Twin T5 Lighting bar for around 50 quid........!

Behold

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6 Aug 2008
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Basingstoke. Hants
NOTE: Im not responsible for electrocution or injury that may arise from attempting this…… :?

Ok I am a little bored tonight so I thought I would type this up fully as it should have some use for those needed a bit more light.

This is for my 5ft Tank but can be made for any size tank really. My issue was there are few lighting bars that are available for use inside a hooded tank. The RENA bar is only T8 and the arcadia I-Bar is not cheap at nearly 100 quid with no bulbs.

My issue is my tank has a thin cover not a hood so im having to mount using the glass ridges that are built in on the tanks sides to hang my lighting on. This design can be easily modified to fit a proper hood with ease.

The first bonus I found was my RENA T8 bar is 7 inches at the widest point. My T5 bar is only 3.5 Inches wide…. This would mean I COULD put 4 in my tank giving a total of 432 watts…… realistically 3 bars is better as I would not need to remove the light bar to alter/prune my tank.

I was shocked how bright the extra 18Watts per bulb really was…… I burnt my eyes looking at it!

The first thing I sourced was the T5’s. after reading up on this there is many thoughts to the temp to get. The range was between 6700K to 10000K so I visited WF Electricals. There brochure was limited but after they surfed there system there we fount Natural light bulbs colour 880 which have a colour temp of 8000K.

The overall cost was 6 quid for 2 bulbs as they were on offer but normally 5-6 quid each.

The next was the ballast. I got a Osram Cool Running Ballast from eBay. There advertised for about 30 quid delivered but I have just found out if you mail him he will remove the unneeded T5 connectors and charge only 17.50 delivered. (Note you still want the 4 clips and screws)

The next bit was T5 IP64 rated end caps. I found some that cost 10 quid for 2 pair. But since I have found arcadia replacement ones are only 12 quid and look a bit more robust. It will make the bar a little wider but not much.

Finally I went to Wickes an bought a length of waste pipe. The same stuff for sink drainage. It cost 1.50 for a length and the osram ballast fits in with about 1 ml to spare.

You need a plug and some cable long enough to reach from the middle of the light bar to the plug socket when mounted in the hood. (Scrapped Hoovers have a good length of cable)

Finally you will need some Aquarium Silicone (price unknown as I have some. But eBay sell it cheap in the large gun size)

All in all its about 45 quid all in Plus what ever you need to seal the end and mount to either your hood/tank. I had some bits that I had lying around but some blanking caps for the waste pipe could be used.

Im not going to detail the wiring as im not going to be responsible for you all electrocuting yourself but the wiring is on the ballast and not hard to follow. The ballast has push in connectors to wire it up. I tested it on the floor first then started to fit it all together.

Take the waste pipe and cut to length. Remembering on how its to be mounted. I had to make it nearly the full length so it could be clipped on to the tank.

Measure up the T5 tubes lay them central to the cut pipe and mark. Drill a hole both ends inline with each other about 1-2 CM’s further out than the end of the T5 tubes big enough to fit 2 of the end caps wires through.
Feed them through and make them run out of one end of the pipe.

At one end drill a hole for the power. When drilling point the 2 existing holes up as if it’s the top if mounted on a tank and down if mounted in a hood. Make sure you drill it 90 degrees round from the 2 holes on top and pointing to the back of the tank when mounted. Feed in the wire out the same hole as the other wires and wire them all in to the ballast.
As the Ballast is thin there is room above and below the ballast for the wires to run.

Once done make sure the ballast is in the centre. Mark up the 4 lamp clips about ¼ in from the end caps and using the self tapers mount them in to the pipe. Remove and cover the screw and under side of the clip in silicone and refit to make water tight. Clip in the tubes and fit the ends. Tuck in the excess lamp holder wires leaving a little slack to aid replacing the lamps. Silicone the wires and hole to make it water tight.

Finally fit the desired end caps with mountings and seal with silicone to make water tight. (If it fails and need maintaining you will need to cut and reseal)

Leave to dry for 24 hours and then plug in to test. Once tested Fit….. DONE!!!!!

Time Taken about 2 hours of fiddling and checking wiring is right

………………PICTURES………………

Here is the 2 bars i have the rena one is t8 and as you can see is convertibly wider.


and the ends that clip on and power cable to show you how its all fitted.



its not super pretty but is water tight from the 8 months its been in.

The plan is to do another T5 twin in tropical lighting and another twin if i wanted (For moon light!) so i can do staging over the 3 lights from none to tropical to daylight to tropical to moon light to none.

