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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a 70 watt HQI metal halide pendant that I made for around $70, in this picture I am just holding it over my 75 gallon:



It would probably have been a little brighter but the bulb was brand new and not fully warmed up, I think they break in for a little while and get brighter.

Here are all the parts:



$29.99 BallastWise.com HID E-B DXE70HID1 70W Electronic Ballast

$20.20 Astralux MH 70W DE 8KK Ultra White Bulb

$10 Brinks 300W Halogen Outdoor Floodlight from Walmart

$6 Grounded Power Cord and two extra wire nuts.

For about $70 plus a little extra for shipping, you can make this light. The floodlight comes with 3 wire nuts, so you only need two more. The wiring is very simple, there is a diagram on the ballast, it's pretty self explanatory. The floodlight comes with 300 watt halogen bulb that you throw away, and a 70 watt HQI bulb fits the same socket.



*The wire that is hanging down from the floodlight is for ground, the setup is not grounded in that picture, MAKE SURE TO GROUND THE LIGHTING ENCLOSURE/REFLECTOR/SOCKET AND BALLAST.

Here is the light output shortly after turning it on, I am using a different ballast and the setup is grounded in this pic:



You can remove the reflector and socket, and mount them in a hood or enclosure. You could just hang the floodlight, but it would be kind of industrial looking.

I am using this same kind of bulb over a 60cm (18 gallon) tank and it's the perfect amount of light for that tank. I think that one of these along with one or two compact flourescents would be great over a 3 foot tank, or two of these with CF's for a 4 foot tank. I think that a 96 watt CF with two of these hanging 10" above a 4 foot/120cm tank would be perfect.

***Warning: Use this information at your own risk. I take no responsiblity for any damage and/or injuries that might occur.***
 

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Nice write up! You mention that you were using this setup as the sole lighting source for your 18 gallon tank. Would you describe it as a medium/low tech setup?

Basically how efficient and effective is the setup compared to a CF setup? This sounds like a fun and easy project to do.

-John N.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice write up! You mention that you were using this setup as the sole lighting source for your 18 gallon tank. Would you describe it as a medium/low tech setup?

Basically how efficient and effective is the setup compared to a CF setup? This sounds like a fun and easy project to do.

-John N.
Thanks John. I use the 70W Astralux bulb on my 60cm, but it's an Aqua Medic pendant, and the reflector is very similar to this DIY. I would be using the DIY, except I already had this pendant. The advantage of the DIY is that it uses a silent and more efficient electronic ballast, and it costs less than a third of this. The disadvantage is that it doesn't look as good exposed unless you make a housing for it. I am going to switch from the AM's magnetic ballast (you can hear the fan) to one of the cheap electronic ballasts I used in the DIY.

MH are more efficient (especially with electronic ballasts) and effective than CF. I would definitely consider 70W HQI MH with a decent reflector high light on a 60cm/18 or 20 gallon tank. My HC has pretty much covered the substrate in 3 weeks. I am going to update my "Volcaniscape" thread with pictures of the HC tonight.
 

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Very nice. Thank you for sharing details.
 

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How much does the reflector diffuse the light. I am thinking about setting up a small maybe 7 or 8 gallon tank and want a point source light. I want to hang it far enough away so it doesn't heat the tank too much in the summer. I am guessing since its a flood light that it disperses the light. Are the sockets removable. Could I build a more focused pendant and just put the sockets in it.

I am not worried about too much light I plan on having it pretty far away and a short photo period. I might also try to focus it a little which will undoubtedly cause some light loss.

I just want a pendant lighting for a small probably ada tank and I dont want to pay the ridiculous prices for 70w metal halide light kits on the market and cf's don't direct light very well. Thanks for this diy its really what I was looking for. I was considering halogen bulb but color temps and spectrums kept me from pursuing a point source light until now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How much does the reflector diffuse the light. I am thinking about setting up a small maybe 7 or 8 gallon tank and want a point source light. I want to hang it far enough away so it doesn't heat the tank too much in the summer. I am guessing since its a flood light that it disperses the light. Are the sockets removable. Could I build a more focused pendant and just put the sockets in it.

I am not worried about too much light I plan on having it pretty far away and a short photo period. I might also try to focus it a little which will undoubtedly cause some light loss.

I just want a pendant lighting for a small probably ada tank and I dont want to pay the ridiculous prices for 70w metal halide light kits on the market and cf's don't direct light very well. Thanks for this diy its really what I was looking for. I was considering halogen bulb but color temps and spectrums kept me from pursuing a point source light until now.
That would be a lot of light on an 8 gallon planted tank, but yes, you can take the socket out. I took the reflector and socket out of the housing just to make sure it can be done easily, there are just a couple screws, what you are left with is sort of like this. The main difference is that the metal "bracket" that holds the contacts isn't flat, it has one or two points that go down maybe 3/8" of an inch, so basically the socket unit's profile is a little higher than one you would buy seperately. Hope that makes sense. At $8 or $10 and with availability at most Walmarts, the floodlight is a good deal for the socket alone.
 

