My Home Built CFL Fixture (pics)
After doing a bunch of research and not seeing stellar results with my 2' T12 2400 lumen 40W setup, I decided to build a CFL lamp. My growing space is cramped on a bookshelf so I have ~26" of width to deal with. Otherwise I would have just gone with a 4' 4 x T8 lamp setup.
My materials list:
(6) sockets - $1.50 each at Home Depot
(3) 2-pack - 26W 6500K CFLs for ~$21.00 at WalMart
Piece of aluminum duct from True Value - $3.50
Some wire from an old extension cable to wire stuff up
Small piece of pegboard - 1/4" wood material minimum to support bolts
Old PC power cable with end cut-off
Solder and solder iron
Some nuts, bolts, washers from True Value
Coroplast shroud (built previously)
Pics show the general assembly.
Got started by cutting the board to size which the reflector and sockets would mount to.
Put a towel in my shroud so the bulbs wouldn't roll around while I figured out what kind of layout I wanted.
Drilled the board and reflector and mounted using the screws.
Drilled holes for the AC wiring.
Bent the socket tabs and drilled the holes in the tabs so the bolts would fit. Pre-bent pic of socket...
Taped the sockets for some extra reflectivity.
Mounted the sockets with two nuts(jammed) and wired them in(black wire(hot) to center pin and white to shell(neutral)).
Put hot glue over the terminations on the back of the sockets to prevent any shock risk.
Installed wire loops on the board for the hanging chains through the shroud.
Pressed the board/reflector assembly down to the bottom of the shroud (reflector is a bit springy) and taped in place at the edge of the reflector using 2" foil tape(very solid adhesive on this stuff).
Screwed in lamps - voila.
I put up some mylar ($3 emergency blanket from the camping section at Walmart) and the amount of light reflected back in
9600 rated lumens at 156watts. I'd read a lot of places that the CFLs run cool but I imagine that's only when they're single. With these six running, there's a little bit of heat in the reflector housing so I installed two 80mm PC fans(one pushing, one pulling). You can run PC fans using a wall wart with enough power.
Will pick up a 6-pack of 2700K bulbs ($13.88 at WalMart) for when I try to get stuff to flower.
I run this about 3-5" above my seedlings. Any lower and the radiant heat starts to dry foliage out. You want to get as close as you can without damaging your seedlings/plants. Light intensity(lumen count) drops significantly as you are further from your subject.
A quick light solution would be to pick up a Clamp Light and a large CFL. You could go one step further and install a Y-socket adapter in one of the larger clamp lights and run two CFLs there. Most hardware or big box(Home Depot) stores have this stuff. Certainly makes a difference. :)