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post #16 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedie408 View Post
Tom,

No love for SFBAAPS?
You are not quite local, but you will indirectly benefit from it.
Since folks can get semi local products that are specific to plant tank needs.

Fairly under rated area of lighting sales, Kim from A&H did well, this guy could too.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #17 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Solid View Post
Heatsinks will make your LEDs last longer and use less electricity per lumen. So I would recommend them.
IMO the LED will be more effected by the water evaporation than heatsink. As to this day i never heard about LED overheating and blowing out. they seem to stay hot at about 39Celsius which is hot to touch, but not hot enough to burn you.

The power consumption is so little already that your night light uses more power.

hoppy missed one point, you will not need to switch out LED every year or so either like T5's
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post #18 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 12:00 AM
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I've been following the LED trend for a while now, and played around with a couple builds.
My biggest problem with LEDs, and the reason why i haven't really adopted the tech is spectrum. 6500K LEDs are NOT equal to 6500k fluorescent. The current gen of LEDs really wash out red/orange/purples.
Once the manufacturers figure out how to replicate fluorescent phosphors, I'll be on board 100%, as the rest of the benefits of LEDs are very appealing.
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post #19 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 12:14 AM
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This is the famous reefcentral post I was referring to. The original thread is several hundred pages long now. The basic wiring concept is very simple. The LEDs are wired in series, + to - to + and so forth. Then hook up to your driver, and that's it. You can add a dimmable driver, which requires a little more work.

Check out the PAR readings at the very bottom. This is with 48 LEDs over a 75g tank, much more than what we would need. I've been strongly considering giving this a try!

Quote:
Many of you have seen my preview. This is the full instruction sheet. I hope it's clear enough but feel free to ask any questions. I will try to respond as soon as possible.

Enjoy!


What you will need:

24 Cree White LEDs mounted on star boards - ~$173.00 from www.LEDsupply.com
24 Royal Blue LEDs mounted on star boards - ~$173.00 from www.LEDsupply.com
4 700mA wired buckpucks (3023-D-N-700) ~$60.00 from www.LEDsupply.com
4 1000mA wired buckpucks (3023-D-N-1000) ~$60.00 from www.LEDsupply.com
Heatsinks – more specifics on this later ~$60.00 from www.heatsinkusa.com
Power supplies – more specifics on this later ~45.00 from www.mpja.com
Arctic Alumina thermal epoxy ~$13.00 – find this in a local computer parts store or eBay
Fans for cooling ~$20.00 – find this in a local computer parts store or eBay
Aluminum project box from Radio Shack ~$3.99
Aluminum stock
Drill and tap set
Stainless machine screws – I used #6-32
16 gauge wire
Precision electronics soldering iron and solder

DISCLAIMER: This project involves both low voltage DC current and high voltage AC current. Risk of electric shock should be obvious and if you are not comfortable with basic electronics wiring, leave this to someone more experienced. As with any project like this, mileage will vary.

Feel free to make any changes or improvements to this design. My main focus is to provide you with instructions on wiring and all the parts needed for a lighting fixture that can save you tons of money and provide just as much light as halides.

I claim that this saves money. Why is that? To begin with, LEDs last for 50,000 hours. After that, they drop about 30% in brightness. How many times would you need to replace halide or PC bulbs in 50,000 hours of burn time? Also, power consumption is far less than even PC lighting for the output.

Getting Started

I have a 75 gallon tank, therefore, I needed a light fixture of 48” in length. I found some 1” angle aluminum in 4’ sections at my local hardware store. I picked up two of them along with 3’ of 1” square aluminum tube. The heatsinks that I used were 12”x8.5”. I cut the square tubing to 8.5” lengths and screwed them to each end of the aluminum angle and to the middle for further support.

NOTE* - The heatsinks can be purchased in varying lengths. Check out www.heatsinkusa.com for sizing.

