The Reef Tank banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I posted this on another forum, but think it could be usfull here. I have posted the pics on this site with my tank build, sorry for the duplicate. I would also like to mention that I did not mention grounding wires. One should run a ground from the wall socket to the box, ballast and the light fixture mount.


I wanted to add more light to my 210g. The tank was originally supplied by 640 watts of diy vho.
The first thing I did was build a light bar. This was to hold both the metal halide and vho bulbs. It was built from two pieces of 1x3 inch pine. One was placed on edge in the middle of the other and then clamped. I then used drywall screws to attach the two. Now I had a beam. I then placed a couple of 3/4x2 inch rails on the ends of the rail, these are used as both slides for the light bar and mount for the vho's. The bar is built to slide back and forward in my canopy. I then took 1 inch tall blocks and attached them to the rail; these are the mounts for the vho sockets. The three 400watt MH reflectors where mounted to the underside of the beam. I made brackets for the moguls from aluminum 1.5X1.5 angle; it was as simple as drilling holes for the mogul screws and wire. Each of the angles where installed with #8 rod nuts, found at Home Depot in the fastener isle, used as 3/4 inch stand offs. The stand offs are located between the reflector and angle bracket. There are two wires on each mogul socket; each is attached to a seperate common extension cord, the cheap $1.99 from Wal-Mart. I cut the socket end off and soldered the exposed wire; I used wire nuts to attach the mogul wire to the extension cord. To fasten the cords to the beam I used a common staple gun. Each of the cords will attach to another cord coming from the ballast. Keep each of the wires in pole make sure that the white wires go to the common side of the extension cord and the black wire goes to the hot side of the extension cord.
Here is the only pic of the light bar.


The ballast and moguls came from 1000bulbs.com.
Here are the links,
MH400/MT - 400 Watt - Multi-Tap - Metal Halide - ISB - Sola Basic E-871-W-411 Light Bulb The ballast
Mogul Base HID Socket Light Bulb The mogul socket

The ballasts are not difficult at all. I will give detail on how to wire them, and then show a pic of my installation.
The ballast must be mounted with the capacitors in a box. Metal is the preferred material, these things get hot. I would also suggest a small fan. cut a hole on both sides of the box, one for vent and the other for the fan. Boxes can be found at Home Depot or for a better selection go to an electrical supply house and ask the guys for a J-Box. One can be had for under $15.00. I mounted the ballast with #8 rod nuts, stand offs, under the ballast and a 3 inch sheet metal screws and nuts. The capacitors come with a band to mount them; I mounted them to one of the screws that hold the ballast to the box. The wiring can be daunting to some, but it is very easy. On the ballast you will find two "com" wires and other wires listed "120V" "208V" "240V" and "277V". You will also find that the capacitor is prewired to the ballast, one wire is coming from the capacitor meant for the mogul. Take another extension cord and cut in half and strip the ends. The end with the plug, connect the "120V" wire to one side and one of the "com" wires to the other. I would recommend that you connect them hot and common side of the cord, just to keep things poled. This cord will go to a 120v wall socket. Back to the light bar, the wires that were black and white, the black wire connects to the wire on the capacitor and the white wire connects to the other "com" wire. Use the other end of the extension cord for this. Now plug the cords from the ballast to the light then plug in the other cord to the wall socket.
You now have a cheap diy 400watt MH.

My setup uses relays to dedicated 15 amp circuits. The ballasts are located on the other side of the wall in my garage. I also mounted my vho ballasts in the garage. The fan in the box is also wired to one of the ballast relays. The canopy fans are wired to the relays that turn on my vho's. The vho's and MH's are wired to timers and switches.
Here are the pics.
The ballast.

I used an old service shut off box. It had a knife switch in it. I gutted the box and painted it, then mounted the ballast. The little black thing on the lower right is a 3 inch 120v fan, another 3 inch hole is cut in the top, above the top ballast. Both fan and hole have finger guards.

This little grey box is the point that the MH, VHO and canopy fans, wires plug into.

Here is a pic of the light in action.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
that is so cool! but it seems hard to do to me...i would have to have like blue prints or something....lol....but still....way cool...electrical stuff scares me to death...affraid i will burn down the house...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I did not spend a bunch of time in the box, I had so much other to do and the door closes.
I am now running the MH's with 240v. Multi tap ballast can be confusing if you have not installed a bunch of them. One of the common wires becomes the second legg for the 240v.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top