 PM   #14
 
Compact fluorescent ballasts

Hi, I used 5, 13 watt cfl ballasts to light 5, t5 8 watt bulbs. Works like a charm.
Severus Snape is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2013, 04:13 AM   #15
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by romanlutsk View Post
This might look best so far:
28-Watt T5 Neutral Fluorescent ALTO Light Bulb-206136 at The Home Depot

Philips 28-Watt T5 Neutral Fluorescent ALTO Light Bulb - 4ft long, instant start

Any reason it wouldn't work with a 23w CFL ballast?

Thanks,
Roman
lol my work has hundreds of these just laying around this is really cool tho. i believe i spent something like 75 dollars buliding mine. the ballast was pretty cheap tho like 15 dollars. it was so much tho cuz i had to by maple plywood cuz the home depot near me doesnt seem to carry half inch 2ftx4ft sheets of reg plywood. nice write up tho! i might try this on my next tank.

Last edited by rexpepper651; 02-13-2013 at 04:18 AM..
rexpepper651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 05:58 AM   #16
 
t5 bulb ends darken in several hours with cfl ballast

I use a ballast from 23w cfl lamp to drive a linear 28w t5 bulb and have noticed that the ends darken extremely fast (withing 3-4 hours). The lamp works for 1-2 weeks more and then stops. I've replaced several lamps already - any ideas what might be causing it?

I'm using it for my vertical hydroponic garden, so the bulb is setup vertically.

Also, I didn't have the proper connectors, so I attached the lamp contacts directly to the wires (the wires are wound around the connections, so the contact is not as good as with the dedicated sockets) - could it be the problem?

Finally, I'm thinking that the 23w cfl lamp ballast could also be malfunctioning - any pointers on where to look first?

Thanks,
Roman
romanlutsk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2013, 07:13 PM   #17
 
MoneyMitch's Avatar
 
sorry i know nothing about electricity but ill help the best i can, i woudl troubleshoot replaceing the cheapest item first and workign your way up from there, the vertical position of the light should have no effect on this at all but i woudl be willing to bet that this is a ballast problem, every t5 fixture i have ever owned makes sure to boldy warn that the ballast is meatn for t5 lamps and t5 lamps only not sure if its b/c of what happening to you but worth a shot?
MoneyMitch is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to MoneyMitch For This Useful Post:
romanlutsk (03-13-2013)
Old 03-12-2013, 09:41 PM   #18
 
LOL "hydroponic garden"
rexpepper651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2013, 05:54 PM   #19
 
Thanks for the ideas. I did some research and the problem seemed to be under-driving the lamp. The ballast was from 23w cfl and I was using it to drive 28w linear bulb.

In order to maintain an arc, the ballast was keeping the filaments lit all the time (vs only for a fraction of a second during start-up), which caused electrode sputtering (blackening) and shortened the life span dramatically:

Underdriving/overdriving lamps: Effects on lamp & ballast
****
under-driven tubes have lower arc voltage => higher ballast temperature

I know that underdriving a discharge lamp to a large degree will cause electrode sputtering (blackening) and shorten life...and overdriving also shortens life by overheating the phosphor (if present) and arc tube (potentially weakening it)
****

Also, someone mentioned that most ballasts operate the stated wattage/voltage combination or LESS (eg, a 24W ballast should operate a 20W bulb).

So, lesson learn: Never under-drive the bulbs, (if using the cfl ballast, make sure it's 10-20% more powerful than what the lamp is rated for). Overdriving too much seems to also cause problems.

Hope it helps others looking for cheaper and more flexible ways to create own lights.
romanlutsk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2013, 10:11 PM   #20
 
I would just like to state, feel free to PM a notification if you post on this thread and its been quiet for a month or so or its likely I won't notice it for weeks(if your lucky). I don't browse the forum much at all especially this section. Tho I do visit the site pretty much daily and use the chat quite often.


I used a 23watt ballast to light a 14 watt normal output T5 which is a 21" bulb. It has been running 11 hours daily for a few months now with no issues. Same bulbs same ballasts. The ballasts inside CFLs can very quite a bit, so that could be a factor as well. In my original post, if memory best serves me both the ballasts shown there are of similar wattages. When I was originally experimenting with these ballasts I typed this on another forum:

"This post is already long enough but I would like to add that the Westinghouse ballasts initially seem better then GE, Feit electric, and sylvania. Overall they are pretty similar. GE and Feit electric seem pretty much identical(Feit being the one in the first post). Sylvania and westinghouse both have a resistor in one of the power leads(inside the white sleeve). Westinghouse is the only one that had 2 capacitors,which together had a higher rating then the same wattage Feit ballast. They were also the only ones who bothered to insulate the wires from the ballast to the bulb. Funny as its also the cheapest. The 23 watt 4 pack cost me about $7 at fleetfarm."

I would also like to point out that despite what I said in my first post about overpowering with these ballasts. From my experiences I no longer believe this is true. I have a kill-o-watt meter and my fixture uses two 23 watt ballasts to power two 14 watt bulbs. Over all the power consumption is only 29-30 watts. Tho the light is plenty for the tank it is running on. This does highly suggest these ballasts can't overpower a bulb.

@ MoneyMitch, the whole point of this is to use non-specific ballasts as T5 ballasts are silly over priced .

@ romanlutsk I really recommend ring wire terminals for attaching the wires to the bulbs as I did in the original post. You need the blue 16-14 gauge ones. Its like $1 for over a dozen at any hardware store. For the most part they fit the pins very snugly, a few need squished a tiny bit with a pliers. For T5s you do need to strip the plastic coating off one of the terminals as their isn't enough room. Only do one and I would wrap it with electrical tape. They also work very slick for power compact fixtures. I bought a used square-pin fixture once. A current satellite that did work very nicely for 5-6 years before ballast failure. For some silly reason they have square and straight pin bulbs, with the square ones being more expensive(and much smaller selection). The cheapest solution was cutting off the socket and using a couple cents worth of wire terminals. It ran just fine this way for 4-5 years.
Mikaila31 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fitting a 48" light over a 40B DIY style Nubster DIY Aquarium 5 01-31-2012 07:24 PM
Our new style Mike Off Topic Discussions 26 12-23-2008 02:19 PM
all in one style tank solareclipsed Beginner Saltwater Aquariums 4 03-31-2007 06:24 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:38 PM.