Advice on DIY LED build for nano tank?! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-14-2017, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Advice on DIY LED build for nano tank?!

Hey guys, I'm setting up my first freshwater planted in a long time. I've kept some fresh before immensly over the years, but transitioned to reefing the last decade or so. I've decided to build my own pendant for my new (Amazon prime deal) Marineland portrait 5.5g setup.

The tank measures (approximately) 9.5x8.5x16", so it wont take much to get some good light going on. I wanted to be able to adjust it up later if I ever get into anything higher light/advanced, but for now will likely do Java Fern, Anubias, Banana plant, Water sprite, and whatever else I can find that does well for me

So far I was thinking that a CPU heatsink would be a decent pendant, and this would allow me to have a backup fan for summertime or high-intensity operation, but I intend to passively cool this setup ideally. I was thinking of a couple different setups, but either way the light would hang from 3-6" above the tank.

Possible LED selection, keep in mind I'm a bit fuzzy on the state of freshwater lighting, last time I set up a planted tank PC Fluorescent was still the choice lighting!!! I would like to be able to have a nice range of adjustability, from a stark white to a deep blue. I will likely be using a Typhon or similar controller, still undecided. 2-4 channels possibly, but I'd likely do just fine with 2. Most likely will use LDD type drivers. I have ways of making by when I first build it up and test it out though.

All on 3-up stars (separate wiring, and spread around for good mix) from stevesleds most likely, stars tightly spaced-

2x NW (5000k)

1x WW (3k)

1x RB (440nm?)

1x Lime

1x hyper violet

I was thinking of possibly doing that, but adding the following as well-

1x NW (5000k)

1x CW (6500k)

1x B (460nm?)

I like a nice crisp white, I despise the heavy yellow tint a lot of tanks end up with. I like a bit of blue too, but will tend towards more of a neutral tone to this little tank. Something like these are the look I'm after...





I tried to do a ton of research, but since photobucket nuked the offsite links it's not that easy to find any pics of smaller buiids...
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 11:17 PM
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SPECTRA

Helps w/ estimating..need to do a few assumptions i.e w/ "lime"..



Came up w/ this (used green for lime..)
Diodes are multiplied to simulate the pattern w/ "hyperviolet (a "blue") and normal blue (substuted for rb) at 1/3rd power

----------------------------------------
Quote:
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel PLUS (4000K) [120°] x6
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel PLUS (3000K) [120°] x3
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel Blue (460-480nm) [120°] x1
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel Green (520-540nm) [120°] x3
SemiLEDs C35L-U-A UV (410-420nm) (U70) [120°] x1
----------------------------------------

* SIMULATION DATA
----------------------------------------
Luminous flux : 2,135 lm
Radiant flux : 7,967 mW
PPF : 34.6 umol/s
TCP : 7870 K
CRI : 94
λp : 457 nm
Color : #DBD7FF
----------------------------------------

* PERFORMANCE @ 30cm
----------------------------------------
Irradiance : 9.4 W/mē/s
Illuminance : 2,517 lx
PPFD : 40.7 umol/mē/s
----------------------------------------

by SPECTRA 1.0β @ 1.023world
SPECTRA

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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 11:40 PM
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will be following. i am also thinking about making an LED pendant with a CPU heatsink

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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-16-2017, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
SPECTRA

Helps w/ estimating..need to do a few assumptions i.e w/ "lime"..



Came up w/ this (used green for lime..)
Diodes are multiplied to simulate the pattern w/ "hyperviolet (a "blue") and normal blue (substuted for rb) at 1/3rd power

----------------------------------------
Neat. The "lime" LED from Steve's supposedly peaks at 567 nm, if that makes a big difference.

Does this look like a decent layout? Would nine total emitters be overkill?
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Well, since from what I can tell (and additional simulation and playing around on spectra) the original lineup looks to be a pretty good and reasonably flexible mix, so I ordered two 3-up stars (separate wiring) from Steve's LEDs.

Star#1
1x 4000k white
1x 2700k white
1x lime (490-750nm, 567nm peak)

Star#2
1x 4000k white
1x blue (460-480nm "cool blue")
1x true violet 3.0 (430nm)

I dug out a decent size CPU heatsink that should work well passively cooled, just need to drill/tap it or grab some adhesive thermal pads. Not sure what driver/dimmer I'm going with yet, probably just doing a linear constant current regulator per channel to get an idea of what I want, and then order the appropriate LDD drivers to suit.
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 02:13 PM
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Please show us how it looks on the tank when it is done.

Based on those low spectrum whites, I would think it looks quite yellow. But perhaps the colored leds will somehow make it look more white?

Regarding attaching the leds, because you are using a CPU heatsink, you have a few options. You can drill and tap. I recommend this because you have so few leds.

Adhesives are the other option. The thermal adhesive is easiest, but if you ever remove the leds and want to reuse them, you will have to figure out how to remove the old adhesive from the led backing.

