Precision electrical upgrades, with a saber saw.

After the success of the upgrade of an aquarium light from 30 watts to a 55 watts, today I crammed the leftover 30 watt light into a 20 watt light that I use on top of my 30 gallon aquarium.  This one was a little trickier, since the light was not designed to be used in a retrofit situation, and was also the completely wrong shape, and number of bulbs.  The light to be upgraded is an All-Glass 36″ strip light, with a single 20 watt, 24 inch long fluorescent bulb.  What I am upgrading it to is two 15 watt, 18 inch fluorescent bulbs.  Here is what the parts two lights looked like pre-hacking:

Lights berfore hacking

The perspective is a little odd, because the long strip light is sitting on it’s side, but it should be obvious that the dual-light won’t fit into the skinny single-light enclosure.  So, the obvious solution was to take a saber saw and cut the dual light into two smaller lights, being careful not to damage the ballasts or wiring.  Once this was done, I could cram both lights into the enclosure (after removing the existing single 20 watt light), by staggering them across the length.  The two bulbs won’t be centered correctly front-to-back, but it shouldn’t make much difference in this tank.  The lights are held in place by screws, one going into the existing mounting hole to hold the right lamp in place, and two going through the back of the enclosure to hold the left lamp in place.  Wiring was connected to the existing cord/switch.  I also mounted two Current Lunar Link Lights to the excess bits of plastic on the lamps, and ran the cord for them through a hole drilled in the back of the enclosure.  The completed assembly looks like the total hack-job it is:

Upgraded light kit

Surprisingly, it actually works:

Lights working!

Since there are independent cords for the lunar light and the fluorescent light, they can be turned on/off independently.  I am using Z-wave for remote control of both lights, since why would anyone use a simple timer, when they can use a Linux server to control aquarium lights?  The tank is much brighter now, the extra 10 watts distributed more evenly across the tank makes a big difference.  I am hoping my plants will be happier too, I have never had much luck getting good growth out of this tank.

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