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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Apple Valley, MN
Posts: 1,602
Lighting Upgrade

It started when water got into the built in LED lighting fixture somehow and the whole thing, other than about 5 lights, was toast. A replacement unit isn't cheap, and it never provided enough light anyway. I ended up going the DIY route. I'm now pushing 2.25 w/gal with power compact, and for only about $20. The funny thing is, Hagen responded about a week after I was done with this and replaced the LED fixture under warranty. I'm keeping this one though, as it is easily 2x as bright it's not even close.

I won't bore you with all the things I tried, or was planning to try just where I ended up. While bumming around my local Menards trying to come up with a solution to use regular compact fluorescents, I had an "ah ha!" moment. I found an inexpensive way to get a 27W power compact bulb, ballast, and socket by getting this cheap $17 lamp: Natural Full Spectrum Desk Lamp. It came with everything I needed!

I made the housing and light diffuser/reflector from 4" sewer PVC. It's a little lighter and thinner than regular PVC. I happened to have about 6' of it sitting up in the rafters in my garage (free!). I cut it so it's not quite as wide as the lid, and heat can easily flow out the sides and escape through the mesh on the lid. I cut in little notches keep it from sliding side to side, and the big notch lets the pump flow water by it. Here's what it looks like:

The next step was to gut the lamp for parts. This was very easy. All I needed was the socket, the ballast, the metal clip that holds the end of the bulb, and the wiring. I mounted them into my fabricated PVC hood with a trimmed piece of a PVC end cap for the socket and a cut down hollow wall anchor for the light clip. As you can see, the light fits into the whole setup perfectly!

Next was to make arms just that attach where the LED one did so I could swing it up out of the way. I also needed to paint the back of it with black paint so that light didn't come though the top, as you can see in the last pic.

Using 1/2" PVC pipe and connectors along with some cotter pins, I fashioned the connecting arms:

I painted the whole thing black for looks and to block light from bleeding out the top of the PVC.

I am absolutely thrilled with how well it turned out!

Last edited by AnotherHobby; 11-27-2012 at 12:41 PM. Reason: Updating information
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