DIY - Projects & Ideas • 7' Tank Build

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Postby The King Crabb » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:38 pm

SO SO SO sorry about this huge delay, I've been unbelievably busy lately (one of my teachers deleted me from the system, I basically did 3 months of schooling over again). I plan to start the canopy on Thursday, I've already purchased all the wood. I've got some wiring that I found in my house but it looks like just about the most heavy duty wiring in the world, is that a bad thing? I will be getting the sockets soon, I've been shopping for them so I now just what I want. Does it matter where I attach them to the sockets, so long as it's on one of the two dedicated spots for wiring?

I had a bit of an accidental experiment the other day, a lamp fell into my 29G fry tank (don't worry, the fry weren't electrocuted). Amazingly, the lamp still works and the only thing that doesn't is the bulb. So this got me thinking that I might not even need anything covering my 5 CFLs, thoughts on that? If I do need to cover them would a 5"x5" piece of acrylic just under the bulb do the job?
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Postby cantrell00 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:42 pm

The King Crabb wrote:SO SO SO sorry about this huge delay, I've been unbelievably busy lately (one of my teachers deleted me from the system, I basically did 3 months of schooling over again). I plan to start the canopy on Thursday, I've already purchased all the wood. I've got some wiring that I found in my house but it looks like just about the most heavy duty wiring in the world, is that a bad thing? I will be getting the sockets soon, I've been shopping for them so I now just what I want. Does it matter where I attach them to the sockets, so long as it's on one of the two dedicated spots for wiring?


Not cure if I am following you here..

I had a bit of an accidental experiment the other day, a lamp fell into my 29G fry tank (don't worry, the fry weren't electrocuted). Amazingly, the lamp still works and the only thing that doesn't is the bulb. So this got me thinking that I might not even need anything covering my 5 CFLs, thoughts on that? If I do need to cover them would a 5"x5" piece of acrylic just under the bulb do the job?


Will there be glass lids on the tank? Will the canopy be completely enclosed?
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Postby Pizzle » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:27 pm

The King Crab, there is no need to apologize. Work at your own pace. Don't worry about people asking for updates. Post when you feel like it. After all, you are kind enough to share your experience with us. Whatever you share with us is like a gift and we should treat it as such and not expect anything. All that being said, I am looking forward to seeing the finished project because it is such a cool and unique tank.

I don't have any advice on diy lighting.
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Postby Steve C » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:45 pm

Nope I say we tar & feather him! :x :lol: :wink:

Glad to hear the build is still a go, thought maybe something had happened. Nice to see you back again as well.
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Postby The King Crabb » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:03 pm

cantrell00 wrote:
The King Crabb wrote:SO SO SO sorry about this huge delay, I've been unbelievably busy lately (one of my teachers deleted me from the system, I basically did 3 months of schooling over again). I plan to start the canopy on Thursday, I've already purchased all the wood. I've got some wiring that I found in my house but it looks like just about the most heavy duty wiring in the world, is that a bad thing? I will be getting the sockets soon, I've been shopping for them so I now just what I want. Does it matter where I attach them to the sockets, so long as it's on one of the two dedicated spots for wiring?


Not cure if I am following you here..

I had a bit of an accidental experiment the other day, a lamp fell into my 29G fry tank (don't worry, the fry weren't electrocuted). Amazingly, the lamp still works and the only thing that doesn't is the bulb. So this got me thinking that I might not even need anything covering my 5 CFLs, thoughts on that? If I do need to cover them would a 5"x5" piece of acrylic just under the bulb do the job?


Will there be glass lids on the tank? Will the canopy be completely enclosed?



When you look at the sockets there are two screws, correct? And there are two wires, the white one and the black one. Does it matter which screw each color of wire goes on?

And no, there will be no glass lid on top if the tank if I can help it! The price estimation on it was more than the tank so I'm hoping to be able to skip it :lol:
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Postby cantrell00 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:35 pm

The King Crabb wrote:
cantrell00 wrote:
The King Crabb wrote:SO SO SO sorry about this huge delay, I've been unbelievably busy lately (one of my teachers deleted me from the system, I basically did 3 months of schooling over again). I plan to start the canopy on Thursday, I've already purchased all the wood. I've got some wiring that I found in my house but it looks like just about the most heavy duty wiring in the world, is that a bad thing? I will be getting the sockets soon, I've been shopping for them so I now just what I want. Does it matter where I attach them to the sockets, so long as it's on one of the two dedicated spots for wiring?


Not cure if I am following you here..

