Underwater LED Lighting?
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:48 AM   #1
Warbler
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Underwater LED Lighting?


Hello!
I'm currently setting up an axolotl tank with a sort of space/physics theme (it's going into a classroom). I was thinking of creating a large UFO using a glass vase, and I was wondering if there was anyway to put in some sort of flexible LED lights in there. I know there are some LED bubblers out there, but I don't want bubbles in that location, and I also want to be able to use more than just a foot of LEDs....
I was just google searching and found some LED strips/tape that say they're waterproof as they are meant for the outdoors. Is it safe to assume that waterproof doesn't necessarily mean underwater proof?
And while the LEDs are one thing, would the place where the LED stops and the wiring starts be safe for the tank (assuming wiring was covered in rubber)?
If I could figure out wiring I was also thinking of cutting up and mashing together different segments of leds to perhaps light only the portholes of the ufo. Could this be done safely (assuming my leds were safe in the first place)?
Does anybody have any ideas on how to achieve this? Anything I might be overlooking (I am really new to electronics, so please don't assume I'm simply not mentioning something! ). Thanks a ton!
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:39 AM   #2
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Here is 1 I saw using Led's? Perhaps you answers are here
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:27 AM   #3
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If you get a flexible strip of led's, even if it's not waterproof, you could try working it into a length of vinyl tubing. As long as both ends of the tubing are well out of the water, it should be fine.

I think people have used Plasti-Dip to coat things for use in tank, but I haven't tried it myself, and I don't know how well it would work for electronics. You could also try embedding something in epoxy resin.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:44 AM   #4
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They sell lights intended to mount on boat hulls to illuminate the water around boats. That's basically the same application.

And I believe those LEDs really aren't anything special. As long as you get something that's marketed as waterproof, I think you'll be fine, at least for a few years. Just make sure you use 12V lights
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Old 07-24-2014, 03:00 AM   #5
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The problem with underwater lighting could be the heat: the water could head up from the dissipated heat, and in terms of hours could get to really high temperatures. Just be aware.
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Old 07-24-2014, 05:34 AM   #6
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Aren't LEDs pretty cool though as far as lights go? I think I might be alright in that respect. Does anybody know a good simple site for wiring and electricity? I've never picked up a book about electronics and a lot of the technical terms on sites are loosing me.
Do you guys think I could also light some fiber optics using LEDs somewhat efficiently? I've seen a video of a buy doing it, but the light that seemed to be transmitted was rather poor. I just figure since there's already going to be at least one wire/tube leading out of the tank I might as well make the most use of it!
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:13 AM   #7
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An LED is a semiconductor. Semiconductors can produce a lot of heat. This is why you need some sort of heat transfer most of the time unless the LED is putting out a minuscule amount of current while being low voltage. You can drop a waterproof LED in your tank and it will be fine but don't think it's not going to heat up the water. If you do this stick with 12V max and keep it low current. You don't need much current anyway on a strip to get it to produce decent ambient lighting.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabriel.mi View Post
The problem with underwater lighting could be the heat: the water could head up from the dissipated heat, and in terms of hours could get to really high temperatures. Just be aware.
I think as long as they're not putting in a strand of 3w LED's into an aquarium with zero water movement, they'll be fine.
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scapegoat View Post
I think as long as they're not putting in a strand of 3w LED's into an aquarium with zero water movement, they'll be fine.


Low power LEDs produce virtually no heat. The nature of LEDs and semiconductors make them produce exponentially more heat the more current you put through them...

So high power LEDs put out quite a bit of heat, but low power LEDs don't. Its not a linear curve.
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scapegoat View Post
I think as long as they're not putting in a strand of 3w LED's into an aquarium with zero water movement, they'll be fine.
Depends on the LED. Even a string of 5050 SMD's would heat that sucker up with a quickness. I would go for the low power RGB strips myself. Current is super low and he could dial in colors with a remote.
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