Power usage... what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by seminolecpa, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. northbay-reefer

    northbay-reefer Honorary Member

    A buddy of mine use a panasonic exaults fan blowing through a duct directly on the top of the water, and he had great success with it. The fan was supper quiet and kept his tank very cool. I think before going through all of the trouble to move the heat from the hood, it might be more efficient to direct air from your current fans to the top of the water.
  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Hmm. So after some thought:

    1) Magnetic ballast.
    With 240 V / 120V, what happens is that you switch it to use half of the windings in the transformer.
    The transformer output voltage = input voltage * ratio of windings on each end.
    The loss in a transformer is largely due to resistance of wire, so yes, it does make sense for
    the higher voltage to be better. Perhaps substantially.

    2) Electronic ballast:
    The DC voltage out of the rectifier will be double, which can help a bit,
    but in a switch-mode supply, it really should not make much difference at all.

    Regardless :
    Magnetic ballast are about 90% efficient, and electronic about 95%.
    Even if you have magnetic, and lets say you DOUBLE the efficiency, you are still only making a 5% difference overall.
    Not huge.

    The voltage at the light, and power used by the light remain 100% identical, so no difference there.
  3. 99sf

    99sf Guest

    Picking up on Mario's idea... decreasing the lights to 250 watts would cut down on the heat & electrical costs. If there is a problem with complete coverage of the tank/shadows, maybe a self-moving track for the lights like JAR created? He has the big advantage of the fish room to mount the light track.
  4. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    Thanks for all the comments. 400W to 250W doesn't really save that much in terms of electricity in the long run and would give me way less afa par etc.. Very happy with the coral growth etc in my tank just having issues disapating the heat I suspect (don't fix what ain't broke).

    I think I am going to go with the exhaust fan idea Gresham suggested for multiple reason (including keeping that room cooler during the summer by taking the heat out of the room instead of dumping it in). My bigest concern has alway been putting another hole in the floor and/or roof to do it. Always suspected I would need to do it. I have already changed much of the stuff in the garage to try to promote insulation including optimizing pumps and insulation (to some extent) the frag tank and sump.

    Jeff, I have a ReefKeeper Elite but have had nothing but problems with it since day 1. the problems have only built as I upgraded to their new MyReef.
  5. CookieJar

    CookieJar Guest

    What temp range are you setup to allow? Not sure how sensitive your corals are but have you tried upping the range and seeing if the corals react with a larger temp swing or are unaffected?
  6. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    Have you measured how much energy each individual part of the system (lights, heaters, chiller, pumps) is actually using?

    A key practice when optimizing software is to always measure first and make sure you understand what takes the most time. It's often unintuitive and there's little benefit to optimizing things that aren't slow. That seems like a good idea for something like this too. For instance, if it turned out that heaters are only using 10% of the electricity and you manage to make them use 10% less than they do now, you've only saved 1%.

    I have one of those 'Watts Up' electricity meters somewhere. Let me know if you'd like to borrow it.
  7. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    Temp range is about 75-80

    Erin, I have measured some but definately not all. I have a kill-a-watt meter somewhere just need to get off my butt and use it. Good idea though I should map it all out, but I suspect the biggest culprits will be the lights, the heaters and the chiller. The other problem is most of the stuff, even if I find out it is a big draw, I am not sure I could live without.
  8. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    Pumps add up too.
  9. cwolfus

    cwolfus Past President

    BrYan, if your chiller is kicking in for a short time late in the day you might consider slightly adjusting your photo period so the heat peak happens later when it is already cooler outside (and in the garage). With a little testing you might determine high temp is reduced by only delaying lights on by an hour or two and you het the added bonus of having lights on in the evening for prime time viewing.
  10. northbay-reefer

    northbay-reefer Honorary Member

    A woman is a big draw that we can't live without .. lol
  11. ryanjiang

    ryanjiang Guest

    I have feeling that focusing on reducing the on time of chiller will have best result of saving, thus the exhaust fan is a good idea.

    How quick does the chiller kick in when the MH turned on ? How about split the MH to two periods so water have chance to be naturally cooled down and reduce the chiller ON time , the side benefit is you have more chance to enjoy the actinic tank looking.
  12. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    I wonder if those fans are rated for use in a "saltwater environment"? The one I listed is not only rated for it, it also is spark less :)
  13. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    Already do that to some extent the bubls are on for 5hrs and 15 mins each with only about a 3 hour or so overlap. Can't do it too much later in the evening or I will never get to see the lights on (if I am gona pay for it, I am darn sure gonna see it).

    Lets see what the fan will do and adjust accordingly.
  14. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    If you want to borrow my 4" inline fan and simply run it out a door or window for a bit I'd be willing to bring it to you.
  15. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    Sure Gresham, I could give that a shot. I might try to rig something temporary with some plexiglass out of of the windows so I don't have to further damage my floor. Have to see how it looks though. If it is too terrible, I can always go the other route.
  16. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    OK just for you I will leave early and go pick it up from storage :)
  17. houser

    houser Past President

    I personally think this is a good meeting topic for down the road. And we'll need a whiteboard.
    Today I'll bring my laptop and my little power consumption spreadsheet. I have to find my extra power supply though since I blew mine for some reason yesterday...
  18. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Bryan saw the message you posted in my thread, just got back from snowboarding so here's my reply..

    As to tank temp I let my tank wander in the 74-76 range. Of course because of this *#!&*( controller not graphing properly anymore I can't really tell for certain how hot it is. I did have an issue for an unknown amount of time where one of my heaters said the tank was sufficiently warm, but wasn't turning on, and the tank dipped into the 70-72 range, however no ill effects I could judge.

    I'm not going to critique on what people should or should not keep their tank at, however how hot would the tank get if you didn't have the chiller on? Maybe experiment time? I know you have some beefy lights but my first thought would have my controller turn the halides off if it got too hot, then have the chiller as a last resort option for those hot days.

    Being as it's be EXTREMELY cold for a while it's no wonder that your sump in your basement/garage is the cause of your power issues, you really are fighting a battle with the cold, and *physics geek moment* being as radiative power losses go as the change in temperature to the 4th power, having even a slightly cooler garage will translate to a significantly higher power usage to keep that temperature at whatever level you keep it at, and also has to do with total area, so having all those tiny tanks doesn't help.
  19. Mr. Ugly

    Mr. Ugly Past President

    That's hot!

    /Paris Hilton

  20. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Slightly error. A 240/120v transformer doesn't change the voltage at the light, it's how much voltage is required on the power side. So doubling the voltage halves the current in your wires (literally halves it as you have two hots instead of one) so from your power meter to your ballast, so the resistive line losses depend upon how much power (current) is used and the length of line. That said I suspect you won't save terribly much with a switch over, the only way I could think that it'd be significant is if the wire is close to maximum capacity in the first place, then by switching to 220 you're essentially just dumping the load on another circuit (and it'd be just as easy to go to a 110v circuit if that's the case), a couple 400 watt bulbs would be pulling around 7amps, isn't horrible, unless your 12 gauge wire has another 12 amps on it.

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