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DIY LED array for my 40gal tall

3674 Views 14 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  audioaficionado
I've been really enjoying everyone's LED project and the discussions very much. I've been giving some thought to building one of my own. It can't be cheap quality, but it really needs to give me a very good bang for the buck.

I'm going with CREE LEDs as they are the best bang for the buck IMHO.
The Mean Well LED driver also looks pretty good to me.

Font Rectangle Parallel Circle Screenshot


Font Rectangle Screenshot Parallel Auto part


I just don't have the budget to get too fancy, but I don't want to paint myself in a design corner either.

That Mean Well will drive a single string of 12 CREE XM-L @1300ma or two parallel 12 XM-G strings @650ma ea. I can always add another MW later as an upgrade for more light if I go high-tech.

I'd like to alternate WW & CW XM-G LEDs or one string of the NW XM-L.

I'd love to go with 2x12 of the XM-Ls, but @$180 that breaks the piggy bank.

I'm planning on 3" o/c spacing & 4"-6" between rows.
I don't plan on any optics as I want to have them almost touching the top glass cover, 1" above the waterline and 22" above the substrate.

I'll use one heat-sink channel per string. Inverted C with the LEDs mounted inside.

Tank is 36"x12"x24"

What kind of PAR levels should I expect with either option?

I'm going medium tech with modest ferts, but no CO2 (yet).

Thanx for looking
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Looks like a good part list!
So are you planning on 12 or 24 LEDs? I think if you do 12 over a 40 gallon, you'll have a lot of spot lighting issues, but this will mean much much more shimmer.

If you do 24, sure it won't be as bright but you'll get a better spread.

With 24 LEDs at 650ma at 22 inches, you'll probably be into the med/med-high range. (i'm basing this off my old set up, 24 epistars [which are less efficient than the crees, but ran at 700ma] and at about 24 inches off the substrate, I was hitting about 40umols of par at the substrate.)

if you're not going to do co2, i would suggest lifting the light up higher.
 
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