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Thread: DIY UV light

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    drewkeller is offline
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    DIY UV light

    How practical would it be to make a DIY UV light? I've never seen a commercial one, but it seems like it's a rather simple device.

    The quartz sleeves and light tubes can be purchased from various pond equipment suppliers. I suppose the light tubes might work with regular flourescent tube ballasts. Prices seem to suggest that one can be made for around half the cost of a commercially made one.

    Perhaps something like this can be added off the side of a skippy filter or other gravity part of the plumbing (don't even need the quartz tube in this case):
    http://rael.berkeley.edu/uvtube/uvtubeproject.htm

    A pressurized version of the same thing would just add the quartz tube (and a way to seal it) to protect the bulb from the water.

    This doesn't sound very difficult to me, but I'm not finding anything on the web to make one.

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    Me too,

    I have a Aqua UV 80W and want to add a third bulb. The parts for the ends are available except for the union end that holds the cap, odd thread size. You also need something to keep the quartz tube centered and stable.

    I have a local supplier that has a broken one that I will scrounge the ends from. I then plan on reworking all three tubes to make a lower restriction UV.

    I have found a few sites for bulbs and ballasts. The 4 pin bulbs with the wire down the sides are rapid start and any ballast for that type bulb should work. The Advance ballast site has a list of several that are UV compatible but none for a three bulb set up.

    I'll post more as I research it further.

    Garrett

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    drewkeller is offline
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    the sites i've looked at are
    http://www.bulbman.com/index.php?mai...dex&cPath=5377
    http://www.bulbs.com (search for germicidal)
    http://www.topbulb.com/find/germicidal.asp

    I haven't really found much for ballasts


    UV lights are also used for erasing EPROM chips, which is what this is about (15w is too low for most ponds, but maybe this could apply to a higher power lamp that's readily available):
    If you are building your own fixture, you may want to use the 15 watt lamp since ballasts for these lamps are widely available. You may even be able to trashpick a 15 watt ballast, or one compatible with 14, 15, and 20 watt lamps. The 15 watt germicidal lamp which mechanically and electrically resembles a 15 watt fluorescent lamp is known as the G15T8.

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    For smaller ponds a tank could be made with a few UV lights with the water flowing under the bulbs. I have a small fishmate filter and that is all it does is flow the water under the light. I believe there is a protective piece of plastic so it won't accidentally get wet and depth of water would have to be controlled.

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    Gene used to have a DIY posted but he took it down as prices have come down. It was still a pretty pricey thing to do. IIRC, there was some minor machining needed to make a good connection where an ORing needs to go.

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    While exchanging ideas on pond construction with Phil Hunter he say this in post number 25: "...the water goes to an 80 watt UV light that I made myself."

    This is cut and paste from this link: http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...9&page=3&pp=10

    You might be able to contact Phil and asked him how he did it instead of trying to recreate the wheel. Pass along what you guys learn.

    Rick

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    drewkeller is offline
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    sure enough, he says he made one
    I sent him a message with a link to this thread


    i was thinking it might be possible to hang some UV lights inside the skippy and make a sort of tray/chamber for the water to flow over (under the lights) before flowing out of the skippy. It would be plexiglass or opaque material so as not to kill the "bio nest" of the skippy.

    does the algea fluoresce as it's getting killed? that would be sorta cool to watch at night (not viewing the UV light directly, of course)


    you all know what a skippy looks like, but i like taking pictures, so indulge me
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    Last edited by drewkeller; 06-22-2006 at 09:14 PM.

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    Hi,

    Yes that is correct, A friend and I did make my UV lights. The quartz sleeves are Emperor Aquatic. The four bulbs on two sets of the lights are also Emperor Aquatic 40w bulbs. Bulbs and sleeves were from AES. The are powered by Sylvania MB1x32/120 CIRC magnetic ballasts that I bought from Lowes. The ballasts are installed in NEMA housings since the lights are outdoors. The housings are made up from various PVC parts that can be bought at any plumbing supply store. The most dificult parts to find were the 2" cross fittings. The other two lights are made identically to the others, but have different bulbs and ballasts.. I did not understand why replcement UV bulbs cost so much, so I went looking for a cheaper UV bulb. What I learned is that there are two basic types of UV bulbs. There is the preheat type which, is used by most, if not all of the UV light manufacturers and is an expensive bulb. An example of this is the GPH810T5L/4P. In my opinion the is the same bulb that Emperor and Aqua UV use, of course they have different part numbers. Then there is the instant start type. The instant start type is much cheaper to buy, but will not last as long if they are turned off and on a lot. Since my UV's run 24/7, I saw no reason why I could not use this bulb. The bulb is G36T5L/4 Ozone free. You can see its specs at www.1000bulbs.com. It costs about half the preheat bulb. Unfortunately, the Sylvania ballast will not work with this bulb. I contacted Atlantic Untraviolet and they had a ballast that works with this bulb. It is an electronic ballast, model # 10-1036. It costs $49.00 from Atlantic UV and must be put in a NEMA housing if exposed to the weather. So far, this setup has worked at least a well as the others. As I replace my bulbs, I will convert to the instant on bulb and electronic ballast, due to the total cost being less.

    My UV lights have been in service for 4 yeaas now, and I have not had any major porblems with them. Becasue they are mounted horizontally, I did have some leakage past the seal early on, which tripped the GFI. I solved this problem by using a wider compression fitting. I had a parts list, but have not seen it for a while, so I am not sure I still have it. If I remember correctly, it cost less than half the price of a commercial UV light, not counting my time and labor. I have attached a pic of my lights to give you some idea what they look like.

