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  #1  
Old 09/19/2007, 08:28 PM
Embowe Embowe is offline
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Overdriving T8's or T12's?

I have a question that has been buggin me for some time now...is it possible to wire up some NO T8's or T12's to get enough lumins to keep a good variety of coral...the most demanding I would be keeping would be my anem, and prolly a bubble......I am trying to do a lowbuget 55 tank....a starting with 2 48" shoplights from Home Depot..4 bulbs ...what kind of ballest(s) would I be looking at to overdrive them to the point that it would be worth it...(im out on disability for a while and need a "project" to do..)
  #2  
Old 09/19/2007, 09:05 PM
BeanAnimal BeanAnimal is offline
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You will be MUCH better off just purchasing a T5 retro kit with IceCap SLR reflectors. You will get MUCH more bang for the buck.

A Large portion of light from T12 bulbs is wasted (T8 also). Overdriving gets MORE light in the same SPACE, but lowers overall efficiency. We overdrive becasue we can not get enough T12 lamps over a tank.

T5 bulbs are narrow and lend themselves to narrow SLR reflectors that are very efficient at getting light into the tank. They also allow MANY bulbs to be placed over the tank.
  #3  
Old 09/19/2007, 09:37 PM
oscarsdad608 oscarsdad608 is offline
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I have an ice cap 660 with t12 bulbs that need to be replaced should I consider rewiring and going with t5 bulbs. I wouldn't be able to use more than 4 bulbs would I? So that would mean I would lose watts.
  #4  
Old 09/19/2007, 09:51 PM
BeanAnimal BeanAnimal is offline
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The T5s would still put more light INTO the tank.
  #5  
Old 09/19/2007, 10:29 PM
jasonh jasonh is offline
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Well here's my two cents. T5's are expensive.

First thing I would do is go look at some FW Planted tank stuff. Those guys like to overdrive stuff it seems

My first experiment would be do get a 48" T8 shoplight and hook up 24" bulbs to it. See what happens - you never know

Then maybe see about getting some polished aluminum and making a decent reflector. It seems that's where T5's REALLY have their advantage. Most I've seen on here is T5's don't work well unless they each have their own decent reflector.

Heck I'm tempted to try this myself...I could use a little supplemental lighting for my 20g on the cheap.
  #6  
Old 09/19/2007, 11:52 PM
philagothos philagothos is offline
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The original question is whether it is possible to do run a 55 with overdriven T8/12s. To which the answer is: Yes. But, is it practical considering the options available? Not really. Properly overdriving requires specific ballasts, which are generally not overly cheap. Also, you simply will not get as much light out of overdriven T8/12s as you would out of T5s. Throw in shortened bulb life and greater heat and you end up with a system that was good enough when reefkeeping first started, but it is no longer really viable.

I've got a 55 FW planted with 2 T5s (10k & actinic) over it and it seems brigher than many PC tanks I have seen. I would opt for a Tek Ready-Fit or Tek Retro-Fit (with Icecap reflectors) from Reefgeek. Both are $159 (but you might have a small upgrade fee for Icecap reflectors on the Retro-Fit). A good VHO ballast can easily cost $100, and then there will be bulbs and endcaps to buy.

Jasonh, good luck with the DIY T8 reflector. A well designed T5 reflector is 4-5 times the width of the T5 bulb. Even if you could just supersize a T5 reflector you would end up with a T8 reflector 4-5" wide and it still wouldn't have the benefits of being computer designed.
  #7  
Old 09/20/2007, 08:36 AM
BeanAnimal BeanAnimal is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by jasonh
Well here's my two cents. T5's are expensive.
Not when the big picture is looked at. You get MORE light for less power with the T5s.

Quote:
First thing I would do is go look at some FW Planted tank stuff. Those guys like to overdrive stuff it seems
Nobody said you could not overdrive NO lamps. The point is that they are fat and innefficient. You can get more bang for your buck with T5 bulbs and properly designed reflectors.

Quote:
Then maybe see about getting some polished aluminum and making a decent reflector. It seems that's where T5's REALLY have their advantage. Most I've seen on here is T5's don't work well unless they each have their own decent reflector.
Diying your own reflectors is a 100% waste of time. The SHAPE of the reflector and placement of the bulb is what makes the reflector work. T12 and T8 bulbs DONT work well without individual reflectors either. The problem is that individual reflectors for bulbs of that diameter would be HUGE.

Quote:
Heck I'm tempted to try this myself...I could use a little supplemental lighting for my 20g on the cheap.
Then buy a single T5 and SLR reflector. They are cheap.
  #8  
Old 09/20/2007, 02:34 PM
pjf pjf is offline
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Re: Overdriving T8's or T12's?

Quote:
Originally posted by Embowe
I have a question that has been buggin me for some time now...is it possible to wire up some NO T8's or T12's to get enough lumins to keep a good variety of coral...the most demanding I would be keeping would be my anem, and prolly a bubble......I am trying to do a lowbuget 55 tank....a starting with 2 48" shoplights from Home Depot..4 bulbs ...what kind of ballest(s) would I be looking at to overdrive them to the point that it would be worth it...(im out on disability for a while and need a "project" to do..)
If you want to "overdrive" a T12, all that you have to do is buy a T12-VHO. 4-foot long T12-VHO lamps can be driven to 110 watts. At www.marinedepot.com, you will find kits for both T5-VHO and T12-VHO.

If you want variable lighting from the same bulb, www.naturallighting.com sells dimming ballasts. In fact, they sell T6-HO bulbs that are rated for 32 to 55 watts. I've purchased T6-HO bulbs from this vendor and they do work at lower wattages. I had 4-foot T6-HO bulbs running with 40-watt ballasts. Here are some links:

VHO Kits: http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_Aquari..._subindex.html
Dimming Ballasts: http://www.naturallighting.com/web/shop.php?crn=623
T6-HO (32w-55w): http://www.naturallighting.com/web/shop.php?crn=704

The advantage of standard bi-pin T6 lighting is that it is plug-compatible with T8, T10 & T12 sockets. Beware of non-standard T6 lamps that are simply T5's with T6 endcaps. T5's are about 2 inches shorter than equivalent T6/T8/T10/T12 lamps.
  #9  
Old 09/20/2007, 02:53 PM
barbra barbra is offline
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Overdriving is fine, especially if you are on a budget. Do it with T8, not T12's though. The shop lights at Home depot aren't made they way they used to be when the ODNO DIY articles were published. You have to buy the individual ballasts and end caps and wire the thing up yourself. It is quite easy to do. I have pics of a setup I did if you need to see them.

Truth be told, if I hadn't had so many electrical parts already on hand it would have been cheaper to get a T5 setup. If you figure that I am using 8 ballasts at $25-30 a pop, plus all those endcaps at about $3 a set for the cheapest non-waterproof kind and about $10 a set for the ones you should use you can see that a T5 setup would be a great way to avoid the pains of doing it yourself and getting more light and using less energy for not much more investment.
 

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