20,800 lumens w/ CFLs in 3 sq ft

j2x

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So, I built this last night after transplanting each of my sprouts into gallon pots.






There are (8) ceramic lamp bases screwed to 2x4s and wired in series. (2) 27w cool white CFLs producing 1300 lumens is screwed into each base through a "Y" adaptor. There are two rows of (4) bases, one foot apart, therefor taking up 3 sq ft. My grow area is a bit larger, and growing, so I figure the 20,800 lumens is actually being divided between around 8 sq ft, so the efficiency is only around 2600 lumens/sq ft.

I am planning on installing reflectors on the sides to take advantage of the otherwise lost lumens, too.

This was more of an exercise in what could be done and not necessarily what should be done. I found some of these:

in my garage (must have been left by the previous owners) and I figure a pair of 2-bulb 4' fixtures would be cheaper, safer, and put out more light.

questions or comments?
 
T

THE BROTHER'S GRUNT

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Looks great man and i bet those little ones are loving ya for the transplant. Them babies are really gonna start taking off in those 1 gallon pots. :aok: I see one thing that i would question. The black plastic. You really should have some flat white painted walls, mylar or some other reflective material. Just a thought my friend. ;)
 

Elephant Man

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j2x said:
So, I built this last night after transplanting each of my sprouts into gallon pots.






There are (8) ceramic lamp bases screwed to 2x4s and wired in series. (2) 27w cool white CFLs producing 1300 lumens is screwed into each base through a "Y" adaptor. There are two rows of (4) bases, one foot apart, therefor taking up 3 sq ft. My grow area is a bit larger, and growing, so I figure the 20,800 lumens is actually being divided between around 8 sq ft, so the efficiency is only around 2600 lumens/sq ft.

I am planning on installing reflectors on the sides to take advantage of the otherwise lost lumens, too.

This was more of an exercise in what could be done and not necessarily what should be done. I found some of these:

in my garage (must have been left by the previous owners) and I figure a pair of 2-bulb 4' fixtures would be cheaper, safer, and put out more light.

questions or comments?
The T12's will be cooler too, since you obviously have some mechanical talent there, when installing the shoplights, it is very easy to 'remote' the ballasts. You can also checkout my grow journal and there are instructions there on how to 'overdrive' them, if you desire. Lookin good so far:aok: .
 

j2x

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Yup, Elephant, I'm definitely planning on remoting the ballasts and overdriving the T-12s.

TBG, I wish I had found the white mylar first, but it looks like I am going to be putting two layers of mylar up there- black on the outside and white on the inside. My local good 'ol Home Depot doesn't carry the white variety.
 

Elephant Man

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j2x said:
Yup, Elephant, I'm definitely planning on remoting the ballasts and overdriving the T-12s.

TBG, I wish I had found the white mylar first, but it looks like I am going to be putting two layers of mylar up there- black on the outside and white on the inside. My local good 'ol Home Depot doesn't carry the white variety.
You will love the overdriven lights, no burn, even if they grow into them overnight. If you have the time, feel free to do a DIY on overdriven flouros, your picture taking skills are much better than mine:eek: , I will assist you in any way possible.

As far as the plastic, I haven't found white poly anywhere but my local hydro shop. If you have a local 'mom and pop' hardware store, they probably won't carry it either, but might be able to order it.
 

j2x

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Thanks. Yeah, I'll make a DIY write-up on overdriving the fluoros- sometime between deadlines, holidays, and a home remodel. ;)
 

j2x

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So, while at HomeDepot this morning picking up mud and tape for my continuing & unrelated sheetrock project I decided to see what they had in terms of 48" fluorescent shop lights. I couldn't believe I picked up two "Instant-On electronic ballast" units rated for either a pair of 32W 48" T-8 or 40W 48" T-12s for $8/unit.

I followed the very informative directions by Jim Haworth at http://www.geocities.com/teeley2/overdrv1.html to overdrive the unit and with only a few wirenuts, a pair of needle-nose pliers, and wire strippers I have a VERY bright 48" fixture that basicly cost my $18. The bulbs are rated at 40W, 4100K temperature, and an "Initial Lumens at 25C" of 3000 & "Mean Lumens at 25C" of 2700. Any idea what I can expect the lumens to be now that it's overdrived? What I read was that the output is 1.7x normal- so I guess the bulbs are putting out about 4600 lumens?

I'll have some pictures up soon.
 

Elephant Man

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j2x said:
So, while at HomeDepot this morning picking up mud and tape for my continuing & unrelated sheetrock project I decided to see what they had in terms of 48" fluorescent shop lights. I couldn't believe I picked up two "Instant-On electronic ballast" units rated for either a pair of 32W 48" T-8 or 40W 48" T-12s for $8/unit.

I followed the very informative directions by Jim Haworth at http://www.geocities.com/teeley2/overdrv1.html to overdrive the unit and with only a few wirenuts, a pair of needle-nose pliers, and wire strippers I have a VERY bright 48" fixture that basicly cost my $18. The bulbs are rated at 40W, 4100K temperature, and an "Initial Lumens at 25C" of 3000 & "Mean Lumens at 25C" of 2700. Any idea what I can expect the lumens to be now that it's overdrived? What I read was that the output is 1.7x normal- so I guess the bulbs are putting out about 4600 lumens?

I'll have some pictures up soon.
Dam good price for electronic ballsts, I paid $18 for my 4 ways.

