Ideas for wire and hardware for suspended fixture? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Ideas for wire and hardware for suspended fixture?

Hi all,

I'm finishing up work on a DIY LED fixture (see picture below) and need to figure out how best to actually hang this 15 lb. beast from the ceiling.

For a variety of reasons I am planning to use a four-point attachment system. I already have four good hooks into the ceiling, so I'm not worried about that. On the fixture end, I've drilled four small vertical holes through my fixture housing, two on each side. (You can't really seem them in this picture--they are pretty small.) My plan is to pass the suspension lines through the holes and then attach "something" to the lines where they come out underneath the fixture. That way the fixture rests on the "something" because the "something" can't fit through the little holes. This approach avoids ugly hooks and eyes sticking out of my fixture.

So here's my questions:

1. Has anyone used heavy fishing line instead of thin wire to hang a fixture? Is it problematic for any reason (e.g. stretch over time)?

2. What would work for the "something"? Obviously I could just tie the fishing line/wire to a nut or other object, but I'd like a solution that will make the whole works easily adjustable. Optimally, I'd be able to loosen a screw and then move the cables around. I supose I could just use a small nut and bolt to pinch each line, but surely there is something more appropriate for this purpose..?

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 09:17 PM
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Monofilament fishing line over time hardens and turns brittle (not sure whether it is from exposure to UV or ozone in the air, or whether it is like some plastics that dry out over time by outgassing).
I would hate to see that beauty take a swan dive into the tank.

You might check into something like braided leader or even a very fine aircraft cable. You could put your screw eyes on the inside of the fixture and use a cable clamp to secure the cable to itself once you pass it through the screw eye.


Out of SW reefs after 10 plus years and building a 120g planted tank.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 10:26 PM
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Look into heavy duty gallery hanging systems. Try Jerry's artarama for ideas of what to search for. Gallery hanging manufacturers have all kinds of hangers/supports/etc meant for stainless aircraft cable.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2011, 06:01 AM
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Some nice fat (phat?) bass strings would be what I would use, usually they're stainless steel, have a lump of stainless at one end which would fit under the bulb housing, then for the other end I would go get some thin walled stainless tubing from a model shop, cut into 1/2" long pieces, put one on the wire, make a loop and feed it back through the tube, crimp the tube, cut off the excess "string" and to really overkill it, solder the wire above and below the ferrule (crimped tube).
An alternative to Bass strings would be BMX or mountain bike brake cable, it also has a lump at one end.

Or if you really must go the fishing route go for stainless steel leader wire, I bought some from my local fishing place and they had the ferrules with them in the pack, it just means one loop at each end.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2011, 11:54 AM
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Hey Really liking the light fixture. This is what I used to suspend my lighting and it is amazing it is really strong but still very classy and high end looking. but really cheap... they wire is very very flexible and was very easy to work with. I highly reccomend it. You can run the wire through the small holes you made and then use the cable sleeve on the inside of your fixture to keep the wire from getting back through the hole. You just need standard electricians wire crimpers. anyways just thought I would share.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 12:29 PM
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3/32" cable... sold at HD with rope and chain.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 02:32 PM
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I'm not sure of the exact details of your setup, but if you strung one string through 2 holes it would save you a lot of trouble by the sound of it.

Hang string/wire from one hook
string in one hole
string out a different hole
mount to ceiling hook

This would make adjustments easier as you are only adjusting two points vs 4. I think a steel cable would look better than fishing line while being safer. Just my opinion though.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2011, 03:17 PM
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Posts: 21,015 These are very nice looking and easy to use. I agree with labgeek that a two wire system would be far easier to adjust than a 4 wire system. These have an easy to adjust fitting for changing the length of the hanging wires. The only disadvantage I see to them is that when you hang the light higher, the extra cable dangles on top of the light, but you could solve that by trimming off the excess cable. (Only if you find a way to stop the cable from unraveling when you do so.)

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 12:24 PM
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Tape the cable prior to cutting then solder the cut, that's what I did on cut down brake cable and it works pretty well
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2011, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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For the time being at least, I used basic picture wire in a "U"-shaped rig. That is, the wire hangs from the ceiling hook, passes down through one hole in the fixture, then back up through another one and then goes up to another ceiling hook.

Hoppy, I did buy one of those Y-shaped rigs from rapid LED and liked it, but I wanted a little more safety factor than I'd get from just two ceiling hooks. My fixture weighs almost 20 lbs. I'm aware that my current setup isn't giving me much more security--if one ceiling hook gives up, the wire will pull through and on side of the fixture will fall in the tank...

I think I may go with the 4-point system that Rapid LED sells. It seems very similar to the 2-point in that it has ratcheting grippers that slide on the cable and then grab under tension: 4-wire hanging kit from Rapid LED

A curator I know also mentioned Arakawa hardware--check out their website and you'll see a million ways to hang stuff. I bet this stuff is spendy but it looks good and probably is incredibly reliable. (He works at the National Gallery, so what he's dangling off the end typically costs far more than my house.)

One more note--those of us making LED fixtures obviously have soldering tools on hand. But if you don't, bike stores will give you teeny little metal crimp caps that are designed to cover the ends of brake cables. That would solve your unraveling problem handily.
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