Spiral bulb DIY - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
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Spiral bulb DIY

I was browsing 1000bulbs.com

This is what I found to make my own lights, am I missing anything or do I have the right items?

I would need two ballast ( not sure if this is right)
http://www.1000bulbs.com/product/363...2S26H1LDK.html

Bulbs
http://www.1000bulbs.com/product/536...EIIS23W64.html

reflectors
http://www.1000bulbs.com/product/1649/EM-R40SR.html

sockets? not sure which ones
http://www.1000bulbs.com/product/62047/SOCK-D98.html
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 09:27 AM
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1. you dont need ballasts for a CFL bulb, they have ballasts built in (the white base of teh bulbs)

2. go to the hardware store and buy all that stuff off the shelf

...you would probably spend $2-3 more by doing that...but its worth it to have it in your hand


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 11:31 AM
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2. go to the hardware store and buy all that stuff off the shelf

...you would probably spend $2-3 more by doing that...but its worth it to have it in your hand
Don't forget the shipping. After that's factored in, it might be cheaper to get something locally.

Using Home Depot, but this stuff can be found in multiples of stores:
Clamp-on work light
Daylight CFL

That all you need. Ballast are built into the base, and the one Nievegirl linked is for a different sort of bulb than these screw-in incandescent replacements.

The light is 23 watts, but pick wattage based on the substrate to lamp distance. See the sticky for input on that decision.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RickRS View Post
Don't forget the shipping. After that's factored in, it might be cheaper to get something locally.

Using Home Depot, but this stuff can be found in multiples of stores:
Clamp-on work light
Daylight CFL

That all you need. Ballast are built into the base, and the one Nievegirl linked is for a different sort of bulb than these screw-in incandescent replacements.

The light is 23 watts, but pick wattage based on the substrate to lamp distance. See the sticky for input on that decision.
Well My Home depots and the OSH do not have 6500k bulbs. I would rather ship than waste gas driving 30 mins in Los Angeles LOL. I will see if there is an Ace hardware but its slim pickings where I live.

Also I can not use those Big brood lights because 4 of them will not fit under my hood. My width is only 20 inches . Those clamp lights are 11 inches diameter each no good for me.

I already had help with , which wattage to buy. ( thanks Hoppy)

So I need help with buying parts. I only need to buy sockets then ? and the reflectors ?
Where does the power cord go or come into play ? This is where I am confused.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 08:34 PM
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My lowes hardware had 13Watt 6500, I can't remember if they had higher wattage 6500s


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 09:04 PM
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Those bases are for mounting on an electrical box of some sort. You'd have to make your own cord or cut one off of another object. There are terminal screws inside that base that allow you to connect the black/white/ground wires. You need to mount them onto something though, which you don't mention. There are also lamp bases that contain the entire connection inside the base. They are usually found at the hardware/DIY store with the switches/plugs/outlets.

With just the parts you list, you can't do much of anything. Add some wire and you can make a lamp that works but is a fire/shock hazard (a pretty serious one since it will be used in close proximity to water.) You need some sort of enclosure for the wiring and something to mount the lights onto if you want to use that type of lamp base; you'd need some way of mounting the other type of lamp base as well, but no enclosure. I see that you mention that 4 of the big lights won't fit under your tank's hood, but I'm not sure what you're including in the word hood.

Oh yeah, and you'll probably want a switch as well if you don't have one.

Wiring something like this isn't hard, but it can be dangerous if you don't do it right. Don't know if you know anyone locally with more wiring experience, but it might be worth asking for a hand. If, as I'm now guessing, you want to take an existing aquarium light hood and modify it for use with additional/higher power lights, you need to consider whether the switch and cord that come with it are adequate for the additional load (they're often rated for ridiculously low power,) and learn how to wire a lamp safely.

ETA: None of the things I'm talking about are exotic or expensive, but they would be necessary to make a safe, functional light.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Those bases are for mounting on an electrical box of some sort. You'd have to make your own cord or cut one off of another object. There are terminal screws inside that base that allow you to connect the black/white/ground wires. 1) You need to mount them onto something though, which you don't mention. There are also lamp bases that contain the entire connection inside the base. They are usually found at the hardware/DIY store with the switches/plugs/outlets.