I had a bit of an accidental experiment the other day, a lamp fell into my 29G fry tank (don't worry, the fry weren't electrocuted). Amazingly, the lamp still works and the only thing that doesn't is the bulb. So this got me thinking that I might not even need anything covering my 5 CFLs, thoughts on that? If I do need to cover them would a 5"x5" piece of acrylic just under the bulb do the job?


Will there be glass lids on the tank? Will the canopy be completely enclosed?



When you look at the sockets there are two screws, correct? And there are two wires, the white one and the black one. Does it matter which screw each color of wire goes on?

And no, there will be no glass lid on top if the tank if I can help it! The price estimation on it was more than the tank so I'm hoping to be able to skip it :lol:


OHHH.. Ok..

It doesn't really matter, no. It would only matter if you were wiring a grounded circuit. If it were grounded, you would have to make sure that the ground wire was attached to the ground prong on the plug end.

The only thing I fear with these lights in the canopy is condensation accumulating in the socket of the lamp. If you have plenty of air circulation in your canopy, it shouldn't be a issue though..
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Postby The King Crabb » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:05 pm

cantrell00 wrote:The only thing I fear with these lights in the canopy is condensation accumulating in the socket of the lamp. If you have plenty of air circulation in your canopy, it shouldn't be a issue though..


Could this help the situation? http://www.lowes.com/pd_158898-1571-201 ... facetInfo=

Or this? http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R ... key=Search

The one at Lowes is weather resistant and the one at Home Depot is weather proof, I'd prefer to get the Home Depot one but I can't find it in the store, would the Lowes one still work with the acrylic condensation guards?

Quick update- The framing is being built! No pictures could be put up yet so I'll put them on later when I have a little more time :)
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Postby vann59 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:22 am

The King Crabb wrote:And no, there will be no glass lid on top if the tank if I can help it! The price estimation on it was more than the tank so I'm hoping to be able to skip it :lol:



If you would like to have lids to keep them from jumping out and slow water loss, I would suggest you get some thin lexan sheeting from a home improvement store. I had some in the garage and used it to make my own lids, and they work great, and are very light and easy to handle. So much better than glass lids. You don't need to make hinges, they lift out very easily, so just attach a grab tab, or cut a finger hole in each one. You can cut lexan with a straight edge and a razor knife (by scoring it repeatedly and breaking on the deep cut line), or use a jigsaw for almost any kind of special cut. It will never break or wear out.
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Postby cantrell00 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:28 am

vann59 wrote:
The King Crabb wrote:And no, there will be no glass lid on top if the tank if I can help it! The price estimation on it was more than the tank so I'm hoping to be able to skip it :lol:



If you would like to have lids to keep them from jumping out and slow water loss, I would suggest you get some thin lexan sheeting from a home improvement store. I had some in the garage and used it to make my own lids, and they work great, and are very light and easy to handle. So much better than glass lids. You don't need to make hinges, they lift out very easily, so just attach a grab tab, or cut a finger hole in each one. You can cut lexan with a straight edge and a razor knife (by scoring it repeatedly and breaking on the deep cut line), or use a jigsaw for almost any kind of special cut. It will never break or wear out.


Did they warp over time? I have considered these for my tanks in my fish room but feared they would warp?
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Postby The King Crabb » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:06 pm

As to wiring the lighting, could anybody draw me a diagram or explain how each wire will connect to each bulb socket, how the wiring then continues, how to end a circuit, and how to make a plug on the end?
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Postby cantrell00 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:40 pm

The King Crabb wrote:As to wiring the lighting, could anybody draw me a diagram or explain how each wire will connect to each bulb socket, how the wiring then continues, how to end a circuit, and how to make a plug on the end?


Ground? 2 wire or 3 wire?

If 2 wire - black & white wire will go to the two wire lugs on the back of the bulb mount and also the two prongs on the plug.

If 3 wire - the green wire will go to the ground lug on the bulb mount and the ground prong on the plug.

You really can't hook it up wrong assuming you keep the ground prong on the plug isolated to the ground lug on the bulb mount.
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Postby vann59 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:15 pm

cantrell00 wrote:
vann59 wrote:
The King Crabb wrote:And no, there will be no glass lid on top if the tank if I can help it! The price estimation on it was more than the tank so I'm hoping to be able to skip it :lol:



If you would like to have lids to keep them from jumping out and slow water loss, I would suggest you get some thin lexan sheeting from a home improvement store. I had some in the garage and used it to make my own lids, and they work great, and are very light and easy to handle. So much better than glass lids. You don't need to make hinges, they lift out very easily, so just attach a grab tab, or cut a finger hole in each one. You can cut lexan with a straight edge and a razor knife (by scoring it repeatedly and breaking on the deep cut line), or use a jigsaw for almost any kind of special cut. It will never break or wear out.


