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Old 09-04-2013, 07:15 PM   #1
jeffkrol
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LED wiring ect for DIY's


Thought it would be good to do a "list" of some of the basic LED wiring/construction techniques.
Like
1)What gauge wire do you use?
2)Attachments to heatsinks?
3)solder first or when attached?
4)type of solder/irons
5)Best heat sinks as to material/cost/availability/scrap
Add what you like.

I know this is basic but it may help some out..
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Thought it would be good to do a "list" of some of the basic LED wiring/construction techniques.
Like
1)What gauge wire do you use?
2)Attachments to heatsinks?
3)solder first or when attached?
4)type of solder/irons
5)Best heat sinks as to material/cost/availability/scrap
Add what you like.

I know this is basic but it may help some out..
1) I use 22 gauge stranded wire between the LED's, and 20 gauge running to the driver.

2) Without a MakersLED heatsink, the best method imo is using a drill press with a preset depth to drill holes, then use self tapping screws. This works best on heatsinks with a thick plate like the RapidLED one. More material to tap. Thermal adhesive is easier initially, but it's a pain if you ever want to change your configuration again or you mess up.

3) Solder after attached for sure. I have butterfingers :P

4) Anything with a fine tip will work in my experience. I use an old variable temp one.

5) After pricing out different heatsinks, RapidLED's non tapped/drilled 20" is actually a pretty good deal. The anodizing is a little meh, but it's a lot of aluminum for $30. Plus their shipping is far less than any other supplier.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Chronados View Post
1) I use 22 gauge stranded wire between the LED's, and 20 gauge running to the driver.

2) Without a MakersLED heatsink, the best method imo is using a drill press with a preset depth to drill holes, then use self tapping screws. This works best on heatsinks with a thick plate like the RapidLED one. More material to tap. Thermal adhesive is easier initially, but it's a pain if you ever want to change your configuration again or you mess up.

3) Solder after attached for sure. I have butterfingers :P

4) Anything with a fine tip will work in my experience. I use an old variable temp one.

5) After pricing out different heatsinks, RapidLED's non tapped/drilled 20" is actually a pretty good deal. The anodizing is a little meh, but it's a lot of aluminum for $30. Plus their shipping is far less than any other supplier.
good start.. thanks.. I find stranded as being a pain but solid is stiff and I have a tendency to break them away from the solder joint (or pad.. whichever comes first..

For heatsinks on small LED's 1W I just use thermal glue and Al strips from the hardware store..
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:33 PM   #4
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good start.. thanks.. I find stranded as being a pain but solid is stiff and I have a tendency to break them away from the solder joint (or pad.. whichever comes first..

For heatsinks on small LED's 1W I just use thermal glue and Al strips from the hardware store..
The key to stranded is twisting the ends and pretinning. Then it's basically like solid on the ends
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:34 PM   #5
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I just thermal pasted my leds to an aluminum 1/8 plate. Got it from work. And used arctic alumina thermal epoxy to attach my fans. Built a little acrylic housing and presto. Dont have pics of it assembled but with my light raised 10" above 20" of water im at 140par at 100%.. its turned down quite a bit. Dont recall what gauge to power supply from typhon board but from drivers to leds is cat5 cable. Works awesome doubled up.


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Old 09-04-2013, 10:23 PM   #6
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1)What gauge wire do you use?
24ga between the LEDs and CAT5 to the drivers. I use 2 strands for each string so 1 CAT5 can do 4 strings. So for a set of 4 strings you need 1 CAT5 for + and one CAT5 for -

2)Attachments to heatsinks?
Thermal glue like Alumina or the one from steve's leds. The steve's one is easier to remove the emitter than alumina.

3)solder first or when attached?
When attached to heatsink that way you can cut the exact wire length between emitters in a string for cleaner look.

4)type of solder/irons
Anything over 40W is good. I use standard lead solder.