With just the parts you list, you can't do much of anything. Add some wire and you can make a lamp that works but is a fire/shock hazard (a pretty serious one since it will be used in close proximity to water.) 2) You need some sort of enclosure for the wiring and something to mount the lights onto if you want to use that type of lamp base; you'd need some way of mounting the other type of lamp base as well, but no enclosure.

3) I see that you mention that 4 of the big lights won't fit under your tank's hood, but I'm not sure what you're including in the word hood.


4) Oh yeah, and you'll probably want a switch as well if you don't have one.

Wiring something like this isn't hard, but it can be dangerous if you don't do it right. Don't know if you know anyone locally with more wiring experience, but it might be worth asking for a hand. If, as I'm now guessing, you want to take an existing aquarium light hood and modify it for use with additional/higher power lights, you need to consider whether the switch and cord that come with it are adequate for the additional load (they're often rated for ridiculously low power,) and learn how to wire a lamp safely.

ETA: None of the things I'm talking about are exotic or expensive, but they would be necessary to make a safe, functional light.
1) What are these bases called to mount the bulbs ??????? I need specific terms because if I go to lowes I am not going to know what to look for or even ask someone what I need.

2) what would these enclosures be called or do I have to make them?

3) excuse me, I meant to say canopy those clamp lights with the hood will not fit under my canopy this is why I posted link to the smaller reflectors.

4) what Kind of switch ? a regular light switch ?

Can someone give me a list of what is needed ? AGAIN I HAVE NO CLUE all I am getting is don't buy online and you need this and that but don't have specifics of what I need

I saw this before I posted this thread
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...t-fixture.html

what are the black mounts called ? I see his wires are exposed and this is what is not safe like you stated.

I few more I found with white mounts or bases ?

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1776053
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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You know what I think I will just buy a vanity fixture and just mount that under my canopy and some mylar film if needed

Thanks for all the replies
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nievesgirl View Post
You know what I think I will just buy a vanity fixture and just mount that under my canopy and some mylar film if needed

Thanks for all the replies
Reading your prior post; I know how ya feel.

Buying that vanity is probably the better way to go. That's what I did for my 125 gallon terrarium build here somewhere in this forum. You will still need som wire nuts (connectors) some extention wire to get from the canopy to the outlet. Might I suggest SJ-SJO Cable it has three strands so you can ground your lighting.

The fixture you buy will have a green screw (in all likelyhood) this is where one can attatch the ground (green wire.)

There are a few different ways to set it up. I wish I had taken shots of my set up whi;le doing that part of my canopy. But my design changed 3 times before I built it.

I wish you the best,
Wes

I quit!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 02:13 AM
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Hi Nievesgirl,

Don't distress....you got some good advice above, but I think jasonpatterson is trying to stress safety because he doesn't know what level of expertise you're at with things electrical and he doesn't want to see you get into trouble in the pursuit of your hobby. That being said, the power consumption of 3 low wattage CFLs is trivial, and the cheapest power cord/plug would be sufficient. If you promise not to laugh at me I'll paste you a terrible pic taken with a $5 cell phone, of my DIY light rig. A picture is worth a 1000 words right? I did everything from Loews (Home Depot has the equivalent). I think it cost me a total of $40. I bought the 8.5" clamp lights and a 5' piece of 3/4" PVC for the bar that I cut to 30" length as shown, and about 48" of ornamental black chain. Also a 13' white extension cord that goes up the wall and above the drop ceiling panels, over, and then back down the chain. Took the clamps right off the lamps and suspended them by their cords which I cut to length as needed and then attached the cords to the pipe with clear zip ties. I have a drop ceiling so fastening the chain was simple with ceiling track clips. With a little creativity many things are possible this way. I also spray painted the PVC and the extension cord portion that runs along the chain flat black with Krylon Fusion plastic paint. This stuff is the greatest invention for the aquarist! It can be used on objects in the water too. Totally non toxic once dry.

