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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This housing is made using roofing flashing and painted black.

The wires go into the flexible "goosneck" support (the white thing on the back of the fixture). The goosneck allows the fixture to be positioned up or down as you like it.

The end caps are basically electrical wires that have been wrapped around the bulb pins and completely covered with silicone.

The front side of this housing is made a little longer than the back side. This prevents glare from the bulb to reach your eyes when you sit in the low couch by the tank.

The housing is extremely light because it only contains the bulb and the reflector for it. That's why the gooseneck can support it. The ballast is under the tank.

Cost of the housing itself is less than $3 ($1 of this is the black spray paint, $2 for 8 ft. of roof flashing). You need a few small screws and nuts, silicone, a cheap desktop lamp that supplies the goosneck ($6-10 in any store):
http://www.ccrane.com/images/medium/brushed-nickel-gooseneck-lamp.jpg

Pictures of the single 48" DIY T5HO housing:
http://picasaweb.google.com/ddasega/48T5HODIYHousing#

This single 54 watt Giesemann Midday bulb allows me to grow Downoi on the bottom of the tank. Too bad I don't take better care of the tank. As you see I let it evaporate quite a bit. But this post is about the cheap DIY housing, not about aquascaping.

--Nikolay
 

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I like the use of the goose neck, that would make for quite the desk lamp.

Another cheap material would be aluminum or pvc rain gutters. They come in black, brown, and white and there are ready made end caps for them. It would probably be somewhere around $15 though.
 

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Niko, that is really a minimalist design, nothing but what is needed to do the job. I really like the gooseneck idea too. It lets you adjust the light intensity quite a bit by raising the height, and that also gives you good access for maintenance. Have you experimented any to see what the maximum height would be? Does it tend to tilt from end to end, or is it so lightweight that the gooseneck easily holds it, as I suspect it is?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hoppy,

I see that you can foresee more issues with the gooseneck than I expected when I was making the whole thing.

The gooseneck is barely capable of supporting the weight of the housing and the bulb/reflector inside. It works fine - you can position the light any way you want and it will stay there. But I think that if I put four 25 cent coins on top of the housing the gooseneck will not be able to support the additional weight.

The gooseneck is too short to allow me to move the light up and down. I can do it but then the light ends up more toward the back of the tank. A longer goosneck should do the job. I actually wanted it as short as possible. Also I wanted it white so it doesn't attract the eye. It's unbelievable how little I notice the gooseneck - it tends to blend with the white wall behind the tank.

With this cheap and short gooseneck I can raise the housing so it's out of the way when I have to work on the tank. I can also tilt the housing if I wanted to. I can also twist it so the bulb points more forward or more to the back. One truly wonderful thing about this housing is that it's so thin (front to back) that actually I do not move it out of the way when I work on the tank (and this is a 12-13 inch wide tank!)

Thi roofing flashing design maybe cheap, but I just spent at least 1-1/2 hours tryhing to figure out if a fiberglass housing is worth making. I work with fiberglass a little and what I see as a problem is the sanding of the product. It will make no sense to spend too much effort getting the entire thing smooth if we the housing is to be both inexpensive and easy to make. But a fiberglass housing is a good idea I think.

--Nikolay
 
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