    Phil
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    Last edited by phil hunter; 06-22-2006 at 09:59 PM.

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    Thanks for posting.

    What makes up the ends where the cords go in? I suppose they unscrew so the bulbs can be replaced?

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    Thanks Phil, I amaze myself once in a while with remembering little tid bits that I read in a post somewhere. Thanks for sharing.

    Rick

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    something like this maybe?
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    I looked yesterday.

    The quartz cap shown above is a proprietary thread, about 1 1/8" thread. The main cap is also an odd thread.

    I was looking at the compression couplers for PVC pipe. It has the same gasket as the quartz tube and would allow tightening in a similar way. I'll have to get a tube and see about size.

    I found a ballast that will run three 40W bulbs. It's electronic not magnetic and will work with rapid start or instant start bulbs. Advanced ballast site lists a bunch that have been tested with UV bulbs.

    http://www.advancetransformer.com/re...literature.jsp

    Look for the pure volt either electronic or magnetic.

    For bulbs this site is pretty good, I also like the one Phil posted.

    http://www.ultraviolet.com/lamp/lamp.htm

    I'll do some more digging today.

    Garrett

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    Pipe size,

    Because of the design of most of the commercial units I was thinking of going to a 2" pipe. With the quartz tube in a 2" pipe you have less flow that a 1" pipe would give you, a major bottleneck. I'm tempted to go 3" so I can use DWV sweeps and U-Bends, the only draw back I could see was if the water were very green to start the UV would have a harder time penetrating to that depth, if your water was clear and you wanted to keep it that way a 3" would probably work fine. Any thoughts on this?

    Cloning commercially available stuff can sometimes be more work than it's worth but to improve on it's design can make it worthwhile. A low friction UV wouldn't neccessarily allow more flow, still need contact time, but there would be that much less head on the system.

    Garrett

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    The Emperor Aquatics quartz tubes are a good match for the 3/4" PVC compression coupling.



    Cut the 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch compression coupling as shown below. The outside diameter of the barrel is 1-1/2 inch. The hole in the bushing will have to be enlarged to 1-1/2" so you can glue the barrel in it. The outside diameter of the barrel on the 1/2 inch compression coupling is 1-1/4 inch. The hole in the cap of the 3/4" compression coupling will have to be enlarged to 1-1/4" so you can glue the barrel in it.



    This is what it should look like when you finish.




    You can buy a 40 watt ballast at an electrical supply outlet. I couldn't find any at Lowe's that had a stright connector.





    Last edited by Gene; 06-23-2006 at 11:18 AM.
    Gene




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    Good post Gene,

    Those were the couplers I was looking at. I may try a different way of sealing the electrical part. I extend mine out from the ballast using 16/2 sjo cord and they make " thread fittings to seal that.

    The local guy sells Aqua UV stuff so I'll see if their quartz tubes will fit the " compression ones too.

    Garrett

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harveythekoi
    Those were the couplers I was looking at. I may try a different way of sealing the electrical part. I extend mine out from the ballast using 16/2 sjo cord and they make " thread fittings to seal that.

    The local guy sells Aqua UV stuff so I'll see if their quartz tubes will fit the " compression ones too.

    Garrett
    Garrett,

    I think you'll find that the Aqua quartz tubes are to small in diameter.
    Gene




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    How does the UV kill the alga... What intensity of UV and exposure time? Anyone have a chart of UV strength / exposure time / alga kill percentage? Seem this is needed info to design an efficient UV.

    Having a thin layer of water (to get equal exposure) flowing over the light with just the right exposure time would seem to be the most efficient use of the light energy. Possibly a larger pipe with less flow (turbulent to get a good exposure to all alga) would work.

    Stan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sellis
    Possibly a larger pipe with less flow (turbulent to get a good exposure to all alga) would work.

    Stan
    Stan,

    If the pipe is too large in diameter the UV will not penetrate all the way to the walls of the pipe. I've found that the 40 watt UV works well with a 2" housing and flow rate of 3,000 gph for control of single cell algae (clarifier).
    Gene




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    Hi,

    It appears that Gene and I did the same thing. My end cap is made up almost exactly the way he pictured it. It is made from a 3/4" and 1/2" compression couplings. The only difference is that I added cord grips to the end caps to hold the light cord tightly and keep external water from entering, since the units are installed horizontally and out doors.

    Garret is also right about the flow restriction, which is one of the reasons that my light is a dual light, which splits the water between the two tubes.

    The Sylvania ballast that I mentioned earlier already has the correct 4 pin connecton, although the cord is very short.

    The only other thing is the Quartz sleeve needs to be supported at the opposite end. I did this by using a 2" to 1" threaded reducer bushing. The bushing supports the sleeve. A threaded plug is used to seal the opening.

    Phil

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    Hi,

    It appears that Gene and I did the same thing. My end cap is made up almost exactly the way he pictured it. It is made from a 3/4" and 1/2" compression couplings. The only difference is that I added cord grips to the end caps to hold the light cord tightly and keep external water from entering, since the units are installed horizontally and out doors.

    Garret is also right about the flow restriction, which is one of the reasons that my light is a dual light, which splits the water between the two tubes.

    The Sylvania ballast that I mentioned earlier already has the correct 4 pin connecton, although the cord is very short.

    The only other thing is the Quartz sleeve needs to be supported at the opposite end. I did this by using a 2" to 1" threaded reducer bushing. The bushing supports the sleeve. A threaded plug is used to seal the opening.

    When I built my lights over 4 years ago, the total cost of parts was about $220. It is very likly higher now.

    Phil

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