The heatsinks were easily attached by drilling through and tapping them to allow for the stainless machine screws to securely attach the heatsink to the aluminum frame.



Mounting the LEDs

I studied the array of the Solaris fixtures and saw that the LEDs were in an alternating blue/white pattern. This seemed like a winning combination so I did just that. Each buckpuck can safely handle 6 LEDs. This is where I got my array of 24 LEDs in each array VS the 25 in each Solaris array. (6x4=24) I arranged the LEDs in a crisscross pattern as shown.

To attach the LEDs to the heatsink, use the Arctic Alumina heatsink epoxy. As the packaging states, the bond is PERMANENT so make sure you have the LEDs aligned before attaching them. It’s best to save the wiring job until the LEDs are mounted and the epoxy has cured.



The LEDs need to be arranged so that they can be wired in series. For example, the first LED, closest to the buckpuck driver, needs to have the negative lead facing the buckpuck direction. The positive of that LED needs to be connected to the negative of the next LED and so on until the string of 6 is complete. The positive of the last LED in the string runs back to the buckpuck.



Drivers

As I said, I used 8 buckpuck drivers that can be had at www.ledsupply.com. I used the non-dimmable versions because I didn’t care about that feature. The dimmable versions are slightly more expensive but can open up a few features. For example, you can dim each string to fit your needs. This could be helpful in the acclimation process.



This is a fairly simple setup. All of the negative leads from the buckpucks driving the BLUES will be connected and all of the positive leads will be connected. The same goes for the WHITE drivers. Each LED output from the individual buckpucks goes to an individual string of LEDs.

NOTE* - I used 700mA drivers on the BLUE and 1000mA drivers on the WHITE.

You will need a place to hide the buckpucks. An aluminum project box from Radio Shack worked perfectly for this, keeping with the all aluminum theme. The buckpucks produce no heat and can be thrown in the box indiscriminately if you wish. However, to keep the wiring (which there is a lot of) in order, the buckpucks can be epoxied to the inner walls of the project box. It would be smart to keep the 700mA on one side and the 1000mA on the other.



Drill some access holes in the box as you will need to route wiring through them. I made 4 holes in the front, all 3/8” to both run wires through and allow for the wire loom to fit securely inside the hole. On the back, drill whatever size hole you need to run the power and fans. This is where you get to be as creative as you want. I drilled holes, inserted rubber grommets and ran the wires. You can use whatever you want as the control center and make it look like whatever you wish.





Power

For power, you will need to acquire a 24V power source that can handle the load of the LEDs. I found the perfect power supply at www.mpja.com. It is a 24V 6.5A CNC power supply. You will need one for each type of LED. The BLUES get one and the WHITES get one.



NOTE* - You can use any type of 24V DV power supply you want. Just make sure that the amperage draw from the LEDs does not exceed the amperage available from the power supply. For example, running 4 strings of 6 LEDs being driven at 1000mA is a total draw of 4 amps. Using a 24V 3A power supply, will, in my experience, kill the power supply. The buckpucks can handle up to 32V but only 24 is needed for a string of 6, which is the recommended maximum number of LEDs per string.

The wiring of the power supply is rather simple as well. You will need an AC cord with a ground. If you can find a few old computer power cords, just cut the end off and wire that to the power supply.

NOTE* - ALWAYS TEST your connections before just plugging the cord into the wall!

The output of the power supply is in a simple positive/negative DC fashion. These will run to the respective positive and negative leads on the buckpucks.

Cooling

High power LEDs generate heat. It’s not a ton of heat, but the cooler they run, the longer they last. I found some 120mm fans on ebay and purchased 4 of them. Check the fan noise rating which is listed as DB. The ones I purchased were listed at 20DB. This is barely audible in a silent room. I found that when they arrived, they were larger than I thought. I only used one on each heatsink and the cooling effect is substantial. Without the fans, the heatsinks would reach a feverish forehead feeling. With them, they are cool to the touch after hours of run time.



