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Hey guys!

I am a 17-year old from Latvia who has recently been vastly fascinated by the subject of indoor cultivation of plants and thus decided to start growing cayenne peppers. I live in a northern country so summers are short and winters are cold. Thus I decided to create a fully functional and efficient fluorescent grow-light. I hope that this tutorial will reach many and hopefully generate interest around the home cultivation of plants for the youth.

DISCLAIMER : REMEMBER YOU WILL BE WORKING WITH MAINS POWER SO ALWAYS EXERCISE UTMOST CAUTION. MAINS AC VOLTAGE CAN AND WILL KILL YOU! I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY IN DAMAGES DONE TO YOU OR YOUR FAMILY. ALL RESPONSIBILITY IS ON YOU!

-Theo

Step 1: Required Materials.

For this project you will need :

1) Materials -

  1. 2-4x T5 24w 549mm 4500-6500k fluorescent tubes. ( Or any other tubes you wish to use.)
  2. 1-2x Twin 24w t5 electronic ballasts. ( Or any other ballasts that are recommended for your tubes.)
  3. ~5 meters of 3 strand installation wire rated for 220+ volts.
  4. 4-8x T5 end fittings. (sometimes called tombstones.)
  5. 2x ~600mm x 250mm plexiglass ( Or any other light, sturdy material used for the fixture.)
  6. Aluminised tape ( Or any other reflective material that can be applied to the plexiglass.)
  7. 4x 120° corner brackets.
  8. DIY electrical wall plug.
  9. Thin rope.
  10. 4x eye screw with matching nut and washer.
  11. 2x eye screw with matching wall anchors.
  12. ~30 bigger diameter screws that fit corner brackets.
  13. ~15 smaller diameter screws that fit T5 fittings.
  14. ~20 cable clips with matching nuts.
  15. Arduino (Or any other sort of Micro-controller) [Optional]
  16. AC to 5v power-supply (Acquired from phone charger) [Optional]
  17. 4x Micro- controller jumper wires. [Optional]
  18. Relay (rated for your AC voltage) [Optional]

2)Instruments -

  1. Soldering Iron.
  2. Electrical drill.
  3. A couple screwdrivers.
  4. Pliers and wire cutters.
  5. Drill bits that match the diameter of screws.
  6. Measuring tape.
  7. Sharpie.
  8. Multimeter
  9. Rosin-cored solder.
  10. Sharp knife.
  11. Electrical tape.

Step 2: Preparing the Fixture.

  1. Measure the center of one of the plexiglass pieces lengthwise.
  2. Score the line with a sharp knife.
  3. Snap the plexiglass along the score.
  4. Stick the Aluminised tape onto one side of the 3 sheets of plexiglass.
  5. Measure 150mm from each side, mark holes for the corner brackets.
  6. Drill holes for corner brackets.
  7. Use fitting screws and nuts to attach the fixture together.

Step 3: Mounting the Electronics .

  1. Measure & Drill holes for ballast.
  2. Mount 1 or 2 Ballasts on top with fitting screws.
  3. Measure & Drill holes for Relay. [Optional]
  4. Mount Relay. [Optional]
  5. Measure & Drill holes for Arduino ( Micro-controller ).
  6. Mount Micro-controller.

Step 4: Wiring the Fittings.

  1. Attach wires to the electrical plug. ( GND - central; L&N either side [EUROPEAN PLUG ONLY] )
  2. Measure/Drill/Mount T5 fittings onto the fix with nuts and bolts.
  3. Measure/Tin and attach wires to T5 fittings.
  4. Plug wires into ballast according to your ballasts instructions.
  5. Order the wires with the wire clips.

Step 5: Wiring the Electronics. [Optional]

  1. Tin the wires.
  2. Wire the electronics according to the schematic.
  3. Set alarm times and upload this sketch to your Arduino -

#include 
#include
AlarmId id;
int Led = 12;
void setup() {
  setTime(11,53,0,11,2,17);
  
  Alarm.alarmRepeat(07,35,0, MorningAlarm); //SET TURN ON TIME HERE
  Alarm.alarmRepeat(22,50,0,EveningAlarm); //SET TURN OFF TIME HERE
  Alarm.timerOnce(30, Once); //WIll SWITCH ON LIGHT IN 30 SECONDS
  pinMode(Led, OUTPUT);
}

void loop() { Alarm.delay(1000); // wait one second between clock display } void Once() { digitalWrite(Led,HIGH); } void MorningAlarm() { digitalWrite(Led, HIGH); } void EveningAlarm() { digitalWrite(Led, LOW); }

Step 6: Finishing Touches.

EXERCISE UTMOST CAUTION WHEN PLUGGING INTO MAINS!!!

  1. Measure the required length of rope for mounting.
  2. Tie the rope into a tight slip-knot.
  3. Test connections with a multimeter before plugging in.
  4. Plug in.
  5. ENJOY!!!
<p>My only question is, why did you switch the neutral instead of the hot line? If anybody gets between the non-switched hot line and either neutral or ground, they will be a serious shock even without the rely switched on. I would make the relay switch the hot line instead for that very reason. Other then that, you made an interesting project. </p>
*Edit* Ignore the thing i stated after polarized plug, i agree that that would be much safer and will change it soon :) <br>
Well personally in Europe where I live we have a non polarized plug, so this doesn't change anything, but the other thing is that the connection points are so close that it's easy even to get between relay in (L or N) and the opposite connection. But anyhow i agree that that would have been better, will update it :)
<p>Great work :) I'd love to set one of these up in the kitchen to grow some mitsuba and shungiku.</p>

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