My sorta-kinda DIY dimmable LED moonlights (56K warning!)
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:47 PM   #1
HouseofZoo
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My sorta-kinda DIY dimmable LED moonlights (56K warning!)


So after looking through about 40 pages of DIY ideas, I started to get the itch to DIY something myself.

I visited my local auto store and came across these LED lights. This particular set is 28" in length. The awesome thing about these lights are that they are flexible, they can be cut to different lengths, they install with an 3M adhesive backing and instead of the round bulbs protruding from the top of the strip, they are small rectangle bulbs that run along the bottom of the strip, which was perfect for how I want to mount them.











First I cut the wires that connected each strip to the demonstration battery pack. I then twisted the pos. and neg. for each strip together.



I happened to have a RCA universal adapter lying around, if you have kids, you can never have too many of these things. The great thing about this one is that there are two holes on the end of the wire that clearly show pos. and neg.



Using pair of needlenose pliers, I crammed the twisted wires into the corresponding hole and used electrical tape to secure it.





TADA! Let there be light.



I then attached both strips to the back of my coralife T5NO strip at the back on the bottom most edge. And braided the cords together a little to keep it clean-"er".





So I know some of you may be thinking it's an awful lot of lights for moonlight and this may very well be true since it's daylight right now and I can't tell. BUT..... there is always a but right?

The ac/dc universal adapter I used works as a dimmer also. I found that I can lower the voltage from 12v down to 6v and still get light, just less of it, any less than 6v and there are no lights, essentially an off switch also.



And even on the lowest setting, if it is still too much light I can trim 3 leds off at a time.


Ok, that's it, my little DIY project for the day. Cost me $25 for the LED lights at the auto parts store and took me maybe 15 minutes to put it all together. I hope to post more pictures later this evening of the lights in action or maybe try something new and do a video?
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:04 PM   #2
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Very interesting! I'm looking forward to more pics.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:24 AM   #3
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Ok, so i did my best to take pics in a hurry, but my hubbie was a little impatient with me for turning the lights and TV off, so maybe I'll try to take some more again before bed, maybe even a short video demonstrating the dimming abilities. I'm not sure I will be going with either the 12v or the 6v setting, but somewhere in the middle, not sure yet.

This first picture is at the 12v setting on the adapter.



The below picture, as horrible as it is, shows the lights with a 6v setting on the adapter. It's really not as bright as it looks in the picture, but I had to adjust my camera so it would quit throwing a fit and let me actually take the picture. Still learning how to take pictures of my aquarium and how to manipulate all the settings on the camera.



The only thing I need to fix is the open space on the back of the canopy, I get light on the wall, so I'll need to close it in a little or cover the outside edge of the led's with electrical tape or something. It works and I love how it looks, so I'm very please with my quick, cheap diy! It even has a ripple effect on the rock below that is holding down my driftwood for the time being.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:16 AM   #4
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It sure doesn't look like it produces too much light, so I'd say you have a winner! Could you just tape a strip of cardboard along the back to block light going back to the wall?

Now if you can just get the project time reduced to, say 5 minutes?
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:19 AM   #5
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Well now that I know that it works the way I did it and if I had 2 functioning arms instead of 1 and a half I'm sure it wouldn't take me that long to do another one. I've been sleeping on the couch these days due to being post-op, so I had a chance to sit and stare at the tank quite a bit last night and I think it is the perfect amount of light for what I wanted to accomplish. Not glamorous like some DIY's, but it does the job, I'm happy with it.

The cardboard is a good idea, I'll have to look and see what I have lying around... thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:41 PM   #6
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That's really cool -- what are you using for power?
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:47 PM   #7
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It's just a universal AC-DC adapter that you can find at walmart or radio shack etc.

Looks like this. That is actually the exact one I have, but I bought it at Meijer on clearance. It's nice because as the picture above shows, the positive and negative are marked on the tip connector and you don't have to cut wires unless you really want to.
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