DIY LED clip on light for Nano tank - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2014, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
Sean W.'s Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Claremont California
Posts: 1,322
DIY LED clip on light for Nano tank

Hey guys,

So I am going to be setting up a little 3 gallon rimless nano tank here pretty quick. I want to keep it low tech, low maintenance and low light. I already have an idea of the plants and fish that I want to keep in it and I already have the tank, filter, heater, substrate and a good idea of what I want the hardscape to look like. So all I needed was a sleek looking LED clip on light that would give me the amount of light I need. So i went onto ebay and just typed in " Nano LED clip on " and came across a product that seemed to fit the bill of what I needed, for a measly $11 shipped, so I hit the buy it now button.
I got the light in the mail today, first thing I want to go over this light really quickly. The packaging was hilarious, it was the light, in an unsealed box with a shopping lable on it. Zero styrofoam, zero packing of any kind,nothing, just the light in the box and thats it. Not to mention mine didnt come with a power supply, but I have a few extra power supplies laying around that are better than the one it would have come with anyway, so that didnt bother me too much. Plugged in the light and turned it on.... what a joke. This couldn't light up a glass of water let alone a fish tank of any kind. At about 12" from the bottom of the tank I was getting about 400 lumens with this light, divide that by 60 gets you a good estimate of PAR, that gives me about 6.6PAR, need a bit more than that. So this is the benchmark to beat, 400 lumens about about 6 PAR.
So I thought about returning it and pursuing a different solution, but the DIY'er in me said lets see what we can do with this little guy. It does have 3 things going for it, its sleek and small, fits on my aquarium perfectly and I really like the look of it. It has a pretty sweet little touch capacitive on/off switch which is kinda cool and it comes apart really easily and its super simple.
So I decided to remanufactured this thing to suit my needs.

Here is a couple pics of the product on the ebay page.





lol this one cracks me up, it would be less than useless over a reef


The goal. Increase light output to about 1500 lumens at 12" to get about 25 PAR, while keeping the appearance of the fixture identical and maintaining functionality of the capacative touch on/off switch.
So first thing I do is remove the 6 screws to get the cover off and cut the wires going to the LED PCB, sorry dont have pics of this, I was in the zone and didnt think to take pictures and document what I was doing.
With the cover and LEDs out, I took my dremel tool and made the opening as big as I could while keeping the holes for the screws, this way I can make as much room for LEDs as I can.




[IMG][/IMG]

the next thing to do is figure out which wires I need. There is one hot and two ground. This fixture had optional on/off blue LEDs that you controlled by tapping the power switch to get the desired combination of LEDs: white, white + blue or just blue. So i figured out which ground I needed by stripping all of them and trying them on a strip of LEDs I had laying around. Got that figured out, switch still works so full speed ahead!



With that figured out, I put the led cover back on to make sure it still fits and get an idea of the surface area im working with for LEDs.



So now im at a stopping point until I figure out what ebay LED strips im going to use. I was going to flip through Hoppys DIY LED strip light thread and see what he used and go from there.

but here is the fixture on the tank.





Sean W. is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2014, 11:47 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (84/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
Since you have a very limited area to fill in with LEDs I suggest using 5630 LEDs, which I think are the highest power ones readily available on Ebay. It takes just a simple 12 volt power supply to drive them. You could make an aluminum sheet "heatsink" to fit the opening and use that to help prevent the LEDs from overheating. It looks like it should work fine.

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline  
post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
Sean W.'s Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Claremont California
Posts: 1,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Since you have a very limited area to fill in with LEDs I suggest using 5630 LEDs, which I think are the highest power ones readily available on Ebay. It takes just a simple 12 volt power supply to drive them. You could make an aluminum sheet "heatsink" to fit the opening and use that to help prevent the LEDs from overheating. It looks like it should work fine.
Thanks for the input Hoppy. I just finished flipping through your DIY strip light and I have ordered the same 5630 LED strips that you used.

This is the power supply I was going to use, will it suffice, Hoppy?



I made a small change to the original fixture, I took the middle two posts for screws out to make more room for LEDs.



Hoppy, you and I think a lot alike. I found a piece of 1.5" aluminum strip laying around that happened to fit PERFECTLY in the housing.
This aluminum strip allows for 4 things:

- Gives a relative large metal surface area to allow for some kind of heat dissipation to keep the LEDs from overheating.
- Lets me take the mounting surface out of the fixture and gives me more room to work with, things are tight in there, especially with a soldering iron. So this will let me work on the leds on a workbench where I have plenty of room and slip the finished product into the housing
- Gives me a level surface to mount the LED strips to. The the housing has a bit of a concave curve to it.
-Keeps it modular, if for any reason I need to take the LEDs out to work on them or upgrade them in the future with newer LEDs, the aluminum strip that the lights are mounted to will make that much easier.