I think of making a bar to hold 4 light with 2 ballasts if i add another so i can turn of the middle two and the outer two rather than in pairs so it is more even lighting when reduced.

Thanks
 

Behold

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Joined
6 Aug 2008
Messages
219
Location
Basingstoke. Hants
Spider Pig said:
Did you see this:
http://www.ukpetsupplies.com/Details.as ... entId=1349

Ballast outside the tank. Comes out a bit cheaper. Got the 39w version.
I did see this when i looked and if you not confident with wiring it is a good option and once you add bulbs and some sort of holder it was not really much cheaper.

32 quid for the ballast
i can get the ballast with connectors for 30 quid anyway with no plug lead.

Pro's of that ballast
The removal of needing a water tight bar.

Cons
It need to be mounted\put in the cabinet
I have a 2ft high tank and the ballast would have to be wall mounted and this was going to be a pain

Im looking at what i can use to mount my lights side by side (E.G 2 each side of the bar) to get 4 in one bar. then work in odd pairs. the outer left with the inner right. this way i can keep an even light from front to back. im looking at keeping my T8's for moonlight as there available in the right spectrum at a ok price.
Thinking of my next bar im thinking i can get 4 bulbs in 7 inches of space
 

Spider Pig

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18 Mar 2008
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141
There's a good length of wire from the endcaps so could reach down to my cabinet (juwel vision 180- 55cm height of aquarium). The tubes can balance on the brace bar using the clips supplied so it doesn't touch the bar. Mine are propped next to the juwel light bar using the reflector. Some people use cable ties to attach to adjacent tubes. It would probably be easier in your set up as you have 3 brace bars so could easily prop the lights on them. Also without the drainpipe would have more space to play with. But always fun to do a bit of DIY. :D
 

Behold

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Joined
6 Aug 2008
Messages
219
Location
Basingstoke. Hants
Spider Pig said:
There's a good length of wire from the endcaps so could reach down to my cabinet (juwel vision 180- 55cm height of aquarium). The tubes can balance on the brace bar using the clips supplied so it doesn't touch the bar. Mine are propped next to the juwel light bar using the reflector. Some people use cable ties to attach to adjacent tubes. It would probably be easier in your set up as you have 3 brace bars so could easily prop the lights on them. Also without the drainpipe would have more space to play with. But always fun to do a bit of DIY. :D
True enough. Im not liking it just on the brace bars loose. but it does mean i could make it up on a flat board with stilts on the brace and the ballast on the opposite side to the board.to optimise the space.... hmm. 1000w tank??? how much light is over kill!!! LOL i would have blind fish!!!

You have me thinking now. a Ladder unit that has 3 long section on it. I dismantal my rena bar and mount the tubes in 2 sections. 2 t5's and a T8 at the front and and the same at the back. width of each bar is only 3 inches. then 3 rungs with stilts across to hold each balast. this would allow ease of maintanace down the front back and middle..... .

Im conccocting a plan....
 

beeky

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21 Aug 2007
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Chippenham, Wiltshire
LondonDragon said:
Its a nice idea, but the price is still high for what it is, I purchased my 4x24w luminaire on ebay for £42. So seems a lot of effort to me hehe
Yes, but think of the satisfaction you'd get having made it yourself! Plus, you can tell everyone who visits the house how you made it! Or would that just be me?
 

Behold

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Joined
6 Aug 2008
Messages
219
Location
Basingstoke. Hants
beeky said:
LondonDragon said:
Its a nice idea, but the price is still high for what it is, I purchased my 4x24w luminaire on ebay for £42. So seems a lot of effort to me hehe
Yes, but think of the satisfaction you'd get having made it yourself! Plus, you can tell everyone who visits the house how you made it! Or would that just be me?
No thats me too. LOL

Thing is 4x24W would need to be altered to fit my tank anyway and would be 16W less in the same solutions.

I understand its not for everyone to make there own bits. but sense of achivement is always a nice thing.
 

Simon D

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22 Sep 2008
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Leicestershire
Brilliant article, not sure I fully understood on the first read, but go the gist of it and will re-read when I put it into practice!

Yes, but think of the satisfaction you'd get having made it yourself! Plus, you can tell everyone who visits the house how you made it! Or would that just be me?


No thats me too. LOL
And me, when the neighbours come round I can bore them silly and they won't stay too long. As for the parents-in-law I'll invite them round and might even make a slide show to fully explain the ins & outs, they won't darken my door again!

Many thanks
 
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