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Air cooled cfls!!!

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by applepoop911, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. #1 applepoop911, Jan 6, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2013
    i am developing a rubber maid tub to be used for a friends grow.

    many of the problems associated with cfl lighting arise from the heat they generate without adequate ventilation.

    this will lead to the need to keep the plants further away from the bulbs reducing the lumen output hitting the fan leaves. to combat this i am developing a method to air cool cfl lighting.

    first assembled your grow setup. wire everything correctly preferably in parallel which can be done whoever you like but i find the best way is to go to radio shack and buy 2 european terminal strips 1 for neutral 1 for power. also buy 2 lengths of wire black and white 16 gauge should be fine

    buy a 120 mm fan rated above 70 cfm and an ac adapter with multiple voltages up to 12 volts dc.

    buy an extension cable from home depot the cheapest they have should be $1.49. wire all lights to the 2 terminal strips and use liquid electrical tape where you insert wires as well as any bare metal on the wire, connectors, and terminal strip for safety.

    never run current until the tape is dry as it is highly flammable in liquid form. after it drys it is flame retardent.

    plug in all cfls and plug in power cord everything should light up.

    i would advise against using metal screws to mount your terminal strips. a better alternative is high temp hot glue or zip ties.

    zip ties can be used by drilling 4 holes 2 directly above the terminal strip and 2 below . make sure they are very close to the terminal strips almost touching.

    insert zip ties and pull tight and cut off excess. this is best because the glue can melt in extreme conditions but it should not.

    remember the neutral wire on your power cord will be ribbed or have a white line through it. this will go to the neutral terminal strip.

    the power should be smooth and or one solid color and it will go to the power grounding strip. on the light bulb socket the neutral is silver and the power is brass.

    make sure all bulb sockets are facing neutral down and power up for easier wiring. this way you can have the power terminal mounter above the neutral and will enable the wires to never contact eachother for each terminal strip.

    and now the easy part. screw in all bulbs and mark the top of each ballast and the bottom. remove all bulbs and set one bulb in a vise snug but not distorting the plastic ballast cover. use a small drill bit to slowly drill a hole in the ballast where you made one of the 2 marks.

    this should be done in the bottom of the ballast away from the circuit board to reduce water vapor from contacting it as well as damage from drilling.

    flip the bulb over and repeat. the hole should be about the size of a pencil at its widest diameter. now cut a hole in your grow box()closest to the top as possible) the diameter of the tubeaxial fan(pc fan) you will be using.

    this should match up perfectly with the diameter for most efficiency. wire your pc fan to the dc adapter you purchased making sure the neutral side goes to the neutral on the fan wire.

    the neutral side on both fan and adapter will have lettering on it like 20awg 300v etc. the hot wire will be either a solid color or have stripes running down the side like morse code dashes depending where you live.

    after your wiring plug in your fan and have it set at the lowest voltage on the adapter. if nothing happens your wires need to be switched and re wired. now find something that can be mount on the fan so it is flush with the diameter .

    use the same drill bit for the cfl lights to drill holes in the something you found that was flush with the fans diameter(vacuum cylinder).

    take this vacuum cylinder youv made to home depot and buy length of tubing that fits as tight as possible but does not crimp the tubes when inserted .mount fan on the outside of the box . you can use zip ties nuts and bolts or hot glue on the outside to mount the fan. makesure there are no air leaks where the fan is mounted.

    hot glue can be used to attached vacuum cylinder to the inside of the box where the fan is. make sure it is flush and there are no leaks.

    turn on fan. run proper length of tubing to vacuum cylinder and screw in all cfl lights so that one of the 2 holes you drilled in each are facing directly up . connect tubing one at a time between vacuum cylinder and cfl light.

    drill holes all around the box, closest to the bottom as possible yet not too far as any run off water will leak out. if you have a drain valve in your box make them slightly above it. make sure the holes are evenly space one per every 3 inches should do fine.

