40 gal breeder 36" high light LED Project - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #16 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 10:32 PM
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right now i am all cw and 2 royal blue, but i want some more pop on red plants so i just got my warm whites and 2 violet uv from rapidled. i will probably try setting it up on tomorrow and see how it looks.
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post #17 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 10:39 PM
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Adding colored LEDs usually means you get colored shadows in the tank, which can look very bad. If that problem doesn't happen you will probably like the added colors.

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post #18 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-24-2012, 11:11 PM
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the color led would be without lens to reduce the shadows
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post #19 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-28-2012, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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It'll take 4 years to pay yourself back in energy savings. How is that quick? Interesting build regardless. I'm not sold on the LED thing just quite yet. They look great and definitely use less power. Just not into having to build one from scratch at this point. Eventually a company will realize the market and start making usable planted tank LED fixtures.
Actually the fixture should pay for itself in 2 years considering electricity use and 2 bulb changes ( $60 for 4 pc bulbs each time)
If I sell my current pc fixture I should be able to pay for the project instantly

GitMoe if things go well with this fixture I might start a small side project of building similar fixtures for low prices, similar to what AH supply is doing but I'd assemble everything. would you be interested?


I really like the ability to light my plants at a cheap price and never having to change a light bulb again!

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post #20 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-28-2012, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pen3 View Post
right now i am all cw and 2 royal blue, but i want some more pop on red plants so i just got my warm whites and 2 violet uv from rapidled. i will probably try setting it up on tomorrow and see how it looks.
Hey Pen3, how did those warm whites turn out?
mind giving uploading a picture or the stats of your fixture?

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post #21 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-28-2012, 09:36 PM
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post #22 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-28-2012, 10:13 PM
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I to want to build out a planted tank light. About to order a build from Rapidled for a nano Reef. They have a superb reputation in the Reef community. Here is where I would really need the help with LED's is the color selection. Your idea about removing the lenses is great. So if anyone has some input here with adding color would help us all greatly. Another company sells heat sinks that have the channels already built in for a splash guard & I believe they are in black. Not sure if Rapid is doing that or not?
So good luck Oscar with your lights

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post #23 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-29-2012, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cocobid View Post
I to want to build out a planted tank light. About to order a build from Rapidled for a nano Reef. They have a superb reputation in the Reef community. Here is where I would really need the help with LED's is the color selection. Your idea about removing the lenses is great. So if anyone has some input here with adding color would help us all greatly. Another company sells heat sinks that have the channels already built in for a splash guard & I believe they are in black. Not sure if Rapid is doing that or not?
So good luck Oscar with your lights
Thanks Cocobid, hopefully it turns out well!
the heat sinks are big part of the build, I want to make sure that the LEDs are properly cooled.

I went to Tractor Supply today to buy some mini pig food and stopped by their aluminum section. They had a good range of products but I think they're too thin for my needs
most of the bars were only 1/8" thick, they had one that was 1/4" but it was too narrow


The prices were pretty good if I was only running them at 700mah, here are the narrower choices. I could have gotten two of these for $8



considering the LEDs are going to be running at 1750mah they're going to put out a significant amount of heat, since I don't want active cooling such as a fan I think a thick aluminum bar should do just fine.
I'll be ordering a 1/4" x 2-1/2"x72" bar from a local aluminum supply store and using that. Its going to run about $20.25.

However I was looking at the other choices, 1/4" x 2"x72" is only $16.20. Do you guys think that extra 1/2" will make a big difference? easy way to save $4

Also I think i'm going to be suspending the fixture from the ceiling (if my other half doesn't complain) and i'll be using this wire

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post #24 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-30-2012, 05:03 PM
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Very good planning, you will be a very nice LED light. Can't wait to see when it finish
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post #25 of 72 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 04:44 PM
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Are you going to have "fins" on your heatsink? They allow the heat to dissipate from what I have read, and mount your fan atop. Rather cheep to. Surf the reef forms they are the front runner is builds. Found a heat sink the other day with channels built in that allow you to slide the LED's if needed for light adjustment.Bet that is the direction HS will go in. Just makes sence. Wow has aquarium light moved in such a cool direction. Had my first salt tank in the early 70's. I following you..and good luck.

