DIY Nano LED Fixture - 29G Design/Prep Thread
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:01 PM   #1
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DIY Nano LED Fixture - 29G Design/Prep Thread


EDIT: I'm revitalizing this thread because I can finally get started on this project...and the situation has changed a bit.

I will now be building a fixture for my 29G. All my plants and gear will be moved from my 10g to the 29G. I have read Hoppy's excellent Thread but still have some questions.

Hey TPT

I entered in LEDGroupBuy's video contest and won! The prize is $100 towards LEDs from them. The plan is to create a DIY LED fixture for one of my nano tanks.

I have a 5g betta aquascape and a 10g community tank. Above the 5g I have a 13w 6500k CFL that is working well. On the 10g I have the stock 8000k 15w strip.

The original plan was to create an LED fixture for the 5g but I'm thinking that'd be more of a waste because a 13w 6500k CFL is doing very well. The 10g is very limited to low light plants and even those are sometimes iffy.

Could I do a quality LED fixture for a 10g on about a $100 budget?

I am currently not running any c02 on any of my tanks but have set up DIY c02 before and will probably do that again at some point.

What sort of LEDs are best for the planted hobby? There are some 6500k spectrum LEDs but would a mix provide better results? Also, how many would be required for a 10g? I'd like to have a dimmable feature on the fixture so that I can range the lighting from High light (a possibility in the future) to medium/low. Also, is there a special spectrum/mix that will allow fish colors to pop without causing too much of an algae bloom? I know reefers use high spectrum lights for this but I'm not sure if there's a freshwater equivalent or if the same lights would work the for FW.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by AquaStudent; 05-22-2013 at 10:17 PM.. Reason: Renewing
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:27 PM   #2
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It is possible to make a 10 gallon LED light, with dimming, for under $100. Here is one way to start: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/di...-tank-led.html

Using that method:
You can use 4 Cree XP-G neutral white -$20
Inventronics 25 watt LED driver-dimmable - $33.50
10" x 1" Heatsink - $7
60 degree optics - $10
Total basic parts price - $70, leaving $30 for miscellaneous parts

Mount the LEDs 2.5 inches apart in one row. Suspend it 6 inches above the top of the tank, about 16" from the substrate. PAR will be about 45 micromols, which is a near perfect PAR.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info Hoppy. That's also a great thread you've started.

Why do you suggest to use the neutral white (4500k) LEDs over cool white (6500k)?

Would mixing provide a beneficial mix?

Also, is there a way I can promote and accent colors of tropical fish using other LEDs?
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:26 PM   #4
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I like cool white best, but you might like a mix of cool and neutral white. Just don't use any warm white - I really don't like that color. (I suggested neutral white because I thought I had read that you wanted to use that color.)
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:14 PM   #5
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I'm looking for a spectrum that will grow plants well (i've had personal experience using 6500k) and something to accent fish colors.

These high power LEDs are very new to me.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:28 PM   #6
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The plants won't care if you use any color from warm white to cool white. They want the PAR, but the exact spectrum isn't a concern.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:47 PM   #7
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Ok that sounds good. What could I use as moonlights? I believe I would need a separate driver but what about LEDs. Would this be a job for one of the lesser powered LEDs dimmed down even more? Or at least driven with a lower current
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaStudent View Post
Ok that sounds good. What could I use as moonlights? I believe I would need a separate driver but what about LEDs. Would this be a job for one of the lesser powered LEDs dimmed down even more? Or at least driven with a lower current
Yes, but the number and drive current needed is a question someone else will have to answer.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:09 AM   #9
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Okey Dokey Let's get this project underway.

I graduated from college last week and finally have a few weeks to relax before I start grad school in August. This is one of the projects I have been putting off for far too long so I want to get started.

Here's what I have so far.

I'll be building an LED fixture for my 29g planted. The lighting will be mounted 24" above the substrate (the tank is 18" tall and another 6" should be enough for the casing and for me to have access into the tank). I will probably build a housing similar to what I did for my 55g AC tank but may need to come up with a way to cool the LEDs.



(I'm in the process of painting the wooden fixture casing black. It's looking pretty darn good!)


As for LEDs I am trying to decide between the XM-L2s (highest end) and XT-Es (replaced XP-G). Here are the specs that I could find. I will probably keep it simple and only go with the color Cool White (~6500k)

XM-L2 - Wattage 3W-10W, Max I - 3000mA, Forward V @ 700mA = 2.9V, $ 8.77
XT-E - Wattage 3W-5W, Max I - 1500mA, Forward V @ 700mA = 3.0V, $4.50 (solderless) $3.77 (Reg)

Using the Excel Sheet on Hoppy's thread I calculated out a couple of options. Here are the basic parameters I used. The only parameters I modified were number of Rows and Distance between LEDs.

Lumens per LED = 300Lumens
Height = 24 inches
Cone Angle = 40(deg)

Adjusting the spacing between the LEDs (# of LEDs per row) and the Number of Rows we get the estimated par level. My goal par would be somewhere between 40 and 70 (I believe this is adjustable from lowish to medium-high lighting)

From a little trig, if I had a 15" heatsink mounted 24" above the substrate (and centered in the tank) it would be a 17deg angle from vertical to the corner of the tank. It would be 51deg from the edge of the heatsink to the corner of the tank. 40 degree optics would nearly fully cover the tank (nearly).