Alternatively, you could use thermal paste and use epoxy on the edges. It looks worse, but has the advantage that leds can be swapped and reused.
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lingwendil View Post
I dug out a decent size CPU heatsink that should work well passively cooled, just need to drill/tap it or grab some adhesive thermal pads. Not sure what driver/dimmer I'm going with yet, probably just doing a linear constant current regulator per channel to get an idea of what I want, and then order the appropriate LDD drivers to suit.
Linear regulators need to be balanced w/ the ps or you get heating issues..
Best to go w/ something like Meanwell LDD's
Low heat
Proven
Dimmable w/ 5V PWM
little "fuss" about design

Heatsink plaster isn't the best thermal compound but being basically "thermal silicone" both an adhesive and fairly easy to remove.

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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Linear regulators need to be balanced w/ the ps or you get heating issues..
Best to go w/ something like Meanwell LDD's
Low heat
Proven
Dimmable w/ 5V PWM
little "fuss" about design

Heatsink plaster isn't the best thermal compound but being basically "thermal silicone" both an adhesive and fairly easy to remove.
What kind of PWM dimmer do you use with a Constant Current driver?

Most of the PWM dimmers I've seen are designed (i think) to be used with constant voltage.

https://www.amazon.com/Triangle-Bulb...M+dimmer&psc=1
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
Please show us how it looks on the tank when it is done.

Based on those low spectrum whites, I would think it looks quite yellow. But perhaps the colored leds will somehow make it look more white?

Regarding attaching the leds, because you are using a CPU heatsink, you have a few options. You can drill and tap. I recommend this because you have so few leds.

Adhesives are the other option. The thermal adhesive is easiest, but if you ever remove the leds and want to reuse them, you will have to figure out how to remove the old adhesive from the led backing.

Alternatively, you could use thermal paste and use epoxy on the edges. It looks worse, but has the advantage that leds can be swapped and reused.
Yeah, I'm thinking drill/tap with some nice thermal grease is what I'll do. The beauty of using just two LED stars is I only have four holes to drill, and it's much less fuss.

As to the color, the "lime" LED from Steve's is a great way to offset the warmer color temp of the 4000k/2700k whites, and running lower temp whites gives me a bit more red without resorting to using separate red emitters. That and the blue should give me a good range to play with in getting the look I want while still providing a nice spectrum. From previous experience with these LEDs the lime works perfectly to get everything to look right, especially with the blue I've got in there. My last reef fixture had 4000k white with a ton of royal blue, and the whites with the lime alone made a nice crisp white even before the blues were switched on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Linear regulators need to be balanced w/ the ps or you get heating issues..
Best to go w/ something like Meanwell LDD's
Low heat
Proven
Dimmable w/ 5V PWM
little "fuss" about design

Heatsink plaster isn't the best thermal compound but being basically "thermal silicone" both an adhesive and fairly easy to remove.
I'm fairly convinced that the LDD drivers are what I'll be using. The linear regs are only for testing, not for the finished product. I've got a pile of LM317 and some huuuuuge heatsinks that I can use just to figure out the static current I'll need per channel. Unfortunately I don't have much on hand that's LED specific so these will do as constant current sources for now just to ballpark what LDD drivers I need.

Nice thing about this build is a simple 12 volt supply of several amps will be plenty, especially coupled with the LDD drivers, and only six total LEDs.
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lingwendil View Post
As to the color, the "lime" LED from Steve's is a great way to offset the warmer color temp of the 4000k/2700k whites, and running lower temp whites gives me a bit more red without resorting to using separate red emitters. That and the blue should give me a good range to play with in getting the look I want while still providing a nice spectrum. From previous experience with these LEDs the lime works perfectly to get everything to look right, especially with the blue I've got in there. My last reef fixture had 4000k white with a ton of royal blue, and the whites with the lime alone made a nice crisp white even before the blues were switched on.


Nice thing about this build is a simple 12 volt supply of several amps will be plenty, especially coupled with the LDD drivers, and only six total LEDs.
I put those LEDs (or as close as possible) into the Spetra tool, and it said the apparent look would be around 19K! Perhaps I don't understand the value of that tool. I've been guessing what led combinations will look good.

Many of the commercial planted LED lights are mainly 6500k supplemented with varying ratios of red, blue, green. Some of them have some warm whites mixed in. Obviously each manufacturer has different ideas.

I believe that RGB lights in equal proportion and added together should create a "white" light. By varying the balance you can theoretically get any tint you want. The next evolution of my DIY light will contain RGB leds and the ability to control each RGB channel. I'm trying to figure out the most cost effective way to build this. This beats the alternative of continually swapping leds to find the color tone I want.
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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 04:37 PM
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Not sure if this helps at all-

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10...y-diy-led.html

I had similar thoughts but went with a slightly more elaborate heatsink in case I move it up to a larger cube.

