Cheap & Easy DIY Overdriven NO Flourescents

ecotank

Superstar Fish
Aug 30, 2003
1,379
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Palm Springs, Ca
home.earthlink.net
#1
I found a great deal at my local Lowes store! They had 2 x 40 watt shop lights with electronic ballasts for only $14.00!

So I bought 2 shoplights and only 2 bulbs instead of 4, then took everything apart!

Using the "power end" of both units on the stainless reflector, then soldering the wires so that one bulb is driven per ballast instead of 2 bulbs!

Essentially we now have 2 x 80 watts in the same space of 2 x 40 watts :)

The life expectancy of the bulbs will be a little shorter, not much, but at $3.00 a bulb who cares.

The light produced is fantastic...Not bad to get 160 watts of light for under 35 bucks!!!

I'm going to have to rig the same thing up for the big tank when it's built :D
 

mamba

Large Fish
Jan 6, 2003
173
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44
Pennsylvania
#2
this is interesting .. is there any way you might be able to show like a schematic of how you did this ... i would love to increase my current 48w floresant bulb single hood design with something like what you got
 

catfishmike

Superstar Fish
Oct 22, 2002
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Sin City, again...
#3
wow that was the most simple and user friendly thread on how to overdrive a shoplight i have ever read.i have read a lot of other ways to overdrive but yours makes the most sense.if you could get a few pics of your setup i would like to sticky this.
 

ecotank

Superstar Fish
Aug 30, 2003
1,379
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Palm Springs, Ca
home.earthlink.net
#9
Yes it really works!

And you MUST have an electronic ballast, a magnetic ballast will overload and then you would have problems.

The lights do run a little hotter, but less than VHO's and not so hot that it causes a problem or tank temp problems.

I don't see the ballast in your picture, I'm betting on electronic because magnetic ballasts are pretty big and heavy...but check close to be sure.

FYI...you can even overdrive most bulbs by as much as 3x or 4x! Simply connect a 4 lamp electronic ballast to one lanp and you have a 4x overdriven lamp...bulb life will diminish quite a bit at 4x, but at 2x or 3x you hardly notice the difference.
 

ecotank

Superstar Fish
Aug 30, 2003
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Palm Springs, Ca
home.earthlink.net
#12
I've never tried that but in theory it will work. if the 24" tube is rated at 18w and you put a 30w ballast on it, you should get 30w of light out of it. T8 bulbs are better to use of course in either application. The 18w bulb running on a 30w ballast will have a shorter life than if running on a 18w ballast, but the idea here is for more light cheaply!
 

AndyL

Large Fish
Oct 22, 2002
908
1
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44
Calgary AB
#13
Just a note - 2x od'ing a 40w isn't actually 80w - its closer to 60w. There's a HUGE article on it on theplantedtank.net I think it is. Its explained there why doubling the input doesn't double the output.

Andy
 

Oct 22, 2002
985
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Edmonton
photos.yahoo.com
#15
Sorry I didnt see this post earlier! I have been doing this for also 2 years now.

Andy is right, the output does not increase by a factor of 2x, 3x or 4x.

Perhaps to explain this in a little more detail. Fluorescent lighting was introduced as an alternative to incandescent lighting. Fluorescent lighting is much more efficient than incandescent because the ballast limits the power to the tube. Therefore, because this power is being limited, you increase efficiency and money.

Take note that on ballasts it states that the ambient temperature needs to be xF in order to start. The reason is that a cold tube, similar to a cold car for those who have winters the get below 0C, takes more power (effort) to start but if the ballast is limiting the power, the tube will not be able to start (not enough power to get the phorspurs 'excited' to start to glow).

Now, back to our overdriving. When using 2-4 lamp electronic ballasts connected only to 1 lamp, you are 'bypassing' the efficiency factor and allowing the tube to draw as much power as it is able to. Its as simple as that. The tube will not draw more power than that (simliar to a motor which also will not draw more power than it is designed for). So you dont have to worry about using a 4 lamp ballast exploding a tube or whatever because the tube can not draw more power (you can connect a 6 or 8 lamp ballast (if they made such things) if you want to and it still will not make a difference).

Btw, I have a couple of 4 lamp ballasts connected to 1 lamp with no problems.

I hope that makes sense! ;)
 

Navyblue

Medium Fish
Feb 24, 2004
63
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#16
Hi all,

I have a frame with 18 watts NO, if I would to use MAGNETIC BALLAST rated at 40 watts, will it be able to shine brighter without any form of risk? In fact I often seen light frame sold with a slightly overrated magnetic ballast.

What about PC tube?

Thanks for reading.
 

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