A Cheap, Simple, Compact DIY LED Controller/Driver COMBO.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:17 PM   #1
O2surplus
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A Cheap, Simple, Compact DIY LED Controller/Driver COMBO.


As anyone, who’s ever put together a DIY electronics project knows, managing large amounts of wiring can be a real hassle. This is especially true if you’re trying to build a DIY LED lighting system for your aquarium, while maintaining a certain level of aesthetics.
Most of the DIY LED builds that I’ve seen posted in recent years still struggled with this issue, and often used creative means to address it. This thread will show how I chose to tackle the problem.
I’ve been building DIY LED lighting systems for Aquarium use as a hobby for a few years now, and recently completed work on a little project that will hopefully be of value to other Aquarium Hobbyists .
Recently, the fine folks at MeanWell, came out with a new LED driver design designated the LDD series. This new series of driver is tiny, as it does not include its own AC power supply. The LDD series are available in two different flavors. First is the LDD-L, which is made available in different, pre-programmed current outputs, and rated to handle up to a 36 VDC input. Next is the LDD-H. It’s the larger of the two, available in different preprogrammed current outputs, and rated up to 56VDC. You can read more about the LDD-L series of drivers here- LDD-L-spec.pdf (application/pdf Object) and the LDD-H series here-LDD-H-spec.pdf (application/pdf Object)
The performance capabilities, diminutive size, and 5VPWM dimming had me intrigued, so I went ahead and ordered a few for testing. The LDD’s are available either prewired or PCmount. Since I was interested in reducing the wire count in my LED builds, the PC mount was the option I went with.
I started this project by designing a new Pcb that would contain 4 LDD-100H. Each LDD-H would share a common power and ground connection and receive its own separate PWM signal. I also redesigned the ever popular “Typhon” LED controller to mount directly to the LDD-H Pcb. I did my best to incorporate design features that would lend themselves to customization and ease of repair. Each LDD-H “plugs-in” to a chip socket rather than being soldered directly to the Pcb. This makes the replacement of the LDD’s easy in the case a damaged LDD or for swapping LDD’s of different current ratings. The LCD on the “Typhon” is also a “plug-in” affair, making replacement easy, if needed.
All said and done- I’ve managed to build a very compact and powerful LED lighting system that requires a minimum amount of outside wiring. All that is needed is a 48VDC supply to power the LDD’s/ LED’s and a 9VDC “wallwart power supply” for the “Typhon” Controller.
This little project will provide enough power to light up to 15- 3W LED’s per each of its 4 channels. That’s 60 LED’s! With “Sunrise/Sunset” dimming, “Moonlighting” ect... Here’s a few photos of the finished project. Let me know what you guys think…. I’ll post all of the Pcb build files, Bill of Materials, and Software needed to create your own, if there’s an interest.



Top view of the "Typhon" LED controller


Bottom View of the LDD-H




Side view

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Old 02-13-2013, 01:04 AM   #2
drhemlock2
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Default so cool i like this

i for one would be interested in anything you can share as i have more to do on mine and hae a few more things to order for the led lighting of my soon 75 gallon.
doc
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:11 AM   #3
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For some reasons I've never been able to get the whole driver thing, I can rebuild ballasts, build transformers, work on motors, yet I suck at the whole driver thing. I'd love to see how you did this and hear more about costs/reliability
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:42 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by drhemlock2 View Post
i for one would be interested in anything you can share as i have more to do on mine and hae a few more things to order for the led lighting of my soon 75 gallon.
doc

I'm going to put together all the information you'll need to build a copy in the next few days. The really neat thing is that these Meanwell LDD drivers come with a 3 year warranty, dim using a 5 volt PWM signal (they're Arduino compatible ), and cheap ($5 - $11 each). They'll run up to 1000ma (LDD-1000H) worth of current and deliver up to 52VDC out. Depending on the average Vf of the LED's that you choose, you could drive 15 - 17 LED's per string.
The "Typhon" LED Controller features 4 independent channels, with adjustable Start times/ End times/ Fade duration/ Maximum & Minimum intensity, Ect... All the settings are stored to EEPROM memory in case of a power failure, and the system clock has it's battery back up for the same reason.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:55 AM   #5
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It needs a VDC in right? And of some current in too?
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by pmcarbrey View Post
For some reasons I've never been able to get the whole driver thing, I can rebuild ballasts, build transformers, work on motors, yet I suck at the whole driver thing. I'd love to see how you did this and hear more about costs/reliability


This whole project only cost me about $80 to complete. Of course prices for the components do vary, depending on where you buy them.