5)Best heat sinks as to material/cost/availability/scrap
When building cannons CPU heatsinks are the way to go. They are super cheap and can cool quite a bit of LEDs. A cheap way is to buy aluminum bars from home depot and attach them to the heatsink with alumina.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:17 AM   #7
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Watch out for cold solder joints. Here the correct technique is of the utmost importance. Heat the wire not the solder. Apply the solder to the wire not the soldering tip. Capillary action will literally draw the solder into the strands when done right.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
1)What gauge wire do you use?
24ga between the LEDs and CAT5 to the drivers. I use 2 strands for each string so 1 CAT5 can do 4 strings. So for a set of 4 strings you need 1 CAT5 for + and one CAT5 for -

2)Attachments to heatsinks?
Thermal glue like Alumina or the one from steve's leds. The steve's one is easier to remove the emitter than alumina.

3)solder first or when attached?
When attached to heatsink that way you can cut the exact wire length between emitters in a string for cleaner look.

4)type of solder/irons
Anything over 40W is good. I use standard lead solder.

5)Best heat sinks as to material/cost/availability/scrap
When building cannons CPU heatsinks are the way to go. They are super cheap and can cool quite a bit of LEDs. A cheap way is to buy aluminum bars from home depot and attach them to the heatsink with alumina.
I've been using 7 conductor thermostat wire from drivers to LED's.. (bugs me you can only find odd numbers) for 3 strings... A bit stiffer than Cat5
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Watch out for cold solder joints. Here the correct technique is of the utmost importance. Heat the wire not the solder. Apply the solder to the wire not the soldering tip. Capillary action will literally draw the solder into the strands when done right.
I've been soldering (or as I call it "melting") things for a long time..
My biggest problem is the itty bitty wire I leave and the casing I melt in the process of my nervous soldering..
and yes I've had more than I care to admit of cold joints..
I do use some very old (but apparently magical) fine rosin core solder that allows me to not really need tinning or in many cases "heat the wire" (which is the de-facto correct way to do it)
I know a poor carpenter blames his tools but I do need a better soldering pencil at this point...
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
I've been using 7 conductor thermostat wire from drivers to LED's.. (bugs me you can only find odd numbers) for 3 strings... A bit stiffer than Cat5


I've been soldering (or as I call it "melting") things for a long time..
My biggest problem is the itty bitty wire I leave and the casing I melt in the process of my nervous soldering..
and yes I've had more than I care to admit of cold joints..
I do use some very old (but apparently magical) fine rosin core solder that allows me to not really need tinning or in many cases "heat the wire" (which is the de-facto correct way to do it)
I know a poor carpenter blames his tools but I do need a better soldering pencil at this point...
I use the same gun my father used. An old Weller. Has to be 50 years old. I've not had a cold joint in decades. But then I heat the wire and follow procedure. Jeff try soldering a lineman's splice on 2 ought without a cold joint. And no the Weller can't do it.
Secret to not melting the insulation is to use a heat sink. I use locking needle nose.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:00 AM   #10
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I use the same gun my father used. An old Weller. Has to be 50 years old. I've not had a cold joint in decades. But then I heat the wire and follow procedure. Jeff try soldering a lineman's splice on 2 ought without a cold joint. And no the Weller can't do it.
Secret to not melting the insulation is to use a heat sink. I use locking needle nose.
Sounds like a job for a torch or one of those old manual copper "irons"...
I found I can solder copper pipe better than wires 9or at least I hope so)..

As to heat sinks I was using a worthless little Radio Shack clamping solder pliers thingy (sorry best description I can give this late).. ineffective to say the least..
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:03 PM   #11
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So your house piping leaks also I see.

No torch just the right wattage is all. You need control over how hot it gets. Can't do that with a torch.

