Hi. I'm new to the hobby and I have decided to try my hand at LED lighting. I have a standard 55gal long Tanganyika Cichlid community tank. It's planted with Val and Lotus at the moment, I was considering adding some Java fern as well to some of the holey rock in the tank. It's currently lit by two 8 watt 12" fluorescent bulbs. It's nice, but I'm a nerd. I want full control over the lighting, color and brightness.
There is so much wonderful information
here on LED builds. I'm currently reading through, but as I get closer to deciding on supplies I thought I'd ask for opinions.
Right now I'm gravitating towards cheap (component-wise) and heavily DIY.
LEDs: LedFedy.com Chinese "Bridgelux" 3W
Heatsink: 2"x4"x12" Rectangular 6063AL Tubing
Fans: 50mm Case fans side mounted into the Tubing
Drivers: CAT4101 - 1 A Constant-Current LED Driver with PWM Dimming
LiteOn 24V 4A power brick (or other online auction similar brick)
Controller: Arduino Nano
Clock: DS1307 Real Time Clock Module for Arduino
White LED Mix:
(6 and 6 per 24" side of tank)
14 - 18000K Cold White 3W
14 - 3500K Warm white 3W
(one cluster of 3 per 24" side of tank)
2 - 660nm Deep Red LED 3W
2 - 400nm Violet LED 3W
2 - 500nm Turquoise LED 3W
I had an electrical engineering course back in college, but the only two things I remember from that class were "blue smoke is bad" and the lab where I wired a set of T-Bird tail lights. This project is my way back in and I'm not afraid to spend some quality time at a soldering station to do it.
That said, I'm having trouble figuring out the best way to power my LEDs. I have mismatched counts and voltages (for red) and most of the DIY help is aimed at matched sets of LEDs. Add to that I want each color to be addressable individually. That is five channels with three different sets of parameters. Also I want to make sure they are powered at about 70% for longevity, which means a current of around 500mA. It look like that is not common for any commercial LED drivers or power sources. So where should I start?
This may be a case of "you get what you pay for" but usually I find starting cheap a good learning experience. Still, if anything I picked is going to just make this a nightmare, I'd rather learn than crash and burn.
I'm open to component changes, recommended reading, constructive criticism, or any other ideas you may have. Thank you for your help.