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Light Hood

Contents:

  1. Slding hood?
    by booth-at-hplvec.LVLD.HP.COM (George Booth) (21 Oct 91)
  2. Homemade Hood Problem
    by julieb-at-cv.hp.com (julie_bostater) (Tue, 9 Nov 1993)
  3. The Mother of All Hoods
    by steveb-at-bga.com (Steve Benz) (Wed, 23 Oct 1996)
  4. Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #896
    by Petemohan-at-aol.com (Sun, 17 Aug 1997)

Slding hood?

by booth-at-hplvec.LVLD.HP.COM (George Booth)
Date: 21 Oct 91
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria

Here's a repeat of the instructions for that hood (I'm glad someone liked
it!):

The following describes the hood I made myself for our 85 gallon tank.  I
have also had two more professionaly made out of oak (for better
appearance).  The goals of the hood design were:

  1. Be attractive and easy to build (very subjective).

  2. Enclose all the light fixtures and top side equipment, etc.

  3. Allow easy daily access to the tank for feeding, water chemistry 
     measurements and adjustments, etc.

  4. Allow unrestricted access to the tank for cleaning, planting, fish
     catching, etc, without removing the hood.

  5. Be lightweight and inexpensive.

The hood is designed for an 85 or 100 gallon acrylic tank: 60" long by 18"
wide (from to back).  The basic design is a box, open at the bottom and
split across the top with a piano hinge holding the two halves together.
Two shop light fixtures are attached to the inside top of the hood.  The
height of the hood is enough to allow the bottom of the light fixtures to
move over the tops of any external equipment.  The back is partially open
to allow it to slide backwards over the equipment and to provide
ventilation for the lights.  The hood fits over the rim of the tank and
rests on some 1/2" sq recessed wood strips on the side of the hood.  If you
have a 48" by 12" tank (55 gallon), you will need to make adjustments for
the length and width of the light fixtures.

                           front          hinge         back
                              _____________ ______________
       side view:             |     MMM   -o-   MMM      |
                              |   /=====\  :  /=====\    :
                              |  / O   O \ : / O   O \   :
                              |            :             :
                wood strips-> |n___________:____________n:
                               |                        |                 
                               |    tank                |                 
                               |                        |                 

To feed the fish or do minor maintenance, the front half of the hood is 
pivoted upwards and allowed to rest on the rear half:
                                           ...............
                                           :            n|
                                           :\         /  |
                                           : \ O   O /   |
                                           :  \=====/    |
                                           :____WWW______|
                                           o______________
       side view:                          :    MMM      |
                                           :  /=====\    :
                                           : / O   O \   :
                                           :             :
                               _________________________n:
                               |                        |                 
                               |    tank                |                 
                               |                        |                 

To do cleaning and heavy maintenance, the front part is raised like the
previous picture and the whole assembly is slid back 4 or 5 inches until 
it hits the wall behind the tank.  The first hood had some push-button 
switches on the side to turn on the front and rear lights independently
(turn off the front half so you aren't blinded when you raide the front!).
On the other two, I mounted the switches inside, out of sight (you are
only temporarily blinded when you raise the hood to get to the switch!). 

To build the hood, I made two frames of 1/2" square pine strips (kind of a
"wire frame" model of each half of the hood).  I then nailed and glued 1/4"
tempered (waterproof) Masonite on the front (or back), sides and top of the
frames.  I didn't overlap the corners of the Masonite, so there was a 1/4"
"notch" all the way around the top and sides.  I obtained some 1/4" square
basswood from the local hobby shop and glued this in the notch.  Using a
"Surform" tool, I rounded the bassword to give a nice edge (It would be
hard to round off the Masonite).  A little Plastic wood or spackling filled
in any imperfections, so the hood looks like a one piece unit.  The only
"precision" woodworking required is to cut the Masonite nice and square.
The frame simply serves as a way to connect the Masonite pieces and act as
a support rails for the hood; all the strength is in the Masonite.