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post #26 of 72 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cocobid View Post
Are you going to have "fins" on your heatsink? They allow the heat to dissipate from what I have read, and mount your fan atop. Rather cheep to. Surf the reef forms they are the front runner is builds. Found a heat sink the other day with channels built in that allow you to slide the LED's if needed for light adjustment.Bet that is the direction HS will go in. Just makes sence. Wow has aquarium light moved in such a cool direction. Had my first salt tank in the early 70's. I following you..and good luck.
to fin or not to fin, i've been thinking about this issue for a while. I'm a mechanical engineering student and i'm taking heat transfer right now. I approached my professor after classed and talked to him about the project and the conditions of the LEDs. He said as long as it's a good solid piece of aluminum that it will be able to spread out the heat pretty good. I think i'm going with the 1/4"x2-1/2"x36" bars. It's pretty thick and wide so i'm hoping that the whole bar will uniformly distribute heat rather than using fins and fans. This is only costing me $20.57 for both bars, usually fin heat sinks are much more expensive!

my backup plan if the bars get too hot is to get a small computer fan and make the air circulate above the bars. Lets hope i won't need it though

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Very good planning, you will be a very nice LED light. Can't wait to see when it finish
Thank you Linsanity, I actually really like your 36" fixture! i can't believe you had to attach the LED's to the stars themselves! you're hardcore! how are things growing in your tank?

--Oscar.
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TO BE

A FLORIDA GATOR!!

40 gallon LED fixture
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post #27 of 72 (permalink) Old 06-03-2012, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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I'm very excited !
In preparationfor this fixture I went out and bought a few goodies that I'll be needing. I went to the local hobby shop and tried to look for materials and spent about 2 hours there. They're awesome! They had no 1/4 inch aluminum bars so I'm going to go to the aluminum shop this week and pick them up. I did find some really cheap multi meters ,a 60 watt soldering iron, some cheap solder, and electrical tape. Then I went out to home depot and bought myself a dremel 3000, which is an amazing tool everybody should have!
I picked up 13 feet of 1 16th of an inch aluminum wire that I'll be using to hang the fixture, I also picked up 8 linear feet of 1 inch by 4 inch primed wood plank. Only about $11 worth of stuff.

Hopefully rapid led will have the U2s that I need and I'll be getting my orders really soon:-)

--Oscar.
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I SAID ITS GREAT
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A FLORIDA GATOR!!

40 gallon LED fixture
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post #28 of 72 (permalink) Old 06-03-2012, 01:31 AM
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looks like its going to be a great build!!

i recently set up a 57 with leds, and couldnt be happier!
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post #29 of 72 (permalink) Old 06-03-2012, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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Nice, what was your set up like?

--Oscar.
Fluval pimp #4 aka PIMP master!
I SAID ITS GREAT
TO BE

A FLORIDA GATOR!!

40 gallon LED fixture
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post #30 of 72 (permalink) Old 06-03-2012, 03:05 AM
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to fin or not to fin, i've been thinking about this issue for a while. I'm a mechanical engineering student and i'm taking heat transfer right now. I approached my professor after classed and talked to him about the project and the conditions of the LEDs. He said as long as it's a good solid piece of aluminum that it will be able to spread out the heat pretty good. I think i'm going with the 1/4"x2-1/2"x36" bars. It's pretty thick and wide so i'm hoping that the whole bar will uniformly distribute heat rather than using fins and fans. This is only costing me $20.57 for both bars, usually fin heat sinks are much more expensive!

my backup plan if the bars get too hot is to get a small computer fan and make the air circulate above the bars. Lets hope i won't need it though


Thank you Linsanity, I actually really like your 36" fixture! i can't believe you had to attach the LED's to the stars themselves! you're hardcore! how are things growing in your tank?
I'm disappointed in your professor. He missed a lot with his advice. Aluminum is actually a poor heatsink material. A heatsink needs to have a high specific heat, a high density, and high conductivity. Aluminum has a low density, making it relatively ineffective as a heatsink. Copper or Silver or Beryllium are much better heatsinks. But, LED lights don't use a "heatsink" as a heatsink. They use aluminum to conduct the heat from the LEDs away from the LEDs and dissipate it to the atmosphere. For that to work well with a high heat input the aluminum needs lots of surface area exposed to the air, thus, the fins. Without the fins, even thick aluminum bars will not work for LEDs running at high currents.

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