Lowest cost (under $50) DIY LED fixture for my Mr. Aqua 33.6 gallon and 40G breeder - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Lowest cost (under $50) DIY LED fixture for my Mr. Aqua 33.6 gallon and 40G breeder

I finally make up my mind and decided to build the LED fixture for my two shrimp tank to replace the old T5HO fixture. CRS, CBS, and TT Mr. Aqua 33.6 gallon (50W LED) and Cardinal Shrimp 40G breeder (45W LED).

Here is a picture of my new build LED fixture for my Mr. aqua 33.6 gallon total 50W.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 07:33 PM
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Very nice! Very neat as well. Good job. Can't wait to see it in action.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 07:40 PM
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Looks cool !
Can we get some more info on the LED's? What type? Where? How much?
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 10:28 PM
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I don't see a LED driver. What are you using to drive them? 10 parallel circuits of 5 in series, each LED dropping about 3 volts at 1/3 amp (?), means a 3 amp at 15+ volts driver.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 04:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I don't see a LED driver. What are you using to drive them? 10 parallel circuits of 5 in series, each LED dropping about 3 volts at 1/3 amp (?), means a 3 amp at 15+ volts driver.
Yeah, good point Hoppy. I don't see any ballast resistors or fuses either. I hope the OP isn't planning to use this wired up "as is" because those leds will end up producing more smoke than light in short order.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 06:46 AM
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I wonder what kind of par that would put out. Im about to buy a t5 unit, but if I can get leds for cheaper then I may be down.

Can you post a parts list or some build pics?
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Each LED is 1W. I bought them on [Ebay Link Removed] 50 for $32 shipped from hong kong.

•Power : 1watt

•Lens Color : Water Clear

•Emitting Color: White

•Intensity Type: 60~70Lm

•Viewing Angle: 140

•Forward Voltage : 3.3V~3.5V

•Forward Current: 300mA

•Color temperature : 6000K ~ 6500K


I don't use LED driver. I use laptop ac adapter at 16V @ 4A Total 64W.

Each LED is running at 3.2V (16V divided by 5)

That's all I care. It's just that simple for me.

I build the first led fixture for my 40G breeder 3 months ago. It's working perfect without a problem.

This is my second build for my mr. aqua 33.6 gallon. (I put a 90cm on top of the heatsink). I start to use it 2 weeks ago @ 8 hours per day. It's all working perfect without a problem.

i don't see a single problem so far. the first led fixture is already ran for 3 months @ 8 hours per day. (for this build, I don't use fan, I can feel a little warm @ 85 degree room temp.)

I will upload more picture for the finish build of both led fixture.

If your guys have any other questions, just feel free to ask me.

Last edited by flowerfishs; 09-01-2012 at 09:59 AM. Reason: more info
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 05:47 PM
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So you're basically limiting the current through the leds by maxing out the power supply and relying on it's protection circuitry. That may work OK for now, but just one "open" in your led strings will set off a cascade of failures. Your array is already running current in excess of 400ma per string. That's more than one watt per led already, and since your strings are probably not "balanced" with respect to their total Vf, some strings are consuming even more current than that. With no protection for the leds, It's not a question "IF" this build will fail, just a question of "WHEN".

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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This is the way I think it will work. It's just a cheap build. I am the first one to test it out and see how long it will last.

how do you come out with more than 400ma per string?
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 08:42 PM
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You stated that you're using a 16volt/4amp power supply. 4,000ma/10 stings = 400ma per string. Since leds don't provide any real resistance load on your supply, the power supply will push current up to it's 4 amp limit. That's why you're going to see a "Big puff of smoke" come from your fixture- when something goes wrong.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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even the fixture you buy from the store or some other people's build will cause smoke if something goes wrong. Not only mine. Everything too. it just denpends what goes wrong. Nothing is perfect.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flowerfishs View Post
even the fixture you buy from the store or some other people's build will cause smoke if something goes wrong. Not only mine. Everything too. it just denpends what goes wrong. Nothing is perfect.
That's true to a point, But the big difference you'll see with other people's builds is that they're designed and constructed to limit the potential for catastrophic failure. That's why most people will spend a little more on their build to protect their investment. Constant current drivers, ballast resistors, and fuses are all used to provide that "extra insurance" to limit damage, should something go horribly wrong.

You've probably heard the saying -" Don't put all your eggs in one basket".
That's exactly what you've done - Electrically speaking. There's still time to limit the damage though, you could always wire in a 500ma fuse to each one of your strings. Then in the event something goes wrong, 10 replacement fuses will be much cheaper than 32 leds. Just a thought.

225 Gal, Glass "Reef Ready" w/ twin Iwaki Pumps & 2 Ocean Clear inline filters.Lighting- Custom built DIY 600 watt LED system, BlueFish "mini" Led Controller,iAqua Aquarium Controller , and a 20lb CO2 system w/ Milwaukee Ph Controller.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 10:20 PM
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One problem with LEDs is that as their temperature goes up, their forward voltage drop goes down. So, as a group of LEDs gets warmer, they drop less of the voltage, so the current will go up, driving the temperature still higher, etc. With your current limited power supply, providing it works right, you can be sure that the average current to each string will be 400 mAmps, until one LED fails, then the remaining strings will get an average of 444 mAmps, until one more LED fails, then the remaining strings will get, 500 mAmps, etc. until all strings are off, with the last ones dying spectacularly.

As long as it works it will work, other than that you are driving them beyond their rated current by 33%, which, by itself, will make them have a very limited life.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flowerfishs View Post
even the fixture you buy from the store or some other people's build will cause smoke if something goes wrong. Not only mine. Everything too. it just denpends what goes wrong. Nothing is perfect.
That's true, if you bought the PFO Solaris when it first came out then you'd be stuck with a $1500+ paper weight or worse.

What's the cost on the heatsink and dimensions? I figure that's the other cost of your under $50 build.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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The heatsink is 21" long, by 11" wide. I don't have to pay anything for it. My father have a bunch of these in different size. I just need to buy the LED and the wood to make the frame. I just my old laptop's ac adapter.

Here is a whole tank shot of the mr. aqua 33.6 gallon with the led fixture. (50W) I will upload more detail picture of the build.










here is the 36" led fixture build for my 40G Breeder. (45W)




Last edited by flowerfishs; 09-02-2012 at 07:41 PM. Reason: update info
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