I finally got my 36" light mostly built for my 50 breeder. I'm still waiting on the Gro Yo-Yo's and associated hardware to hang it up, as well as deciding on the final solution for hiding all that wiring (one big project box? small conduit boxes and conduit? other?) which will most likely change how power is getting into the light.
Also, I wishfully mounted the rows slightly farther apart than the recommended six inches on-center. I can confirm there is definitely a light gap equivalent to the extra space I left. I'm wishing that this won't be noticeable over the tank given the other conditions of my tank, but if it is, there's plenty of space to mount more lights. Also, blue or blue+white GU10's will be added or substituted for some of the daylight bulbs as budget allows.
Also, it's a lot heavier than I thought once all thirty bulbs are mounted! I need a scale and a LUX meter now!
Frame - $10(free):
The wood frame is part of an old Ikea shoe rack (which they appear not to make anymore, sorry). It's like it was secretly made for mounting GU10 sockets!
Sockets - $0.60/each:
These sockets are from an eBay seller named corolaex
and are the standard GU10 sockets with the 6", 0.75 cross-sectional area (~18 gauge) wiring instead of the shorter, thinner leads (3", 0.50) of my last batch....more convenient to me for wiring....not necessarily superior.
Bulbs - $3.50/each:
Bulbs are from an eBay seller called Dreambestbuy
. They offer the best deal on cool white 3x1w's (other colors and wattages available as well, of course) that I've seen and if the shorter leads aren't an issue their sockets are inexpensive as well. I had one broken bulb and service has been good in relation to that as well. Based on the shipping mailer, I believe these guys are located in Singapore, FWIW. Interestingly, on the Kill-A-Watt meter I'm pulling only 60 watts for all 30 bulbs - 107 Volt-Amps though.
You should plan on getting at least one dead bulb and one or two sockets that are no good on any given order. You might not, but it's a long three week wait for a $5 replacement if you do....do the right thing and have a spare (or few) on hand.
I was unable to get TinyG's burnt-wire method to work on the insulation for any of the wiring I've used (hookup wire, speaker wire and standard Home Depot extension cord) - in each case all I got was charred insulation that was impossible to scrape off. (Seems like maybe this is the correct behavior due to fire code?) While that's definitely the most economical connection method and there must be a trick to getting it to work (different type of wire?), I would suggest just using wire nuts with short jumper wires as needed (get an automatic wire stripper to make this go fast - I love this one
and use it with success, but you can pay more for better
too, and stay away from pliers-types
which will just slow you down) with maybe some strategic use of quick connectors for a clean/strategic way to tap into another wire when needed. I have about $1.00 wrapped up in connectors for 30 bulbs - twenty orange wire nuts and ten quick taps - so it's not a huge additional cost. $12 will get you the connectors and a decent set of automatic wire strippers (as linked) - and it might even be quicker than burning wire and taping. I recommend using stranded wire the same gauge (or more) as the bulb sockets....got mine from Radio Shack...don't recall the price.
More to come as I get this (really) finished and hung!