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Modded Exoterra fixtures & LYR bulbs
#1
I just picked up new bulbs from Todd @ LightYourReptiles.com. Fantastic transaction, not just for the bulbs, but for ideas Todd shared with me. I figured I'd start this thread to show the steps I took to modify my lighting solution with his help. First up, the initial parts:
  • 2 x 18" Exoterra 2 socket fixtures
  • 2 x 9W JungleDawn LED screw in lamps
  • 1 x 13W JungleDawn LED screw in lamp
  • 1 x Repti Sun 26 Watt 10.0 CFL (10.0 was used due to the limited size of the holes in the top, the use of extra screening for fly proofing, and the depth of the viv)
  • 1 x blue LED strip lighting kit
  • 2 x Stanley 38245 TImerMax digital timers

My original configuration just had the two Exo fixtures laying side by side on top of the viv. They were relatively loose and moved around on the 1" wooden strips I used to elevate them off the top of the viv. The 6500K CFL's I was using did run pretty hot. Since we're in the middle of the Texas summer, I figured I'd jump into LED lamps.

First up, Todd's great suggestions - remove the reflectors from the Exo hoods to improve air flow (he admitted this was an idea provided to him from another hobbyist, but it was great that he passed this along) and reduce temperatures. The second was to use sand paper to rough up my Lexan top to hide the bulbs, soften the light, and act as a diffuser.

Here's the hood. Since this picture was taken I have installed an IR dimmer controller in the rear of the hood on the left (velcro). I didn't want to permanently drill into these hoods, but I also did not like how they slid around on top of my Zoomed. I ended up running 3 strips of 1" velco down the middle of the two fixtures, sticking them together. The solution is much more stable, and if I ever want to break them apart again I can remove the velcro and clean up the glue remnants.
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I had 5 x 2" air vents along the front of the viv. I had the hole cutter from a different project, so I figured I would experiment with round vents. There are probably easier venting strategies, but this seemed cool in theory...but my silicone job is pretty bad (but it does the job) so to me it looks a bit sloppy.
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I'll have another set of photos of the hood fan mods once they come in. I'm experimenting with some quiet 80 mm PC fans on my speed controllers installed in the newly opened up rear vents in the hoods. I'm going to exhaust the hood air out the back and see how that does controlling the temperature within the hood. My goal is to drop the top back flush with the viv and eliminate the need for my rickety 1" wood stand offs. I hope to get some air flow across the front door of the viv with these fans installed as well.

Todd also recommended adding a third timer, separating the two hoods on two cycles. The intent is to better simulate morning (2 bulbs), mid-day (all 4 bulbs) and evening (2 bulbs) sun. I have an extra timer, so I'll give that a go as well.

I'll post FTS next. And a big thanks to Todd @ LYR for all these great tips!
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#2
Here are the FTS. Now I had 4 x 13W CFL's in here already and they were bright. My main goal with this project was to reduce heat, improve airflow, stabilize my rickety fixtures, and drop the hood to look a bit more clean. I also liked the idea of adding UV bulbs (thanks Todd!). So first up is the 4x13W CFL FTS (note this was before a heavy pruning as well - sorry about that, forgot to snap a CFL pic before swapping out the bulbs):
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Next is with the new bulbs (2 x 9W LED in the rear sockets, 1 x 13 W LED front left, 1 x 26 W Repti Sun 10.0 on right):
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Finally the viv with the additional 3.5" vent for light transmission and the sanded Lexan:
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It's hard to tell from these photos, but the lights are slightly brighter, and the azureus seem to pop a bit more now. Maybe it's just my wishful thinking, but it seems like the light upgrade improved the colors (don't trust me though, I'm colorblind!). In terms of my original intent, the hood is cooler to the touch and when I drop the hood now off the wooden stand offs I don't notice a temperature increase. It's looking promising. More to come in a few days when I get my fans installed.
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#3
Well ...Thank you Jim for the mention.
And those are good pics.
I see you "frosted" the lexan by sanding.
I am using frosted glass tops too because it seems to even out the light.. in a good way,
and cut down on distracting glare.
Especially if the tanks are being viewed from an angle that you can see up under to the lights.
Cheers!
Todd
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#4
I used lexan on several of my tops... frosting ehh.. Hmmm may give that a try. Thanks for the write up.
Scott - North Dallas
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#5
Glad to be able to contribute! It does seem to act like a diffuser evening out the light. I do like the fact that it hides the inner workings of the hood when viewed from below. I used 220 grit sand paper - took a bit of elbow grease but it did the trick...
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#6
Got the fans installed tonight. I picked up two Thermaltake ISGC Fan 8 (model AF0043). They include a speed controller, silicone mounts and mounting screws. Here's the sequence of the installation of the exhaust fans, one in each ExoTerra 2 socket hood. I removed the reflectors above all three LED bulbs that were installed in a previous post, and now I'm mounting a fan in the rear position of each unit. First up is drilling the mount holes around the existing grille (note an 80mm fan fits just about perfectly within the dimensions of the existing vents):
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Here's a closer view of the drilled mount holes:
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The mounting holes for the heat shields were just about 1/8 of an inch too big, so I shaved them back with an razor. The plastic mounts were relatively soft and easy to cut. I left enough plastic that the shields could be remounted in the future if I needed to revert the mods at some future point:
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Image of the fan being installed. I used the 4 mounting screws included with the fan:
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Here is a view of the installed fan above the rear LED bulb:
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Image of the two fixtures with three reflectors removed and two fans installed. If you look closely you can see the blue LED night lights installe on the left wall of each fixture:
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Top view of the installed fans with the lights on:
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View of the two fixtures, mounted front to back. I did this to keep the cords and switches against the back wall:
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And the final FTS:
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This was a pretty simple mod. I'll post back if it has the desired effect of keeping the fixtures cool while allowing me to drop the fixtures flush to the top. I also hope that this will encourage more venting from the viv, drawing air through the upper front vents. Fingers crossed!
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#7
Jim, I'm interested in any update on how this worked?
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#8
I found I did not need to be so conservative in the venting of the viv. My analog dials were way off in their humidity readings so after I got a digital gauge and realized my RH was consitenting 95%+ I redid the top with a sanded lexan square and a 4" screened in area across the front. I used silicone on the original top which failed. I used marine epoxy putty on the next version and that is NEVER coming apart Smile It still maintains RH in the low 90's.

The fans are going great and I am about to repeat that mod on a second viv. I get good airflow in the viv and no condensation on the glass so they seem to be helping. Plus the temps have been rock solid. Plant growth has been great. Frogs are breeding. All is good.

However I am thinking of switching out to glass. I do get a slight sag in the top with the 18" span. I'm going with glass on the new viv. I have left over window appliqué that I will use to "frost" the glass.
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#9
Thanks Jim,
The hood mods were the most interesting part to me, I use glass on my tops, but I am thinking of changing lighting, so this was of interest to me. Thanks for the pics and all showing and describing the mod.
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#10
I hope you don't mind me asking here. But how do the fans get power. Do they have their own power cord or did you have to splice them in?
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#11
No worries at all! I used a moped adaptor that I purchased at Frys Electronics. Any 12v plug will do. This one is 1A output and it has two plugs so I drive two fans per brick. I used to splice them myself with old bricks but it was easier to pickup one of these for $8 and be done Smile

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Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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