DIY LED 29 gallon w/ dimable driver and ammeter - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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DIY LED 29 gallon w/ dimable driver and ammeter

Well after talking with redfishsc, hoppy, and IWANNAGOFAST on making a led fixture i finally broke down and decided try it out. I got a heat sink 30 inches long and 4.8 inches wide from heatsinkusa

Bulk Wire (Black) @ $0.25 = $0.75
1 3-Prong Power Cord @ $2.50 = $2.50
1 Mean Well LPC-60-1050 constant current driver @ $26.00 = $26.00
12 CREE XP-G R5 Cool White 3W LED with 65 degree White Lens @ $6.25 = $75.00
1 Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive @ $6.99 = $6.99
4 CREE XP-E Royal Blue 3W LED on star @ $4.50 = $18.00
1 Wire Connectors/Nuts @ $0.75 = $0.75
1 4 Hook Wire Hanging Kit @ $10.00 = $10.00
1 AA Battery LED Tester @ $2.00 = $2.00

Here is my list. right now it sounds like there is a lot of confusion whether 12 LED's will give me too much light or the right amount so hopefully with the help of Dave-H and his wonderful par meter I'll be able to figure this out.

I just ordered the parts and now am awaiting them to arrive so that i can start building this fixture.


My next goal will be to find either a metal shop where i can make a canopy to house the lights similar to IWANNAGOFAST If i can't figure out how to do this i might try to make one out of wood.

Last edited by Rockhoe14er; 06-17-2011 at 04:23 AM.
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post #2 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 05:31 PM
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I am doing a similar thread in this forum with a lot of the same equipment. Since you've ordered your equipment already I think I'll see how yours turns out before I buy my supplies in case I want to alter what I'm planning on now.

Have you tried looking at http://www.heatsinkusa.com/ for a heat sink you can connect your driver and LEDs to? Originally I was going to buy one from them, but I was able to find heat sinks at www.rapidled.com where I will be ordering my equipment from. Keep us updated! I'll definitely be following your thread
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post #3 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah that's where i ordered my heatsink from. I was going to get it from rapidled but the one I wanted was out of stock so that's why i chose heatsinkusa.com
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post #4 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 11:35 PM
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How do you plan on connecting the cable hanging kit to the aluminum? Are you going to drill 4 holes in the heat sink?
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post #5 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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actually i have a friend that's a carpenter so she is going to make a box that i will connect the heat sink too and hang the wood. I'm not sure what would look cool though
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post #6 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 03:14 AM
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subscribed. i have a 29 gallon, using pc bulbs, was thinking about switching to t5ho, and doing something like this in the future. i'm excited to see how it turns out.
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post #7 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 03:17 AM
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That's a cool idea, I'm interested to see how that will look in the end. Certainly different than all the aluminum and black hanging lights that are the current norm.
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post #8 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I'm not 100% what type of design to try. I really like the aluminum look but i don't have any metal working skills so i have to make due with what i got.
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post #9 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 03:17 PM
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I'm no designer, but for an idea the initial image I had was a very clean and plain recatangular box made out of a dark wood (ex: cherry wood) with a nice lacquer coating. Or you can just have a dark lacquer on a cheaper wood. Then the LED fixture can just sit inside the box with a hole cut out large enough for all the LEDs to show through. I feel the dark wood with cables, glass, and green plants would create a modern mix of materials and colors.

Just an idea of course
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post #10 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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The only thing i also want is to make sure i can block the lcd light from blinding me while i'm looking at the tank. So i want the frame to come down a little to help block the LCD's from viewers.
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post #11 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 06:42 PM
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Do you mean like a complete hood to sit on the tank so you can't see the lights at all? Or I guess you could make the box with no bottom at all and connecting the light to the top of the box so it's a few inches from the bottom, that way you couldn't see the lights without looking up and under the box and the light will be housed in wood.

I hope that makes sense. I'm not sure if I'm suggesting a good solution for your concern
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post #12 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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I want to hang the lights because i want to make sure i get a good distribution of light. So it needs to be a hanging fixture that looks modern.
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post #13 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 09:08 PM
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You have in your post that you are ordering 4 royals, is this just to play with and see if you like the color effect? (a good idea).

If you do this, don't put the thermal epoxy on the LEDs you might potentially swap out.

Start them out by using toothpaste as the thermal compound (no joke!) and just tape the LEDs to the array (tape across the solder pads). Test it out for an hour or so. You can also use cheap thermal paste for CPU's. Once you've decided what you like, wipe everything clean and then glue them on with the epoxy.


Otherwise you'll have heck removing the 4 you want to change if you do want to change them.
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post #14 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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actually i was going to use them as moon lights. I forgot to list my moon light driver 350 watts on the list of lights. Do you think i should throw some blues in with the whites?
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post #15 of 93 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 02:49 AM
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Right, I didn't think you wanted a hood, especially not when you ordered hanging cables

Here's a picture of what I'm trying to describe. Just an empty box with no bottom where you can attack the light inside of at the top so when it is hanging the box will appear to glow without being able to see the LEDs themselves. The box would look more modern if it were darker and perfect 90 degree angles on the edges. I'm sure however you do it will look great.



What is the difference between blue and royal blue anyway?
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