****MORE PICS ON POST 12******
So it seems like us on the freshwater side are much much behind the salty's for the past few years on lighting. About a year ago now, I bought a Nova Extreme 2X24W fixture for ~90$. A year later I've spent an additional 50$ in bulbs and probably 30-40$ to light it for 10 hours a day. That totals up to ~180$ for a single year of operation.
For the past 3-4 months I've been researching and researching LED's, Drivers, heatsinks, etc. More or less to find out as much information as I could, just how my brain works. O.o
In the midst of this, I've decided that I will set my first saltwater tank up at the end of this summer when I have everything together, so one of the major things in Saltwater reefs is light. Thinking about it, I would have to buy at least another 2X24W or sell the 2X24W for ~50$ (130$ loss) and buy a 4X24 (200$+). Even with 96W T5HO over a 16" tall tank, it wouldn't be enough for some corals. Not to mention a decent amount of heat and electricity used.
WELL! I said the heck with that and kept getting more into this 'LED craze' all the salty's are going into. 3 months later, I have everything to finish it.
For my setup, I decided that 18 3W LED's would be plenty, spread over an 18" heat sink in 3 rows.
For the power house (LED's of course!!)
12 Cree XP-G (cool white) LED
6 Cree XP-E (Royal Blue) LED
After that I decided that the LED's would be spread out with having the 2 RB in each row alternating so they mix well.
PRICE LIST (I've tried to keep tabs on as much as possible for this build):
12 Cree XP-G - 4.94 each -
6 XP-E - 4.** each
buck puck 700mA, with potentiometer - [email protected]
buck puck 500mA with potentiometer - [email protected]
20G wire - - 10ft @ .26$ per foot
thermal adhesive - [email protected]
heat sink 19X6 [email protected]
40 (ship inc.)
drill and tap *already have* - ~15$
power supply -17$
Total Cost: ~220$
Solder iron - at least 40W
drill and tap
Alright so here is some pictures. I didn't take any during the process, but I took some at intervals along the way. If you any questions, I'll try to answer them!
Here is the heat sink after I drilled and tapped the heat sink. I tried to miss the fins as much as possible, to avoid as much trouble as possible when putting screws in.
This is after I put a SMALL dot of artic silver 5 thermal compound on the bottom of each LED. A SMALL AMOUNT - if it comes out when your screwing it down, it's too much. I used a 6-32 tap, with nylon flat head screws. 6-32 thread and 1/2" long.
Close up of 1 LED
This was the first test.... was in the kitchen. I admit to this - I wired the buck-pucks wrong. I put positive to negative off of the buck-pucks and since LED's are diodes they only light in 1 way...I had the wrong way. So after cutting and re crimping the wires, it worked! DOHH!
Here's with both cool whites running at full power. The lights are much brighter...trust me. The camera auto brightness took FOREVER to tone these babies down.
Today I went to Radioshack and picked up one of their 'project boxes' for 5$... not bad. (6X3X2.5, i think) Drilled a 1/4" hole in each end (for the positive and negative LED wires). 2 holes in 1 of the long facing sides (for the power supply), and 3 in the lid (for the potentiometers).
It looks like a complete jumbled mess, but it's quite organized. I just haven't bothered putting quick ties around them, so it is how it is for now.
Closed, MUCH BETTER!
Any questions I'll be glad to answer! So far so good!