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-   -   My take on Rain gutter lighting (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/diy-aquarium/my-take-rain-gutter-lighting-47298/)

zof 07-16-2010 05:53 PM

My take on Rain gutter lighting
 
If there is one thing about having a planted aquarium that bugs me it is lighting. I wanted to get away from tube lighting and go with screw in CFL lighting the only problem is, is finding a screw in lighting system for any tank bigger then 10 gallons is next to impossible, so next idea is the retrofit my current hood but I didn't really want to do that because I might want it for something else, so now I had to start from scratch. I was lucky enough to find the two post below which sent me in the right direction. The hood you see in the directions in this post is actually the 2nd light I have built the parts I don't mention here is the custom cutting I did to the rain gutter and the ends to make it fit perfectly.

Thanks to these two post for reference and the general design ideas;

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...amp-pic-38231/

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/d...t-cheap-35186/

Parts List:
Vinyl Rain Gutter
Vinyl Rain Gutter End Caps
Power Extension Cord
Dual Light socket
Switch
Grommet
Heat Shrink
1/4" Screw
1/4" Washers x2
1/4" Lock Washers x2
1/4" Nuts x4-5
Spray Paint (Optional)
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...018/1-6767.jpg

Cut the gutter to correct size and drill holes for the 1/4" screw that will hold the light socket, the power cord and the switch.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...018/2-6768.jpg

Paint (optional, but will stop the bleed through of the lights through the white gutter)
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...018/3-6769.jpg

Take your dual light socket apart and remove the unnecessary parts on the outside, grind your 1/4" screw down so it will fit in the narrow space that the hole is in.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...018/4-6770.jpg

Reassemble light socket with screw inside, use extra nuts to create spacers between the socket and the light gutter so the light dose not touch the gutter or the bottom. Use the hardware in the configuration in the picture.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...018/5-6771.jpg

Insert all the components into the rain gutter; socket, switch, grommet then power cord (before hand cutting the outlets off the end of the power cord and stripping the wire back).
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...018/6-6772.jpg

Wire it all up with the heat shrink ready. (might want to test it at this point before you seal the wires to make sure it works)
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...018/7-6773.jpg

Missing parts;
Cut the screw down to the correct size
Use something to keep the wires in place away from the lights (my case silicone caulk)

Finished product:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...018/8-6774.jpg
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...018/9-6775.jpg

beetlebz 07-20-2010 11:18 PM

heat shrink!! black paint!!

very well done Zof :D to be honest I never even considered soldering and heat shrinking the wire connections for a more finished look. 2 of my 3 gutter lights need new or different switches, when I break down to rewire I might just do the same.

I use all mine on versa tops. How does the rain gutter fit over the opening in your hood?

sniffle. im so proud. ;)

onefish2fish 07-21-2010 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beetlebz (Post 427768)

sniffle. im so proud. ;)

lol

nice work, nicely done.

aunt kymmie 07-21-2010 12:49 PM

How much for you to make me a custom light just like yours but instead do it in a length of five feet for my display?? (no, I'm NOT kidding)

Mikaila31 07-21-2010 02:02 PM

Also FYI horizontally mounting spiral CL will give you adiquate light, it is however been proven that vertically mounting them with round reflectors provides a significant increase in light levels.

Either way great job.

zof 07-21-2010 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beetlebz (Post 427768)
heat shrink!! black paint!!

very well done Zof :D to be honest I never even considered soldering and heat shrinking the wire connections for a more finished look. 2 of my 3 gutter lights need new or different switches, when I break down to rewire I might just do the same.

I use all mine on versa tops. How does the rain gutter fit over the opening in your hood?

sniffle. im so proud. ;)

Thanks, I didn't actually solder even though I maybe should have.... its just the wire on the light socket is steel (or steel colored). The hood you see in the pictures is one that came with the tank kit and it has a small glass section for the light while the rest of it it plastic, it took a little cutting so it would fit right and would sit where the plastic bars are that held the original light (I was actually quite surprised the rain gutter was almost the same size as the original light). My 20 long has a versa-top like yours and it leaks quiet a bit more light but I'm sure if I tired I could cut it down to reduce the leakage but does not bother me at this point.

Quote:

Originally Posted by onefish2fish
nice work, nicely done.

Thank you

Quote:

Originally Posted by aunt kymmie
How much for you to make me a custom light just like yours but instead do it in a length of five feet for my display?? (no, I'm NOT kidding)

Hmmm... maybe we could work something out I got a bit left over from making mine :cry: Sadly I only have 1 piece of rain gutter left and its 58-59" sooooo close unless that would work. Give me a PM if your interested.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikaila31
Also FYI horizontally mounting spiral CL will give you adiquate light, it is however been proven that vertically mounting them with round reflectors provides a significant increase in light levels.

Either way great job.

Thanks, I agree you wont get the full output mounted horizontally but ascetically it is the best, vertically would give a fixture twice the height of what the rain gutter would be. And on the plus side if you think not enough light is getting through you can always get a stronger bulb, I'm currently using 10w (40w equivalent) bulbs on my tanks but could easily go to 60w or 100w equivalents and make up the difference with just a few more watts of power.

aunt kymmie 07-21-2010 03:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zof (Post 428250)
Hmmm... maybe we could work something out I got a bit left over from making mine :cry: Sadly I only have 1 piece of rain gutter left and its 58-59" sooooo close unless that would work. Give me a PM if your interested.

zof- I just noticed your in So. Cal so I could even drive to your house to pick up the finished product! 58' would totally work. I have to go run some errands but will be sending you a PM when I return.
Who knows? This could be the start of a side business for you!

beetlebz 07-21-2010 03:13 PM

hmmm thats good thinking.... OK! everyone from new england!! now taking orders!! lol

onefish2fish 07-21-2010 04:05 PM

lmao.

Mikaila31 07-21-2010 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zof (Post 428250)
Thanks, I agree you wont get the full output mounted horizontally but ascetically it is the best, vertically would give a fixture twice the height of what the rain gutter would be. And on the plus side if you think not enough light is getting through you can always get a stronger bulb, I'm currently using 10w (40w equivalent) bulbs on my tanks but could easily go to 60w or 100w equivalents and make up the difference with just a few more watts of power.

Just realize that those "equivalent to" ratings are for incandescent. When we measure WPG it is for fluorescent lighting and will vary a bit depending on the specific type of lighting. The watts your bulbs consume is what you use to factor WPG.


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