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Old 11-30-2002, 02:01 PM   #91
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It is something like that. The light really increases at 2x, and a little less at 3x, but at 4x it doesn't increase as much, but is still worth it.

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Old 12-02-2002, 02:03 PM   #92
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Wow, I've got a whole lot of catching up to do, so if I miss your question, just ask again or even better, email me.

If you tried a ballast for 48" 40 watt lights and it overheated when driving your 20w bulbs, either:
1) The ballast was magnetic (TAR ballast)and not electronic.
2) Defective
3) You may have wired it incorrectly.

If you took two 24" F20T12 bulbs and wired them in series, they would effectively become one 48" F40T12 bulb. An electronic ballast designed to run four F32T8 (48" long, 1" diameter) bulbs, when driving those two 24" bulbs, would produce about 100-120 watts of light. It's not REALLY four times, because the ballast and bulb become less efficient, the more current you drive through it.
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Old 12-02-2002, 03:17 PM   #93
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Reading back...

qwintus, Overdriving two 18" bulbs won't bring them to 60watts each, but rather approximately 60 watts total.

You can overdrive just about any fluorescent tube, but some are more effective than others. Modern electronic ballast are load sensing - so if you buy a 4F32T8 ballast, it can run just about ANY bulb. You could even run a single 18" F15T8 bulb alone. It would run it just the same as a magnetic ballast designed for one 18" F15T8 bulb. The ballast adjusts and limits current automatically.

If you wanted to overdrive your two 36" 30 watt bulbs, you could. Several guys on reef central have done it. I'd recommend one 4F32T8 ballast per bulb. With all four outputs driving each bulb, I'd estimate the output would approximately double (60watts each).

You might be able to try and find an electronic ballast for six foot bulbs (F96T8) but they're a lot more expensive. But you could wire both 36" bulbs in series and only need one ballast. They're definitely going to be hard to find, though.
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Old 12-14-2002, 09:25 PM   #94
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Hey Sam:
I used two more 4F32T8 ballasts and over drove two 15" 15watt fixtures for my 42 gal hex today. Only went 2X which still made them plenty brite. I figure in that 42 hex we're talking about maybe 35 gal actually so that makes around 2WPG that way. Am I figuring right? I also have a fixture with 2 9watt CF on it. Those plants oughta be real happy now since they were satisfied before. :hehe:
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Old 12-15-2002, 06:04 PM   #95
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I am new at both electrical wiring and freshwater planted tanks so bear with me. I have a 120 gal 60x25x18 tank that I will be setting up soon with lights. I would like enough light to grow plants with medium to high light requirements. I want to use fluorescent t-8 bulbs to keep my electrical bill low, however because my tank is 60'' long and only 18'' wide fitting enough shop lights to meet my lighting requirements will be impossible without Over Driving. In addition, compacts are too expensive and forget about MH. So this brings me to ODNO. I am basically looking for feedback about what I "think" should be best for my tank.

Using (4) 4fs2t8 to power (4) 48'' t-8's in a custom built wood hood.

Since my tank is only 60'' in length I will have to stagger the lights.
I am toying with the Idea of modifying 2 shop light fixtures. Would it be a better Idea to build from scratch with end caps or use the shop light as a beginning? In addition will this provide the needed light for my tank (I will probably add CO2 as well)? How hot will the ballasts get in this configuration?
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Old 12-16-2002, 01:10 PM   #96
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ridns, If your plants were satisfied before, the addition of the new light should definitely make them happy! I'm not sure I understand how you configured your new ballasts and bulbs, though. Do you have all four outputs from each ballast going to one bulb? Let us know.