So at this point I really am at a stopping point until I get the LEDs. Luckily I was able to find a US seller for the LEDs that I need so they should be here this week.
Sean W. is offline  
 
post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 12:38 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Posts: 824
If you plan on using that light with a timer you'll have to do something about the switch. It doesn't turn the light on when the timer comes on. I've got the same kind of light and never comes on.
creekbottom is offline  
post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
Sean W.'s Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Claremont California
Posts: 1,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by creekbottom View Post
If you plan on using that light with a timer you'll have to do something about the switch. It doesn't turn the light on when the timer comes on. I've got the same kind of light and never comes on.
Yea, I put the light on a timer before I took it apart and it turned off but wouldn't come back on. With this light going over a low light, low tech setup, ill just turn it on and off manually each day, an irregular long photoperiod shouldn't be an issue.

good looking out tho, thanks for the heads up
Sean W. is offline  
post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 03:09 AM
Algae Grower
 
daffyfish's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/86%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 149
Keep the updates coming. I have the stock fixture on a Fluval Spec V, that stopped working. It is very similar. Would be very interested in seeing how this works. Thanks
daffyfish is offline  
post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
Sean W.'s Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Claremont California
Posts: 1,322
I can did a little measuring and math and it looks like I will be able to get four, 6" strips. Hoppy, do you think that will be enough LEDs to get me what I want?
Sean W. is offline  
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 04:53 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (84/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
This is a very crude guess, but I think you will get something near 40 PAR with the 4 strips. I'm basing this on the data in https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...7&postcount=71 and assuming that the short strips will give about half the PAR I got with my longer strips. It could be as low as 20 PAR.

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline  
post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
Sean W.'s Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Claremont California
Posts: 1,322
Oh, well that's more than I need, this is going to be a low tech setup, so I'm aiming for 25ish.

What do you think of the power supply I have, will that work okay?
Sean W. is offline  
post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
Sean W.'s Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Claremont California
Posts: 1,322
Just waiting for my LEDs :'(

Sean W. is offline  
post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-26-2014, 04:23 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (84/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
I think the power supply will work OK. It has to be able to provide the total current for the 4 strips, but I don't recall what the current is for those.

You could try installing/hooking up one strip at a time, measuring the PAR, then deciding if you need to add another strip. That is how I did mine, plus some more finagling to finally get the PAR I wanted. I find plotting data on log-log graph paper does wonders for figuring out things like this.

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline  
post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
Sean W.'s Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Claremont California
Posts: 1,322
Alright! So i got it finished! Everything went relatively smooth, with only a few challenges I was able to overcome.

First thing I got the lights unpacked and cut the first strip and wired it up to the switch just to make sure they work right out of the box. Got them hooked up to the wires coming out of the fixture and turned them on using the touch capacitive switch and was really unimpressed with how bright they were, at 12" with just one strip, I was getting a measly 20 lumens. Just to make sure they were operating properly I stuck the wires directly into the wire coming from the power supply and was instantly blinded. So obviously the touch switch either has a bad connection or really impedes throughput, either way, I decided to remove it, but thats later on.

Knowing that the lights work properly I continued on!

First things first, I cut 3 strips of lights and prepared the solder points and wires.


After getting 3 strips wired I put them at 12" and measured their lumens. With 3 strips at 12" I was getting 900 lumens, In the ballpark of my goal, so I cut another strip and added it to the other 3 strips. Four strips got me up to 1200 lumens. I was aiming for 1500 lumens, but I simply could not figure out a way to get another LED in the housing, so 1200 lumens will have to work.



So, I mounted the 4 strips to the aluminum heatsink and got installed into the housing and soldered and heatshrunk the wires from the light array to the existing fixture wires.




Next I bypassed the touch switch by removing the circuit board pictured and soldering the wires together.


here you can see where I plug in the cable coming from the power supply


I had another power supply laying around that has an inline switch, decided to use this on instead.


And the final product! The color seems to be a bit more blue, closer to 8,000K than the advertised 6500K color.


Sean W. is offline  
post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 04:47 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (84/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
If you are getting 1200 lux, not lumens, at the substrate level, you only have about 16 PAR, which is too little to grow any plants, other than perhaps mosses. But, it still might work for you.

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline  
post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 04:51 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
Sean W.'s Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Claremont California
Posts: 1,322
im trying to grow only low light plants.

wisteria
crypt parva
anubias nana petite
Glosso

Do I have enough light to grow those?
Sean W. is offline  
post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 10:12 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (84/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean W. View Post
im trying to grow only low light plants.

wisteria
crypt parva
anubias nana petite
Glosso

Do I have enough light to grow those?
I suspect the glosso will either do poorly, or grow vertically. The anubias will probably grow, but very slowly. The wisteria may or may not grow at all. The crypt parva I suspect will not make it. Adding Seachem Excel, at double the recommended daily dosage, may be just enough to make the questionable plants grow. But, others who have actually tried this with very low light would be in a better position to guess about it.

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome