Installing Ballasts in Hood - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-28-2005, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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Installing Ballasts in Hood

I am designing a hood for my fish tank. My orginal plan was to just screw the 3 ballasts I need to the bottom of the hood at the back. If this was done then the ballasts would be in contact with the wood. I have seen other people here in doing that; although I worry that this is undafe because I read somewhere that ballasts whould be in a metal casing. Is this true? Am I setting myself up for a disaster doing this?

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Michael
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-28-2005, 12:54 AM
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Take two things into consideration: heat and moisture.

No two ballasts are alike, some might get really hot and create a fire hazard when touching wood for a prolonged time. Others merely run a little higher than ambient temperature.

Besides the immediate heat issue, ballasts inside the hood will help to raise the temperature inside the hood which can be detrimental both to the bulbs and to the organisms in your tank, when that heat transfers to the water.

If your tank is not covered with glass covers, moisture escapes and can settle down on your equipment, which MIGHT lead to problems over time.

To me, a good place for ballasts is in the back attached to the hood. That way, they are not visible, heat can easily escape to the environment, convective cooling sort of thing, plus they are easily accessible, don't need remote wiring, and if you have the lift-up kind of hood you appreciate that the weight of the ballasts is in the back.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-28-2005, 12:35 PM
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If there is a scare of thed ballasts touching the wood, then get a few small strips of aluminum and place them between the balasts and the wood. That should be enough to difuse the heat. Could even use them as spacers to bring the ballasts out enough to get some air current underneath them.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-29-2005, 02:37 AM
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My ballasts are mounted on the back of the stand, and then everything is remotely wired from there. My reasoning for this is so I can remove the whole hood, and it's LIGHT!

Cosindering how big these freaking things are, you don't want something tha'ts cumbersome and heavy.

Also it keeps it out of the way and out of sight.


I've never had any charring of the wood they're screwed to either, but I will say that these are twin 40w electronic ballasts.


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-01-2005, 10:03 PM
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you should realistically be fine mounting them directly on the wood surface, I agree with wasser and would mount them on the back of the hood away from moisture.

If you are still worried you can test them or just put some tin flashing (which can be found with roofing supplys in the big box places) under them, unnecessary imo but if it lets you sleep better then do it.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-02-2005, 01:29 PM
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I mount my ballasts in my tank stand. As stated above, it cuts down on weight of the hood. I bought some old flourescent fixtures from a surplus store, gutted them and house the ballasts inside.

Re Lumpyfunk's and Biscuitslayer's comments: you can also use aluminum tape (used to insulate around windows and doors before the trim is installed) and run a ground wire from the tape to your outlet.
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