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Old 10-19-2007, 01:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

I have a 10 gallon tank I plan to experiment with, first with a non-CO2 approach. But, the light is a single tube 17 watt fluorescent bulb. This could be enough, but it might not be, and the bulb is buried in a narrow white plastic slot - no reflector to speak of. So, as a fun project I am modifying it to use two spiral CFL bulbs, first two 15 watt bulbs, 6500 K. And, I am putting in a DIY reflector. First, the Perfecto Hood:

and its removable light fixture:



Notice that the light uses a starter and a magnetic ballast.

I removed the light parts, which involves unscrewing 4 screws and cutting the wires:


Then to the hardware store for parts: the sockets, ceramic ones to best resist any heat, a package of threaded nipples and matching nuts, and the bulbs:



A lot of studying of the housing, how it was shaped and how the bulbs would fit inside, and a lot of sketches, and I decided I needed a 6 inch by 14 inch piece of aluminum sheet, so I went back to the hardware store for that, then marked it for cutting and used tin snips to cut it:



The first photo shows the surface of the aluminum sheet before I started trying to make a mirror finish on it. The second, the opposite side, shows it after using 220 grit sandpaper, followed by fine grit coated cleaning pads, followed by #0000 steel wool equivalent polishing pads, rubbing with toothpaste, and using commercial metal polish on it. Still not close to being a mirror.
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Old 10-19-2007, 01:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

A trip to Home Depot's tool department led me to buy a cheap hand drill model polishing pad set, with polishing compounds.

After using that to polish the flat metal surfaces as best I could, I bent the mirrors to a crude "parabolic" shape, re-polished the surfaces again, washed it with dish soap and water, and sprayed it with clear spray can lacquer.


The lacquer is now drying, so I started assembling the light.


And, this is where I stand with the project for now. After another couple of hours for the lacquer to dry well I will continue the assembly and continue the reporting.
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Old 10-19-2007, 01:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

Here is the reflector installed, with the bulbs installed to check how much added area of the bulbs can get light into the tank.




You can see from the reflections of the bulbs that considerable more light can be collected this way, but the reflections are far from perfect - maybe a third of the light actually gets reflected. So, the question I need an answer for is: should I use it this way, or add aluminized mylar to the surfaces, and why? I was able to get some very good quality mylar from nokturnalkid and jazzlvr123 that I can use, nice thick stuff, but I'm concerned that so many seem to have found that mylar isn't able to survive well in this application for over a year. So, what should I do?
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Old 10-19-2007, 02:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

when you replaced the pin sockets from the fluorescent did you just connect the two new bulb sockets to the power and ground? with the one starter ballast?
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Old 10-19-2007, 03:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

Those are the energy saver bulbs that go into standard incandescent bulb sockets, with no starter or ballast needed. Both are in the bases of the bulbs. So far I haven't done the electrical connecting, and I don't think I have an wirenuts, so I won't do that until tomorrow. But, first I need to decide about the mylar.
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Old 10-19-2007, 03:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

ok so you took out the starter and ballast all together and just left the a/c plug for the new sockets to connect to.
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Old 10-19-2007, 04:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

Instead of the mylar, would you want to use a regular PC reflector?

AHSupply has the Part 36117 - MIRO 4 Reflector for one 36 watt compact
17.25"L x 4"W x 2"H
Price: $15.99
http://ahsupply.com/mcart/index.cgi?code=3&cat=9

Marine Depot sells a PFO reflector that's similar to the one used with AHSupply's 55w kits. It's 23" long; so it will need to be trimmed. It's $1 cheaper and the shipping may be less too since they are in Anaheim, CA.
Description
23 inch Polished Aluminum Reflector for a single 55 or 65 Watt Bulb
23" L x 3.7" W x 1.4" H
Mirrored Finish
Our Price: $14.99
http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewIt...ct~PF7131.html
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

The light fixture housing has moulded in "towers" where the screws held the original guts in place. Those have to either be used to hold the reflector, or cut off leaving a problem trying to hold the reflector in place. I left them there and bent a zig zag into the reflector to get the reflecting part as far from the bulb centerline as I could. I couldn't easily do that with those pre-made MIRO reflectors. And, my goal was minimum cost or I would just have purchased a 2 X 13 watt AH Supply kit. Besides it is more fun this way.
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppycalif View Post
The light fixture housing has molded in "towers" where the screws held the original guts in place. Those have to either be used to hold the reflector, or cut off leaving a problem trying to hold the reflector in place. I left them there and bent a zig zag into the reflector to get the reflecting part as far from the bulb centerline as I could. I couldn't easily do that with those pre-made MIRO reflectors. And, my goal was minimum cost or I would just have purchased a 2 X 13 watt AH Supply kit. Besides it is more fun this way.
I know that tinkering with things is really right much fun and you really like to do it.

By the way, here's some info. Kim at AHSupply told Fishy_girl at PlantGeek.net that he is not going to be carrying the 1x13w or 2x13w kits any longer. She may of bought one of the last ones that he had in stock. There just isn't enough demand for them, he said. But, he will still be carrying parts for them though. I sent Fishy_girl an unused 2x13w reflector that I've had for a few years. Kim hasn't carried these in a while.
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY Mod for Perfecto 10 gal Light

Dublicate post.
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