Through Hole LED Light Idea - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Through Hole LED Light Idea

Hi,

I have been thinking about building a LED light for my 55 gallon for a while now. It seems to me that most people use the high power LED's mounted on stars, but I have never seen anyone build a DIY light using standard through-hole LED's. I was looking at these LED's http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/...Y4GEqwiQ%3d%3d and with the help of Hoppy's excellent PAR calculator I determined that I would need 144 LED's to build a relatively high PAR light like this.

At only around $0.30 each that would be only $40 for the LED's! And since the viewing angle of the LED's is 55 degrees I don't think I would need optics either!

The only problem is this seems too good to be true, and if I could really build a light so inexpensively other people would have done it before. I apologize if this has been answered before, but I have never run across anything like this before so I thought I would ask here.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 05:09 PM
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It's been done plenty of times. $40 in leds "sounds" cheap until you consider the build complexity, the cost of the time & labor needed to solder them all together, and the area needed to keep them cool. When compared to the ease of installation and the higher light producing efficiency of 3W and higher leds, that same $40 could easily buy 6 - 3W leds and a meanwell LDD driver to drive them.


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225 Gal, Glass "Reef Ready" w/ dual Iwaki Pumps & 2 Ocean Clear inline filters. Makers 72" heat sink w/ 12 NanoBox V3 led arrays, custom built CC drivers. All controlled by a BlueFish "mini" Led Controller.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 07:28 PM
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I've done A LOT of LED stuff like this (my dad runs a business that makes and programs LED holiday lights...)

This would be a giant PITA to do. Wiring up 144 LEDs will take at least several hours.

If you want to use a large array of small LEDs, the best way to do it is with a standard LED christmas light string.

With like Four 60 count light strings you could get some pretty good light. The wiring is all done, and you don't have to worry about LED groupings, resistors, drivers, etc. If you want to dim them get a regular light dimmer, or just use a regular wall timer to run it.

Its not that hard to find christmas light strings for less than $10 each, so you'd still be within your budget.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 08:44 PM
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Many people have made shop lights in this fashion.
Build many panels and cut 3" PVC in half length-wise.
Fill with these panels and hang with chain.
Favorite online auction house can provide 1000/$11 US seller.

1 panel of 100 LED's, not very bright I might add.
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Modified CFL 13watt ballast to drive 2-20mA arrays of 50 LED'[email protected] 160VDC.
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Bent over leads in the back and just soldered together.
1/8" Plexiglas painted white, 2 holes each LED, silicone in place.
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If I were to have actually used these in a shop light a current limiting device would be needed. That would take the place of the resistor.
One of my dead end tests on modifying CFL ballasts.

O2surplus has called it out right though, regarding time and cost.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, everyone. I still think it might be more cost effective to use through hole LEDs, but not as much as I thought. Anyway, it wouldn't be that much more expensive to use higher power LEDs.

I hadn't really given a lot of thought to heat problems with the through hole LEDs. Do you think it would be OK if I mounted them in holes drilled in a piece of aluminum? I could always add a couple of computer fans too if needed. That would take a long time though, to drill 144 holes!

I do have one more question (for now!). Do you guys think I could use all 6500k LEDs or should I add other colors? I know there have been other threads on this, but everyone seems to have a different answer! Does adding other colors like blue, red, etc. make the plants grow better, or does it just make the tank look better? And what would be a good ratio for combining LEDs of different colors?

Thanks!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 11:00 PM
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I ran the 100 LED test panel for 1 week continuous, no heat.
50 LED's only 20mA, Plexiglas was fine for this.
Aluminum would not help, no heat sink on the LED.
If you built a bunch of these panels they could throw a lot of light.

What do you plan to have in the 55G tank?

3 - 3 watt LED's will exceed all 144 5mm LED's.

A 24VDC power supply, 7 - 3 watt LED's, 700mA dimming driver, a potentiometer to dim might cost $40.
For about 1400 lumens of light!

Direct fluorescent SMD 4' LED tube lights are even cheaper.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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I was wanting a light that would be in the medium to high light range, around 60 PAR or so.

Now that I think about it you're right, the through hole LEDs wouldn't be very bright. I was going off the spreadsheet here https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=168999 as you can see in the screenshot in my first post. Perhaps the spreadsheet doesn't work well for LEDs with such low output? Anyway, 144 LEDs @ 4lm each would be only 576lm total. I don't know how I missed that! I'm glad I asked here though before I went and bought the LEDs!

I guess I'll go looking for a good deal on some high power LEDs...

Thanks for all the help everyone!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 05:53 AM
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Maryland, what would you do for a high light 10g? And what color temp on those 7 3w leds? Any lens, height for mounting?

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 11:26 AM
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I am not the color guy for sure, way too much debate over colors.
My new light is a combo of 3000K, 7300K, UV 385nm, and Royal Blue.
I was questioned about no red, I figure enough would come from 3000K.
My plans include CO2 and a UV Sterilizer.

I would imagine 7-9 3watt lamps with a dimmer would provide
some serious 10 gallon lighting.
1400 to 1800 lumens over a very small surface area.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 03:34 PM
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How about lenses and hight from water level

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 11:00 PM
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Lenses would depend on height and length of fixture.

I don't have a PAR meter, but I would use my lumen meter to determine height.
This would not be a good comparison but I would know how much light I have.
I still believe it's better than watts per gallon.


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