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Old 10-22-2002, 11:21 PM   #16
SNPiccolo5
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OK, I read the reef forum post and by the sound of it, it seemed like you would need 4 balasts and hook them all together. But when I read this post, you say 4-F32T8 balast. Does this mean you are hooking up a balast designed to run 4 lights to one? I was thinking about doing it on a future tank, if it required multiple balasts, but if you could hook up one balast to one light and have it be more intense (even though the balast will be "bigger"), why not? Am I correct?

-Tim
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Old 10-23-2002, 03:04 PM   #17
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On that forum on reefcentral's site, on the second page (I believe), someone tried connecting two seperate ballasts and fried the ballasts. The ballasts have circuitry to prevent feedback of some sort that prevents being able to connect more than one ballast to one bulb.

What you do is buy a ballast designed to drive more than one bulb - such as a 4-F32T8 ballast or a 2-F32T8 ballast. And that's exactly what you do - connect one ballast, designed to run several bulbs, to one bulb.

The reason they mention four ballasts on the reefburnaby post is because they are actually driving four seperate bulbs, each with their own 4-F32T8 ballast. That's a LOT of light, but that's what SPS corals need. If each F32T8 bulb being driven by its own 4-F32T8 bllast (with all four outputs connected to the one bulb) makes 6500 lumens, we're talking 26,000 lumens here! In the standard watts per gallon convention - this translates to well over 500 watts of light!

For a planted tank - you can consider each F32T8 bulb to be the equivalent of 125 watts - enough to grow most plants in a 55gallon tank. Two of these bulbs (each with their own ballast) would be enough light on even a 75 gallon to grow intense light plants.
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Old 10-23-2002, 09:37 PM   #18
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Thanks for the reply! OK, that makes a lot of sense. Right now, I have a 2x55 PC strip and a single bulb NO flourescent strip. Could I retrofit an overdriven T-8 design to the single bulb NO flourescent strip? I have some questions first...

1. T-8, T-12?? The only difference I know is that the T-8 is smaller! I definitely want to have the GE P&A bulb, after all good I have heard about it. Is the GE bulb a T-12 or T-8, and will I need new endpins in my existing strip to fit a T-8 in it? What else will I need to do to my strip to make it acceptable? This seems confusing, but I am determined!

2. OK, in the above diagram, you have "T-8 bulb overdriven to 80 watts", but then in the last post, did you say 125 watts. I'm thinking because the lumen/watt ratio is higher so it provides as many lumens (or about as many) as 125 watts usually would?

Thanks for the help... chances are this will be a project to do over the weekend!

-Tim
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Old 10-24-2002, 08:08 PM   #19
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Your assumption in question number 2 is exactly correct. The 4x ODNO F32T8 bulb consumes only 80 watts, but produces 6500 lumens. The standard convention of "watts per gallon" comes from a 2000 lumen, 40 watt standard F40T12 bulb. This ODNO F32T8 bulb is far more efficient, so it produces as much light as 125 watts of standard lighting (like three 40 watt tubes).

As for your first question, T12 lamps are 1 1/2" in diameter and T8 lamps are 1" in diameter. Each number in the T# convention equals 1/8".
A T8 and T12 bulb has the same pin configuration, though, so you could use T8 bulbs in the same sockets/strip lights that T12 are used. But if you want to use GE Plant & Aquarium bulbs (I love 'em!) then go on and use them. They won't be as efficient as T8 bulbs, meaning they'll need more watts to produce the same lumens, but should still produce about the same light. The ballast should just work harder.

I'm going to be testing this theory soon. I'm going to find a 4-F32T8 ballast and try various configurations with my two 40watt GE P&A bulbs. (One bulb with 2x and 4x, then Two bulbs with 2x each)
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Old 10-24-2002, 10:36 PM   #20
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So, all I really have to do then is take out (or disconnect) the balast in my 40-watt strip, and connect the 4-F32T8 balast to it and that's it? If I was using a T12 bulb (like the GE P&A bulb), would I have to use a different balast, since the above one is used with T-8s? Thanks again, this is definitely happening this weekend.

-Tim
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Old 10-25-2002, 01:57 PM   #21
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The 4-F32T8 ballast will work fine with your F40T12 bulb. It's just not as strong as a 4-F40T12 ballast - but I haven't been able to find an electronic ballast designed for four 40watt tubes, only magnetic. Electronic ballasts are mostly used in industrial applications, because they're efficient and quiet, with low power consumption, and F32T8 bulbs are mostly used in industrial apps because they are also more efficient as well as smaller (less packaging, waste, etc.).

The short answer is - the 4-F32T8 ballast will still make that 40watt bulb glow like crazy
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Old 10-25-2002, 09:15 PM   #22
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Awesome, I'll let everyone know how it goes this weekend!

-Tim
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Old 10-26-2002, 04:26 AM   #23
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I built one today, 2 bulbs, 2 4bulb ballasts. Now I'm searching for 48"T8s, cool white daylight. It seems they are like hens teeth! I won't give up easily tho.:hehe:
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Old 10-26-2002, 05:01 AM   #24
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How'd it work, did it seem fine?! I'm somewhat nervous, I don't have much experience with electrics, but "you can't win if you don't play"! I am going to try it with the balasts in first, without it on the tank to make sure everything is in place. Tomorrow morning it is!

-Tim
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Old 10-27-2002, 11:49 PM   #25
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Hey guys, this is one super setup! I'll have to be sure my scissors is sharp now to keep the plants trimmed. Thanks a bunch for the DIY idea, I love it!:hehe:
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Old 10-28-2002, 01:56 AM   #26
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I just bought a regular old 48 " 2 Bulb Shop Light. This from what I am reading has a 2-F32T8 Ballast correct ?
So if I remove that and wire in a 4-F32T8 Ballast that will give me more light? Sounds too easy ...
I am so confused !
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Old 10-28-2002, 01:42 PM   #27
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ridns, glad to hear it all came together for you! Those cool white T8 bulbs are definitely hard to find. You will most likely not find them at a Home Depot or Lowe's. Try finding a lighting supply store in the yellow pages. Or go to www.graybar.com and look for a store near you. They are bulbs used in industrial applications such as photography and studio.

Buck, the twin strip shop light you purchased most likely has a magnetic ballast (cheap, less efficient) for two F40T12 bulbs. You can use the strip light as a housing, with endcaps and all, for the bigger ballast. Ask a salesperson where the electric ballasts are in the fluorescent lighting department and look for a 4-F32T8 ballast. It should look like this...



Home Depot SKU# is 359476 for the GE unit. The Advance unit might be the same SKU, though.

You could use just one ballast, with two wires to each bulb, or buy two ballasts, and put four wires to each bulb if you need some really intense lighting.
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Old 10-28-2002, 03:28 PM   #28
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You are SO RIGHT! Rockford has a population of 150,000 and I had to go to a lighting distributer to find anything close. I finally found some 5000k bulbs there. No 6500k or 6700k anywhere around, but these 5000k look real good.:hehe:
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Old 10-28-2002, 05:54 PM   #29
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Color really isn't as important as intensity for planted tanks. Unless you've got borderline adequate intensity, then color does come in to play. But as long as the light is pleasing to the eye, and make your plants and fish look good, then with this intensity, your plants will be recieving all the light they can use, for sure.
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Old 10-28-2002, 09:47 PM   #30
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OK... I got the balast, but how exactly do you connect 2 wires to a place where there is only supposed to be one? Also, the wires were too short, and I am totaly clueless when it comes to electronics! Any help would be appreciated!

-Tim
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