Love your technical term for a heatsink btw.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:57 PM   #12
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So your house piping leaks also I see.
just the cold water.. (just kidding) No, MAPP gas is wonderfully efficient.. but I do carry a roll of that "magic" uncured rubber "tape"...
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Old 09-08-2013, 02:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
I use the same gun my father used. An old Weller. Has to be 50 years old. I've not had a cold joint in decades. But then I heat the wire and follow procedure. Jeff try soldering a lineman's splice on 2 ought without a cold joint. And no the Weller can't do it.
Secret to not melting the insulation is to use a heat sink. I use locking needle nose.
I didn't know that you could solder-splice 2/0. Is that an approved means of connection? I would think that you would need to cadweld or use a split bolt. That just doesn't sound right to me.

As far as wire size, here is the limit:
24 AWG can carry 3.5A in a chassis(short runs of wire). 16 AWG is required for power transmission of 3.7A. In other words, if you are running power to your lighting rig, you should probably size it at 16 AWG. Technically, anything larger than 25 AWG can handle all of our needs(since none of the LEDs run over 3.5A). Just to be clear, most Cat 6 ethernet pairs contain 24 AWG wire. You could use removed pieces of the wire to link LEDs, but you shouldn't use an ethernet wire to get power from your driver to your LED rig because the bundle is going to get too hot.

Note: I am not recommending that you do this. It would get really hot. You would see a significant voltage drop(because of the high resistance of the wire). I would use 18 AWG for all of your connections. However, I just wanted to let everyone know that when we use 18 AWG we are significantly oversizing our wire sizes. If we needed/wanted to use smaller wire, we could get away with something WAY smaller.

(Chassis wiring is allowed to be smaller because it is assumed that it is not run inside of a bundle and that adequate ventilation is provided)
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:52 PM   #14
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I hate soldering guns, they are horrifying an nasty things. Why aren't you able to do the lineman's splice? Better question, why would you want to???

1)What gauge wire do you use?
22AWG? for the individual lights at least, It's smaller than I would like, but it works and doesn't heat up.

2)Attachments to heatsinks?
Loctite Stick n seal

3)solder first or when attached?
Well both... What? Reflowed the LEDs and drivers onto the PCBs, glued those onto the heatsink, then soldered up the assembly.

4)type of solder/irons
Cheap 48W adjustable thing from Amazon.

5)Best heat sinks as to material/cost/availability/scrap
I just used some 1/16" aluminum pattern mesh, it gives me lots of room for airflow, and it dissipates heat quite well.

My light technically isn't adjustable, but with some work it could be. It's not an especially electrically elegant setup, but it's really receptive of modification and adjustment, not to mention how stable it is.
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:36 AM   #15
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I didn't know that you could solder-splice 2/0. Is that an approved means of connection? I would think that you would need to cadweld or use a split bolt. That just doesn't sound right to me.

As far as wire size, here is the limit:
24 AWG can carry 3.5A in a chassis(short runs of wire). 16 AWG is required for power transmission of 3.7A. In other words, if you are running power to your lighting rig, you should probably size it at 16 AWG. Technically, anything larger than 25 AWG can handle all of our needs(since none of the LEDs run over 3.5A). Just to be clear, most Cat 6 ethernet pairs contain 24 AWG wire. You could use removed pieces of the wire to link LEDs, but you shouldn't use an ethernet wire to get power from your driver to your LED rig because the bundle is going to get too hot.

Note: I am not recommending that you do this. It would get really hot. You would see a significant voltage drop(because of the high resistance of the wire). I would use 18 AWG for all of your connections. However, I just wanted to let everyone know that when we use 18 AWG we are significantly oversizing our wire sizes. If we needed/wanted to use smaller wire, we could get away with something WAY smaller.

(Chassis wiring is allowed to be smaller because it is assumed that it is not run inside of a bundle and that adequate ventilation is provided)
Well a pleasent surprise today I found they DO sell even number "thermostat wire..
Quote:
Southwire 18 AWG 8-Conductor Thermostat Wire (By-the-Foot)


As to cat 5-6 I believe most bundle 2 wires and don't run individual strands for the power feeds but it is good to point that out..

quick question.. what would be the effective gauge of 2 Cat 6 pairs bundled into one?.. or does this not really apply.?.
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