To mount the fans, I used some flat 1/2” wide lengths of aluminum. They were bent to the shape of the heatsink and mounted with the same drilling and tapping method.

NOTE* - Be sure to raise the fan off the heatsink by at least 1/4” to allow for air flow.



So, now you’re looking at this and thinking that the fans are 12V and the power supplies are 24V. How does this work? I had the same problem and the fix is simple. Wire them in series. The positive from one fan goes to the positive of the 24V power to the buckpucks. The negative of that fan goes to the positive of the other. That last negative goes back to the negative of the same buckpuck circuit.

The power supplies get warm, as well. I don’t know if they absolutely need cooling, but I happened to have two extra fans. I added them to the box that I mounted the power supplies in.

Optics

I am fully aware that optics will increase the output of LEDs. However, I decided not to use them because they cut down on the spread of the light. In order to use the optics, successfully, you will need to keep the LED arrays closer together and , most likely, need more LEDs to get the desired spread.

Closing

That’s really about it. You can build this exact fixture for about $600 and never have to replace any bulbs. After 11 years or so, the LEDs will lose some of their intensity. But, that’s 11 years down the road. Consider the cost of replacing bulbs in standard MH or PC fixtures over the span of 11 years. This type of lighting pays for itself over time. Your electric bill will thank you, as well.

As always, your mileage will vary. You can make whatever you want and have it look like whatever you want. The important things here are the wiring and cooling. Other than that, the canvas is yours to paint.

I hope this will help those of you interested in LED lighting but don’t want to spend the incredible prices out there for pre-manufactured LED fixtures.

Thank you for reading this and enjoy!


More pictures and PAR readings!








~ Jose



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post #20 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 12:33 AM
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wow that really helps a lot. Thanks!
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post #21 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 12:56 AM
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Patent for aquarium lighting???

I'll be right back after I file for the WC lighting patent...

Our patent office at work...

Jim
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post #22 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 01:24 AM
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I'm very interested,

So how much or many led (watts) are needed for a planted aquarium, eguivalent to a t5ho set up? in comparison to LED (watts) vs. t5ho watts (say 2watts/gallon) in terms of par readings?
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post #23 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwong2k View Post
I'm very interested,

So how much or many led (watts) are needed for a planted aquarium, eguivalent to a t5ho set up? in comparison to LED (watts) vs. t5ho watts (say 2watts/gallon) in terms of par readings?
My estimations are about 0.7W/gal, but it depends on the spread, depth of the tank. 1-1.2 w/gal would be fairly high light.

This is less than 1/2 of standard old school Watt per gallon rules.
Spacing and light spread are important, we do not need the intensity the reef folks seek.

The light is somewhat yucky in color, but perhaps that will improbve and be scalable, dialable in the near future as well.

I'd love a nice spect graph that I could move and manipulate with a touch screen. Drag up and down various nm band intensities etc.

Ah....maybe when I'm old and grey.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #24 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indignation View Post
I've been following the LED trend for a while now, and played around with a couple builds.
My biggest problem with LEDs, and the reason why i haven't really adopted the tech is spectrum. 6500K LEDs are NOT equal to 6500k fluorescent. The current gen of LEDs really wash out red/orange/purples.
Once the manufacturers figure out how to replicate fluorescent phosphors, I'll be on board 100%, as the rest of the benefits of LEDs are very appealing.
One of my main gripes as well, the Gieseman bulbs colors are nice to the eye.
But............if they get the LED close to those, I'll never look back.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #25 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 06:11 AM
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Use enough LEDs mounted close enough together, and you can dial whatever spectrum you want. You could use 1 watt LEDs, in white, red, blue and green, perhaps 1 inch a part in both directions, then control the intensity of each color with a separate variable current power supply to get the appearance you want. The LEDs need to be very close together to avoid seeing colored spots at the top of the water, or the light needs to be high enough above the tank so the colors mix before striking the water. But, that means even more LEDs at more power to account for the added distance from them to the substrate. Clearly a compromise is needed. (There are LEDs with 3 emitters in them, red, green and blue, with each emitter separately powered, which would simplify this a little bit.) This would not be a cheap light.

