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Another Way to "Hang" a Light Fixture

Discussion in 'Articles' started by VaughnH, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have been doing a lot of day dreaming about how I will set up the ADA tank I will be getting, sometime in the dim future. One thing I want is an open top, rimless tank, with the light fixture suspended above the tank. But, I'm not entirely happy with the appearance or the convenience of fixtures hung by cables or chains.

    My goals are:
    The fixture hangs over the tank.
    It is easy to raise out of the way for tank maintenance.
    The power cord is very unobtrusive.
    There is minimal light spillage.

    I looked first at using drawer slides as the basis for holding the fixture up, but I couldn't work out a good way to both get working clearance and keep the light shining into the tank, not my eyes, when doing maintenance.

    That led me to consider a parallelogram linkage. Here is the concept:
    [​IMG]

    I was excited enough by the concept that I decided to make a fixture like this for my existing 45 gallon tank. Here is the basic structure I made for that, mounted on a board simulating the wall:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I finished the "hood", which is made of 1/4" hardboard (MDF), by veneering it with oak to match my tank.
    [​IMG]

    Inside, I used aluminized mylar to make reflector wings of the front and back of the hood to eliminate spillover there:
    [​IMG]

    Finally, today I mounted the fixture, after a real battle with my sluggish brain and the open topped full tank in the way.
    [​IMG]

    In the raised position, for maintenance, look at the amount of room it allows:
    [​IMG]

    The lights are AH Supply 55 watt kits, with GE 9325K bulbs, which makes for a terrible photo color balance, but looks great for the tank.


    I see this design as just one more good way to "hang" a light fixture over an open topped tank. It has advantages, and for some it probably has disadvantages.
     
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Vaughn,

    Very very nice and a great idea.....

    Does the hood stay put in any position, or just at the high vertical and horizontal points?

    How long did it take and can you list the materials required?

    Nice tank BTW and I absolutely love the group of Anubias up front.....is that lace windelov directly behind it?


    Thanks,
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thank you Gerry. The "anubias" in front are actually Lobelia cardinalis small form, a really nice plant, and behind them on the left is windelov as you noted. The tank is now badly overgrown, but I keep trimming off the willow leaf hygro in back, just to keep it looking about as it does. This is how I wanted it to look, even though I know it needs a "haircut" desparately.

    The hood only stays down, by the links jamming together, or up by two barrel bolts stopping the links from swinging down. It could be designed in several iterations - with variable length links, with friction stops to keep it at any positiion, for example.

    Materials are:
    The bracket that attaches to the wall is made of a length of poplar 1 x 3, screwed and glued together on the ends. With two 1 1/2" long barrel bolts, one on each end.
    The links are a 4 foot long piece of 1/2" x 1/8" weldable steel, cut into 4 equal lengths. (from Ace Hardware)
    The light fixture "hood" is made of a 2' x 4' "handy panel" of 1/4" hard board, which is a MDF type material.
    It is veneered with white oak veneer from Woodcraft - a package of 12 square feet. It is glued on with water based contact cement.
    It cost a total (excluding the oak veneer project) of about $40.

    My initial plan was to make the hood out of aluminum sheet, but my enthusiasm for the design got to be too great for me to wait while I learned how to best make a sheet metal hood. I still think a sheet aluminum hood is the best design.

    For some more detail see: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/do-yourself-aquarium-projects/49693-diy-cantilevered-light-fixture.html
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes, very nice hood!

    Regards,

    Tom Barr
     
  6. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Junior Poster

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    Very nice!
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have found this cantilevered, parallelogram linkage support to work extremely well for me, so I designed a "kit" that will work for many different hoods or fixtures. You can see what it looks like and download a pdf on how to make it at: http://www.oregonaquadesign.com/hoppyscantileveredlight.htm
     
  8. shreyasmrao

    shreyasmrao Junior Poster

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    Steel Sheet Light Fixture

    Hi, I know I am probably getting on to a old thread, but this is a nice looking hood, but to hold it at any level I want to, I can easily put a window hinge which stops the window at any level of opening that I want (my suggestion, will try it out sometime)

    I have currently a DIY Hood of a Stainless Steel Sheet, I made it all myself and am attaching a drawing and a picture of the hood, if anybody wants any more details of it, please let me know and I will further update.

    Thanks and regards
     

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  9. crystalview

    crystalview Guru Class Expert

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    Vaughn How far from the wall is your tank? It is hard to tell what distance is needed for this to work. I like the look of this and it looks more balanced then the kit IMO.
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Now that is a beautiful light fixture! If I had the skills you have for working with sheet metal I would love to make something like that.
     
  11. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    This design works best with at least 3-4" of gap between the wall and the tank, which is about what a HOB filter needs anyway. Here are pictures of the two tanks I have set up with the lights suspended this way:

    First is the original one, on a 45 gallon tank:
    [​IMG]

    Next, is the ten gallon tank I just recently set up: (This one has an Aquaclear filter mounted on the other side, to the right of the light fixture.) This one uses the "kit" approach to this type of light suspensiion.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. shreyasmrao

    shreyasmrao Junior Poster

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    Sheet Metal Hood

    Hi Vaughn,

    Thanks for being so humble, I am sure you can do a much better job than that. It is pretty simply a metal sheet screwed onto a wooden frame. The arc for the hood was simply done by bending the sheet on a CO2 cylinder :)

    the edges were ground with a professional guy as I did not want to cut my hand or anybody else's for that matter. Other than that, there's nothing else in that hood. Happy that you liked it
     
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