Did they warp over time? I have considered these for my tanks in my fish room but feared they would warp?


I have them under a dual HO t5 fixture, with about an inch or so distance between the light fixture and the lexan lid, and have had no problem. High heat might make a difference though. There is only a very very slight sag from gravity because I have HOB filters and have cut out a large section of the back to allow room for them. If the back was not cut out for the filters there would be no sag at all. My lights do not create high heat though.
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Postby cantrell00 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:36 pm

vann59 wrote:
cantrell00 wrote:
vann59 wrote:
The King Crabb wrote:And no, there will be no glass lid on top if the tank if I can help it! The price estimation on it was more than the tank so I'm hoping to be able to skip it :lol:



If you would like to have lids to keep them from jumping out and slow water loss, I would suggest you get some thin lexan sheeting from a home improvement store. I had some in the garage and used it to make my own lids, and they work great, and are very light and easy to handle. So much better than glass lids. You don't need to make hinges, they lift out very easily, so just attach a grab tab, or cut a finger hole in each one. You can cut lexan with a straight edge and a razor knife (by scoring it repeatedly and breaking on the deep cut line), or use a jigsaw for almost any kind of special cut. It will never break or wear out.


Did they warp over time? I have considered these for my tanks in my fish room but feared they would warp?


I have them under a dual HO t5 fixture, with about an inch or so distance between the light fixture and the lexan lid, and have had no problem. High heat might make a difference though. There is only a very very slight sag from gravity because I have HOB filters and have cut out a large section of the back to allow room for them. If the back was not cut out for the filters there would be no sag at all. My lights do not create high heat though.


Thanks.. My concern actually had more to do with moisture. Acrylic actually absorbs water. maybe Lexan is different.?
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Postby The King Crabb » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:21 am

cantrell00 wrote:Acrylic actually absorbs water.


That may put a damper on my new plan... I did a little research, talked to some physicists, and finally came to terms that I absolutely need to keep the bulbs away from moisture at all angles. My latest hair-brained idea? A glass enclosure, somewhat like a smaller tank around each bulb.

I talked to the glass people, estimation for the piece I need was over $200 (has to be thick) which happens to be more than I've spent on the tank and stand combined. So I'm looking into Home Depot smaller acrylic sheets (which might not work with warping and, apparently, water absorption). They also have Lexan 10"x8" sheets that I'm just now seeing and I don't think that will be a bad idea. I'd guess that for the boxes to work I need a mere 4 sheets, but I'd buy 5 just to be safe. Only one flaw (that I see so far) would be heat. My worry be that the heat would build up in the CFL chambers and warp glass/ burst the bulb; would drilling holes above the bulb into the wood solve that problem?

For you not following too well on the math:

Lexan from glass store: $200
Lexan sheets from Home Depot: $20 (+$5 for silicone)

Should I try out the Lexan boxes? I assume that a 2 coats of exterior paint and 3 coats of polyurethan will be enough to protect the wood as well?

Cantrell00 wrote:You really can't hook it up wrong assuming you keep the ground prong on the plug isolated to the ground lug on the bulb mount.


The wiring does have a ground. I'm not sure where to attach it, the bulbs only have the white and black cords hanging off the back; other than that they're all coated in rubber. To connect a bulb and keep the wiring going, do I just strip that section of wiring and sauter on the wire hanging off the bulb? All wiring will be on the OUTSIDE of the canopy and probably coated in silicone, I'm not taking any chances. How do I attach a plug to the end of the wiring?


As to the canopy - I have stopped working at the frame just in case I absolutely need to buy the $200 Lexan sheet, the framing would be the ideal place to hook that on and I don't want to have to undo some of my handy work just to get an overpriced slab of glass on there.
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Postby quentin8 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:27 am

I am actually using lexan sheets as covers for my 2 smaller tanks They have been in use for almost a year with no flaws. My question is y couldnt you use the lexan to cover the whole tank and then not have to worry as much about moisture getting to the lights or wood? Also I have used acrylic sheets as covers in the past and all i did was flip them over every other month or so to prevent warping and they worked like a charm. It just seems like a lot of trouble making boxes for the bulbs. I would be worried about heat from the bulbs and yellowing being so close to the bulb
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