Dou you install your own lights?


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I haven't used fluorescent lights before so I'm not quite sure about how to install them, i know there is the option of buying it(the top for the lights) on a pet store... but I don't know if it's just me, but the price seemed excesive, and I tried home depot, but they didn't have a base the size I needed 24" so I was wondering if you know how to install one , I asked what do I need and ended up with the side things where you hold the uvb tube, and with a ballast, from what I read it isn't a very hard thing to do and I would be missing a "starter" ..but I didn't quite understand any of the instructions I read, I think I need something a bit more illustrative.
Or what other alternatives are there?
To use a flourescent bulb you will have to have some sort of ballist. Whether it is a hood with a reflector or just a plain ballist. They do not sell any kits to make them that I am aware of. Keep in mind with most of these options if you have a hood type that is 24" overall length it will house a 18" bulb. A 24" bulb will have a 30" overall hood length. The six inch difference is pretty standard with hood type ballist.
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I purchase double bulb 24" flourescent fixtures from Home Depot. Sometimes they have ones with reflectors, and other times they don't. I believe that reflectors are very important, as a portion of the UVB shines away from the cage without it. In one of the bulb slots, I use a reptisun 5.0 and in the other, a regular "sunlight" bulb from Home Depot, Walmart, etc. for the extra light. The fixtures that don't have reflectors are usually the only kind available. They also don't have a power cord. I add the power cord.. not hard, the directions are in the box. Then, I use flashing to build a reflector and screw it to the light fixture. I coat the area behind where the bulbs go and the flashing with aluminum tape to increase the amount of light reflected into the cage. I have a couple of these, and they work very well for me. Total price going this way has been less than $15.00 for the fixture.
thanks, I'll go look again, I couldn't believe they didn't have some when I asked them, but I'll go look for it on another home depot, I think the guy said he didn't have ballists for a 24" light, but I KNOW they have for 20W and thats what the lights take, maybe he just didn't know or something.
I ask too many questions ,I really like getting replies always even if some are kind of dumb, I don't know what I would have done if I didn't find this place, vields are a very rare thing to see at all in any pet store around here, less any other kind of chameleon.

Hi I purchased the one you said, the one at home depot, I just have a problem, I don't know what went wrong, you're supposed to be left with the white and black cables alone, so what i did is just tie them to a power chord and place insulating tape around the bare wires, but when I connect the lamp to the power outlet, i just get a light orange glow from both of the extremes of the tube, do you know what could I be doing wrong, or does it start that way and slowly gains strength (which I don't think is the case)?
You shouldn't be getting a light orange glow. That sounds a bit scary, actually. Did you connect the ground?


yeah maybe i didn't I'm sorry me and electric stuff just aren't related.. I guess I'll take a look and just see what I missed, thing is, I only saw two spare cables.. and well I guessed they should connect to the cord for the connection plug, and the diagram at the ballist ony shows ... ok ,so maybe i should do that, I'm guessing I have to connect something to the screw that says gnd, but what?
update: I investigated a little and read somewhere that if only extremes are glowing it is probably because of a malfunctioning ballast, but I'm not rejecting the high probability that I did something wrong
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Hey, if you aren't comfortable doing some basic wiring, buying a complete hood from the pet store is definately going to be cheaper than burning down your house. One thing you might want to invest in are some wire caps. They are fast, safe, and easy to use... definately better than electrical tape. Do you have a buddy that can give you a hand with this project?

Using a cord that has a ground is really the best way to go. You should be able to get one at home depot. They have three prongs instead of two, and will have a black wire, a white wire and a green wire inside casing. You can also cut an extension cord to use as your plug.

Here are some pictures of one my lamps that isn't currently in use:

Complete lamp:


Side of the completed lamp, showing screws holding on the flashing:


This diagram gives you a visual of how the wires are supposed to go. It is located on the black box in your light:


Here is the wiring for the cord.. white to white, black to black, green to the ground.


Disclaimer: I am not an electrician, and the above post may be fatally flawed! If you aren't comfortable messing with electrical stuff, then don't do it. Buy one from the pet store!


thanks that was really usefull, I'll better look for one with a ground wire, and about the whole "only the extremes glow in orange" , I asked a guy from my father's work and he just played a little with the accomodation of the tube, and it suddenly worked, so I guess it was a contact problem.
I'm not that scared of electrical stuff, it's just that I freaked out when I got that orange glow, still I'm just using a regular plug cable without ground, so I'll apply that.
on a different note, still related to lighting tho, i found a problem with the cage, I just got it yesterday and realized that the metalic weaving at the top could be too thick for light to pass in enough cuantity ..maybe, I'll post a pic latter but I'm guessing you will agree with me. So ,I realize the HUGE problem with placing the lights inside.. because of the humidity and water and all, I just wondered If I could place the UV on the door, so I won't it won't get sprayed, or probably Ill just cut out a piece from the top and place something that lets more light through instead.
Pretty much everyone has the problem of light passing through screen. I wouldn't place the light in the door. Put it up top and it will be alright. Just make sure that there are plenty of branches placed within a few inches of the UVB light. That way, your chameleon can benefit from it. If your cage is made from dark pet screen, it is actually brighter in the cage than it appears to be from the outside. How about some pictures?

On the subject of lights/balists....has anyone used or considered using Ice Cap 660 VHO? These are typically used for reef aquariums. What would be the best spectrum and wattage of bulbs to use on a 3ft wide cage? My husband use to maintain a reef aquarium so I already have the balist. Has anyone had experience with the VHO's?
Ok Heika here are the images


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Hey, that is pretty interesting screen you have there. It looks like a woven wire, but I can't tell by the picture what guage. Where did you get your cage? Did you have someone build it for you?

Even with that screen, I wouldn't worry too much about light penetrating into the cage. I believe that pet screen blocks more than that would.

Yeah I know, in the company where my father works they do that kind of stuff, so I decided tu use some of it, I designed my cage and asked him if it was possible to for him to make it there(they have people with blowtorches and the like there) I only used that type of "metalic weaving" on the top ,I don't remember why , the sides have regular window screen I told them to send it without the screening and I would get that by myself to make sure it's the best option, but they sent it all finished up ,but I liked it alot they really followed my sketches really well.
Thanks, I feel a bit less preoccupied now , still I'll buy the best reflector I can get.
T 5 Lighting

I hooked up 4 t5 bulbs today powered by an ice cap ballast.
The output of these lamps are amazing.
look in the gallery for pics.
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Wow! Is that a comparison pic between the ice cap and regular? What an amazing difference in the amount of light! It makes me wonder if that isn't what some of these breeders like Screameleons uses to get the eye popping colors they get on their chams.
The cage on the right is lit by one 20w t8 zoomed 5.0, one t8 20w grow bulb from lowes and a 100w spot.
The cage on the left has 4 54w t5 grow bulbs over driven to 80w each and a 100w spot.
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