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Thread: The Big Un's

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    swords's Avatar
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    The Big Un's

    I've been working out my wall unit on paper and come across the idea to use 8 ft Fluorescents over the top two 4 ft Vivariums and over the lower two 4 ft GH style terrariums. Certain 8fts have a fantastic lumen output if you check out the specs here:

    http://www.1000bulbs.com/F96T12-Sing...t-Light-bulbs/

    My Home Depot carries the Alto 841 tube (6600 lumens/75 watts) and a couple of the other nice high lumen/full spectrum tubes listed above. The 8 ft fixture is $37.99 and two nice output tubes are $18.99 per pair.

    This brings my whole lighting setup for the four vivariums to apx $160 for four fixtures (two twin tube fixtures per shelf) and apx $80 for bulbs if I don't order them online, which looks like a better deal - but I dunno what shipping would be on a box of 8 footers. Total 8 Ft setup is apx $250 with taxes across the street at HD. Compared with apx $800 for four 6 tube T5 fixtures, bulbs and shipping.

    Using this configuration gives me apx 24,000 lumens per shelf (comparable to a 400W metal halide lumen output) but using only 300 watts per 8 feet compared with apx 30,000 lumens/340 W of T5 for only 4 feet. Not only will startup be 1/4 the cost but my power bill will be drastically reduced and I will not be loosing much in lieu of lumens. And to slap another fixture over each shelf wouldn't cost much should I actually need to go up to 36,000 lumens per shelf.

    Anyway, it's all still in planning but I thought this was pretty cool to find that the big industrial FL bulbs have a pretty darn good output if you have the space to use them.

  2. #2
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    If you can find them locally you might check them with a spectrometer. I'm usually suspicious of lumens, but those numbers seem particularly too-good-to-be-true. I've got to wonder if the extra output comes from a thrifty spectral distribution.
    ~Joe
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    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Swords,

    Few points to consider
    *6600 lumens for a single 8 foot T12 compared to 10,000 lumens for 2 4' T5's, a 44% reduction in energy
    *The t5's have 3x (or more) the bulb life with less then a 5% reduction in output over the life of the bulb
    *T5 are much thinner, increasing reflector efficiency
    *95% reflectors are not usually available in T12 format (remember 60% of the bulb is pointed in the wrong direction)
    *Thinner bulb and 95% reflector can result in up to a 300% gain in usable output
    *6 T5's will fit in the same width as 4 T12's which is double the energy level (based on 4 foot bulbs)

    While the 8 foot T12 are a decent enough option, I think it depends if initial cost is the primary factor. As far as a performance comparison..... well, they are not in the same league mate.

    Just my 2 cents,
    Av

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Av pretty much sums it up. You can't just compare lumen output and leave it at that. Intensity is important if not more important. Aside from all the advantages of a thinner bulb, HO T5 are twice as intense in brightness so they can be further from the plants while still providing enough light on the leaf surface. Metal halide even more so because all that light is coming from a very small bulb.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input guys.

    They do have 110W 8 ft HO tubes as well. Twin tube fixtures for those are $60, though the lumens output are still 6600.

    My interest in these comes as I say not just from the start up cost but also the electric bill. Replacing the tubes once a year is not going to upset my world, been doing it for 10+ years why stop now?

    Indeed building reflectors would be in order for these sorts of fixtures. It won't be 95% but I've done them in the past it's not that hard to make a shop fixture into a rather nice reflective lamp.

    As I say, I'm just batting this around. Plenty of time to work on things.

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Bulb selection can make a noticeable difference in lumens. I used to run Philips Ultralume which is a 4' tube 5000k and 3300 lumens t12. This kind of bulb is not available from a home store though. You have to get them from a lighting supply store. I would consider the HO 8' selections. They do make 8' 110w HO t12 tubes with 6500k and 8900 lumens. I noticed a cool white with the same power at 4100k and 9350 lumens.

    I think 6 of the HO 8' t12 tubes would be quite nice for your set up.

    Another alternative is the 8' HO T8 tubes which only use 86 watts, but with slightly reduced output of around 8000 lumens. They supposedly last 30% longer too. Which considering a HO 8' tube will run you $15-$20 each is something to consider.

    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks Tony, I have plenty of time to work out the lighting but the 8 footers were really attractive being they claim to output twice as much lumens as the regular 4 foots I'm using now. But reducing the ongoing electricity costs and heat (both, particularly in summer) is my prime importance on this whole wall setup since I know will have to run a lot of lights.

    I used a 400W MH over my LL tank years back and even though it was only 400W it cost me twice as much to operate as 400W of Fluorescents (actually 480W of NO T12s), have you any idea why that would be? Shouldn't 400W be 400W? Does the MH ballast also pull power for itself and not just the bulb?

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swords View Post
    Does the MH ballast also pull power for itself and not just the bulb?
    Yes, you're also paying for that heat you feel coming from the ballast... no different then running an electric heater.... still gonna cost you coin

    any heat you feel coming from a light is an inefficiency, now you're next question will be "well since T5's run hotter the T12's, aren't they less efficient?"

    The answer is no,.... the T5 is a higher wattage with a smaller surface area. You have more energy being dissipated by a smaller surface area, hence a hotter surface even though it is more efficient
    Av

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