40x Cree XP-G LEDs - Which material to use as tank lid?
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:39 AM   #1
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40x Cree XP-G LEDs - Which material to use as tank lid?


I am just about to complete my DIY LED build using the RapidLED 36x CREE XP-G LED kit. I am driving 32 Cool White and 4 Warm White LEDs (using the 80 degree optics) at 1000 milliamps as well as the RapidLED Moonlight kit (4x Blue LEDs) at between 150 and 350 milliamps (they have no optics).

Edit I am driving 3x Meanwell ELN-60-48P LED Drivers using an Arduino controller. I will dim them on and off for simulated sunset. I have the Drivers set to 1000 milliamps so that is the maximum they will go to (although I may go up or down slightly once I test out the lighting) but they won't be at 1000 milliamps ALL of the time due to dimming schedules. Edit

I am retrofitting my Aqua One 120 tank (120 centimetres wide, ~90 Gallons) and I'm wondering what material I can use as a lid.

I have 3 rows of LEDs (12 XP-G LEDs in each) and the optics are really close to the surface of the hood (ie; they almost extrude from the hood). I can place a material underneath the hood, resting on the tank.

I have the choice of glass (I assume 1.5mm or 2mm thick) however it will be hard to get as I'll need to have it specially cut. My local hardware store also has other options that I'm more interested in (for lower weight). These are PVC and Polycarbonate.

There are sheets used for roofing (skylights) that I can buy. The PVC is flat and 3mm thick and very, very clear. The polycarbonate is corrugated and very thin (and clear but light could get distorted due to the corrugation). The Polycarbonate mentions that it has high heat resistant properties (due to it being skylight roofing).

Could someone please give me some advice as to which plastic material they feel is best for my needs. The LEDs won't get too hot I assume (they are mounted to 3mm thick aluminium "U" channel (40mm wide, 25mm deep and 3mm thick) so the "heatsinking" ability of it is very good.

Basically I know that Polycarbonate is a good choice but the corrugation is a downside. I'm also not sure about PVC under high heat or ligght (I don't want it to melt, bubble or go yellow/fade under my lights). Glass is too expensive, needs to be custom made, breakable and also heavy.

Any advice would be most welcome as I will purchase very soon to finish my project. Thanks!

Last edited by Simpsoid; 01-05-2013 at 05:43 AM.. Reason: Info about LED Driver currents
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:53 AM   #2
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Short answer go with the glass, maybe harder to source but overtime you will not regret it. Polycarbonate overtime can warp especially thinner sheets exposed to high amounts of humidity. The PVC u are referring is it acrylic in America? Because that would be my second choice besides the glass. Post some pics of the lights interested in seeing your layout.
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cree, leds, lid, material

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