I swapped the LED's since that thread, and presently run 2x Cree xm-l2 CW, 1 400-410 UV, 1 Lime, and 1 660 red. I love the color (I prefer cooler color temps). I had a far red in there too but have it disconnected at the moment. Great growth when it was primarily a planted setup.

I will update that thread soon with everything as it stands now, and include PAR data as soon as I can get a few moments to collect the data.

Last edited by Aqua99; 07-19-2017 at 01:53 AM. Reason: .
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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
I put those LEDs (or as close as possible) into the Spetra tool, and it said the apparent look would be around 19K! Perhaps I don't understand the value of that tool. I've been guessing what led combinations will look good.

Many of the commercial planted LED lights are mainly 6500k supplemented with varying ratios of red, blue, green. Some of them have some warm whites mixed in. Obviously each manufacturer has different ideas.

I believe that RGB lights in equal proportion and added together should create a "white" light. By varying the balance you can theoretically get any tint you want. The next evolution of my DIY light will contain RGB leds and the ability to control each RGB channel. I'm trying to figure out the most cost effective way to build this. This beats the alternative of continually swapping leds to find the color tone I want.
you missed the fact my "estimate" actually assumes violet and blue are dimmed to 33%..By multiplying the others

PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel PLUS (4000K) [120°] x6
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel PLUS (3000K) [120°] x3
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel Blue (460-480nm) [120°] x1
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel Green (520-540nm) [120°] x3
SemiLEDs C35L-U-A UV (410-420nm) (U70) [120°] x1

As designed ,and all channels at 100% it is a very high k..


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua99 View Post
Not sure if this helps at all-

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10...y-diy-led.html

I hadn't similar thoughts but went with a slightly more elaborate heatsink in case I move it up to a larger cube.

I swapped the LED's since that thread, and presently run 2x Cree xm-l2 CW, 1 400-410 UV, 1 Lime, and 1 660 red. I love the color (I prefer cooler color temps). I had a far red in there too but have it disconnected at the moment. Great growth when it was primarily a planted setup.

I will update that thread soon with everything as it stands now, and include PAR data as soon as I can get a few moments to collect the data.
Have been readiing a bit about far red.. Timing is an issue.. Only needs to be on like first 20 min or last 20 min..

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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 11:48 PM
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you missed the fact my "estimate" actually assumes violet and blue are dimmed to 33%..By multiplying the others

PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel PLUS (4000K) [120°] x6
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel PLUS (3000K) [120°] x3
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel Blue (460-480nm) [120°] x1
PhilipsLumileds Luxeon-Rebel Green (520-540nm) [120°] x3
SemiLEDs C35L-U-A UV (410-420nm) (U70) [120°] x1

As designed ,and all channels at 100% it is a very high k..
Was this directed at the OP? I didn't pick any leds. I just wanted to know about the spectra tool. The OP's led choices set off an "alarm" because it didn't seem like it would be good viewing.

If you input a combination of leds, and it says the combined output has a peak at (say) 15K, does that mean it will be an overall very cold/bluish look?

I input the leds selected by the OP and it said peak was 19K. IDK if he had plans to dim some of the leds to create a warmer look.. or he actually wanted a 19K look... or I just don't understand what the Spectra estimate means.
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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 12:02 AM
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Was this directed at the OP? I didn't pick any leds. I just wanted to know about the spectra tool. The OP's led choices set off an "alarm" because it didn't seem like it would be good viewing.

If you input a combination of leds, and it says the combined output has a peak at (say) 15K, does that mean it will be an overall very cold/bluish look?

I input the leds selected by the OP and it said peak was 19K. IDK if he had plans to dim some of the leds to create a warmer look.. or he actually wanted a 19K look... or I just don't understand what the Spectra estimate means.
hmm talking around each other a bit here..
But yes when combined they are what they are..
O/P was doing separate channels and apparently control..
Quote:
I will likely be using a Typhon or similar controller, still undecided. 2-4 channels possibly
Blue/violet one channel all the rest on another.
Though wouldn't recommend it for a few reasons like violets being driven better at lower currents.. say 350mA
and liking more color control in general

If one isn't planning on control or dimming certainly wouldn't have recommended the original pattern unless you wanted a reef blue look..

Normally I'd suggest a more target k at all at 100% but one needs to know exactly what that is..
Secondly by "neutral tone" almost any high CRI wil be fairly neutral by definition..
high CRI measurements around daylight (6500k) insure a fairly neutral tone..
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Last edited by jeffkrol; 07-19-2017 at 12:06 AM. Reason: edit
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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Yup. Separate channels and dimmed blue/violet to probably about a third the power of the whites and lime. I figure 1000mA for the whites, and 350mA on the blue/violet. By the Spectra tool this should give a nice ~7500k look (taking into account the way the emitters were multiplied for the simulation, which is a handy way to make it look like the singles were dimmed) and give room to play with.
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