Out-take: The wires in those lamp sockets are just held in with tiny recessed spring clamps. You can easily remove the wires without damaging them with a safety pin. If you examine them carefully you'll see how they're assembled and should understand which direction you need to push to relieve the tension and allow the wire to slip right out. Then you cut your cord to length, re-strip the wires, twist the ends tightly (I re-solder mine but that's not necessary) and re-insert them into their correct holes. Give the wire a firm but gentle tug to make sure they're seated and the spring clamp is holding, and you're done.

Ok, here's the pic of the tank as I was setting it up. No water yet - brand new install...


Click image for larger version

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I have made several aesthetic adjustments since then, but that is essentially the rig as it is today. This is a 30 gallon tank that is 18" high, and I have the lights practically touching the water, with no top. There are three 13 watt 6500k CFLs in them, and I run pressurized CO2 and a CFS500 canister filter on it. I use dry ferts via the EI system (modified) and Flourish Comprehensive for micronutrients.

Plant growth is vigorous with this set up, and I am quite pleased with it.

I hope this helps a little. Good luck and don't give up!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 03:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nievesgirl View Post
I was browsing 1000bulbs.com
Here's another option for the bulb by Eiko (ColorMaster Digital Imaging Lamps). Read the specs. Camera stores may carry this bulb, but you may pay more. This site sells it for $13.90
http://www.lightbulbemporium.com/eik..._sp50_955k.asp
and one for the reflector
http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=3569157
This reflector is deeper then this bulb is longer meaning no blinding spill and all the light goes into the tank/
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 03:34 AM
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Just to make sure you've done the forum research before deciding on this route, make sure you've read the 2nd PAR sticky in the lighting forum, and specifically post #21.

Lowe's has the basic screw-in CFL's at 6500K under the Bright Effects and Sylvania Micro brands. I have the generic work lamps (a.k.a. brooder lamps) over a 10g and a 20g long tank (2 and 3, respectively). They're pretty short tanks, true, but with 13w CFL's in those lamps, it's absolutely necessary to have CO2 to avoid algae. And 23w bulbs haging directly on top of the tank was an algae nightmare, even with enough CO2 to kill off any fish in the tanks.

Just a reminder that making things complicated isn't always necessary.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 03:48 AM
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That bulb is 9.06" long and 50 watts. She didn't mention what tank size she has, so no idea whether it would be appropriate for her tank, but that bulb will definitely stick out of the bottom of that reflector at any rate. As I recall when I was shopping for these brooder lamps, the Flukers were considered in the mix but their overall dimensions didn't yield any advantage over the stock clamp lamps. It was a frustrating exercise indeed.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by m00se View Post
Don't distress....you got some good advice above, but I think jasonpatterson is trying to stress safety because he doesn't know what level of expertise you're at with things electrical and he doesn't want to see you get into trouble in the pursuit of your hobby.

...

Good luck and don't give up!
Not trying to be mean, but I got a pretty good notion of the level of expertise from his or her original post, and I'll politely call it 'beginner.' I wasn't trying to be too overly concerned with safety or anything, but the things that I listed are basic wiring stuff. I agree entirely with the don't give up part as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nievesgirl View Post
1) What are these bases called to mount the bulbs ??????? I need specific terms because if I go to lowes I am not going to know what to look for or even ask someone what I need.

2) what would these enclosures be called or do I have to make them?

3) excuse me, I meant to say canopy those clamp lights with the hood will not fit under my canopy this is why I posted link to the smaller reflectors.

4) what Kind of switch ? a regular light switch ?

Can someone give me a list of what is needed ? AGAIN I HAVE NO CLUE all I am getting is don't buy online and you need this and that but don't have specifics of what I need

I saw this before I posted this thread
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...t-fixture.html

what are the black mounts called ? I see his wires are exposed and this is what is not safe like you stated.

I few more I found with white mounts or bases ?

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1776053
1. Don't know what it's called. If you wanted to buy what I was talking about, you'd go to a Lowe's or Home Depot, find the aisle with switches and plugs and such and look for a thing to screw lightbulbs into. It looks like someone took the top off of a lamp and is selling it.

