DOOH! the perils of DIY lights - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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DOOH! the perils of DIY lights

Well, I was getting pretty frustrated with my 2 bulb T5 lighting project with an Icecap 660 ballast. I checked the wiring diagram and made sure the wires were tight over and over, bulbs seated properly, etc. but it would only light one side for a second (the second bulb would glow at the end) then go out. I even switched the bulbs in case it was a bad bulb, but the same thing happend with the same side lighting and the other not so it wasn't the bulbs. I was saying some pretty choice words and out of desperation I called my 15 year old son to look at the wiring diagram and the wires to see what could possibly be wrong.

Well, after looking at the diagrams he asked..."What model of ballast do you have?"

Well, I guess I was following the wrong page and was trying to wire for a 430 ballast instead of the 660 . Switched the wires and then it fired fine.

I have a science degree too, but I think this is the LAST DIY wiring project I'm going to do!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 09:54 PM
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I'm thinking your son should head all future projects


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 10:23 PM
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I have a science degree too, but I think this is the LAST DIY wiring project I'm going to do!
I have a theory that smart people have difficulty with the simplest of things. By that measure, I must be a genius.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 11:24 PM
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Hehe checked everything twice but the page of the instruction book! But at least it wasnt a broken part and you got it all working now.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 11:36 PM
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Hey, could you post pictures of your diy light fixture and tank. Everything because im trying to make a Diy T5 Light fixture too.

I have a idea how to build it as my dad and i are buying stuff for it right now.

But i want to know how you are gonna hold up your lights, im assuming that you are hanging it? or what?

One month in.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Hey, could you post pictures of your diy light fixture and tank. Everything because im trying to make a Diy T5 Light fixture too.

I have a idea how to build it as my dad and i are buying stuff for it right now.

But i want to know how you are gonna hold up your lights, im assuming that you are hanging it? or what?
LOL, I had to wire a canopy . I kept 2 sets of endcaps for myself to do another tank with 4' bulbs. Found out how to snap in those endcaps too . The little pin thingys were not holding them so I had to use a screwdriver to pop them out a little and hold on to the stand offs. Gee, this project took me how long? Over a year to get the courage and time to start it, and then several days to figure out my screw ups .

Stuff needed, get electrical tape and something to hold the wires to look nice. otherwise you'll have wires sticking out everywhere!

Mines a low watt tank with a little under 2 watts per gallon on a 60 gallon tank with the bulbs being driven by an Icecap 660.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 06:12 PM
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2 T5 bulbs being driven by a 660? For one thing the 660 is overkill, it can drive 16 foot of flourescent lighting. And you would expect to get about 80-85W out of each bulb, so your going to be pushing more like 2.8wpg and if you happen to be also using IceCap SLRs your going to be high tech I'd say, those things are powerfull (both the overdriven T5s and the SLRs). I am running 4 T5 bulbs over each half of my 240g powered by a 660, and I only run all 4 for like half the day. You'll also need to make sure you have good cooling on the bulbs, icecap reccomends fans blowing directly onto the bulbs since they get very hot. Or else their life will be shortened. Good luck.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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2 T5 bulbs being driven by a 660? For one thing the 660 is overkill, it can drive 16 foot of flourescent lighting. And you would expect to get about 80-85W out of each bulb, so your going to be pushing more like 2.8wpg and if you happen to be also using IceCap SLRs your going to be high tech I'd say, those things are powerfull (both the overdriven T5s and the SLRs). I am running 4 T5 bulbs over each half of my 240g powered by a 660, and I only run all 4 for like half the day. You'll also need to make sure you have good cooling on the bulbs, icecap reccomends fans blowing directly onto the bulbs since they get very hot. Or else their life will be shortened. Good luck.
That would be great if I get 2.8 out of it . What length are your 4 bulbs? I talked to the Icecap tech support and they said about 3 bulbs or that it would overdrive my 2. I have a fan ready in case I need it . the whole back of the canopy is open so maybe it'll be fine, but I'm watching it.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 09:34 PM
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Oh yeah, the length will determine the wattage, my 80-85W figure was for 4' T5HO bulbs (well they are actually 46" or something like that). If you have 3' or less then the wattage will be proportionally less. But it should overdrive all fluorescent except VHOs.

I've been running mine for a couple months now just in the open with no fans. I have 4 large computer fans to put in the canopy when I build it but havent yet. The bulbs get hot enough to burn you with a fairly quick touch. i suspect they wont last as long as they should since I dont have the fans running yet. Some folks with poor ventilation experience bulb failures in a matter of weeks-couple months. These ballasts drive the light hard! They are designed to drive 110W VHO bulbs after all.
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