If the bulbs are 100% overdriven (64 watts per 32w bulb), the figure is around 25%, for 200% overdriven (128 watts per 32w bulb), the figure is around 50%.

Check out this link;)

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/planted-tank-faq/175-cheap-lighting-odno.html
 

Elephant Man

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edit

you have to also consider, if you want close to an exact figure, that a rated lumen on a 4 foot T12 is based on 40 watts, when in fact they will only see 32 watts, multiplied by however many times they are overdriven.

Hope that made sense.
 
S

Stoney Bud

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Jeeeeez, I hate to throw water on such an idea, but here's a couple of things to think about before you "overdrive" any electrical device.

Lights are rated by a combination of factors. The small pieces of ceramic and metal that are contained within the light fixture are manufactured to a safe FIRE standard at the gauge they are.

If, IF, the light overheats for ANY reason, and it doesn't have to have anything to do with what you have done, and the light starts a fire and burns your house down, the Fire Marshall who investigates the fire will discover the "overdrive" and at that moment, you'll have not one cent of insurance coverage and you might be liable for criminal negligence charges.

This overheating happens when electrical devices are "over-driven". An electrical shop is included in the areas that I oversee at my job, and I've seen many examples of lights that have blown into sparks and fire as a result of being wired incorrectly.

Think this method over REAL good before using it. If you accept the fact that you are negating your fire insurance by doing this, AND that if a fire results from it, you might be in jail for doing it, then go for it.

Personally, I'll stay with what the engineers at the place the lights are made have rated the lights for.

I'm not burning down a $200,000 home to save a few dollars on my light bill. Besides, Bubba would have an unfair advantage on me in jail. I'm too old to fight em off.

PLEASE, PLEASE, think this method over real good. Bite the bullet and pay the other 10 bucks a month the right lights cost you.

P.S. One of my talents is as an Electronic Technician. It was 20 years ago, but I still keep up to date on the technology. Call any of the big lighting companies and ask one of their engineers. They'll tell you that I'm exactly on target with what I've said. The call may save your life.
 

Elephant Man

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Definately good advice Stoney, gotta consider this when using non-residential shoplight fixtures indoors too.

Biffdoggie once posted this:

Quote
I had a job for about a day retrofitting lights in that manner in a huge warehouse. They are doing it all across California. The T8s are a lot brighter.
unquote

I am not trying to dismiss any safety concerns, but I am interested how many others besides growers and aquarium owners are doing this.
 
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Stoney Bud

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Elephant Man said:
I am not trying to dismiss any safety concerns, but I am interested how many others besides growers and aquarium owners are doing this.
A quick call to one of the big lighting companies will convince you. Give GE a call and tell them you need to talk to one of their engineers. Explain what you want to do and ask him/her if it's safe to do so.

The answer will be an absolute NO!

Unless....you're already using a device that is rated for this type of wiring.
 

j2x

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Stoney,

I appreciate your concern for safety. Prior to installation I let it run in a safe and observed environment for several hours and afterward didn't notice any hot parts- any heat at all was barely warm. The internal wiring was, I believe, 14 gauge solid-copper wire- which I just used to re-wire some 110v lightswitches and outlets in my house- so my ignorant logic would think that would be sufficient to carry whatever's going through the fixture.

the homeowner's insurance question is a good one, though. You're saying if I modify a commercial light like this it'd void my homeowner's policy, but if I rewire my kitchen outlets with GFCIs, which I have the right to do myself as the homeowner, I'll be ok? If you think so, I think I should condider looking into my policy to see exactly what's covered and what's not.
 
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Stoney Bud

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j2x said:
Stoney,

I appreciate your concern for safety. Prior to installation I let it run in a safe and observed environment for several hours and afterward didn't notice any hot parts- any heat at all was barely warm. The internal wiring was, I believe, 14 gauge solid-copper wire- which I just used to re-wire some 110v lightswitches and outlets in my house- so my ignorant logic would think that would be sufficient to carry whatever's going through the fixture.

the homeowner's insurance question is a good one, though. You're saying if I modify a commercial light like this it'd void my homeowner's policy, but if I rewire my kitchen outlets with GFCIs, which I have the right to do myself as the homeowner, I'll be ok? If you think so, I think I should condider looking into my policy to see exactly what's covered and what's not.
Insurance companies are notorious for wiggling out of payment. In Florida, unless you're a State certed electrician, you can't modify anything in your househole electric. If you are certed and apply for a permit, you can. It will be inspected after your finished. I can gaurentee you that your insurance company would try to get out of paying you a dime if alterations in wiring were discovered by a fire inspector. That's how those lowlifes work.
 

Elephant Man

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Just so everyone knows, I have had a good long chew over the information Stoney has provided. I have decided NOT to advise on, or suggest the overdriving of flourescents to anyone anymore. I will continue to use them, but as far as instructing another on how it is done, I will only provide links, this thread being one of them. I am not an electrician.
 
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Stoney Bud

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Elephant Man said:
Just so everyone knows, I have had a good long chew over the information Stoney has provided.
Hey man, insurance companies and I are not friends. I look at them as leeches on society. I would never want anyone to be in a position that they are at the mercy, (yeah, right), of an insurance company.

Safety is my number one concern. I want anyone that does this to know that other things may come into play.

Eman, you are one motivated dude, man! You help a lot of people here.

Good luck to you man!
 

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