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Thread: Retrofitting LED strip to T5 fixture - DONE! Post #13 Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-10-2012 03:49 AM
tharsis Ask and ye shall receive! Here are some pics with the fixture in action. I ended up switching to the 90 degree optics because the 60's were giving to much spotlighting. This is much better but there is still a bit, so I think I may raise the whole fixture 4"-5".

All pics were taken with the identical camera settings. The lights definitely add more color to my corals.

Just the LEDS @ 100%


LEDs @100% with one set of T5 bulbs (10000K and actinic)


LEDs @100% with all 4 T5HO bulbs


Just the T5's


Close up my favia:
Just the LEDS @ 100%


LEDs @100% with one set of T5 bulbs (10000K and actinic)


LEDs @100% with all 4 T5HO bulbs


Just the T5's


Just LEDs at lowest power


Overall I am quite happy with it, I get a softer shimmer from less LED's and I can combine the LED spectrum with various different T5 bulbs.
02-08-2012 09:20 PM
aaronbrown pics please wanna see your sw setup with the leds
02-08-2012 05:08 PM
tharsis Thanks bud!

It is working like a charm! It gets a little warm when the lights are cranked full blast so I will need to get a couple fans but for now I am only running them at 50% so no problemo.

I don't know if I will ever run it at full blast though, it is wicked bright with the T5's and the LEDS at full.
02-06-2012 08:22 PM
monkeyruler90 looks great. very professional!
02-06-2012 01:54 PM
tharsis Done! Finished it late last night.



Added some electrical tape to the 60 degree optics because they were clear housing


Obligatory pic of them on:


Attached to the fixture


Facing the right way




On the tank:


I haven't tested them out yet, looking forward to try them out when I get home from work. I am probably going to have to raise the fixture up to avoid any spotlighting. I am also wondering if I will need a fan... time to gut my old pc.
02-05-2012 03:09 PM
tharsis Thanks Di. I did paint over the duct tape, I wish I had waited to find my drill bits but I just wanted to get it assembled and painted last night so I could add the LEDS today.

My initial plan for swiveling the light bar was to have a couple fasteners with wing nuts that I would loosen. But I tried it with the screw and nuts first and it works really well. It is tight enough that the bar stays fixed, but it is loose enough to be able to adjust it without unscrewing it. I think with time it will loosen on its own and have to be re-tightened , but I don't plan on fussing with it too much. Once I get the angle of light that I like I will just leave it be.
02-05-2012 07:45 AM
diwu13 Great job tharsis. Did you paint over the duct tape as well? Do you have to loosen the screws on either end to adjust the angle? Or is there just enough of wiggle room?
02-05-2012 06:15 AM
tharsis Alright, got it painted and screwed, I am quite pleased with it. I couldn't find any drill bits for attaching the L-bracket to the heatsink so I just crazy glued it and then wrapped it with duct tape. Screwing it would have been more professional but it is really solid and and I am not too worried about it.



Amazingly, the holes on the bracket lined up perfectly with the screws in the fixture so I didn't have to drill anything.





Now I just need to add in the LEDS and the wire them up and its all done! It should be up and running tomorrow.
02-04-2012 11:10 PM
tharsis Alright well I think that this will be easier than I thought. I just did a quick proof of concept here.

Here are my starting materials:



Attached L-bracket to a straight bracket. It is tight but the angle is adjustable


I am going to drill holes in the square tube and then screw the brackets to that.



For now I am just duct taping it to see how it works.


Attached together


rotated to adjust the angle of the LEDS


Duct taped to my light fixture (again temporary)


I will screw it into the side of the fixture. There is enough room on the ends to allow for a nut and screw. The whole unit is very light weight so it shouldn't put too much stress on the plastic.

Close up of the angle of the bar


example with 60 degree optics


I may bring the brackets out a bit more to limit light hitting the top of the fixture. I think I will paint the whole thing black so that it blends in with the fixture.

So it is almost ready for the LEDs!

This is a super easy retrofit, it is light weight and cheap ~ $15 in materials.
02-02-2012 02:03 PM
tharsis Thanks! Good luck with you build.

I am ready to move on to phase two, which involves adding a strip of LED's to my existing T5HO fixture for my saltwater tank.

This is what I am thinking of doing:



I think that square aluminum tubing should be good for a heatsink...something like this:


I can screw the struts to the side of the fixture and then I just need to find a way to attach the heatsink to the struts so that it can rotate. This will allow me to 'point' my leds where I want them depending on the height of the fixture.

I am going to wander around lowes today looking for some inspiration but if anyone has any ideas please share!
01-31-2012 06:31 AM
FishermansDwarf Looks good!
I got two of the 24 LED sets with mostly 6500K some 10000k. Nice color
This is my first time using LEDs and I am impressed. They are really bright but can be dimmed down a lot.
I will be hanging them over a Oceanic Illuminata.
01-31-2012 05:04 AM
tharsis Example of dimming same camera settings for all pics:

lowest setting-








pic of the driver and potentiometer
01-31-2012 05:01 AM
tharsis Thanks for the interest in the build Hoppy. I guess I will be a guinea pig for these LED's in a planted tank.

I soldered everything and have it set up already. Here are some pics:

90 degree optics installed


lowest setting


highest setting:


above of the tank (~1.5 feet above tank) with no shield:


with shield


close up of makeshift light shield and fan, I took apart an odyssea 20" fixture and plan on rebuilding it to make the enclosue for the heatsink




01-30-2012 09:15 PM
Hoppy I based my comment on my gut feeling from playing with LED lights, including cheap Ebay 1 and 3 watt LEDs. Since I have no data for the Bridgelux LEDs, I'm not sure just how much light you would get. I am 80% sure it will be way too much with all of those LEDs on, at even 200 mAmps. If you are willing to raise the light a foot or so, then it should work ok, but then you have to provide a glare shield to keep the LEDs from "blinding" everyone in the same room with it. You can rivet aluminum angles, or strips around the heatsink to act as shields.
01-30-2012 01:50 AM
tharsis Thanks for the input! I figured it would be alot of light and likely overdoing it, but are you basing that on Crees? The Bridgelux don't have as much oomph as the Cree LED's from what I have read. What kind of PAR values would 5 Crees vs 5 Bridgelux have at the substrate?

Bottom line is that I have to go with atleast 12 LEDS because the driver I have is for 12-20 LEDS. With this in mind, my rationale for it being doable is that:

1)the bridgelux don't produce as much PAR as the Crees
2)I can dim the fixture
3)I can raise the light as high as I want

In terms of first hand experience, I have been playing around with the fixture (32 LED's) for the last couple of weeks over my reef tank and the dimmers do quite a remarkable job...at the lowest setting my mushrooms would start reaching up for the light which never happened with my 4bulb T5HO odyssea fixture. This suggests to me that the light level for 32 Bridgelux LEDs (dimmed to the minimum) is less than the T5 4 bulb fixture. I am currently running 2 T5 bulbs (Odyssea) over my shrimp tank with no problems so 13 Bridgelux LEDS dimmed to the minimum should be less than the 2 bulb fixture.

Alot of assumptions I know...but my goal is too have a highly versatile fixture that will be usable over a wide range of tank sizes and light levels. If it proves to be way too much light, I can order a new driver and take out some LED's...or get a bigger tank for it haha.
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