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Aquarium Lighting



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 8th 04, 10:15 PM
Hound
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Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting

Quoted from a website: (refering to a Power Compact Flo set-up)

Our DIY systems include one ballast for every two lamps, thus creating
a great way to implement dawn & dusk simulation.

My question is if that is correct? I am currently looking to
build/purchase a 36" PCF that utilizes 2-55w bulbs. I plan on having
live plants and want to simulate dawn and dusk by having one come on
just before the other and vice versa and the end off the day. Can I
control each bulb or do I need more than one ballast to do this?
Aquarist resurrected
  #2  
Old June 9th 04, 02:21 PM
Harry Muscle
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Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting

"Hound" wrote in message
om...
Quoted from a website: (refering to a Power Compact Flo set-up)

Our DIY systems include one ballast for every two lamps, thus creating
a great way to implement dawn & dusk simulation.

My question is if that is correct? I am currently looking to
build/purchase a 36" PCF that utilizes 2-55w bulbs. I plan on having
live plants and want to simulate dawn and dusk by having one come on
just before the other and vice versa and the end off the day. Can I
control each bulb or do I need more than one ballast to do this?
Aquarist resurrected


From a technical point of view, it is possible to control each bulb
separately, if you have the correct ballast, however, it is way way cheaper
to just get two ballasts to do the job.

Harry


  #3  
Old June 9th 04, 11:29 PM
The Outcaste
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Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting

On Wed, 9 Jun 2004 09:21:41 -0400, "Harry Muscle"
bubbled forth the following:

"Hound" wrote in message
. com...
Quoted from a website: (refering to a Power Compact Flo set-up)

Our DIY systems include one ballast for every two lamps, thus creating
a great way to implement dawn & dusk simulation.

My question is if that is correct? I am currently looking to
build/purchase a 36" PCF that utilizes 2-55w bulbs. I plan on having
live plants and want to simulate dawn and dusk by having one come on
just before the other and vice versa and the end off the day. Can I
control each bulb or do I need more than one ballast to do this?
Aquarist resurrected


From a technical point of view, it is possible to control each bulb
separately, if you have the correct ballast, however, it is way way cheaper
to just get two ballasts to do the job.

Harry

I haven't checked prices, but perhaps 1 dimming ballast would be
cheaper than 2 regular ballasts. I've seen 2 types, ones that work off
of standard 120 V dimming controls, and ones that use a 0-10V control
signal. Of course automating this would add some more expense.

Does anyone have any experience with this, and/or sources for
controllers?

Jerry
  #4  
Old June 10th 04, 02:55 PM
Harry Muscle
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting

"The Outcaste" wrote in message
...
On Wed, 9 Jun 2004 09:21:41 -0400, "Harry Muscle"
bubbled forth the following:

"Hound" wrote in message
. com...
Quoted from a website: (refering to a Power Compact Flo set-up)

Our DIY systems include one ballast for every two lamps, thus creating
a great way to implement dawn & dusk simulation.

My question is if that is correct? I am currently looking to
build/purchase a 36" PCF that utilizes 2-55w bulbs. I plan on having
live plants and want to simulate dawn and dusk by having one come on
just before the other and vice versa and the end off the day. Can I
control each bulb or do I need more than one ballast to do this?
Aquarist resurrected


From a technical point of view, it is possible to control each bulb
separately, if you have the correct ballast, however, it is way way

cheaper
to just get two ballasts to do the job.

Harry

I haven't checked prices, but perhaps 1 dimming ballast would be
cheaper than 2 regular ballasts. I've seen 2 types, ones that work off
of standard 120 V dimming controls, and ones that use a 0-10V control
signal. Of course automating this would add some more expense.

Does anyone have any experience with this, and/or sources for
controllers?

Jerry


I've looked into this quite a bit about a year ago, and came to the
conclusion that it's easier and cheaper to just go with two normal ballasts.
The biggest problem with the dimming ballast wasn't the cost of the
ballasts, but the cost of automating it, since there isn't really a simply
solution for it.

