DIY: Compact Florescent upgrade to LED - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2015, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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DIY: Compact Florescent upgrade to LED

DIY: Compact Florescent upgrade to LED

I am converting an old 48” 220 W Power Compact Florescent light to LEDs. I knew that it was time to upgrade the light for several reasons:
1. The connectors that hold the lights were starting to fail (i.e. heat had deteriorated the plastic)
2. All 4 of the bulbs were old and should all be replaced (~$50)
3. The fish tank was a good sized chunk of the power bill


Goals:
1. High light, say equal to the Power Compact 220 Watt light
2. Dimmable
3. Programmable
4. Energy efficient
5. Low Cost
6. DIY Project


1st attempt: Finnex Planted Tank 24x7

• Good light output, but no were near the PC 220
• Kind of nice program, but not customizable, not dimmable on the program
• Very good price/value
• Nice energy efficiency ~40 watts. We noticed the drop on the chart from the power company
2nd attempt: Planted Tank LED strip lighting


So after trolling the threads for a long time, I have seen a few attempts at LED Strip light for a planted tank, most of which seemed like failures. I put on my scientific hat and decided that if it could be done, I would do it. The PC light fixture would make a good heatsink / base for the LED Strips. I figured that I could get a dozen rows of LED strips on it. Turns out that was way overly optimistic.

I got a string of each of these lights from Amazon:
1. Double Density, Double Row 3528 (1200 per 5M reel)
2. Double Density 3528 (600 per 5M reel) Water Proof
3. Double Density 2835 (300 per 5M reel) WP
4. Normal Density 5630 (300/5M) WP
5. 5050 reel of RGB for sunrise/sunset
Note, I do not like the waterproofing! It makes the lights hard to solder and disperses the light.

I also ordered a 5 channel controller as well the TC420 Time Controller

I found a 12V 160watt power supply from an old XBOX that I will use to drive the strings.

After visually (no PAR Meter) testing them the Double Row 3528 seemed to be the brightest. I put 3 rows of the #1 on the light fixture and one each of the others. I then plugged it – it worked!

I held it next to my 48” Planted + 24/7 and the Finnex is much Brighter (Again no PAR Meter). The Finnex is also more efficient at 43W (from wall) vs the ~60W for my homemade light. Unless you get lucky or are paying $150+/reel, it seems hard to get super bright strip lights. The strips are made to be safe and long lasting, not really super bright.

I could have added a few more strips of lights but they are just not that bright. Need a better plan.


3rd Attempt – Add (8) 10W COB LED lights


I attached [8] cheap 10W LED’s from ebay with a 1 Ohm resistors 2Watt, making 2 sets of 4 LEDs in series which looks like it is about all the LED controller can handle per channel (4A). I used thermal epoxy to attach the LED to Aluminum housing.
  • 1. Blindingly bright!
  • 2. Controller works well to time the lights
  • 3. OK efficiency – 145 watts at max (7 strips, 8 COB LEDs, Controller and Power supply)
I will borrow a PAR meter and get some measurement. If the PAR measurements are not high enough, I will add lens to 4-8 of the COB LED. If that is still not enough, I can add another 4 LED. More than that and I think I will have heat problems and will need to add fans, which I would prefer to avoid.


If I had to do it all over again:

• Don’t try to grow plants on LED strips
• Blue / Red Strip lights make good sunrise / sunset / moon light
• 10 W LED provide a good balance of light and heat

I would use have to seriously consider the following:
• 48 Volt power supply
• Constant current drivers
• Arduino based controller
• Cree LEDs in Warm and Cool white w/ Lens
• LED’s in Red and Blue for effects
Shane
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2015, 09:06 PM
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It is extremely hard to judge light intensity just by using your eyes. Human eyes were not designed for that usage. If you want a really cheap way to judge the intensity, just buy a $20 digital lux meter on Ebay or Amazon, or other online store. It will not be waterproof, but you can measure the intensity in lux at the same distance as your substrate will be from the light, with the light propped across a couple of chairs. Then divide that by 70 and you will have a crude measure of the light intensity in PAR units. At worst you will be able to see the difference between different LED arrangements, at least close enough to make intelligent decisions. And, if you find it totally useless you will have wasted only $20.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2015, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
It is extremely hard to judge light intensity just by using your eyes. Human eyes were not designed for that usage. If you want a really cheap way to judge the intensity, just buy a $20 digital lux meter on Ebay or Amazon, or other online store. It will not be waterproof, but you can measure the intensity in lux at the same distance as your substrate will be from the light, with the light propped across a couple of chairs. Then divide that by 70 and you will have a crude measure of the light intensity in PAR units. At worst you will be able to see the difference between different LED arrangements, at least close enough to make intelligent decisions. And, if you find it totally useless you will have wasted only $20.
What about putting the meter in a zip-lock bag or two and hold it underwater? Blue light penetrates water better than red so it would be good to measure it with the water.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2015, 11:24 PM
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You can download a LUX app for your camera phone. It'll be cheaper and faster than getting a lux meter.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 03:53 PM
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Your 10w chip resistors seem a tad low.. You are probably driving those 10W chips pretty hard (and hot).
What was the basis of that decision?
As a corollary and from some other "tinkerer"..
Quote:
Blues: 2.2 ohm 10 watt ballast resistor at 900mA (resistor dissipates 1.8 watts)

Whites: 2 ohm 10 watt ballast resistor at 1000mA (resistor dissipates 2 watts)

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 10-04-2015 at 03:57 PM. Reason: data
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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The status on the 10W LED chips:
- Forward Voltage (VF): DC 9-12V
- Forward current (IF): 1050MA
- Out put Lumens: 800-900LM
- Color temperature: 6000-6500K
- Viewing Angle: 120°

So depending on if you are using the 9 or 12V end of the Forward voltage you get:
1 ohm, 2w (for 12V) or 3.3 ohm 3.6Watt (9V)

So, yes it does seem like I might be driving them a bit too hard. I run them on the PWM controller at 80% and the heat is fine. running everything at 100% and the housing gets warm ~140 F.

I might pick up some 3.3 Ohm 5 W resistors.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 08:23 PM
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140F is not too bad, though "local heating" on the chip may be an issue..
At 80% you seem fine....
2.2Ohm at 5W seems a fair compromise..
at 3 plus the chips may last forever..

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Lens

I picked up some glass lens made for 10W LEDs. Man do they make a difference. From 50 PAR to 127 PAR in one tiny spot. I had to pull them all off again. they seem to be Spot lens the way the attach. Oh well.
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