John's 75-gallon tank journal and LED build - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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John's 75-gallon tank journal and LED build

Hello, I am setting up a 75 gallon high-tech tank, and I will be documenting the process here in this thread!

Originally, I bought this tank for mbuna African cichlids, but I wasn't really digging the tank full of rocks



I still wanna keep mbuna, just not in this tank. My next project will be a 30-40 gallon species-tank with either Pseudotropheus demasoni or Pseudotropheus saulosi.

I have not decided what I will be keeping in this tank, but it will be one of the following: Asian theme (Asian plants, barbs, loaches, maybe cheat with some rainbow fish), West Africa theme (African plants, kribs, congo tetras, etc), South American theme (you get the idea). These will not be strict biotopes.

Anyways, for me half the fun is in setting up the tank, so this will be a long term project. I am building the light and the co2 regulator, and that's basically it for this summer. If all goes well, then I should be planting in the fall!

For now this thread will mostly cover the LED light build, then the co2 regulator. Both items will be controlled by a chipKit Max32 development board (similar to an Arduino). More to come!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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I will now cover the plans for light build!

Here's the LED hardware I will be using:

White: 2 Vero 18 5600k, 2 Vero 13 4000k, 2 Vero 13 2700k
Color: 4 Hyper Violet, 4 Royal Blue, 4 Cool Blue, 4 Cyan, 4 Lime, 4 Deep Red

That's about 120 watts of white and 52 watts of color for those of you who what to a use that as a measurement.



I made a mistake, and bought the wrong power supply, so yea, that's not included in the pictures:\

Before I can do anything with the LEDs, I must build a heatsink. I got some aluminum from a local metal supplier, then I'm going to JB Weld it all together. The idea is to use a strong clamping force and as little JB Weld as possible.





It'll be trimmed down to 36 inches when complete. The channels on the bottom will hold a piece of plexi-glass, then I'll make end caps from the excess aluminum bar.



I plan to mount the drivers like this. I don't know if they generate too much heat to do so though.

The light will have 5 channels. Cool whites, whites, red, blue, green.

Each channel will be controlled from a chipKit Max32. This is a really nice piece of hardware. Right off the bat, here are some advantages over the Arduino. First, the PWM outputs are run off 16-bit timers, so implementing > 8 bit resolution is a matter programming the micro-controller directly to do so. I have already created a 12-bit resolution with the proper frequency for the Meanwell drivers, which is what I will use for this project.

The set-up will be simple. I will run the chipKit as a HTML server (code available online, minimal work for me). A HTML interface will allow me to adjust the PWM values and timer schedules. PWM values will be stored via memory card, then an interrupt based task scheduler will maintain the actual PWM transitions and turn the any hardware on or off at my choosing. I will be using the Clipper Mouse solenoid for co2 control... but more on that later.

Unfortunately, I believe the standard Arduino units are too slow for this application. Also, a lot of the code will be very specific to the PIC32 micro-controller. Anyone who wants to use any of it will likely need this specific hardware:



Finally, I found this online An early start to the next part of the project:



John

Last edited by PrimeObsession; 06-13-2015 at 08:12 PM. Reason: Spelling/ grammar corrections.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 08:21 AM
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Looks like a very interesting build, cant wait to see how this turns out!


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 12:43 PM
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Please show the steps in building the light k? Would love to see the steps.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 12:44 PM
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What brand is the regulator?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 05:56 PM
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What kind of rock is that in the 1st pic?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Please show the steps in building the light k? Would love to see the steps.
That's the plan

Quote:
What brand is the regulator?
It's marked Air Gas, but I don't believe this company actually manufactures their regulators. It's a dual stage regulator with a stainless steel diaphragm, and Air Gas recommends this model for use with co2.

Quote:
What kind of rock is that in the 1st pic?
The rock is called Table Mesa Brown, and it's really common type of rock to see at landscaping places here in Phoenix. I really like the look, so I may end up using some of it in the second iteration of this tank

I'm really glad to see people interest in the build... You all will definitely motivate me to finish faster and do better work
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2015, 03:31 PM
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Very interested to see your light build. I used a similar heatsink process. I drilled, tapped and screwed everything together with stainless screws. I used thermal paste between everything. I wasn't sure jb weld would transfer the heat as efficiently.