Trials
# of Rows = 1
Spacing of LEDs = 3" (5 total LEDs)
Estimated Par = 63


# of Rows = 2
Spacing of LEDs = 5" (6 total LEDs)
Estimated Par = 45

I'm not sure what other combinations would be a good option. Any suggestions are welcome.

In both cases, how would I construct a heatsink? In the earlier posts (for the 10g) Hoppy suggested a 10" x 1" heatsink (i'm guessing that means 10" of the 1" heatsink). Would it be a better option to do two separate clusters mounted 1/3 of the way from each side, one large piece, or two channels (for the 2 row piece)?



MAIN QUESTIONS
1) Which LEDs would be the best option? Is it worth it to spend 2x the amount on the XM-L2s?
2) Which would be the better option for LED placement?
3) Would the fixture be better in two clusters on smaller heatsinks or one large heatsink?
4) At what point must I start considering building in a fan for cooling?
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:08 AM   #10
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IMHO spending twice the $$ to get the XM-L's is a waste. The same number of XP-E's will work just fine. Since you're only driving up to 6 leds per channel, there's no need for an expensive led driver. Grab yourself a cheap 24V "laptop" power supply and a couple MeanWell LDD-1000H drivers and be done with it. The LDD's use a 5V PWM signal for dimming, so you can always add an Arduino Micro-controller for "Sunrise/Sunset dimming" when your budget allows.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:21 PM   #11
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I think I would try to keep the LED current below 1 amp, to avoid the need for active cooling of the heatsink. That would also make a simple aluminum channel work as a heatsink. I would also use 60 degree optics, to get larger circles of light from each LED where the light intersects the waterline. If you use 12 LEDs, spaced 2 inches apart, in one row, which is all you need for a tank only 12 inches from front to back, you could use a 24 inch long heatsink, with the end LEDs about 3 inches from the end of the tank. The LED current would then be about 700-800 mAmps. You don't need to spend the extra money for the XM-L's then.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:35 AM   #12
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Awesome. I was planning on driving them at about 700mA. Good to hear about the cooling levels. Thanks very much Hoppy.

I'll draw up some designs, plan out the finances, and hopefully get the parts ordered this weekend.

I'm pretty confident on this build...but let's hope it's not overconfidence.

I will update you all on my next step.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:38 PM   #13
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Ok final few questions before I'm ready to order.

For the driver I'm still probably wanting to use the 25W Inventronics correct? The forward voltage on each LED at 700mA is 3.0V. So multipling that by 12 for in series is 36. The maximum voltage output range on the 25W Inventronics is 12-36V so that works out perfectly correct?

For dimming, is it as simple as wiring in a potentiometer to the Driver? I saw the following video of wiring a Pot into the 40W inventronics driver but I don't see the colored wires in the photo for the 25W driver. LEDgroupbuy claims the driver is dimmable so am I missing something?

Also, what sort of potentiometer would work? The only one on the site is a 10000k ohm 1/2 watt linear Pot. I'm sure Radioshack has other sizes. I can't quite confidently put a finger on the best way to calculate the range of resistance for dimming. I know the driver converts AC current to DC to run the LEDs but how does the dimming factor in? Is it after the driver converts the AC to DC does it then run it through a resistor (the Pot) to lower the current, thus less current through the circuit?

Here's the video

25W Inventronics Driver
http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/inventron...-driver-700ma/

If I went with the standard 4.23" heatsink and the regular XT-E LEDs would I be able to attach them to the frame with the MAKERSLED screws or is that only for their special heatsinks?
If I am unable to use the screws I'll have to go with the Artic Alumina Thermal Adhesive (since superglue will damage the LEDs).

Here's a List of my Current Supplies:
12x Cree XT-E (Cool White) - $41.18
12x CREE XT-E 60 Optics - $15.48
1x 4.23" x 24" Heatsink - $42.00 (possibly extra $10 shipping)
1x Inventronics 25W Driver - 700mA - $30.50
1x Artic Alumina Thermal Adhesive - $6.99
1x 10,000k 1/2 Watt Pot - $3.00 (3.49 @ RadioShack)
1x Solid Wire 24 awg - $5.75
1x AC Plug for Driver - $5.75 (Price at Home Depot/Radioshack?)

Total = $150.65 excluding shipping and extra $10 heatsink shipping (possibly included?)

That is a bit overbudget but I can work with it. I really want to do this project right and I'd rather buy once than in pieces.

Please let me know if you see any errors in my plans or missing equipment.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:46 PM   #14
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After a small internal debate I'm probably going to use the 40W Inventronics Driver instead of the 25W. It will be significantly more powerful and is only a couple of dollars more. It will also give me more flexibility on modification in the future.

http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/inventron...-driver-700ma/

I'll order this afternoon after I check my plans over again and second guess myself another half dozen times.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:09 AM   #15
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Parts came in the other day and I worked today on the circuitry. It worked first time! It's very bright too!

I still have to find a way to mount the heatsink in the "canopy" I made, paint the canopy, and mount everything (plus cut a hole for the potentiometer). Of course I won't do it in that order
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