Hot Rodding a NIcrew Planted Tank Strip - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hot Rodding a NIcrew Planted Tank Strip

For those of you using Nicrew Led strips, you know some of them are pretty decent , however for smaller tank sizes one Stands head and shoulders above the Rest in regards to output.
That is this series.
https://www.amazon.ca/NICREW-Aquariu...25&sr=8-2&th=1
The 18-20 size is rated at an Honest18w 1800 lumens. These strips use the 5730 SMD led, the most powerful compact SMD led each is rated .5W and 50lumens.
This strip has a theoretical output of 22.5 watts @2250 lumens!
I have taken mine apart and measured current and voltage on this strip. It is tuned to 80% of max , I assume for longevity as leds do not like heat. The strip itself is fairly thick aluminum panel that the smd circuit is printed on for good heat dissipation.

MY issue is the RGB leds on their own are not well thought out and look janky at night and green does not do a lot for photosynthesis.
So I ordered some grow spectrum smd led chips to swap out the greens, looks scary but doable.
So carefully I unsoldered the green leds and swapped them out for PINK grow spectrum Leds.

Last pic is Rear Strip RGB with front strip RGP.
Each strip is on a separate ramp timer. Eventually I will be combining the front and rear strip white leds and routing them together on one timer and combining the other colors onto 1 timer. Just waiting for 60w power supply to arrive that will power both strips timers etc. I have been an electronics hobbyist since the 80's so this not exactly rocket science The toughest part is desoldering and resoldering smd chips without special soldering iron.
Anyhow for now I am pretty Happy with the outcome so far.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Hot Rodding a NIcrew Planted Tank Strip

Here is my diy strip setup

Here is all lights on


Here is just RBP on


Here is RGB plus RBP

Newest Tank
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 08:45 PM
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THANK YOU sooooo much for the pictures and details of your build. I was thinking about one of his lights or a Hagen. It is nice to see the board layout before purchase.

What’s the difference in voltage requirements between the leds that were on there an the ones you replaced them with? Do you have the specs of the leds you purchased?


jacob
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Hot Rodding a NIcrew Planted Tank Strip

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasterMake View Post
THANK YOU sooooo much for the pictures and details of your build. I was thinking about one of his lights or a Hagen. It is nice to see the board layout before purchase.

What’s the difference in voltage requirements between the leds that were on there an the ones you replaced them with? Do you have the specs of the leds you purchased?


jacob
pink like most 5730 smd led's are 3- 3.4 v generally.
red requires a bit less at 1.8 -2.1.
So swapping a green for Pink makes no difference.


So no real world difference in the end.


The leds rgb's are series of 3 with a resistor for voltage drop totalling 12 V.

I will be monitoring for any temperature changes in the light strip.
ambient temperature in my house is 73° normally the light fixture runs at 103'f.

Newest Tank
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOTIA View Post
pink like most 5730 smd led's are 3- 3.4 v generally.
red requires a bit less at 1.8 -2.1.
So swapping a green for Pink makes no difference.


So no real world difference in the end.


The leds rgb's are series of 3 with a resistor for voltage drop totalling 12 V.

I will be monitoring for any temperature changes in the light strip.
ambient temperature in my house is 73° normally the light fixture runs at 103'f.

Surprised, on my monitor, the whites aren't more dominant..
Is this more like "real life" (all channels on full) or not?


Just adjusted Gamma..




Where did you get the diodes from?

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2020, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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I got the diodes on fleabay. One seller had many colours.
Here is a fresh pic after a water change today unretouched etc with all on.
The rear strip still has green leds still.
The front has the new RBP setup.




Newest Tank
16G Aquastar High Tech
Milwaukee Co2 and PH controller
Co2 Art inline difuser
36 Watts Nicrew Led Mod.
Seachem Onyx sand
Botia Kubotai and dwarf rainbows
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2020, 02:25 AM
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One thing to keep in mind is each color led has a different resistor to match its recommended voltage/current. Which happens right before the led row, it's more complex than that but honestly if its running at 80% power you'll probably be fine. It's not uncommon for manufacturers to overpower cheap LEDs to make them just as bright as a higher quality ones, but at the cost of higher energy use, runs hotter and shorter life.

One day when my light kicks the bucket, I'm gutting it and doing my own mix of led strips, I already have two extra rows of deep red/blue like people use to grow indoor plants. It's the correct nm LEDs too for plants. Its 18w or so but I dont crank it up at all, it's at 10% every day and my main light is like 60%


Edit: Added a few photos from a year or so ago of my lights being on 100% and then the secondary rows also being on 100% its literally two extra strips on the sides of the light that I custom ordered from a very respectable site.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2020, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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Hot Rodding a NIcrew Planted Tank Strip

[QUOTE=Ben3721;11308935]One thing to keep in mind is each color led has a different resistor to match its recommended voltage/current. Which happens right before the led row, it's more complex than that but/QUOTE]


Actually I did my homework and traced the circuit using digital v meter etc.
All the LEDs are arranged in banks of three with each bank having one resistor.That is all that is needed. If every LED on the strip had a resistor there would be 45 of them.
They are only 15 on the entire strip light.

The green LEDs I swapped out for pink ones have the same voltage requirements so zero change.
After running both strips for four hours today the strip with the pink ones was actually 2° cooler usually they are normally identical , I use a infrared laser temperature gauge to check.

Newest Tank
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Milwaukee Co2 and PH controller
Co2 Art inline difuser
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Seachem Onyx sand
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2020, 05:58 AM
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[quote=BOTIA;11308969]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben3721 View Post
One thing to keep in mind is each color led has a different resistor to match its recommended voltage/current. Which happens right before the led row, it's more complex than that but/QUOTE]


Actually I did my homework and traced the circuit using digital v meter etc.
All the LEDs are arranged in banks of three with each bank having one resistor.That is all that is needed. If every LED on the strip had a resistor there would be 45 of them.
They are only 15 on the entire strip light.

The green LEDs I swapped out for pink ones have the same voltage requirements so zero change.
After running both strips for four hours today the strip with the pink ones was actually 2° cooler usually they are normally identical , I use a infrared laser temperature gauge to check.

Keep in mind, and you prob. already know this, but by buying a variable voltage power supply you can tweak your output.
A few fractions of a volt can either boost or throttle your output and conversely boost or lower heating..


103-ish F isn't a problem though..
3 in series for 12V 4-5 in series for 15-24V..


SMD soldering is def not my cup of tea.. congrats on that..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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[quote=jeffkrol;11308999]
Quote:
Originally Posted by BOTIA View Post


Keep in mind, and you prob. already know this, but by buying a variable voltage power supply you can tweak your output

A few fractions of a volt can either boost or throttle your output and conversely boost or lower heating..

SMD soldering is def not my cup of tea.. congrats on that..

Not concerned about output as a conservative 36 w over a 18 " tall 18g is a high light situ. In fact 90 .5w leds should be closer to 45w.

Smd desoldering was picky but not too bad wearing magnifying 4x. glasses.


Here is a pic of AR mini I planted from 1 tropica tissue culture cup.

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