                                       Masonite top
             1/4" basswood       ___________________________
             goes here ------>  _|__________________________| O <- 48" Piano
                               | |   |                  |   || |     hinge
                 Masonite ->   | |   |__________________|   || |
                  front        | |   |                  |   |
                               | |   |                  |   |
                               | |   |                  | o---- 1/2" pine
                               | |   |    Masonite      |   |   frame
                               | |   |      side        |   |
                               | |   |                  |   |
                               | |   |                  |   |
                               | |   |__________________|   |  frame rests on
                               | |   |                  |   |  top of tank 
      front and sides extend   | |___|__________________|___|  _______________
      below frame to hide      | |                          |  |
      top edge of tank         |_|__________________________|  |   tank


I painted the hood white and sealed the inside with Marine varnish.  The
smooth, seamless white hood gives the tank a very modern look.  I guess you
could get veneer and cover the outside to make it look like wood.  I have
been very happy with the hood; it makes access to the tank very easy and it
looks good.  There has been no warpage of any kind (over two years).

---------
George


Homemade Hood Problem

by julieb-at-cv.hp.com (julie_bostater)
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1993
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

j

Thanks to all who replied to my first post.  For all of the other newbies
out there who are thinking about building their own hood, here is a summary.

1.  Make sure there is some sort of cover between the tank and the light.  
Water condensation on the fixture can do many bad things.  Most of all, 
it can corrode the contacts.  Also, if enough water condenses on the buld,
it may cause an electrical short around the bulb.

2.  Shop lights have cheap ballasts.  Much preferred are 'electronic' 
ballasts available on request at hardware stores.  If you go this route, 
take the opportunity to mount the ballast away from the water.

3.  Shop lights have some sort of immediate start device in them.  Sometimes,
this device does not work well with timers.

4.  Cover the ends of the shop lamp.  One person suggested a section of 
sliced intertube from a bike.

5.  Multiple smaller bulbs are preferred to one larger bulb.  That way, you 
can mix the types of bulbs.  

6.  If you have multiple bulbs, it is best to also have multiple timers so
you can simulate sunrise and sunset for your fish (aren't they spoiled?)

  

Well, these are the major point....  Thanks again everyone for all your 
suggestions!

Julie Bostater
:
: I've been having problems with my homemade hood and was wondering if it was
: a common problem...

: First the specifics...  I have a 55 gallon acrylic tank with an UGF with 
: two powerheads, plus a Magnum 350 with carbon and a mechanical sleeve filter.
: Since I couldn't afford a normal aquarium hood, I bought a standard 4 foot
: shop light.  I painted the inside of the light silver and used the  
: 'aquarium and plant' light that I found at the store.  I found that two of
: these lights seemed too bright, so I removed one...  The light is set up on
: a timer.  Everything seemed to be working fine until...

: Yesterday, I came downstairs to feed the fish and the light wasn't on.  :(
: I removed the timer from the circuit - still no light.  I tried to move the 
: one bulb to the other side of the lamp.  No luck.  In a desperate attempt
: for light, I pulled out the other bulb.  After messing for five minutes or
: so, one of the bulbs came on.  As I was already late for work, I called that
: good.

: Again this morning, the light was out.  This time both bulbs were already
: plugged in.  Again, removing the timer had no effect.  This time switching
: the bulbs, taking them in and out didn't work either.  :(

: Any suggestions on what went wrong?  Any suggestions on how to fix it?

: Thanks in Advance!

: Julie Bostater
: ***********************************************************************
: HP knows nothing of my opinions on aquaria.
: ***********************************************************************
: S

From: booth-at-hplvec.LVLD.HP.COM (George Booth)
Date: 21 Oct 91 18:34:14 GMT
Subject: Re: Slding hood?

Here's a repeat of the instructions for that hood (I'm glad someone liked
it!):

The following describes the hood I made myself for our 85 gallon tank.  I
have also had two more professionaly made out of oak (for better
appearance).  The goals of the hood design were:

  1. Be attractive and easy to build (very subjective).

  2. Enclose all the light fixtures and top side equipment, etc.

  3. Allow easy daily access to the tank for feeding, water chemistry 
     measurements and adjustments, etc.

  4. Allow unrestricted access to the tank for cleaning, planting, fish
     catching, etc, without removing the hood.

  5. Be lightweight and inexpensive.

The hood is designed for an 85 or 100 gallon acrylic tank: 60" long by 18"
wide (from to back).  The basic design is a box, open at the bottom and
split across the top with a piano hinge holding the two halves together.
Two shop light fixtures are attached to the inside top of the hood.  The
height of the hood is enough to allow the bottom of the light fixtures to
move over the tops of any external equipment.  The back is partially open
to allow it to slide backwards over the equipment and to provide
ventilation for the lights.  The hood fits over the rim of the tank and
rests on some 1/2" sq recessed wood strips on the side of the hood.  If you
have a 48" by 12" tank (55 gallon), you will need to make adjustments for
the length and width of the light fixtures.

