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PFL15's DIY Canopy


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Ok, so I've been contemplating a new lighting system for a while now, and finally got the balls to start. It will be the same dual 150W Halides that are over my 29G now, but instead of PCs, it will be running T5s for actinic. It is my first time working with metal, so be nice.


The backboone of the structure. Some stock aluminum I had laying around.



Closeup of how it is hagning in there. I used mostly rivets on the project. The other side is identical.



A bracket that will sit on the T5 reflector rack to support the MH backbone. You'll see!



The T5 reflector setup. Notice the brackets where the MHs will sit.



T5 structure



Basics all together from the top.



Basics all together from the bottom.



The guts.





T5 ballast installed.



T5s wired, fans wired (minus the fans, they will be arriving from NewEgg shortly). You can see the AC adapter I plugged in there for the fans. The T5s and the fans will be wired from the same hot wire. The MHs will be separate.



Sheet aluminum cut to size... It's starting to come together...



Cover made of the same sheet. Since it is .02" thick, it is easy to bend and arcs nicely. I actually cut it with a razor blade and bent it by scribing it with a razor blade. I know there are better ways, but thats all I had around.



As far as I have gotten. 80% of the wiring is done, I am waiting on the fans and I have to do the MH wiring, but most of the rest is done.



I have about $100 of materials into this project, though I know it can be done with less. I made a few bad cuts on the auminum sheet and also remade some brackets to simplify my design. It is actually comming along better than I had expected. Comments, criticisms will be appreciated. Thanks guys.

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Ok, so I got the fans hooked up, and one side is covered. Good news is all I have to do now is wire the switches, cover up the last side, and put on the splashguard.


Bad news, I just started a summer class and it will proably take up all of my time.


I will try to keep updated pics.

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I did a little work throughout the week, so I figured I'd get some pictures up for you guys.


Here is a pic of the end of the fixture.



This is a pic of the template of other side of the fixture. This side will have switches to control the T5s and fans. Tou can see where I cut extra for tabs to be bent into the sides for a tight fit. I did alot of guesswork here, and it really paid off, both sides fit perfectly.


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Ha, I wish I had the time to do some, but it is kinda expensive and very time consuming. I learned alot though, and if I had to do it again it would look much nicer.


Update: I had some faulty wiring I had to redo yesterday and the fans were rubbing on the metal, so I had to switch them around. Almost ready for painting though!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok, so it's been a little while, but I have been steadily working on this thing, and I am almost done! I have about $150 into this project so far. Here's some updated pics:


The bottom of the canopy slides in via some bent metal grooves I made. The top part is not painted yet.



The grooves I am talking about:



Pretty much done for the most part:



This is how I plan on hanging it: I have steel wire with pulleys. I made loops at the end of the wire so I can pull it and hook it onto a hook, thus raising the canopy for maintainence, etc.



And the whole thing right now, showing the hanging system.



Should be done by the end of the week, but I was looking at my MH bulbs and they aren't lookin' good, so I might have to buy new ones.

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Yea, but that's just materials. I already had the bubls, ballasts for the MH, and AC adapter and such. If you were to do this yourself you'd probably break even, or maybe save like $5.


Edit: Thanks guys

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Yea, but that's just materials. I already had the bubls, ballasts for the MH, and AC adapter and such. If you were to do this yourself you'd probably break even, or maybe save like $5.


Edit: Thanks guys


Ah, yes, therein lies the rub.

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...So I just dropped it. It's ready to be hung, and I dropped it. I hit the corner on the doorway (typical of me) and it fell.


A reflector is bent, and the back is a little kinked for absorbing the fall, but after another coat of paint it should be OK.

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So after a little TLC, I put an new coat of paint on, making this like the 4th or 5th coat, plus 2 coats of primer. It looks pretty good right now, I was gonna hang it today, but now I have to wait for the paint to dry again...



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stoney waters



To me its not about the money saved or spent. I wouldn't get the same satisfaction if I got an Aqua Medic for free. I think... :unsure:

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So it took me a month of planning, and 2 months to finish it, but here it is: the finished product!


Just leveling it before it hangs on its own:



And all done, MH and T5s on. Man, the T5s by themselves are bright enough for my tank!




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this has to be one of the best DIY lighting systems EVER!

I'm going to try this for my 75g, I'll try to use wood and the cover it with aluminum

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