Diy Light Fixtures.......... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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Diy Light Fixtures..........

Some of these diy lights scare me, none more then the odno t8's you can cause fires these ballasts get extremely hot under normal conditions.Electrical fires are fast moving extremely hot and extremely dangerous!I'm an electrician this I how I make a living I have exstensive training in the field and I would not overdrive lights or use light fixtures for an applacation other then what there intended for.Rember gfci outlets are not a full proof safe gaurd for diy electrical contraptions.I agree That light fixtures for the hobby are grossly overpriced but youre home and saftey are priceless.Although everyone on this forum is extremely helpfull and friendly do not play with electrical installations please take this serious. There should be a lock on these odno threads.I know the threads have good intensions but I donot think un-qualified people should be giving advice on how to jack up light fixtures.
This is a great forum with great advice but please get rid of the odno light fixtures.

Victor M. I.B.E.W local 98 philadelphia pa.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 03:38 AM
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That's why you take great care when you do so...
People who do it know that they are at a risk of damaging property, equipment, making more heat, etc.

It's almost like overclocking your CPU or GPU... you take a risk. It probably voids your warranty, a stupid move might make you lost a couple hundred of dollars, so you have to be careful.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 04:32 AM
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is my DIY light safe? link..
i plan on doing 2 light sockets with a 13W bulb in each
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 09:38 AM
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ODNO ballasts run no hotter than normal. they actually use less current to overdive 2 bulbs (2x) than they would use to run 4 bulbs at normal output.

as an electrician you must understand that with proper care and attention electricity is nothing to fear. reef keepers, reefer farmers, plant lovers and planted tank lovers have been doing odno for many many years and there is not one known incident of a fire.

threads are locked only for offensiveness, or senselessness.
otherwise, if threads were locked for any other reason we would be negating the purpose of our forum, or even all forums in general, which is bringing people together to share a common experience or knowledge. locking these threads would be stopping the spread of knowledge.

you dont have to try odno if you believe it to be unsafe... you dont even have to read about it either. but neither does anyone else who is opposed to the idea. we dont need to lock threads simply because they represent something that is arguable.... otherwise we wouldnt be left with much.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 12:41 PM
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I've always thought that overdriving was kind of crazy. I used to run T5s on icecap ballasts but found it wasn't worth it. The ballast runs 54watt bulbs at around 80watts. The extra watts:
change the color of the bulb
overheat the bulb, further changing the color
degrade the life of the bulb

So instead of running four bulbs overdriven I just switched to 5 bulbs at their regular output. Cost me an extra $12 but I was able to use a $30 ballast instead of a $120 ballast so maybe I saved money in the long run.

I like running bulbs at the manufacturers specifications. I figure some engineer with far more knowledge of the subject than I figured what wattage worked best and who am I to argue? I've seen plenty of "OMG My tank caught fire thank g-d I was home!" threads. Granted none of them were from overdriving NO bulbs but there's already enough of a risk of fire with our tanks, why add another? To save $2 a bulb? Is that really a good idea?

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fritz View Post
I like running bulbs at the manufacturers specifications. I figure some engineer with far more knowledge of the subject than I figured what wattage worked best and who am I to argue?

I completely agree. My basement almost caught on fire when I was younger because I didn't listen to what the engineers wrote on the bulb. Luckily my family and I were nearby when the fixture started smoking and showering sparks into my snake cage. BTW the snake was not harmed, the light was unplugged and removed immediately.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 01:14 PM
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I agree with the overall point you are trying to make. I think the problems comes in when folks don't understand things like wire gauging--and as you know: that can create problems.


Quote:
Originally Posted by slickvic277 View Post
I know the threads have good intensions but I donot think un-qualified people should be giving advice on how to jack up light fixtures.


Victor M. I.B.E.W local 98 philadelphia pa.

However, I do have an issue or 3 with that statement. The statement is valid, Yes. But the implication is that since you are a union electrician--You are qualified. I can say this:

With all of the odd-ball projects that I've had over the years: A plumber is the last person I would seek advice from about my project plumbing questions. Why? Because they just don't know, ie., they are not qualified. Sure, they know the codes and regs. They can build me a house, but they can't plumb my aquarium and sump. They can't plumb the 5 container setup in my sig. They just know what They do for a living. Many of them don't know squat about flow, flow-rates, etc, etc, etc. But they do know that the code requires 3/4" sch 80 pvc at X grade, blah, blah, blah. Plumber? Sure, but they are not qualified to advise me on the things that I do. They end up looking like cows staring at a passing train. The same look ya get at HD when they finally ask: "What is it your wanting to do?"

