DIY LED for 60g Tank (56K Warning!) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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DIY LED for 60g Tank (56K Warning!)

After much research I decided to tackle making a DIY LED light for my new tank. (check out my tank journal) I copied shamelessly from others on this site and from some Reef Tank sites too. I will be adding a lot of pictures so beware.

Parts List:

Heatsink - Angle Aluminum (Home Depot) ~$30
24 Ultra Premium LED DIY Dimmable kit (RapidLED) $235
12 - 65 degree Cree XP-G Optics (RapidLED) $15
1 - DIY 2 color dimming kit (RapidLED) $30
Various other supplies (Wire, wire nuts, screws, washers, pop rivets etc.) ~$30

Total of ~$340


RapidLED was out of stock for the dimmable drivers when I placed my order but when they did get them in, they sent the order the very next day and it arrived at my door 3 days later






I started by putting together the heatsink.
(Please ignore my poor beat-up hands; I'm having a psoriasis flair-up)




I spaced the LEDS 3.5" apart except for the center space which is 4" to accommodate the center brace on the tank.












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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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Mounting the LEDs

I didn't want to have to tap all of the holes so I opted for metal screws and nylon washers.



This is the Cool White Cree XP-G LED




and this is the Royal Blue Cree XR-E LED



Here they are all mounted on the heatsink. I staggered the color every other one on each rail.



This is the 65 degree optic for the XP-G. It's held in place with a small dab of epoxy.


This is the XR-E



This pretty much finished the light. Now on to the electrical.


Last edited by rvcrawford; 02-01-2011 at 03:54 AM. Reason: Correct LED
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 04:18 AM
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That's looking very good! What are the dimensions of the tank? What current will you drive the LEDs at? And, what are those little white things under the assembly in the last pic?

Hoppy
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
That's looking very good! What are the dimensions of the tank? What current will you drive the LEDs at? And, what are those little white things under the assembly in the last pic?
Thanks Hoppy. The tank is 48" X 24" X 12"

I just finished hooking everything up last night so I'm still playing with fixture height above the water and drive current vs. heatsink temp. So far it looks great with the white LEDs but I'm not sure I like the Blue color at all. I may swap some of them out for Warm White. I'm sure glad I used screws to mount the LEDs.

The little white things are just wire ties.

I'll take more pictures today and post them later.

Thanks,
Roger
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 02:58 PM
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You may have trouble getting enough PAR with just 24 LEDs and a 24 inch tank height. The optics don't help with that problem. Possibly by driving the LEDs at a high current you can get the light, but then the heatsink is inadequate. Do you have access to a PAR meter?

Hoppy
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
You may have trouble getting enough PAR with just 24 LEDs and a 24 inch tank height. The optics don't help with that problem. Possibly by driving the LEDs at a high current you can get the light, but then the heatsink is inadequate. Do you have access to a PAR meter?
No access to a PAR meter. I may have to stay with lower light plants.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 02:47 AM
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Very interesting. Please post more pics when you get a chance.

non ducor duco
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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More on the Build

I bought the 2 color dimmer kit from RapidLED and it made hooking everything up a breeze.

First I mounted the controls in the upper Right shelve below the tank. It's out of the way but still easy to access.



There is some assembly required but nothing hard. It comes with a built in jack for the supplied 10V power supply but I didn't want to plug it into the front of the unit so I drilled a hole in the back of the plastic box and put the jack there.

There are two 10K potentiometers (pots) in the box, one for each Driver, that need to be connected and there are three connection points on each pot. You need to connect the negative lead from the 10v power supply to one outside terminal and the positive lead to the other outside terminal on the pot. The center terminal will vary between 0 volts and 10 volts as the knob on the pot is turned. This will connect to the DIM+ (Blue) wire on the Driver. Also the negative lead from the 10V supply will connect to the DIM- (White) wire on the Driver. The same power supply will be used for both Drivers.





The Red and Black wires from the driver go the LEDs. You can connect up to 12 LEDs in series just make sure you go negative to positive between each LED and that the Black lead goes to the negative side of the first LED in the series and that the Red lead goes to the Positive side of the last LED.

The AC side of the Driver just connects to the supplied power cable and will plug into the wall. It's really not hard at all

I used Lamp Cord to run the power up to the LEDs
This shows the positive lead from the Driver connected to the LED, the green wire is running over to the next LED in the chain.



This is how it looks under my tank. Originally I was going to use a terminal strip to make all of my connections, which would have looked much better, but I have 5 Grandkids running around and I didn't want any exposed electricity.



Before I made the final connections I hooked everything up with my amp meter in series with the LEDs. Then with the dimming knob maxed out I adjusted the max current on the driver to 1.0A for the white LEDs and 0.9A for the blue LEDs This will ensure that I never drive them too hard and blow anything. There is a YouTube video out there show how to do this if you need help.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 03:23 AM
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sweet looking setup any pics of it lit up?


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 03:30 AM
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can't wait for the FTS


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
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OK let's see the light already!

This is how the light is sitting on the tank now but I'm still working on the best height above the water. I want to keep the glass cover over the tank to minimize the humidity in the canopy and to keep all the critters inside too.



I used this type of connectors so I can easily remove the light when needed.



I mounted the light high enough that when I slide it to the back I can open the glass top without hitting the optics.


This is the light in normal position


and this is the light pushed back for better aquarium access.







This is with the white LEDs at 1.0A and the blue LEDs at maybe 200mA.
I'm happy with the white LEDs but the blue is just too much. If I turn it up to 900mA it looks freaky and the fish act very distressed. I'm going to give it some time but I will probably replace the blue LEDs with more cool white ones. (Don't tell the wife, I'm already in hot water for spending so much on this contraption)

With the white LEDs at 1.0A and the blue at 200mA the heatsink gets to about 105 degrees as measured directly opposite of the LED. That's without any fans and fully enclosed in the canopy.

Does anybody know how hot is too hot?

Now will this thing grow plants???
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 03:43 PM
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That really looks great! It looks very uniformly lighted too. The maximum temperature for reasonable life of the LEDs is too hot to hold your finger on. That makes judging the temperature pretty easy - if it doesn't burn your finger it's probably ok. I wish you had a PAR reading down at the substrate.

Hoppy
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 04:18 PM
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i admire your craftmanship and details! very nicely done.
your plants will be just fine. just be aware of algea outbreak

the blue leds are nothing but night show. plants grow just fine with white ones only, they work for reefs.

i have similar setup but only 8 xpg one strip, but i run them full power 1050ma. on 55g. it seems to work just fine.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:16 PM
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Crawford, I have to say that you have my admiration. I'm a DIYer/craftsman myself, (currently fixing up a 150 year old house) And I have to say that your work is clean, neat, and square. Looks VERY sharp. I really like your aquarium stand/hood. From the looks of your light, I'm going to guess that you built that as well. One quick question though... do you have really nice countertops and cabinets in your workshop, or do you have a work table in your kitchen?

I hadn't thought of covering the sides of the aquarium with wood as well. That's slick. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to build a stand/hood combo for my aquarium now. If you get any nastygrams from my wife, I apologize ahead of time!

P.S. What stain did you use for the stand? Sedona red?
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the kind words. The color of the stand in these pictures looks much redder than it actually is. I had the WB on my camera set to 7000K to try and show the aquarium in the correct light, this played havoc with the halogen light hitting the stand.

The stand is made from mahogany and the Finish is just clear polyurethane.


This picture is much closer to the actual color of the stand.




Thanks,
Roger
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