Author Topic: 6ft T5 fixture from scratch  (Read 3517 times)

Offline joefish72

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6ft T5 fixture from scratch
« on: April 13, 2012, 11:12:30 PM »
IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANY ELECTRICAL EXPERIENCE OTHER THAN PLUGING IN A LAMP PLEASE DON'T TRY TO WIRE YOUR OWN LIGHTING. You could be shocked, get electrocuted, burn your house down, or all of the above.

Back in October I got another one of my great ideas (could have said bright, but avoided the pun). Instead of paying a few hundred bucks for a 6ft T5 light, I can make my own. I didn't know what I was going to do but I knew I could pull it off.

I went to the local Home Depot  and looked around at the lighting fixtures. I decided on (2) 3ft light strips that hold (2) T5 bulbs each for a total of (4) 3ft bulbs. Then I found a nice switch and a 3 prong cord they sell for replacing the cord of something like a saw or drill.

The hard part was figuring out what to use as a housing/reflector and I was going to call a metal shop to make one for me. Then as I pulled into my driveway I looked at my gutters and I had my housing for the lights. So right back to Home Depot to pick up a section of gutter and braces.

Once home I put some reflective tape, the kind they use on duct work, inside the gutter and cut it to length. I inserted the T5 strip lights and cut a hole for the plug and switches. Last I wired the whole thing and for $120 I got a 6ft 4bulb T5 light strip for my 125 tank.

I used a standard gutter and you could squeeze two strips side by side making it so you could fit 8 bulbs in it. A more easy fit would be to buy the larger gutter that is 1 inch wider and have plenty of room for the 8 bulbs.


Here are my materials and costs:
(2) T5 Strip light $59.70
Double switch $12.90
8ft Power cord $9.56
10' of 5" Gutter $6.79
Foil Tape $6.58
(2) 5" gutter end cap $3.08
(3) gutter hangers $5.46
Misc screws and wire $5.00
SUB TOTAL $109.07
6% Tax $6.54
TOTAL $115.61

Here is the build, forgive me for not showing "exactly how to wire it" but I don't want some little kid killing themself trying to follow my directions.



This is the basic aluminum gutter with the end caps already put on.



This is that shiny tape I found.



Fitting the lights for proper placement of all the parts.



I flipped one fixture so all wires go to the middle and you can see the tape installed already.



Lights wired to the switch and switch wired to the plug/cord.



Switch and cord from the outside.



What it all looks like when wired and screwed together.



You can turn on one side or the other.



You can turn on both sides together.



Here it is on the tank with the braces installed inside the gutter. The thing is solid even without the braces but it's always nice to have things built well.



The tank has glass lids, so I could put the fixture right on the tank. With no lids it would require a piece of glass or plexi be fitted into the gutter to prevent water damage issues.

Offline Mike

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Re: 6ft T5 fixture from scratch
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2012, 09:53:07 PM »
WOWWWWWWWWW . . . what a nifty, nifty home project!!

I see a program on this in the future!!!

Very nice!!

Mike  ;D

Offline PattyM

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Re: 6ft T5 fixture from scratch
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 12:38:53 PM »
Can that be done with LEDs?
Have a great day! 
Patty

Offline Mike

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Re: 6ft T5 fixture from scratch
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 04:38:03 PM »
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . good question. Patty!!!

Mike  ;D

Offline joefish72

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Re: 6ft T5 fixture from scratch
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 10:20:24 PM »
Can that be done with LEDs?

Yes, but I haven't done one yet because the good LED's have to come down in price first. I'm thinking my first one will be done like a grow light so it can be used on a planted tank.

Offline WMPL

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Re: 6ft T5 fixture from scratch
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2012, 07:57:38 AM »
Now that's a DIY project I'd like to see first hand!!!
Bill Little
Past President
Tampa Bay Aquarium Society

Offline Mike

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Re: 6ft T5 fixture from scratch
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 02:39:27 PM »
I TOLD YOU!!!

 :D  :D  :D

Mike  ;D