Same thing applies to electricians. Most know their codes, but they don't know much of squat about going from 120v to 12v to 7v to 5v to 24v and how to get something to work that requires different low voltages. They know the codes and how to run wire. If I wanted to build an incubator out of a box, a thermostat and a light bulb--I doubt that many electricians could help me. Sadly, I would have to go to an A/C guy.

I guess my point is: There are folks on the net that have already forgotten more about what they are doing--then you will ever know about it. You might think that You are "Qualified" in all-things-electrical--but I really doubt you are.....

Your main-overall point is valid and I agree. But who is "Qualified" and who is not--isn't as simple as "I'm an Electrician......"


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 06:12 PM
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"First, in regards to frequency shift due to overdriving a fluorescent bulb, the light color WILL NOT change. The process is governed by laws of quantum physics, which guarantee that it will not shift color. I will explain.

This is the process that happens, either 60 or 120 times a second with magnetic ballasts, or 22,000 to 45,000 times a second with electronic ballasts. The ballast initially provides a high voltage to the filaments at each end of the fluorescent lamp. When the voltage reaches a critical level, the gas in the tube (mainly argon with a little mercury) suddenly becomes ionized, and current rushes through the tube. “Ionization” means an atom now has more electrons than it normally would contain in its outer shell. In this case, extra electrons have been induced to go racing around the “conduction band” of the mercury atoms to get to the other side of the tube. Sufficient voltage pressure is created by the ballast to force the gas into ionization in the fluorescent tube.


In the process, the electrons in the outer shell of the mercury atoms randomly pick up extra energy and go into a higher sub-orbit that normal. Those electrons then drop back to the original orbit as soon as possible, which releases an EXACT amount of energy (a quantum level) as a photon. That photon will ALWAYS be an exact color frequency based on the atom and it’s outer-shell electron. As far as the mercury atoms go, this will actually be ultra-violet light (UV), and is not the final color output of the lamp.

The actual color that is emitted from the tube is based on the type of phosphors, which coat the inside of the tube. The same process that I just described above is repeated there, at the phosphor coating, when the photons from the mercury atom hit the tube. There the UV photons are absorbed by the phosphor compounds and re-emitted at the SPECIFIC QUANTUM LEVEL, or color, as the phosphors had been designed to emit. The photon(s) emitted cannot possibly violate the energy levels set by nature. More ENERGY (by overdriving) will translate to more LIGHT. In this case, it is just as if you shone more light on an object, and it got brighter, not colored differently."

this was cited from this wonderful article: http://www.geocities.com/teeley2/overdrv1.html

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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expert on all things electrical

First things first I never claimed to be the know all end all in the electrical field.Having said this,electrical shop in high school then a one year course in electrical systems in trade school and a 5 year apprentice program which is equal to an asso. degree with all types of job expierence from small houses to out of the ground sky rises provides me with enough knowhow and education to provide a valid point of view and opionin in this paticular electrical applacation.Second thing is saying that more people probally forget more then I will ever know is completely disregarding what my post was trying to get across.Saftey that was it and stating that no one has ever had a fire from odno or diy light fixtures is just crazy.My intent was to be as helpful as the other members here are.Third thing is its not just heat or over heating that can cause fires, arcing caused by poor connections and splices,equipment and materials being used in a manner other then intended.I have read many many posts on this forum and yes there are lots of very bright and skilled people here but theres also alot of younger kids here also.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 04:34 AM
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Vic,
it is not crazy to say that overdriven fluorescent lights have never burned down houses or killed anyone.

when properly done, it is perfectly safe, in the same sense that having the brakes on your car serviced. if done right it does not pose any additional risks.

i would assume that if someone had no prior experience with electrical connections they would not even bother attempting this no matter how simple it may be. they will just buy a complete fixture.

in comparison, someone without any mechanical experience is unlikely to attempt to change their cars brake pads on their own, but if they have some experience and are confident in their ability to take things apart and put them back together (without having extra screws leftover...) they can probably do this without failure.

the same goes for overdriving fluorescents, it only requires very basic knowledge of electrical stuff , (making sure all connections are secure.)
i think ive been hacking up wires and taking apart radios and speakers and all sorts of stuff since i was about 9 years old so this just comes pretty natural to me.

i was looking at the 400 dollar fixtures when i was beginning to get serious about this hobby when i read about odno. i thought it was a brilliant loophole and it allowed me to spend about 60 dollars at home depot to come up with an awesome 4.6 wpg lighting solution for my 55 gal.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 05:16 AM
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Hi Vic,

Again: I agree with the heart of your original message. The Bulk of my previous post was not aimed at you as personally as it may have seemed. All of your training still doesn't mean that you automatically know as much about the electrical that the hardcore reefers or pc extremist do. Maybe you do--I don't know. But I'm willing to bet that if something interests you--you can catch on pretty quick.

