efficient and cheap moon lights.. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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efficient and cheap moon lights..

I have been usuing blue rope light in my hood for sometime but a section decided to burn out. Anyhow I had bought some super bright blue leds off of ebay 10 for 2.00. These ones are ocean blue in colour and about 10000mcd.
I already had a spare 12v dc output ac adapter. My oringinal plan was to mount 5 or 6 in half round piece of 1 pvc so the wiring would be under to pipe.
For testing purposes I soldered 1 led to a pc of light gauge 2 conducter wire and shrink wrapped it just to see how one would look. To narrrow of a beam but very bright. So I ground down the led so it was flat and about 1/16 between the emitter and led's clear case. It made perfect wide angle light.
So I rigged a 2nd led spliced in the first leds power plug .I simply stapled them to the underside of my hood hanging down.
The results was perfect not too bright for my bedroom but enough light to wacth the action perfectly.

Btw superbright led's need 3.5volts and 20 milliamps to run so to run them on 12v you need to add a resiter in series to make a 8.5v voltage drop.To calculate the value of the resister it is R=E/I so 8.5v/.020 amps=425ohms.
or you could run 3 leds in series for a toatal of 10.5v the it would be 1.5/.o2o=75ohms.

anyhow it can be cheap and fun to do whatever the setup you want, the ac/dc adapter is the biggest expense however even a cell phone charger will work just great.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 03:20 PM
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Blue LED Moonlights are a trip...

You can use almost ANY spare wall wart to power the things as they can be left on 27/7/365 and still last forever. Your normal tank lights will overpower the blue tint and it will be invisible during daylight operations, that way, when your timer kills your regular lighting, the LED's are already up and running, so no need to have two timers...

Make it easy on yourself when figuring the in-line load resistor needed. Go here: http://www.electronics2000.co.uk/

Get the calculator download called "Electronics Assistant" (which is a GREAT free utility for electronic hobbyists) and plug in the values of your LEDs and your wall wart. Simple.

I would recommend against running LEDs in series to get around using load resistors as each LED is *slightly* different in its electronic characteristics and whichever LED in the series has the least resistance will end up acting as a current sink for the rest and burn out quicker.

I use two 5mm 5000mcd LED's with a color spectrum of 475nm (peak wave length). The true 'moonlight' color you are looking for is 470nm, but the 475's are close enough for me.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 08:18 AM
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that's a great idea, I think I might try something similar when I get the time. How hard do you think it'll be to wire up a rechargable a battery or capacitor (are caps meant for something like this?) to the power and when the timer cuts out the leds stay on running off the battery.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TicK
that's a great idea, I think I might try something similar when I get the time. How hard do you think it'll be to wire up a rechargable a battery or capacitor (are caps meant for something like this?) to the power and when the timer cuts out the leds stay on running off the battery.

It would not be hard, just unnecessary complexity and expense. Run within their specification limits, LED's have life spans in the hundreds of thousands of hours.

You will probably die before they do.

Tom
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-25-2004, 02:48 PM
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Tick, no need to get that fancy. Remember, LED's are what run the power lights on computers (and most appliances). When was the last time you saw an LED burn out? I don't think I ever have seen that happen.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-25-2004, 04:14 PM
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The only reason I would see to put them on a timer is to provide for some total darkness. Plant damage has been reported due to LEDs which were focused on plants, plus it might be beneficial for fishies to have some sleeptime without being interrupted by those that are squirling around in the twilight.
I have my moonlight on a $2.50 mechanical timer, coming on just before the lights go out, and turning off around midnight. Gives me a chance to watch fishies do their things under the moonlight, then everyone goes to sleep.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 04:43 AM
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What is the actual point of having moonlights anyway?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 01:27 PM
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They put a very small amount of light into the tank so that you can see 'after dark'. If you have some nocturnal tank residents that you never see when the main lights are on it gives you a chance to see them. It just gives you an additional viewing time with a different atmosphere. Some people say that they create a better aproximation of what occurs in nature of having a period of twilight....

My setup is similar to wasserpests' I have my timers set to turn moon lights on at 10, then shut my main lights down in sequence between 10:30-11 then shut the moon off at 12. I go to bed about 11, and the moonlights give me a nightlight so that I can turn off the room lights, TV, computer etc..
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darks!de
What is the actual point of having moonlights anyway?

They look WAAAAY cool.

Plus, they allow you to see the nighttime behavior of your aquarium inmates. I have heard anecdotal reports of moonlights beneficially effecting breeding behavior in some fish, but I have not seen any studies on this (and I am personally skeptical of anecdotal reports).

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by malkore
Tick, no need to get that fancy. Remember, LED's are what run the power lights on computers (and most appliances). When was the last time you saw an LED burn out? I don't think I ever have seen that happen.

lol i'm not trying to conserve led ontime...it's actually the opposite. The thing is I just rigged up a new light under the hood (eclipse6, ah reflector, 26w bulb). I just thought it would be cool if I could somehow connect the leds to the existing power cables and not add any more plugs to my already filled power bar. The thing is when my timer cuts out and the lights go out, so do the leds

thus the idea of a rechargeable battery as a nighttime source of light. It's too complicated for me tho...I dont get all this ac/dc crap
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-30-2004, 06:24 PM
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Using this description...would i need to alter the wiring at all?

Emitted Colour : Blue

Size (mm) : 5mm T1 3/4

Lens Colour : Water Clear

Peak Wave Length (nm) : 460 ~ 470

Forward Voltage (V) : 3.2 ~ 3.6

Reverse Current (uA) : <= 30

Luminous Intensity Typ Iv (mcd) : 4000(Typical) ~ 5000(Max)

Life Rating : 100,000 Hours

Viewing Angle : 20 Degree

Absolute Maximum Ratings ( Ta = 25C )

Max Power Dissipation : 80 mw

Max Continuous Forward Current : 30 mA

Max Peak Forward Current : 75 mA

Reverse Voltage : 5 ~ 6 V

Lead Soldering Temperature : 240C ( < 5 Sec )

Operating Temperature Range : -25C ~ +85C

Preservative Temperature Range : -30C ~ +100C
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-30-2004, 08:23 PM
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I have seen LED's burn out, but after 5 or 6 years of continuous use and some flukes of bad manufacturing which you seen even more rarely these days.

I like the idea of the battery operated concept for when I build my canopies. I think that would be nice.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-30-2004, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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nope

You can only run these type of leds at 3.2 -3.6 volts DC at 20 milliamps(ma). If you ave any old cell phone charger you could use that but you will need to get a resister to drop the excess voltage other wise the led will go poof. To caculate the resisters value the formula (ohms law) is I(current) = E(voltage) / R (resistance). I=e/r therefore r= E/I so say with a 6volt source 6/20ma or .020 amps equals 300hms.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-30-2004, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darks!de
Using this description...would i need to alter the wiring at all?
Specifications SNIPPED

LEDs with those specs will work perfectly. Go to the link I posted earlier and get the calculator. Use any old wall wart you have laying around and plug in the values of the wart and LEDs and it will tell you the resistor needed. Resistors are cheap and any Radio Shack can fix you up with dozens for a buck or two.

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