The Dirtbagger (56K warning)
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:27 AM   #1
Dragonstar
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The Dirtbagger (56K warning)


In hiking there is a term called Dirtbagging. Dirtbagging is a style of gear selection based on cost, reuse, bang for the buck, and function. For example, a dirtbagger would eschew a SIGG or Nalgene bottle when a 99 cent gatorade bottle will do. It is lighter, more flexible and tough enough for the job and the price is right. A dirtbagger would buy wool dress pants at Goodwill for 3 bucks rather than buy the latest technical ripstop hiking clothes.

Given that I'm using powdered dirt for the substrate and building as much of the tank as I can myself, it seems fitting to name this tank build after the dirtbagging pioneers of the Appalachian Trail.

I've already mineralized some topsoil and bought eco complete for the substrate. I have muriate of potash and dolomite as well for the under substrate layer.

Right now I am selecting components. The tank itself is a PetSmart store tank that was purchased during a store closing sale. I bought it from a guy off craigslist for $70. It is a 47.8 gallon SeaClear acrylic tank that is 48 x 15 x 15. It has predrilled holes with bulkheads in the back upper corners.:




I intend to make this a soft water tank with injected CO2 and LED lighting. Here are the parts I have so far, where I obtained them, and what I paid:



CO2 injection supplies

The following came from a colleague who was moving research labs.

two Victor 235a two stage regulators
Harris model # 92SS-15, which according to a guy there is a two stage
regulator which is made for precise psi readings.
Various oxygen regulators (one pictured above)
Hoke needle valve (details unknown)
various brass fittings
Some weird gauge thingy

The following came from my local scrapyard for the price of 9 bucks, give or take:

Broen bench mounted 2-valve fitting for air (http://www.broen.com/LAB/Produktinformation/~/media/LAB/Teknisk%20information/LAB/BOSS40.ashx)

No idea if this will come in handy. If not, I spent about $3 to find out.

Water Saver L4200 Laboratory Ball Valve, Removable Hose End (http://www.wsflab.com/products/stand...ls/L4200.shtml)
No idea if this will come in handy. If not, I spent about $1 to find out.

two chromed reduction nipples... you know the drill by now.


So I still need a lot of stuff like a tank, solenoid, and needle valve (if none of the ones I have obtained will work out.) But for the price of 9 dollars thus far I'm in good shape.

Lighting



Onto the lighting. I have about 200 CREE XPE white LEDs in a mix of cools and warms which I got from another acquaintance.
He's going to get me some of the newer LEDs and some blues/reds if I ask for them, but I want to prove the circuit first. He also gave me 40 heatsinks and a couple of 24V 60W open power supplies. I will likely use something else but nice to have them on hand for testing.

At the scrapyard I picked up a heavy aluminum tread for $12 which I plan to use as a heatsink:



It is 8 inches by 45 inches and somewhat heavy, say 4 pounds. I like it because 1) it has a flat back and 2) I hope the grooves will act as heat dispensers by increasing the surface area somewhat over flat aluminum sheet stock.

Here is a closeup of the heatsinks:



Soon I'll post pics of the driftwood I found in a stream shore which is really cool looking.
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:12 AM   #2
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Looks like a great start. I would venture to say that unless the three regulators you have went along on some dirtbagging adventures one of them (or all) should work perfectly, you just need to choose the one to use you like best.
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:58 AM   #3
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I second that, great start. Subscribed!
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:08 AM   #4
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You had me a dirtbagger. Subscribing with interest peaked.
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:12 AM   #5
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Subscribed. I want to know more about the lighting setup
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:47 PM   #6
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Dirtbagging... what a concept. I''ve been doing it for years, but didn't know what it was called
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:18 PM   #7
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Awesome to see so many dirtbaggers here. Sticking with the Appalachian Trail analogy, which is admittedly a little silly, they have a $300 challenge where you outfit yourself for a thru hike for under $300. Maybe I can do the same here. Unlikely, but it is a target at least.

The lighting... I'm inspired by jcardona1's recent thread about using an arduino microcontroller to control the lights. I'm going to pattern my build around his. I have done very little analysis of the electronics but I will tell you my plan.

The tank is 48 x 15 x 15. With an inch or two of substrate and the fixture headroom, I figure the leds will be 14" from the substrate. So I probably won't use optics. the cutout in the top of the tank is 44 x 9 inches. My heatsink is 45 x 8 inches. Not a perfect match but pretty close to exactly covering the hole.

To get control of the color balance, and also for future proofing, I will do four runs of LEDS. I will do as many as I can. At least 12 LEDs per run, up to 20. So between 48 and 80 led's total. I will need to plan this part and that hasn't happened yet, but in vague terms the idea is to use lots of 1W leds with tight spacing but under-drive them to reduce heat.

Using jcardona1's thread as a guide, I'll need an a arduino, a real time clock module, and four drivers in addition to supplies I already have on hand (wire, solder, thermal adhesive, epoxy, etc).

In the back of my mind is a fifth run for simulating a lightning storm but let's not get hasty.

Many questions around this idea. Can a DIY heatsink made out of a kickplate support 48-80 leds? Does reducing the current reduce heat? will there me enough light if the leds are underdriven? How many leds can one driver handle? Those kinds of things.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:22 PM   #8
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Here's the article that started it all (or at least put it in writing):

Cheap Gear – How to Dirt Bag and Deal Shop Like a Professional

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=206678
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonstar View Post
In the back of my mind is a fifth run for simulating a lightning storm but let's not get hasty.
I donno about that one. I wouldn't want to stress the fish anymore than necessary. It's enough that they live in glass cages.
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:15 PM   #10
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Well, it is truly a theoretical argument at this point. Fish encounter rain frequently in nature, and indeed use the signals of an impending rainstorm in feeding and even seasonal cycles. But I hear you about not stressing the fish unnecessarily.
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:28 PM   #11
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And breeding, lets not forget that the fresh water from a storm lowers the water temps and induces spawning in many species.
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:15 AM   #12
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Not much to report except that I went to the Raleigh Aquarium Society meeting tonight to hear a talk about CO2 injection and to basically hang out with other planted tank enthusiasts. I got some good ideas. As a bonus I won an inline water filter and nitrate test kit in the raffle and was given 500ml bottles of pfertz K and N. I gave the speaker a pressure valve that seems like a neat toy, but I am so behind in the basics that I didn't see myself using it any time soon. Am I any closer to setting up the tank? Not so much.
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:55 PM   #13
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I'm going to be ADA dirtbagging...does that count?

Very cool! Can't wait for it to be set-up!
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:06 PM   #14
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Depends.... did you get an insane deal on the ADA stuff? Otherwise, I'm thinking ADA and dirtbagging might be philosophical poles. But we do share a love of dirt and water so that's something. Here, have a slice of mud pie.
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Old 05-06-2011, 05:35 PM   #15
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I receive this gift and reply back with a bag of ADA Amazonian dirt.
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