                           front          hinge         back
                              _____________ ______________
       side view:             |     MMM   -o-   MMM      |
                              |   /=====\  :  /=====\    :
                              |  / O   O \ : / O   O \   :
                              |            :             :
                wood strips-> |n___________:____________n:
                               |                        |                 
                               |    tank                |                 
                               |                        |                 

To feed the fish or do minor maintenance, the front half of the hood is 
pivoted upwards and allowed to rest on the rear half:
                                           ...............
                                           :            n|
                                           :\         /  |
                                           : \ O   O /   |
                                           :  \=====/    |
                                           :____WWW______|
                                           o______________
       side view:                          :    MMM      |
                                           :  /=====\    :
                                           : / O   O \   :
                                           :             :
                               _________________________n:
                               |                        |                 
                               |    tank                |                 
                               |                        |                 

To do cleaning and heavy maintenance, the front part is raised like the
previous picture and the whole assembly is slid back 4 or 5 inches until 
it hits the wall behind the tank.  The first hood had some push-button 
switches on the side to turn on the front and rear lights independently
(turn off the front half so you aren't blinded when you raide the front!).
On the other two, I mounted the switches inside, out of sight (you are
only temporarily blinded when you raise the hood to get to the switch!). 

To build the hood, I made two frames of 1/2" square pine strips (kind of a
"wire frame" model of each half of the hood).  I then nailed and glued 1/4"
tempered (waterproof) Masonite on the front (or back), sides and top of the
frames.  I didn't overlap the corners of the Masonite, so there was a 1/4"
"notch" all the way around the top and sides.  I obtained some 1/4" square
basswood from the local hobby shop and glued this in the notch.  Using a
"Surform" tool, I rounded the bassword to give a nice edge (It would be
hard to round off the Masonite).  A little Plastic wood or spackling filled
in any imperfections, so the hood looks like a one piece unit.  The only
"precision" woodworking required is to cut the Masonite nice and square.
The frame simply serves as a way to connect the Masonite pieces and act as
a support rails for the hood; all the strength is in the Masonite.

                                       Masonite top
             1/4" basswood       ___________________________
             goes here ------>  _|__________________________| O <- 48" Piano
                               | |   |                  |   || |     hinge
                 Masonite ->   | |   |__________________|   || |
                  front        | |   |                  |   |
                               | |   |                  |   |
                               | |   |                  | o---- 1/2" pine
                               | |   |    Masonite      |   |   frame
                               | |   |      side        |   |
                               | |   |                  |   |
                               | |   |                  |   |
                               | |   |__________________|   |  frame rests on
                               | |   |                  |   |  top of tank 
      front and sides extend   | |___|__________________|___|  _______________
      below frame to hide      | |                          |  |
      top edge of tank         |_|__________________________|  |   tank


I painted the hood white and sealed the inside with Marine varnish.  The
smooth, seamless white hood gives the tank a very modern look.  I guess you
could get veneer and cover the outside to make it look like wood.  I have
been very happy with the hood; it makes access to the tank very easy and it
looks good.  There has been no warpage of any kind (over two years).

---------
George


The Mother of All Hoods

by steveb-at-bga.com (Steve Benz)
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1996

I just finished building a hood for my 45 gal.  (36"l 18"w 16"tall).
It's design is an elaboration on George Booth's hood design in the
Krib.  I thought I'd post a note about it for anyone thinking about
building a hood.

My modifications were as follows:

 -  It's hot here, so having the ballast in the hood is a no-go.
    (too much heat build-up).  In spite of what you might read,
    the ballast can be located anywhere, but with non-T8 bulbs,
    you need to put the bulb within 3/4" of a grounded surface.
    A strip of aluminum will fit the bill.
 -  It's hot here - I put in some fans to pull air through the
    hood.
 -  George has some space behind his aquarium, so when he really
    needs to root around, he folds it up once and pushes it back
    some.  I didn't have that option, so instead, I made my hood
    so that it has two folding joints, giving me 4 folding options,
    crudely diagrammed below (++ really indicates a single hinge,
    folded 180 degrees.)