From the depths of my substrate!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2015, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Haha, nice to see your heatsink! Originally, I was going to do it just like you with thermal paste and screws (drill and tap). I decided to use JB Weld so when its done, I can sand everything down (maybe add a little bondo to the seams), paint it black, and it should look pretty seamless.

Unfortunately, it won't be as efficient as a solid piece of aluminum, but it'll cost at least half as much as a piece of heatsink the same size. I was a able to find a website that lists the thermal conductivity of JB Weld at .59 W/(m.K) (if its accurate, seems reason reasonable). For comparison, a good thermal adhesive is is the 9-10 W/(m.K) range. However, these adhesives are designed to be applied to electronic parts with little or no clamping force. I didn't want to use a thermal adhesive alone because they seem to be more semi-permanent than permanent.

Anyway, if this doesn't work, then I'll redo it like you did it. The only way to know is to try and see! I'm hoping that I do not need to add fans, but if I do, then I think this set-up should offer more than enough cooling.

I do have some questions if you don't mind. Did you end up using a fan with your yours? Also, how many watts of LED did you use and what we're you final dimensions of the heatsink?
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2015, 09:10 PM
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Heat sink compound

I agree with the earlier post- screw it together and use heat sink compound. Do not waste time with jb weld thinking it will transfer heat. If anything you will find it is an insulator and at that point why bother with the fins?
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-15-2015, 02:35 AM
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Heatsink is 5" wide and 48" long. I'm trying out some 10w epileds COB LED's. 10 cool white 6500k. 10 warm white 3000k. 4 deep red 660nm. 2 yellow 580nm. 4 Blue 450nm and 2 UV 360nm. A total of 32 led at 10 watts at full power. So at max 320 watts. I installed 4 fans to run based on heatsink temperature. At full brightness all four run. I'm finding it to be a little to yellow so I may swap out some of the 3000k for 10000k. Total build time took around 6 months.


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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2015, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmelvin View Post
Heatsink is 5" wide and 48" long. I'm trying out some 10w epileds COB LED's. 10 cool white 6500k. 10 warm white 3000k. 4 deep red 660nm. 2 yellow 580nm. 4 Blue 450nm and 2 UV 360nm. A total of 32 led at 10 watts at full power. So at max 320 watts. I installed 4 fans to run based on heatsink temperature. At full brightness all four run. I'm finding it to be a little to yellow so I may swap out some of the 3000k for 10000k. Total build time took around 6 months.


Wow! Your enclosure looks great!

I noticed that, for the most part, people who have warm whites run them at much lower levels than their cool whites, so what your saying makes sense. I added some neutral whites in with the warms for this reason, but I don't know what the affect will be.

An update on the heatsink. Yesterday I started to glue the L channel to the aluminum bar. I'm gluing them one at a time, so there's a long down time between each piece making it a long process. So far so good, I'll post some pictures tonight, but nothing exciting.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-18-2015, 06:01 PM
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Take your time and not rush the project. That's why mine took so long. Guess I should start my own build thread.

From the depths of my substrate!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-18-2015, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmelvin View Post
Heatsink is 5" wide and 48" long. I'm trying out some 10w epileds COB LED's. 10 cool white 6500k. 10 warm white 3000k. 4 deep red 660nm. 2 yellow 580nm. 4 Blue 450nm and 2 UV 360nm. A total of 32 led at 10 watts at full power. So at max 320 watts. I installed 4 fans to run based on heatsink temperature. At full brightness all four run. I'm finding it to be a little to yellow so I may swap out some of the 3000k for 10000k. Total build time took around 6 months.

how much did this build cost you?


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Hello again, and sorry for the lack of updates. The heat sink did not turn out as expected. I will either keep it and make a box like jmelvin's awesome enclosure, or buy a real one. If I buy a heat sink, I want to find one that will allow me to not use fans, so I need to find out whats involved in that.

The good news is I think I know what type of fish I'll be keeping! Recently we picked up a Dario Dario from a LFS and he's been doing really well in a Fluval EDGE. They also stock Badis Badis, a similar, but larger, fish. I talked with one of the workers, and they feed these guys a variety of frozen foods. Our Dario Dario is eating frozen brine shrimp fine right now. Anyways, I want to keep the Badis Badis in the 75, as I think they are a cool alternative to the SA dwarf cichlids (they were once classified as cichlids). They are less picky about water conditions, so I think they will do better in our hard water too. I think a few peaceful barb species, the Badis (6-9), and some Kuhli loaches as a cleanup crew would be nice.
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