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  1. #1
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    wiring connectors

    hi there, I'm finishing up a DIY canopy for my 90 gallon tank and have a question for you DIY'ers. The canopy lighting consists of 2 x 250w hailides and 2 vho bulbs. I'm running the 2 vho's off an icecap 660 with its standard wiring harness as I couldn't justify spending the $$ to order one from the US after trying to find someone with a used extension harness. So after looking high and low for somewhere in ottawa that sells 18ga solid wire (same as icecaps) I found some and decided to do all inside canopy vho wiring (to endcaps etc) with the 18ga wire. I'm looking for input on what type of connectors to use to join the ic 660's wires to my inside wiring. I would prefer to use something that can be plugged and unplugged easily if required. I first looked at some plugs m\f sold at the source but found that they are all sold for auto wiring which we all know is typical 12vdc..I'm not sure if these would be suitable to use for my vho wires as we are talking much more voltage then 12v..I'm not sure if its the amperage or the voltage i need to be most concerned with here..any idea or opinions for solution would be appreciated ..thanks in advance.

    I should of mentioned earlier here that the whole purpose of this is that I want to extend the vho wiring past the 6'ft stock harness length (which imo is ridiculous) unless they expect people to almost have to mount the ballast ontop or directly beside the canopy once a fair bit of that stock 6ft is gulped up getting the wiring to the endcaps.

    Jeff

  2. #2
    Senior Member boyohboy's Avatar
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    there got to be an assortment of wire connectors in CanTire, HomeDepot, Rona etc, for the 120v purpose, I'd think.
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  3. #3
    liv
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    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
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    for the connectors, why not use standard houseold sockets.. like the connectors used for extension cords ? as for the gauge of wiring, take something with a bigger gauge and a heat shield to be even safer... most places sell it by the foot.

  4. #4
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    thanks for the replies. I thought of m\f plugs like the ones used on extension cords etc but was hoping to find something suitable thats a little less bulky as i'm dealing with 18 gauge wire.

  5. #5
    Moderator ShipWreck's Avatar
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    I would check in the automotive section. Many of the wire harnesses used in a car have m/f sides and would work well. The only problem is you would need the correct crimp tool to connect the pins with.
    Rob
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  6. #6
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    Shipwreck, I was thinking of those automotive connectors also as they would be perfect. My concern with them is if they are safe to use for higher voltages
    coming from my VHO ballast as opposed to 12v auto voltages.

    thanks!

  7. #7
    liv
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    voltages is usually not a problem, the bigger prob is the amps.
    calculate the amount of amps that could possibly go through.
    the automotive stuff is fairly strong as its low voltage but high amp.

    ex, a 12v connector says 10amp its the same as 120v 1amp.
    ( 12v X 10a = 120w ) 120v X 1a = 120w.
    so i say its probebly ok, on top of that, the automotive stuff specially the plugs used close to the engine has to be able to withstand the heat of the engine.
    always use connectors that are over your amp/watt needed, so they wont heat up and be dangerous.. ex, if you need 1amp or 120w.. think about getting double that, so 2amp or 250w as an example.

    Maybe i'm not getting this right but, why would you want the connectors inside the hood ? if I were you, I'd seal all the wiring inside and bring the connectors out, less changes of salt creep and splashes getting into them.
    also easier to unplug in case of emergency.

    as for the plugs, you might want to check princess auto, they have some connectors used with farming equipment that connect to each other then lock... so they wont easily be taken apart by kids or pets.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
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    thanks for the reply Liv. All connections are outside of the canopy. I want to be able to keep the vho ballast a distance away from the moisture, salt creep etc and is why i'm extending the stock 6ft harness

    I will look into the plugs you mentioned and monitor them for heat etc.

    thanks, Jeff

  9. #9
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    not a problem using 12v dc connectors that are typically made fior automobiles. You can get all sorts of sizes of connectors. I'd use the nice sealed waterproof ones. If anything, these are better for 120 volt a/c, becuase these are made for much higher amperage's that we get in d/c. It's hard to go wrong, you know the connector is too small if the wire doesn't fit inside the hole where it's to be crimped. The important thing is tight connections. No loose areas where arcing will happen and a fire can take place.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member mpleleaf's Avatar
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    You can buy those automotive style connectors for 120V at electrical supply stores but they are pretty much the same thing( maybe a little thicker insulation but you cant see a diff.) I'd buy the crimp on type from C.T. with the sealable shrink already on , you can get these usually in a variety of conn. styles...butts or M/F. REMEMBER to always unplug anything electrical when working with it, you never know when the insulation might be cracked or a loose connection might come apart! HTH
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