The exact nature of the internals in these little "black boxes" is still a bit of a mystery to me, as they behave differently from any other driver that I've ever built or used before. They're definitely not linear, not Buck or Boost in nature. They actually trade excess voltage on the input for current on the output. I recently did some current tests using 4 Chinese made 100 watt LEDs. The LEDs have a Vf of 32 volts. I tested 4 LDD-1000H (1000ma) wired in parallel on the same 48 V power supply. Each led was connected to a single LDD.
I conducted current tests on the output of each LDD, and they all produced a consistent 980ma through the LED, which is what I expected to see. 980ma x 4 = 3920ma into the LED's
The interesting part came when I tested the current level leaving the power supply. One would expect numbers near 4,000ma, but that was not the case. With the power supply set at 48V, current consumption was only 2,300ma? Lowering the voltage level to 36V caused the current to rise to 3,000ma? Evidently there's some switching conversion going on inside these drivers as current out exceeds current in.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:16 AM   #7
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This whole project only cost me about $80 to complete. Of course prices for the components do vary, depending on where you buy
As far as the price quote goes, do you mean including the LED's? Because if so i think may be trying to make myself a setup!
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:35 AM   #8
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As far as the price quote goes, do you mean including the LED's? Because if so i think may be trying to make myself a setup!

Yeah that included the cost of the LDD's. They're hard to find "cheap" right now, but if you're patient, you can get them here for about $5 each.LDD-1000H | Mean-Well LDD-1000H | USA Warehouse
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:42 AM   #9
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That's a great price! If you ever decide to sell driver setups let me know lol! If not one of these days I'll have to fool around and see if I can't do this myself!
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:26 AM   #10
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I'm interested, but would be using a lot more than 4 LDD's - probably somewhere around 12. Would this work with your setup?
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:02 AM   #11
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would this puppy be abe to be used with my jarduino setup o mean the drivers?
doc
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:35 AM   #12
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I'm interested, but would be using a lot more than 4 LDD's - probably somewhere around 12. Would this work with your setup?
Anything can be made to work. I guess it all depends on how many channels of dimming control that you require. The Controller can handle 4 independent channels right now. You could either go with 3 controllers X 4 LDD's to control all 12, or daisy chain additional LDD's on each channel. If you're good at programming Arduino based projects, then I guess you could always add to the basic functionality of the controller by taking advantage of it's I2C connection.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:38 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by drhemlock2 View Post
would this puppy be abe to be used with my jarduino setup o mean the drivers?
doc

These drivers dim based on a 5V PWM signal. Since the Jarduino is just an giant Arduino based controller, the answer is yes.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by O2surplus View Post
Anything can be made to work. I guess it all depends on how many channels of dimming control that you require. The Controller can handle 4 independent channels right now. You could either go with 3 controllers X 4 LDD's to control all 12, or daisy chain additional LDD's on each channel. If you're good at programming Arduino based projects, then I guess you could always add to the basic functionality of the controller by taking advantage of it's I2C connection.
I only need four channels, but I need it replicated at least three times to drive three planned "clusters" of lights over my 200 gallon.

And I'm not good at programming Arduino. Unless you can program it in FORTRAN.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:05 PM   #15
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I only need four channels, but I need it replicated at least three times to drive three planned "clusters" of lights over my 200 gallon.

And I'm not good at programming Arduino. Unless you can program it in FORTRAN.
Only 4 channels covering 12 LDD's is doable. All we'd have to do is a little "daisy chaining" to make it work. Easy as pie!
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