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That's a really good idea to use this over a nano tank. But I think the wattage might be too much, are there other alternatives with lower wattage floodlight fixtures for the same producure?

Oh, I see the light but not the ballast anywhere in the final picture. Since it's hanging is the ballast just hanging right above the light or is it enclosed somewhere?

-John N.

-John N.
 

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Can I have the 300 watt halogen? I use them over my range.
Looks like a neat system . Better than the 400 MH pendant I put over one end of my 125gal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's a really good idea to use this over a nano tank. But I think the wattage might be too much, are there other alternatives with lower wattage floodlight fixtures for the same producure?

Oh, I see the light but not the ballast anywhere in the final picture. Since it's hanging is the ballast just hanging right above the light or is it enclosed somewhere?

-John N.

-John N.
70 watt is the lowest wattage of MH used on aquariums.

In the first picture, I am litteraly holding the floodlight with one hand and the ballast with the other. The final picture didn't look as dark on my home PC as it does here at work, but the floodlight is just laying on a table and the ballast is on the table too, just behind it.
 

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I see. I actually meant the first picture with the final product of the light over the tank. How does one hang the ballast and light fixture in a presentable manner over the tank?

My next question is, what about the reflector of the floodlight. As I understand it, they don't offer the best reflection capabilities due to the scatter effect and shape of the reflector. Is more light being wasted than actually used in your opinion/experience?

-John N.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I see. I actually meant the first picture with the final product of the light over the tank. How does one hang the ballast and light fixture in a presentable manner over the tank?

My next question is, what about the reflector of the floodlight. As I understand it, they don't offer the best reflection capabilities due to the scatter effect and shape of the reflector. Is more light being wasted than actually used in your opinion/experience?

-John N.
As far as mounting these lights, there are several options. You can mount the whole unit or just reflector, socket and glass UV shield inside a canopy. You can also make an eclosure to hang above the tank. Basically, just like what you would do for any retrofit kit like AHSupply. Some people have used floodlights like this by just hanging the floodlight itself. There are threads on them that allow them to be easily attached to conduit, they actually are not bad looking, a little industrial looking maybe.

As far as the reflector, I have an Aqua Medic 70W MH pendant and it's reflector isn't that much different that this floodlight. Yes floodlights are made to light up a large area but when they are only a foor or less above the tank it's still very concentrated. I had all the parts to do this for at least 6 months but never got around to putting them together for whatever reason. I actually sold this pendant to a club member the day I put it together (last Sunday), he is going to use it over a 60cm, I'll let you know how it goes, or maybe he will.
 

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Should work, the 300 watt and 500 watt bulbs use the same socket.

I upgraded a couple of 300 watt torcherie lights to 500 watts just by changing the bulb.

Gary
 

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That was my concern - that the sockets were different....apparently not.

Looks like I'll be in business - thanks again for taking the time to spell all this out - I'll let you know how it works...
 

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if anyone who ordered Astralux bulbs can answer me, pls do so :
Did u use singpost to ship the package ?
What metod of shipping did u use and what was the costs of shipping ?
I send them mail, but they recommend SpeedPost Express, that its little expensive (around 60us$):( ?

thanks
 

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I don't see any ANSI numbers on that ballast, or in its literature.

Is this something to worry about? I know ANSI helps simplify picking out a bulb, ballast, and socket that will work together, but in this case that's not really an issue since we know the 3 listed here work fine. The problem is, will this ballast drive an Ushio 70W HQI bulb?

http://www.hellolights.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=397

This particular bulb seems to want an M85 ballast, which amazingly, Hellolights' own 70W MH ballast is not:
http://www.hellolights.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1376

I have no idea what's going on.

--Bucky
 

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What does a ballast do? Does is just turn on the light? How come if you mount one outside, you just wire it into a power cord and plug it in, or just hard wire it into the wall. Do they make small starters like those for flourescent lights.
 

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Lights that use ballasts are electric arcs inside a glass or quartz tube. Electric arcs are very unstable unless there is something in series with them that acts to provide extra voltage when the arc flickers to a longer length, and absorbs voltage when the arc flickers to a short length. So, the simplest ballast is a coil of wire - a magnetic ballast. Electronic ballasts do the same job, and also usually increase the frequency of the voltage being supplied, which makes the ballast smaller and makes it more stable. Almost no lights need a separate starter now.
 
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