Perfecto LED Retro-Fit - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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Perfecto LED Retro-Fit

New here and no aquariums since 1986ish.
Many of us have Perfecto Lights such as these.
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I removed the F15T8 guts of this fixture.
Secured 9-1 watt 7300K LED's to an aluminum C channel.
Added a 1050mA driver and used existing switch.
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Here is a pick of results.
Left fixture being the original T8 and right LED.
Notice the light shining through the bottom of tank.
Quite a difference.
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Just thought to share an easy inexpensive $8 per F15T8 retro.
My new planted tank is not complete yet, but if more light is needed,
I can add an additional strip of 9 more LED's to the fixture.
Unit needs no cooling fans and Perfecto hood remains cool.

Please question if interested.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 03:58 AM
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Nice DIY build!

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 02:43 PM
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Are you using a 1050ma constant current driver? If so, are you also using a current limiting resistor?
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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1050mA current limiting power supply @ 12VDC.
No current limiting resistor they just accumulate heat.
3 parallel sets of 3 in series 1watt LEDS, 3 x 350mA = 1050mA
Each series was tested with amp-meter and actually measure just under 300mA.
Power supply was not accurate, a little less light, longer lamp life.
For an ebay US seller cheap $1.89 power supply, who's to complain.

2nd fixture had a defective LED after assembly, would not illuminate.
Strange effects, 2 very bright and other 6 extremely dim.
Re-soldered a new LED, all was good.

Just thought I would share an easy retro idea, budget friendly.
It is an upgrade from the T8 tubes that get black on the ends.

After 1 week continuous duty over an empty tank.
Had to put this to the test, right!
Power supply is cooler than the ballast that would drive the T8 lamp.
Aluminum heat sink can be touched anywhere, barely warm to the touch.
This alternative would surely not heat up one's tank either.

Other current regulating power supplies could have been used for more $$.
Dimming etc... could have been done, goal was a shoe-string budget resolution.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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No current limiting resistors were used.
A detailed previous reply seems to have been lost.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 05:17 PM
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That's okay.

My curiosity got the better of me... presumed you had a string of nine 1w LEDs wired in series, driven with 1050ma.

Looks like a simple & cost effective lighting upgrade. Good job!
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!

3 parallel series of 3-1watt LED's
3 x 350mA = 1050mA
Regulated power supply, cheap, actually only delivered about 900mA
Each series was just under 300mA
LED's a little less light but will be longer lived.
I could have went after running them all in series.
Drivers to do this took me over the shoe-string budget idea.

As far as temperature goes heatsink can be touched anywhere.
Been running for 1 week 24/7 to examine performance.
Mildly warm we could say, power supply is cooler than T8 ballast would be.
No way would this alter tank temperature.

A note for any LED enthusiasts, I have noticed some heat sink requirements.
It is recommended that 3 square inches of surface area are required per 1 watt LED at minimum.
These strips I made have about 9.5 sq.in. per watt. No fans!
Bigger and thicker aluminum does not facilitate more heat dissipation.
Something with more or taller fins will provide the surface area.
Not elaborate by any means no dimming etc...
It was meant to be clean and cheap.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 07:50 PM
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Very impressive! I would love to see a dummy's step by step guide on the build. Nice work.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrand View Post
Very impressive! I would love to see a dummy's step by step guide on the build. Nice work.
Hi MarylandGuppy,

I like the nice 'clean' look; along with the step-by-step an estimate of the cost would be helpful, also sources for the material. I am guessing the LED's are not waterproof so a glass top would be suggested?

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 09:22 PM
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That fixture brought back some memories. Nice job with the build!

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi MarylandGuppy,
I am guessing the LED's are not waterproof so a glass top would be suggested?
This is just the light portion, the rest is a 24" housing with hinged lid.
This fixture rests atop a piece of glass siliconed in the lid.
Two hinged assemblies on a 40 long.
Old style perfecto hinged hood type.
Lamps and power supply would not see water or bubbles on any sort.

I have some progressive pics of the build I will post later.
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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Pic of some parts.
Power supply 120VAC in and 12VDC out @ 1050mA.
50 1-watt 6500K to 7300K LED's online auction supplied.
Actual Kelvin temp depends on bin lot from actual manufacturer.
These parts were most likely made in china but shipped from US seller.
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Channel from local home improvement store, 9/16" x 7/8" x 9/16"
Every LED was approximately 2.5" on center providing 9.5sq." surface area per LED.
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LED's soldered onto 20mm star heat sinks.
Heatsinks were also purchased from online auction.
Thermal compound from local radio dealer is a must.
Aluminum to aluminum contact will not transfer heat correctly without thermal paste.
Self adhesive pads or silicone or hot glue will not transfer heat correctly.
Smallest screws I could find @ home improvement store.
Predrilled to facilitate sheet metal screws.
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Slightly larger holes for wires to pass through.
We certainly wouldn't want to show the wires.
Extra hole to screw to perfecto hood.
If 4-40 screws were available I would have drilled and tapped mounting holes.
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Wires ran through channel soldered to front of LED.
Existing pushbutton or rotary switch made use of.
All LED's had to be soldered to 20mm heatsink.
For best results pre-tin all solder points.
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Power supply stuck to side of hood with huge glob of hot glue.
Screws were then used through aluminum to perfecto hood standoffs.
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I am new here, thanks for the interest in this retro project.
I feel that asking questions means a warm welcome.

Almost forgot pricing!
C channel $10.79
50 1 watt LED's $12.99
20mm star heat sink $8.99 for 100
4 Power supplies $1.89
Thermal paste was $6, I didn't count since it will make many projects.
Just a dab for any LED and that will be plenty.
4 fixtures were retrofitted, about $8 to do 1 fixture.
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 04:40 AM
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Hi Maryland Guppy,

Very, very cool! A really nice writeup and easy to follow; excellent, economical way to get LED lighting. Good job.

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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 05:30 AM Thread Starter
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Whole point to this was a cheap LED solution.
Easy on the purse strings.

LED lighting has become quite popular.
People are spending a fortune on it.
It is an improvement and also cost effective.
It does not have to be expensive.
I have kept this all simple, I didn't want to loose people in the cost.

I could post complicated but that will not help most people.
I also do not wish to tell others how to wire it.
I don't want to feel liable for their project.
There is an abundance of material on the web to provide guidance.
Many vendors offer phone assisted help before purchasing components.
I hope sharing this information will peak others interest in LED lighting.

I have another LED lighting option I will be posting soon.
It has been used as office type lighting but would be aquarium suited as well.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 05:49 AM Thread Starter
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Please note: I have not tried this with 3 watt LED's.
That will be a future project, they are just as cheap.

Some enthusiasts are stuck on name brand vendor LED's.
IMO as long as the specs are met I'll take the economy lamps/LED's.

For those of you that are electronic savvy I prefer a higher VDC driver.
This provides a longer series of LED lamps, parallel circuits react strange with lamp failure.
As long as a current limiting supply is used a single lamp failure will not destroy everything.
If an LED fails it shorts out providing more current to the rest of the LED's.
Current regulated supplies can compensate as long as multiple LED's don't fail at once.
Typically we would notice an LED failure and correct the issue ASAP.
I hope this provides some insight for LED applications.
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