DIY Old School Fluorescent Custom Suggestions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Old School Fluorescent Custom Suggestions

How would you make a fixture to combine the inner workings from 3 old fluorescent fixtures sized for 15 watt, 18", T8 bulbs (You know, the fixtures that are made for 10 gallon aquariums.)?

I want to make a fixture for a 29 gallon tank, using these old parts, as they work and there is no reason to throw them away. Also, I'm not looking to spend money on a new fixture (even though LED is the new thing).

Basically, I want to remove the electronic parts (the ballasts and what not) from the old fixtures and make a new fixture to house the old fixture's electrical parts. The end result would be one fixture that could run 3 light bulbs. It would be great if they all connected to one cord, but I'd be cool with 3 cords coming out of the fixture.

I've replaced a ballast once before, but beyond that I don't know much abut electrics.



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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 11:17 PM
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Here is how I did it: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/20...d-cooling.html

I mounted the lights inside. I put a standard electrical switch and box on the outside. I mounted the starters on the inside and the ballasts on the outside. I should have snapped more pics. But it is kind of like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wcCdAahOwQ

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 11:19 PM
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Hi Acro,

Are you going to use the three old ballasts or are you going to get one larger ballast that can handle all three lamps?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 11:22 PM
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If I can make a recommendation go with one electronic ballast and eliminate the starters.

Edit: I didnt as I wanted to do it on the cheap and I wish now I had.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Seattle and dood!

Thanks for the links, I'm going to have to study those.

I'd like to use the three old ballasts if possible.

Why the regret dood?



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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 11:54 PM
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The old ballasts and starters will require addition wiring that can be eliminated with an electronic ballast. For every ballast there is a connection to the hot wire as you need to run these in parallel and with the electronic there is just one. Same with the starters going to the switch. Your wiring will be much simplified going with a single electronic ballast. I am going to be making some changes to my diy hood and when I do I will be moving to electronic ballast.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 12:37 AM
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Or you can do LEDs. Gut everything out. It'll save you some electrical bills.


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Or you can do LEDs.
I could, but then it would contradict the plans mentioned in my first post.
However, thanks for the thoughts.



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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 02:26 AM
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Hi Acro,

Have you a housing and reflector in mind for this build?

I am guessing your current lights look something like this?

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 02:35 AM
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You can run all three with one main power wire. One thing to keep in mind is the heat 3 ballasts will generate. That heat is the reason I wired mine up outside the hood. My house gets hot, even with air, so I added cooling to this tank and didnt want the excess heat. One thing I am going to do to clean my wiring up is use terminal blocks and eliminate the wire nuts. I will post a pic tomorrow so I can show you what I mean. I like this project. Thumbs up!!

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Hi Acro,

Have you a housing and reflector in mind for this build?

I am guessing your current lights look something like this?
My lights were like that. I was going to take the relector out of the housing and mount that assembly in my canopy. I decided against that because in my case the relectors were screwed into standoffs and would not sit flat in the canopy. I ended up pulling the guts and painting the inside of my canopy white and just mounting everything in the canopy itself.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 03:17 AM
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I used 2 of those on my 10 gal with wooden canopy . I just used the whole white plastic guts of the fixture . I lined the white part with foil like duct tape and put spacers in to level the fixture and it works great . I did have to add a cooling fan , but I have 3 24 inch ones on my 30 long done the same way and no cooling issues .
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 06:20 AM
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I like a bit of heat above my tanks for all the air breathers.

Cape Town, South Africa.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 07:00 PM
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I was wondering how you were coming along with this? here is a pic of mine:


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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 12:25 AM
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I looks like the inside of your hood is flat white. You are actually cutting down on the light reflection by adding the foil "reflectors". I know it's counter-intuitive but flat light will reflect more than the foil.

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How would you make a fixture to combine the inner workings from 3 old fluorescent fixtures sized for 15 watt, 18", T8 bulbs (You know, the fixtures that are made for 10 gallon aquariums.)?

I want to make a fixture for a 29 gallon tank, using these old parts, as they work and there is no reason to throw them away.
Actually, there are several reasons to throw them away but you seem insistent on not going that route.

To make it work you need to remove the "tombstones", the plastic socket that holds the florescent tube. Leave them hooked to the ballast or connect them up the same way after you move them. The inputs (cord side) can 3 b wired together in parallel to one cord. Put the switch on the cord. Mount the tombstones the proper distance apart, mount the ballast.
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Last edited by Kubla; 06-28-2016 at 12:39 AM. Reason: I can't shut up!
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 12:29 AM
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I had read that. I think the wood sucked up enough paint that I lost some reflectivity. The tank looks much brighter after adding the foil. One day I will break down and buy a par meter.

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