    this will create light leaks but will provide cold air from the floor which is best for cooling. this setup will keep temps in your box very close to ambient room temperature and will make it able to have your plants extremely close to your cfls dramatically increasing their effectiveness. adjusting of the ac adapter voltage can fine tune your temps and give you everything you could want for cooling

    i hope this will help someone out i would appreciate any and all input how ever if your going to criticize make sure you have sources to back up your data as i have a video camera and a thermometer to back up mine(soon but not yet)

    edited for easier reading
  2. #2 Fixxer, Jan 6, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2013
    I didn't read it because there was no use of grammar or organization so you lost me in the first 2 sentences but CFL's do not generate heat problems that you need to go through this trouble to combat. You can keep the bulbs a couple inches away without any problems and use a simple house fan blowing on your plants because you need to anyway to strengthen stems. You wouldn't have to make anything to "air-cool" them because all the heat is in the ballast which is at the base of the bulb and should be no where near your plants.
  3. well the statement u just gave was 3 huge run ons with no commas where needed but im not a grammar nazi so...

    the air is being pulled by a 100+ cfm fan depending on the voltage. in almost every micro grow iv personally seen the temps were very hot with out a decent cooling setup it will get in the mid 90s. even with a 100 cfm fan it will stay around 86. this heat transfers to the glass part of the bulb and makes it damaging to the fan leaves should they be too close. im sorry but i didnt post flowers for algernon if you cant read 2 pages worth of text your probably ( i hate to say this) too high
  4. Yeah I wasn't expecting you to be perfect, but at least separate some sentences and make some paragraphs out of it so it's not a jumbled mess.

    I have 8 cfls in my grow space and I have to use a heater otherwise temps stay in the low 70's and even colder where I have the fan on the plants.
  5. what watt cfls are you using? im using 10 23 watts plus 4-6 42 watts and the temps with all plugged in start to melt the plastic
  6. 8 of the 32watt and they are attached to a rectangle aluminum reflector I built, and it is hanging about 3" over the plants.
  7. i assuming this isnt possible with your reflector but... did you know that at even 3 inches you are losing tonnes of light? i did the calculations for the inverse square law at 3 inches and .25 inches away:

    at 3 inches the out put from 2000 lumens is 13.8 ( bear in mind it was in candelas and im nto sure if the calculator was correct)
    at .25 inches it was 2000 lumens. again this might not be correct but it demonstrates the importance of the light distance from plants
  8. When you were checking this bulb did it have a reflector focusing the light towards your meter? If not then you're results are only applicable to those using open bulbs with no reflectors, because the light will be spread 360* around the light which would decrease it's usable distance. If you build a reflector to focus the light in say 180* pattern then it will gain a little more penetrating power.

    I'm going LED though CFL's aren't that great unless you go to H.O. T5's and then by the time I bought the bulbs and fixtures it was cheaper to buy LED. I'm just going to keep the CFL fixture I made to start seedlings in another room while my other plants are in flower in the main room.
  9. my lux meter is on the fritz ordered a new one. i used an online conversion calculator i assumed .25 inches away would be close to the initial output. and 32 watt cfls are around 2000 lumens. the calculatiosn still hold up as we were comparing output at a distance with both being without reflectors. leds looked really good to me but at 200$ + dollars i decided on cfls for my friend. although 2 45 watt ufos would be interesting. im going to make coke can reflectors and polish and buff them with a dremel to as shiny as possible.
  10. thanx for the input.
  11. i have a mh and hps conversion in a 400 w setup im doing this for fun and for a friend. i want to see how much i can get i was inspired by the buds for less guy
  12. I dunno what's up with the haters... I made a cfl air cooled reflector and it works great, check my link. $150 bucks for the whole setup; which by the way sits nearly on top of the plants to minimize light losses. Tell me how to get that many lumens kept that cool any cheaper! Unless you find yourself a bargain on craigslist or something... But I had fun making it and that counts for something :)
  13. I agree, I'm not even gonna argue that hps is the Shit, but for micro grow I prefer cfls because hps is less efficient for lower wattage applications. Plus I just want to try scrog out with a wall of light and see how it goes.. I know cfls generally produce less dense buds, but less dense buds dry faster too :)

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