chode, If you're looking for the most economical way to light your tank, I think you've found it. The four 4F32T8 ballast will run you about $100 and the bulbs won't cost more than $20 total. I personally wouldn't mess with some shop light fixture and tearing out the endcaps and so forth. Especially if you're doing them in a staggered formation. Just got with new endcaps with screw mount bases (not the notched ones that slide onto a PC board or metal reflector).
You'd end up with the equivalent of about 2.7 watts per gallon, which foor a tank this size is actually quite intense. The ballasts will definitely get very warm. A 120vac fan from is all you'd need to keep them cool and the bulbs will live longer as well.
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Old 12-16-2002, 02:14 PM   #97
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I only used two of the outputs this time but I'm thinking of trying one with all four if only to satisfy my curiosity. Since the hex is a deep tank I could use the intensity, if it can take it. Now to figure out how to beef up those 9watt CFs.
:hehe:
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Old 12-16-2002, 02:25 PM   #98
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So you split the four outputs among two 15w bulbs? Two outputs per bulb? I guess that'll overdrive them some, but not much more than standard. I'd do all four outputs into the two bulbs in series. Much more efficient use of energy.
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Old 12-16-2002, 02:43 PM   #99
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I must not have stated it correctly, they are in two seperate light strips. They can't be put in series. Each light strip has its own ballast. I only used the red wires, capped the blue. One yellow to the other end. What do you suggest? I'm thinking of hooking it up like I would a single 48" bulb and try it once.
:hehe:
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Old 12-16-2002, 03:48 PM   #100
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Well, you could still run a jumper between the two light strips. You could mount the ballast in one strip, feed all reds and blues to one side of the bulb, send the yellows to the other bulb and connect the free ends. You'd only have two wires between the strips (for the yellow and one for the connector between bulbs). Might be a bit of a hassle, but you could actually return the other ballast (or save it for another project) and get much more light than the other configuration. MUCH more light.
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Old 12-16-2002, 08:36 PM   #101
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ok Sam... that MUCH MORE got me! I'll give it a shot and let you know. Maybe I can glue a strip of plastic between the two strips and join them into one fixture, otherwise they will be difficult to handle. More is better, one way or the other!
:hehe:
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Old 12-16-2002, 08:49 PM   #102
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To give you an idea of how much more, when I configure one F40T12 bulb with all four outputs, the ballast draws 1.68A. When I run two bulbs, each only 2x, the ballast draws 0.81A.

More than double.
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Old 12-16-2002, 09:09 PM   #103
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Has anyone caused a fire, or had a bad experience from this? Call me a skeptic, but 80-160 watts to a 40 watt bulb sounds dangerous. Will doing this effectivly draw 4x the electricity thus costing 4x as much as well?
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Old 12-17-2002, 03:53 PM   #104
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On reef central as well as a few canadian reef boards (apparently, intense lighting fixtures are very expensive in Canada) there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of hobbyists who have used this method without a single report of fire or severe hazard. The worst I've heard is a few burned out ballasts from incorrect wiring. I certainly haven't heard about any bulbs exploding. You have to understand a few things:
1) These bulbs were designed to carry more current than they usually see. Not only do they have a certain factor of safety built in, but most ballasts are energy saving at 88% delivered current. When you actually deliver 2x that amount, it is still not far beyond the bulbs standard output, and definitely not over capacity.
2) While the ballast might draw nearly 4x (not quote, but close) the electricity, its efficiency decreases at this level and doesn't quite deliver that much to the bulb. At the most, users have seen 2x the energy going to the bulb. Yes, this means that you're using four times as much electricity to get only twice the light, but the initial expense is the most significant benefit of this system, not the operating expense. If your energy costs are extravagant, you'd be better off with a Metal Halide system. But it would take a long, long time to recover the cost of a MH system with the energy savings you'd see.
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Old 12-18-2002, 03:51 AM   #105
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Well, its done! Two strip lights with 15" bulbs hooked up in series and ODNO 4X. You were right Sam, they are brighter! The plants will tell us the story now, they ought to be thrilled. The plants in the bottom of the hex will recieve more light now. Maybe now I will be able to get some pix of that tank. :hehe:
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