The route that I took is two ballasts, connected to one bulb each, plus a 3
foot rope light. So in the morning, the light rope comes on first, which is
a nice low light wake up for the fish, then a couple minutes later the first
bulb, and then later the second.

Harry


  #5  
Old June 10th 04, 06:53 PM
Hound
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting

The Outcaste wrote in message . ..
On Wed, 9 Jun 2004 09:21:41 -0400, "Harry Muscle"
bubbled forth the following:

"Hound" wrote in message
. com...
Quoted from a website: (refering to a Power Compact Flo set-up)

Our DIY systems include one ballast for every two lamps, thus creating
a great way to implement dawn & dusk simulation.

My question is if that is correct? I am currently looking to
build/purchase a 36" PCF that utilizes 2-55w bulbs. I plan on having
live plants and want to simulate dawn and dusk by having one come on
just before the other and vice versa and the end off the day. Can I
control each bulb or do I need more than one ballast to do this?
Aquarist resurrected


From a technical point of view, it is possible to control each bulb
separately, if you have the correct ballast, however, it is way way cheaper
to just get two ballasts to do the job.

Harry

I haven't checked prices, but perhaps 1 dimming ballast would be
cheaper than 2 regular ballasts. I've seen 2 types, ones that work off
of standard 120 V dimming controls, and ones that use a 0-10V control
signal. Of course automating this would add some more expense.

Does anyone have any experience with this, and/or sources for
controllers?

Jerry



Thanks guys... a DIY setup is what I'll be doing now for sure. Was
concerned about dusk and dawn capabilities but from what i can tell
its more or less for my pleasure.. the plants don't care. Gonna do a
single 96w PC and maybe and additional NO if needed
  #6  
Old June 10th 04, 07:30 PM
Harry Muscle
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting

"Hound" wrote in message
om...
The Outcaste wrote in message

. ..
On Wed, 9 Jun 2004 09:21:41 -0400, "Harry Muscle"
bubbled forth the following:

"Hound" wrote in message
. com...
Quoted from a website: (refering to a Power Compact Flo set-up)

Our DIY systems include one ballast for every two lamps, thus

creating
a great way to implement dawn & dusk simulation.

My question is if that is correct? I am currently looking to
build/purchase a 36" PCF that utilizes 2-55w bulbs. I plan on having
live plants and want to simulate dawn and dusk by having one come on
just before the other and vice versa and the end off the day. Can I
control each bulb or do I need more than one ballast to do this?
Aquarist resurrected

From a technical point of view, it is possible to control each bulb
separately, if you have the correct ballast, however, it is way way

cheaper
to just get two ballasts to do the job.

Harry

I haven't checked prices, but perhaps 1 dimming ballast would be
cheaper than 2 regular ballasts. I've seen 2 types, ones that work off
of standard 120 V dimming controls, and ones that use a 0-10V control
signal. Of course automating this would add some more expense.

Does anyone have any experience with this, and/or sources for
controllers?

Jerry



Thanks guys... a DIY setup is what I'll be doing now for sure. Was
concerned about dusk and dawn capabilities but from what i can tell
its more or less for my pleasure.. the plants don't care. Gonna do a
single 96w PC and maybe and additional NO if needed


The plants don't care, but the fish do. They have no eye lids, so a sudden
burst of light is stressful for them, so is sudden darkness.

Harry


  #7  
Old June 11th 04, 06:07 AM
The Outcaste
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting

On Thu, 10 Jun 2004 09:55:40 -0400, "Harry Muscle"
bubbled forth the following:

"The Outcaste" wrote in message
.. .
On Wed, 9 Jun 2004 09:21:41 -0400, "Harry Muscle"
bubbled forth the following:

"Hound" wrote in message
. com...
Quoted from a website: (refering to a Power Compact Flo set-up)

Our DIY systems include one ballast for every two lamps, thus creating
a great way to implement dawn & dusk simulation.

