Help with DIY led fixture - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Help with DIY led fixture

Hello everyone!
I want to build a 48 led fixture, actually two with 24 led on each, 10 whites, 2 greens, 5 reds and 7 blues (still not sure if this will be the best, would love to hear suggestions).
The thing is I cant find a suitable led driver for me, I'm searching a 3 or 6 channel driver with pwn that could power the 48 3w leds, if one doesn't exist I would like to build one, I just don't know how, I know how to solder but I don't have any knowledge in electricity.
Please help!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 01:06 PM
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Well you will have to do reflow soldering to work with most of the current drivers. They are almost all Surface Mount now.
Not so hard it you are patient and only working in one-of's. I do my prototyping with liquid solder paste and an ordinary hot air gun (double sided boards at that).

You will need to be very specific about the LED's you need to drive, in terms of voltage and optimum current. By and large every LED I have seen is optimally used at about 50% of max current.

I'd probably look for LEDs that would work with AL1794, it has 4 individually addressable PWM channels That can drive a total of 45W.
Up to 30V and max current CH1 .5A, CH2 .5A C3 .375A C4 .125A

They actually have a nice example schematic Figure 4. 4-Channel White+Tunable RGB (actually uses an Al1971 and AL1793 which are 1 and 3 channel versions)
http://www.diodes.com/downloads/9365

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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http://www.cree.com/LED-Components-a...onal/XLamp-XPE
These are the specifications for the leds want to use.
Thank you for your help, I just dont know how to read schematics, really I have no knowledge in electricity, if you could simplify that scheme I will understand if that chip could help me

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 02:36 PM
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That route is going to be too hard if you are still at elementary knowledge levels.
Maybe you could rig together some of those maxwel units, but honestly I think you will be able to buy a light cheaper than make it, especially if you are at the experimental level where one has to do quite a few do-overs.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Well then could you help me pick one? I just cant seem to find one that suits my needs

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 05:26 PM
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Ok, give the size of your tank, please mark height to avoid confusion.
Any reason you haven't gone for one of the finnex or other popular lights yet?
I would buy one in a heart beat if the shipping didn't double the price

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Its 200 liter and the height is 50 cm, I cant afford to buy a popular light because they cost in Israel waaay too much..

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 06:40 PM
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I once bought a signal generator on ebay, all the way from Israel. But yes I get you, similar situation here, a $60 light ends up costing you $150. I assume the tank is about 1.2 by 0.45m?

If money is tight I'd stick with some nice pendants with spiral compact cfls
search ebay for
2 PCS Aluminum Lampshade E27 Bulb Light Hanging Pendant Ceiling Reflection Loft
thats a good start for $15 shipped roughly.


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Its 100x40x50
I want to fit two fixtures of 80x8cm in the lid, thats why i want to build ot by my own
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 07:03 PM
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Looking at ebay just ten of those LEDs costs about as much as the two pendants.
I see the hood you have but I'd just have some acrylic (because of the round corners) cut with the money saved, put it on the tank and hang the pendants from something cool looking. Maybe some cool coathanger piping from the hardware shop.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Im looking in saving money while building the led fixtures not in general (:

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 07:20 PM
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I just think that by the time you sourced things like a 4 foot heatsink, all the LEDs, driver boards, waterproof housing, connectors, cables, dimmers and switches, you will probably save very little if anything over buying retail and taking the knock on a direct import.

I say this with all respect. I'm quite into DIY audio, but it is cheaper to buy than build in most cases. Quality cost good part selection and sometimes buying a metric crapload of the same part and matching sets of them.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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I have a sheet of acrylic that fits into the lid for waterproofing, the heatsinks i get for free because i have a friend that works at a cnc factory, i just buy the leds and drivers, more than that, i want it to fir exactly my needs and i like to build things not just buy things that are made for me and doesnt fit perfectly, i want to be proud and have the satisfaction that ive built all that i can. I understand why you suggest saving money and why it could be better, but i dont like the looks of a haning lamp over my aquarium. btw thank you for the replies and all the suggestions, i really appreciate it!

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 07:31 PM
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No problem, I actually have 2 tanks of similar dimensions I have no lighting for yet, well I do have an 8 foot shoplight, but I bet 2 new tubes for that costs an arm and a leg. So, I am kinda helping myself by looking into options. I think something more modular might be a better fit then. Its just that you are jumping in at the deep end power wise with all those LEDs, so it is not going to be the more simple options. I'll give it some thought.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah i really want it to be as much power efficient it can, because when i leave my parents house i dont want to have a huge power bill haha anyway if you find a led driver with 3 pwm channels that could power 48 leds please share with me (:

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