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Thread: humidifying a plant shelf with internal lighting?

  1. #1
    swords's Avatar
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    humidifying a plant shelf with internal lighting?

    I built a 6 foot tall x 4 ft wide and 2 foot deep wooden plant shelf setup with 3 shelves for my succulents I now want to covert it over to more or less a 3 shelf highland system.

    All I need to do is add a plexiglass lid to the top and plug a new humidification system on it since it's already covered in plastic panda film (black outside reflective white inside). It already gets proper temps as I run the same air input for the succulents as I did for HL Neps years back-pulling air in from the window. I just don't humidify the air for the succulents. Well, now I wanna humidify the air and I'm wondering will it effect the shop light fixtures that are hanging on the middle and lower shelves? Current ambient RH is 20% probably not ideal for Neps, Helis and orchids!

    I will be using a humidistat to shut down the ultrasonic when the air reaches 80% RH so no water should be condensing and dripping. But will they short out or anything in high humidity with fog blustering around them? They are prewired shop lights from the store not one of my own electrical experiments...

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    I've found the need to use car waxes on my T5 reflectors to keep them from dulling from the oxidation.

    If you are using T5's, the increase in temps around the bulbs will lower the RH dramatically in that region. so while it may be 80% around the plants... around the light it will be significantly lower

    T12's or T8's would be another issue... their heating will still help, but you may have to separate the two with a thin layer of glass

    They do make water-proof end caps for aquarium use if you want to roll your own... you can use those then mount the ballast externally for a bullet proof system, but bring your check book

    Otherwise, use them till they die then replace

    either way, be sure everything is on ground fault and everything is properly grounded... just to make it Murphy proof

    Av

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    Lover of Mountains nightsky's Avatar
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    I had a shelf that was 6 ft high, 4 ft wide, 2 ft deep. It was entirely contained by mylar and clear plastic for viewing. It was humidified. I found that I got quite a bit of rust. I think this was due to the small space. Anything near the humidifier spout was subjected to a near constant flow of moist air. So even if I set the humidity low, the lights and shelf close by still rusted.

    I have a much bigger enclosur and no longer have that issue despite keeping the humidity up. I never thought of the car wax thing, great idea! Still, those light fixtures are working fine, but I am using a gfci I found at lowes for about $20.

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    Entwadumela's Avatar
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    Would putting a film of Vaseline work the same as car wax as a water barrier?

    . . .(an hour later) I just did a check on Vaseline as a waterproofing barrier. Its ok, but it does melt a high temps and because it is petroleum base, it will degrade rubber.

    Another suggestion would be ball bearing/hub grease, specifically this one: http://www.wurth.co.uk/catalogue/pdfs/UK-CD_06_0622.pdf It is an autmotive lube that is designed to be waterproof and heat stable. If you can't find this one specifically, ask your local automotive dept. for something similar.

    Good Luck and Good Growing,
    E

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entwadumela View Post
    Would putting a film of Vaseline work the same as car wax as a water barrier?

    . . .(an hour later) I just did a check on Vaseline as a waterproofing barrier. Its ok, but it does melt a high temps and because it is petroleum base, it will degrade rubber.

    Another suggestion would be ball bearing/hub grease, specifically this one: http://www.wurth.co.uk/catalogue/pdfs/UK-CD_06_0622.pdf It is an autmotive lube that is designed to be waterproof and heat stable. If you can't find this one specifically, ask your local automotive dept. for something similar.

    Good Luck and Good Growing,
    E
    My reflectors are 95% efficient (polished aluminum mirrors), I would be afraid that grease would diffuse the light and reduce efficiency.

    The car wax layer is ultra thin.. and so easy, kinda wipe on, wipe off... and done with no visible negative effect on reflectivity

    A grease would be more problematic... plus attract dust etc

    But a white dielectric grease applied to the bulbs contacts might be beneficial, but corrosion at this point has never been an issue for me.

    Automotive finish products are designed to prevent oxidation from sun and weather without decreasing reflectivity, so they are by design a good solution for the problem IMHO

    Av

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input! I don't have any fancy reflectors, just a piece of reflective metal flashing bent and angled down on each striplight. What car wax product do you use on your reflector?

    Is a GFCI different than a surge protector strip? I use a surge protector power strip cos I need all the inputs and then some. Wouldn't it be a beautiful dream to have a self contained 3 shelf highland unit that had only one power cord to run the lights, fans and humidifier/humidistat...

    I actually do have 2 pair of Club Reef 96 W / 6500K Power Compacts that are just a bulb and waterproof endcaps with 8 foot leads but a pair of those (even with the remote ballast) runs much hotter than the T-12s with the new electronic ballasts. I use the PCs on the "somali plant" shelf to simulate the blazing heat. Even with air flow the temps at soil level on that shelf are 15*F higher with2 PC lights on it than the shelf above it which is only lit with 4 t-12s.

    As we know with highlanders it's all about the cool temps day and night. If I converted the shelf I was planning on running the PCs outside and above the lid glass to keep their heat out of the interior picture but still get the use of them on the tallest shelf. That would move both pairs of striplights hanging from chains down inside. They appear to have some kind of water proof gasket around where the cord goes into the housing-which incidentally is on the far side of the air input. Of course that won't mean much with a near continuous swirling fog of ultrasonic mist riding on that air...

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    A ground fault circuit interrupter is totally different then a surge protector. What they basically do is sense any leakage to ground. When detected they "trip" and all current flow stops.

    They typically come in one of 3 forms, a replacement breaker, a replacement outlet and a corded package much like your common surge protector. The corded variant are most commonly found in the construction industry.

    GFCI are now required in most regions of the USA for bathrooms, basement, outside and kitchen outlets.

    When you assemble your rack and lights. Electrically bond everything together with wire. By doing this you have given any leakage current a low resistance path to ground. That way if something does go wrong the current leaks to ground, the ground fault senses the issue and trips.

    Protecting your **** from shock. It only takes one half of one amp to kill.

    Make sense?

    Cold air is also more dense then warm, so put your most HL plants on the bottom shelf and work you way up in temperature range.You will be surprise just how much difference this can make in an enclosed environment.

    Contrary to popular belief hot air does not rise!!!!... but instead gets displaced by the denser cold air :P
    Av

    ---------- Post added at 12:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:10 PM ----------

    AND NEVER, EVER...

    CUT THE GROUND PRONG OFF A CORD!!
    OR USE ONE OF THESE



    They should be illegal but they are not!!

    Av

  8. #8
    swords's Avatar
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    I will look for a power strip type GFCI then cos I need all the plugs.

    I don't know what you mean here though:
    When you assemble your rack and lights. Electrically bond everything together with wire. By doing this you have given any leakage current a low resistance path to ground. That way if something does go wrong the current leaks to ground, the ground fault senses the issue and trips.
    It's all ready up and running since last feb/march it just has no humidification going into it. How do you mean wire everything together? Plug all cords into the one outlet so it's only operating the one circuit with the GFCI? The rack itself I made of 1 x 4 wood and some 24 x 48 sheets for the shelves. It's not metal like so many I see posted online.

    lol I've seen those adapters, never used one cos I thought it looked sort of dangerous. I've always assumed there was a ground on the cord for a reason.

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