Hoppy
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post #26 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwong2k View Post
I'm very interested,

So how much or many led (watts) are needed for a planted aquarium, eguivalent to a t5ho set up? in comparison to LED (watts) vs. t5ho watts (say 2watts/gallon) in terms of par readings?
My Catalina T5HO fixture with two Giesemann bulbs gives me about 40-50 PAR at 28". If you look at my post above, that guy was getting 100+ PAR in a 75g tank, I'd say about 24" off the substrate. That was with two arrays of 24 LEDs, 48 total.

That's a lot of light for a FW planted tank, so I'd say half as many LEDs in each array should give you a good amount of PAR for plants.

~ Jose



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post #27 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 06:15 PM
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One of the most expensive parts of a LED light can be the finned heatsink. For a big light that can be almost half the minimum cost. But, I think we now know that a heatsink of that type isn't necessary, nor are cooling fans necessary, as long as you don't go for near maximum electric current thru the LEDs. At 350 - 500 mAmps, or so, they don't get hot enough that a simple piece of aluminum can't act as a good enough heatsink. Driving the LEDs at the lower current means more LEDs are needed, but it also means cheaper LEDs can be used - the expensive newer ones produce more light primarily by being able to operate at a much higher current. Having more LEDs in the light offers lots of advantages.

It also isn't necessary to have a separate DC power supply and driver - the Meanwell drivers combine those functions and work very well. You don't even need the programable Meanwell driver - most of us will adjust the driver only once, when we first set it up, and ordinary Meanwell drivers have current and output voltage adjustment screws, easy to get to by removing 4 screws and the top of the housing.

Hoppy
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post #28 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 06:29 PM
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Good info Hoppy. I've read the stuff about the dimmable drivers and hooking up a potentiometer but it still confuses me! So on your fixture, I noticed you had only one driver controlling all those LEDs. The part I still dont get it, how do control the current through the LEDs? Is that by taking apart the driver and adjusting the screw down to let say, 350mA? And if you wanted to run them at full power (1000mA), you just leave the screw alone?

Also, I found this place that has decent prices on heatsinks. A 4x48" heatsink goes for $60

http://www.heatsinkusa.com/storename...kusa/home.aspx

~ Jose



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post #29 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
One of the most expensive parts of a LED light can be the finned heatsink. For a big light that can be almost half the minimum cost. But, I think we now know that a heatsink of that type isn't necessary, nor are cooling fans necessary, as long as you don't go for near maximum electric current thru the LEDs. At 350 - 500 mAmps, or so, they don't get hot enough that a simple piece of aluminum can't act as a good enough heatsink. Driving the LEDs at the lower current means more LEDs are needed, but it also means cheaper LEDs can be used - the expensive newer ones produce more light primarily by being able to operate at a much higher current. Having more LEDs in the light offers lots of advantages.

It also isn't necessary to have a separate DC power supply and driver - the Meanwell drivers combine those functions and work very well. You don't even need the programable Meanwell driver - most of us will adjust the driver only once, when we first set it up, and ordinary Meanwell drivers have current and output voltage adjustment screws, easy to get to by removing 4 screws and the top of the housing.
+1 could not tell it better myself

im getting things together for another project for 200g tank, with 100 LED and 8 drivers and some aluminum square pipe looking drain pipe for heatsink
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post #30 of 58 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Min View Post
+1 could not tell it better myself

im getting things together for another project for 200g tank, with 100 LED and 8 drivers and some aluminum square pipe looking drain pipe for heatsink
Min,

Is there a writeup currently available for your project, or something similar? If not, I'd think it would benefit TPT as a whole if you made a detailed LED writeup. I would love to see it evolve!
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