                                      ++          o  o
                             |o      o||o        --+--+
        --+--+--        --+--+       --+            --+
         o  o  o         o  o         o              o
       (fully closed) (3" access) (8" access) (12" access)

 -  On George's hood, he has to go through the UNSPEAKABLE BOTHER
    of hitting a switch to avoid being blinded when he flips the
    hood up.  Being a CERTIFIED ELECTRONICS GENIUS, I wired up
    some switches in the hood itself so that when you open the hood,
    the power to the appropriate ballast is cut.


Lessons learned:

I could have saved myself some time if I had more carefully planned
out my wiring.

The switches in the hood to cut power when you flip up the hood are
staggeringly easy to achieve.  I highly recommend it to anyone building
a new hood.

To be avoided at all costs are exposed hot wires in your hood.  I
minimized this by making sure that no hot wires were spliced inside
the hood, and the switches inside the hood are all switching the
ground wire.

Also, I put on a little control panel onto the hood so that you can
turn the fans on and off, override the timer, and turn off banks of
lights.  It's a really easy thing to do and really convenient.  I
recommend this too.  One other reason to do this is that the
control-panel box makes a nice, safe place to put spliced wires!

If you decide to put fans in your hood, don't be stupid like I was and
base your purchasing decision solely on the size and voltage requirements.
Your A-NUMBER-1-PRIMARY-REQUIREMENT ought to be how quiet the fans are!
Take it from ol' Steve who's got fans that are right up there with
vaccuum cleaners...  (But ooooh-dawwggies they blow some air!)

Varnish smells bad.  I put the last coat on a week ago and the darn thing
still stinks!  I've had the windows open and the fans blaring, hoping to
put a stop to it, but the odor continues. [[ I hope that stuff isn't too
hard on my fish... ]]

I saw some advice posted here about whether fans should blow into the
aquarium or out of it.  Someone suggested blowing air directly onto the
water would increase evaporation.  I fixed mine to blow air out - I
figure the primary mission here isn't to cool the tank by evaporation,
but rather to remove the heat from the lights.  For reasons that engineers
know and I don't, every computer fan I've ever seen blows air away from
the thing being cooled.  I've copied that design.  One thing I can report
is that with the fans turned on, the breeze causes definite ripples on
the surface of the water, so I can't help but think that blowing air out
is the most efficient way to decrease water temperature.

George used a piano hinge for his joint.  I just used your basic-regular-
old hinges.  They work fine.

One thing that wasn't immediately obvious to me was how to run wires
across the hinge.  You don't want to just run the wires straight across
the hinge because you'll have alot of excess wire when you close the
hinge, and that could cause problems.  The trick is to run the wires
*diagonally* across the hinge - that is, secure the bundle of wires
that crosses right against the hinge, but at least a foot apart (along
the length of the joint.)  When you close the hood, the wires still
sag, but only a little bit.  You can secure them with a spring to
complete the job, if you think you need to.  (But it's not so easy
to find one the right size and strength.)

As always: measure twice, cut once!

                                - Steve
- ------
Steve Benz (steveb-at-tall-tree.com)   |   Tall Tree Software Co.
http://www.tall-tree.com            |   Ph/Fax: 512-453-4909


Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #896

by Petemohan-at-aol.com
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997

In a message dated 97-08-16 02:12:01 EDT, JR wrote:

<< So basically what I decided on was to utilize drawer slides (fairly
 inexpensive). This will enable me to slide the fluor fixtures from back to
 front, thereby enabling easy access for feeding, cleaning, pruning, etc >>

I've done something similar over a 300 gallon tank.  I purchased industrial
drawer slides from Graingers for a free-standing tank that acts like a room
divider.  The guides could hold my weight if needed and allow me to slide a
large center section of the hood containing all lighting equipment completely
off the tank.  The ends of the hood remain attached to the tank stand to
support the "drawer" while it is open.  Maintenance is a breeze. 

Pete Mohan 


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