My overall point was that just because someone does something for a living or is a "Professional" at it--doesn't automatically mean that they know much more than the average everyday stuff in their field. Being an electrician, you should personally know how many construction people can't read a ruler/tape! Its sad really, but its reality. Many, many can't.

When it comes to professionals, I try to keep in mind:

Amatures built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.
Amatures steered the ark. Professionals steered the Titanic.


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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evryone made some great points on this topic and mabey suggesting to lock the diy light threads was a jump the gun type thing,I was just trying to stress my point about the dangers involved when electric,water,diy comes togethor.I must admitt some of the diy light fixtures look nicer then some of those overpriced fixtures the lfs sells.Then again I've worked some electricians that I woldnt let screw in a ight bulb in my house!
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 02:06 PM
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Hi Vic,

I'm glad that we seem to be on the same page. I don't know you, but I do know that there are some folks out there that are very, very Good at what they do. And there are many that really don't know much beyond how to make a living. So, who is qualified and who is not is really pretty murky water. Even here in the plant world, there are some "Hobbyist" whose depth of knowledge is amazing and far surpasses that of the average grower/farmer.


Professionals v Amatures? Take online reviews for products: I've learned to follow the amatures. Why? Because many of them do it--because that's what they want to do. Its what they Love. Its what they Enjoy. Its all voluntary. They are into it. They wanna know! The Professionals are subject to being "Bought". No, not directly. But oftentimes--indirectly. They have bills to pay and a living to make. They cannot afford to "upset" a corporation that helps them make their living by something like an honest review on a shatty product. So, oftentimes they end up walking a fine line. Too many "Politics" involved. Why? Well, because the bills need to be paid--short-term and long-term. Whereas some amatures will dig change out of the sofa to keep moving forward! There's 2 totally different sources of motivation invloved.

I recently installed 4x 20amp circuits. I needed to connect directly to my meter box--something that I had never done before. That left me with a couple questions. So, I located an Electrician to answer my questions. Why? Well, because what I needed to know/do fell right within the expected knowledge base of an average electrician. I got my questions answered, ran the circuits. I expect zero issues. I know enough about residential electrical to do it right and understand what is what. Things are fine. Point is: I had an issue that fell into the average everyday stuff of the average everyday electrician--so I went to a "Pro". But since I get into all kinds of odd-ball projects--I don't always have the luxury of being able to seek "Professional" assistance with a reasonable amount of trust/faith.

Check out this thread when you get a chance:

Yes, Another Car Radiator Thread....Major 56K Warning!

and this one for a couple of pix in the first post:

Needing some "Cruncher Down" help......


How many plumbers do you think I could call and say: " this is what I wanna do, but I need you to design it and install it for me."....?

Walking in the door--99% are just not qualified. Sure they could probably get up to speed--at my cost! But they wouldn't have a clue when they first pulled up in the driveway. It would take about 12 secs for that "cows staring at a passing train" look to show up. And the logistics involved are probably a bit more complex than it appears.....

I'm not against "Pros". I've just learned what to expect from where. And, I agree, there are certain subjects where people need to tread lightly when giving out advice. Electrical is one of them. Electrical and water is certainly one of them! But if billyjoejimbob can't follow instructions--the rest of are not going to be able to stop him!





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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2008, 04:14 PM
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Im in the IBEW as well Local 1253
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-04-2008, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fritz View Post
The extra watts:
change the color of the bulb
overheat the bulb, further changing the color
degrade the life of the bulb
Hi fritz,

How much of a color change can one expect and in what period of time?

How much degradation (actual hours of life expectancy) of the bulb will take place as measured against the recommended wattage to drive the bulb? In other words, if the manufacturer states that there 54 watt T 5 bulb will last for X hours if it is run on the recommended size ballast, then if this same bulb is run on an Ice Cap one can expect the life to be...?

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