My question is if that is correct? I am currently looking to
build/purchase a 36" PCF that utilizes 2-55w bulbs. I plan on having
live plants and want to simulate dawn and dusk by having one come on
just before the other and vice versa and the end off the day. Can I
control each bulb or do I need more than one ballast to do this?
Aquarist resurrected

From a technical point of view, it is possible to control each bulb
separately, if you have the correct ballast, however, it is way way

cheaper
to just get two ballasts to do the job.

Harry

I haven't checked prices, but perhaps 1 dimming ballast would be
cheaper than 2 regular ballasts. I've seen 2 types, ones that work off
of standard 120 V dimming controls, and ones that use a 0-10V control
signal. Of course automating this would add some more expense.

Does anyone have any experience with this, and/or sources for
controllers?

Jerry


I've looked into this quite a bit about a year ago, and came to the
conclusion that it's easier and cheaper to just go with two normal ballasts.
The biggest problem with the dimming ballast wasn't the cost of the
ballasts, but the cost of automating it, since there isn't really a simply
solution for it.

The route that I took is two ballasts, connected to one bulb each, plus a 3
foot rope light. So in the morning, the light rope comes on first, which is
a nice low light wake up for the fish, then a couple minutes later the first
bulb, and then later the second.

Harry

Did some looking today and have to agree with you. The controllers I
found were for commercial use. Some of the home automation systems
would work, as they do have dimming modules, but you'd have to invest
in the controller, and I'm not sure how programmable they are.

It's be pretty simple (at least for an electronics hobbyist) to build
a controller to plug into the timer you are already using; a 12 VDC
supply, a 16 bit up/down counter, and a Digital-Analog Converter
(DAC). This would allow either a 4.5, 9.1, or 18.2 minute ramp up/down
time. The change in intensity would depend on the resolution of the
DAC. 2 bits would give 4 levels, 8 bit 256 levels. Hardest part would
be the sunset dimming. Have to add a relay and 555 timer to keep power
on for 10-20 minutes after the main timer turned off while the
counters count down.

Another option is to wire the DAC to the parallel port on a PC. I'm
not enough of a Windows programmer to write a program to control it,
but it would be very easy.

Hmm, I sense another project to add to my list...

Jerry
  #8  
Old June 11th 04, 03:47 PM
Hound
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting


The plants don't care, but the fish do. They have no eye lids, so a sudden
burst of light is stressful for them, so is sudden darkness.

Harry


Ahh... alright. I'll do the dual setup then no doubt.
  #9  
Old June 16th 04, 05:47 AM
Matt Davis
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting

On Fri, 11 Jun 2004 05:07:09 +0000, The Outcaste wrote:

snip discussion on sunrise/sunset using dimmers & multiple ballasts

Did some looking today and have to agree with you. The controllers I
found were for commercial use. Some of the home automation systems
would work, as they do have dimming modules, but you'd have to invest
in the controller, and I'm not sure how programmable they are.

It's be pretty simple (at least for an electronics hobbyist) to build
a controller to plug into the timer you are already using; a 12 VDC
supply, a 16 bit up/down counter, and a Digital-Analog Converter
(DAC). This would allow either a 4.5, 9.1, or 18.2 minute ramp up/down
time. The change in intensity would depend on the resolution of the
DAC. 2 bits would give 4 levels, 8 bit 256 levels. Hardest part would
be the sunset dimming. Have to add a relay and 555 timer to keep power
on for 10-20 minutes after the main timer turned off while the
counters count down.

Another option is to wire the DAC to the parallel port on a PC. I'm
not enough of a Windows programmer to write a program to control it,
but it would be very easy.

Hmm, I sense another project to add to my list...

Jerry


I just started doing research for this a bit myself today. I stumbled
across this thread by pure chance. (:::stands up::: Hi everybody. My name
is Matt and I'm an aquarium automation addict.)