2. You could make them, you can buy them, whatever. Basically, it's against electrical code to have an exposed wiring connection because it creates a shock/fire hazard. Whenever two wires are joined, they have to be inside something. That can be a plastic or metal box in a wall, or simply the inside of a lamp. With the lamp base you listed, you should be able to wire the base and then attach it to something (a piece of plastic or metal or wood) such that you couldn't poke your finger in there and get zapped.

3. You can possibly find a clamp on shop light with a removable reflector and replace them with the ones that you like. You'd just have to look around for one that looks easy to disassemble.

4. You could do it with a regular light switch or with any switch capable of handling the power you want to use (also available at any hardware store.) A regular switch would also need to be mounted in a box of some sort.

The black hood that you linked looks kind of cool, I agree, but honestly, I think you'd have to be nuts to wire it that way and leave it over a tank full of water. Any of the spots where you can see bare wire would be live, and if you were to pick that thing up while it was turned on, you'd get zapped. It may actually be up to code even, I'm not 100% sure. That type of socket is super old fashioned, so it might be available for replacement but not current installation, or maybe it's still allowed. I assumed it had connections under the socket for the wiring and that the exposed screws were for mounting, but I assumed wrong.

The other hood has bases with a recess behind the porcelain part that encloses the wiring. Mounting it on the board completes the enclosure I was talking about.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by m00se View Post
Hi Nievesgirl,

Don't distress....you got some good advice above, but I think jasonpatterson is trying to stress safety because he doesn't know what level of expertise you're at with things electrical and he doesn't want to see you get into trouble in the pursuit of your hobby. That being said, the power consumption of 3 low wattage CFLs is trivial, and the cheapest power cord/plug would be sufficient. If you promise not to laugh at me I'll paste you a terrible pic taken with a $5 cell phone, of my DIY light rig. A picture is worth a 1000 words right? I did everything from Loews (Home Depot has the equivalent). I think it cost me a total of $40. I bought the 8.5" clamp lights and a 5' piece of 3/4" PVC for the bar that I cut to 30" length as shown, and about 48" of ornamental black chain. Also a 13' white extension cord that goes up the wall and above the drop ceiling panels, over, and then back down the chain. Took the clamps right off the lamps and suspended them by their cords which I cut to length as needed and then attached the cords to the pipe with clear zip ties. I have a drop ceiling so fastening the chain was simple with ceiling track clips. With a little creativity many things are possible this way. I also spray painted the PVC and the extension cord portion that runs along the chain flat black with Krylon Fusion plastic paint. This stuff is the greatest invention for the aquarist! It can be used on objects in the water too. Totally non toxic once dry.

Out-take: The wires in those lamp sockets are just held in with tiny recessed spring clamps. You can easily remove the wires without damaging them with a safety pin. If you examine them carefully you'll see how they're assembled and should understand which direction you need to push to relieve the tension and allow the wire to slip right out. Then you cut your cord to length, re-strip the wires, twist the ends tightly (I re-solder mine but that's not necessary) and re-insert them into their correct holes. Give the wire a firm but gentle tug to make sure they're seated and the spring clamp is holding, and you're done.

Ok, here's the pic of the tank as I was setting it up. No water yet - brand new install...


Attachment 32906


I have made several aesthetic adjustments since then, but that is essentially the rig as it is today. This is a 30 gallon tank that is 18" high, and I have the lights practically touching the water, with no top. There are three 13 watt 6500k CFLs in them, and I run pressurized CO2 and a CFS500 canister filter on it. I use dry ferts via the EI system (modified) and Flourish Comprehensive for micronutrients.

Plant growth is vigorous with this set up, and I am quite pleased with it.

I hope this helps a little. Good luck and don't give up!
This is a great way to light a tank. With 3-4 of those big reflectors the cost isn't as low as you might want it to be, but it is almost foolproof. Here is another way to hold those lights:

It is just a horizontal board, about 1 x 2 attached to another vertical board, which can also be a 1 x 2, and which is attached to the back of the tank stand.

Hoppy
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