I'm finding it hard to get reasonable specs and wiring diagrams from
manufacturers' web sites. They (probably sensibly) assume that you're
going to attach the thing to one of their enormously expensive, centrally
controlled, building-wide control systems. Most of them seem to
consist of, "Just plug our neat digital control computer in here, and
you're done!" What manufacturers were you looking at for this?

As for the timer, I was thinking about a PIC microcontroller rather
than a counter for a more flexible sunrise/sunset cycle. Something that
would start slow and speed up as the "sun" hits the "horizon." With a
proper clock set up, you could theoretically avoid the need for an outside
timer as well. For real flexibility, you could even add a serial port to
change the settings...
  #10  
Old June 16th 04, 07:47 AM
The Outcaste
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Aquarium Lighting

On Tue, 15 Jun 2004 21:47:06 -0700, Matt Davis
bubbled forth the following:

I just started doing research for this a bit myself today. I stumbled
across this thread by pure chance. (:::stands up::: Hi everybody. My name
is Matt and I'm an aquarium automation addict.)

Hi Matt, welcome

I'm finding it hard to get reasonable specs and wiring diagrams from
manufacturers' web sites. They (probably sensibly) assume that you're
going to attach the thing to one of their enormously expensive, centrally
controlled, building-wide control systems. Most of them seem to
consist of, "Just plug our neat digital control computer in here, and
you're done!" What manufacturers were you looking at for this?

Check he
http://www.advancetransformer.com/te...g_Diagrams.pdf

0-10V DC, 0.5 mA (unknown if this is sink or source), the 0 V would be
the lower limit of the dimming range (1%-5% depending on tube type),
not off.

and he
http://www.universalballast.com/lite...g_brochure.pdf

This doc has basic diagrams towards the bottom. Mainly use this to get
the part number of the ballast you are interested in, then get the
data sheet from he
http://www.universalballast.com/prod...t/fl_dimm.html

The only current spec on the control leads I could find is they will
source 200 micro A, but nothing on what they would/could/need to sink,
if anything.

As for the timer, I was thinking about a PIC microcontroller rather
than a counter for a more flexible sunrise/sunset cycle. Something that
would start slow and speed up as the "sun" hits the "horizon." With a
proper clock set up, you could theoretically avoid the need for an outside
timer as well. For real flexibility, you could even add a serial port to
change the settings...


I'd thought about a micro controller, but haven't looked into the cost
of one, especially the cost of the hardware to program one.

I'm also considering using one of my old 486 PC's to do the job. As
they can be picked up for $5-$10, this might be a low cost option.
It's also work as the power supply for the DAC circuit.

I have one that has 3 printer ports, so I could set it up as a print
server as well as to control two sets of aquarium lights, each with
their own program; wouldn't even need a keyboard, mouse, or monitor,
just a network card and then access it via VNC or PC anywhere.

Load it with DOS and write a QBasic program, or load Win95/98 and use
Visual Basic. Just have to spend a day or two to learn enough Visual
Basic to write the program to control the printer ports. Use 1 bit for
on/off, leaving 7 bits to control 128 different light levels. Could
even use the 2nd printer port to control water valves, and simulate
mid-day T-storms, even annual variations.

One other advantage to the dimming ballast is getting longer tube
life. Rather than changing the bulbs every 6 months as is sometimes
recommended, simply add in one more tube than you need, say 5 instead
of 4, and set your max intensity at 80%. As the tubes age, you
gradually increase the intensity to make up for the drop in intensity
as they age. This way you can use them for their full life span of 1-3
years; though with the newer T8 and T5 tubes (at least for CW, WW,
full Daylight tubes. Not sure if this applies to the specialty bulbs
for plants though), it seems they hold their intensity throughout
their life span, after an initial drop in the 1st 100 hours, so this
may not be very useful.

HTH

Jerry

 




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