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12,857 Posts
Hey planted tank,

At the moment I'm running 6ft mml tubes and they are begining to fail.

The tank is 1800mm(L)x600mm(W)x750(H)
Roughly 650-700 to substrate depending on the area.

What I want to create is a light that will last and will decent.

I'm thinking:

5 Meanwell LDD - which will let me run approx 70 l.e.ds
Hoping to buy CREE L.E.D's but the only place I can find bulk that won't cost me an arm and a leg delivered to Aus is AliExpress (anyone purchased from here before?)
50x CW stars
50x WW stars ( Will use less but buying in bulk)
100 x Reflectors
Already have a meanwell 24v psu rated at 300W and a TC420 which I was hoping to control the LDD's with.

For a heatsink I was thinking of using a local company here in QLD Australia. They do extrusion and have a nice 'corner extrusion' with what looks like a nice flat area to mount the star led boards. If that isnt sufficient I'll likely go with their 30x30 extrusion which has a 30mm Side to mount the star boards to.

I guess what I'm asking is 1. Do people think this will be sufficient & 2. Anyone in Aus(or close) have any better suppliers to use for the L.E.Ds?
Hard to make any suggestions considering I have no idea what is available to you.

Some general tips:
Any aluminum you use should be anodized(color irrelevant) if you plan on passive cooling.
As to using cw/ww a cw to ww ratio is at least 2:1 If not higher.
Adding deep red leds will punch up any array

You may want to go outside the box a bit.
Like using strips at least in part .
Say a "warm white" in the muddle of 2 cool white rows.

Has an interesting module with warm white (4000k) and some 660nm diodes thrown in.

Site has some fun stuff .like these lime strips.
Unfortunately I haven' t found any high k strips which is sad

I'm trying to figure out if theses are attached to the boards or sold "seperately"..

Would make a high quality RGBW array..

quite the candy store..

12,857 Posts
Thanks for the info. I'm not sure about the strips as they seem rather expensive compared to the led stars and because of also being over 2ft deep I was leaning towards the stars because of the reflectors available. Probably be using 90degree optics.

I was likely going to go 3 Channels at 1.8m each

I don't think they do it in anodized but they do the 30x30 channel in anodized. Does the anodizing effect cooling by a substantial margin?

For the 3 Channels I was thinking I'd have the cool whites on the outer 2 channels and the warm whites on the middle which would be 2:1. Could possibly mix in some red and royal blue into the middle channel too?
This should allow 1 L.E.D every 72mm

Also regarding the LDD's compatibility with my 24v psu - I was under the impression input voltage and output voltage are different since they are a driver(but they're just a converter). So even If I supplied it with 24v I'd still manage to get its output voltage of 52v. I've just looked up the product data sheet and found this isn't the case. Thanks for the heads up @eyalSh.
Actually with the step down ldd drivers you have about 3 LESS volts. 24 v equates to 21v max out of the driver.

Yes IF you go passive cooling anodizing helps a lot.

Technically even like black lacquer will work as well. Long story.

12,857 Posts
Fair enough. Will see what I can get then. Will have to get myself a decent power supply then which shouldn't be a drama.

These are the led's I'm thinking of using. I Have no experience purchasing from aliexpress but hopefully they'll be suitable.
Should I be mixing in red and blue ontop of the CW WW?
Well there are multiple directions one can go depending on goals.
Simplist of course is straight cw/ww creating a dawn/ dusk channel and a daylight channel.

As to adding colors if you don' t want separate channels I suggest some regular blue ( not royal) in the daylight channel.
Deep red in the dawn/dusk channel.
Don' t need a lot.
Ratios can be tricky since you do want even coverage.

You also need to consider what look you want
around max output. Sort of.

10 4000k whites plus 4 660nm reds would make a nice orangy channel at approx 3000k.
20 6500 and 8 reg blue will get you about ,8000k " noon".

All in full will approx a pinkish 6500 k
Rough estimates but should be in the ballpark.

Scale up accordingly.
There are tweaks but above is simple and only 3 channels.... well depends on voltages.

12,857 Posts
Oh.. reflectors are arguably better than lenses if you can find them.
70x24 x 30 deep..
Rough estimate is you need 60-100 3W diodes not run at 3w btw.
different concept but successful for a 200gal tank.
It did need to be dimmed..sooo overbuilt.
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12,857 Posts
Very nice I remember seeinga pic of this elsewhere. Is this your build? I would rather overbuild than underbuild
Honestly, my design but technically not my build.
A cooperative venture.

It was eventually raised a bit and ran at about 50%.
Only known failure over a few years was a fan on the meanwell power supply.
Think it was 7 meanwell drivers in total. 2 on each ww and cw channel.
3 or 4 color channels. Cyan was skipped due to a delivery mishap.
Deep red, violet and a mixed white/ blue channel.
Reflectors not lenses.
"Normal" finned heatsinks.
Believe the controller was a Coralux Storm X.

12,857 Posts
I've taken the leap. Added some green and 60 degree reflectors to the cart just incase.

Now to find a suitable heatsink and order some power supplies.

I'm thinking maybe I'll have to break each 1800mm length into two to 2 sections to have a good amount of control over the whole fixture.
By my calculations if I have a led every 60mm it will allow for 30 in total over the 1800mm length.

1LDD @ 48v -3V for the self absorbtion will be 45V which will let me run 15 LEDs at 3V.
So 6 in total - maybe a few more depending on how much control I'll want over the different colour channels.
You certainly expanded the scope of the project!
I' ll get a bit more into it in a bit but one suggestion is regular blue not royal
Usually plenty of royal in whites since it is the common pump.

I've also come across these constant current drivers:

Meanwell LDH-45
Seems they will work with my current power supply and run a few more leds per driver. Did you have any experience with these?
LDH Series Mean Well Step-Up Mode CC LED Drivers

No, I've never used boost drivers.
One thing though is the pwm frequency is out of range of many controllers.
Driver listed at 1-10kHz.
Many aduino based or like controllers use about 490 Hz since it the default on the pwm outputs.
I do remember one person who reported " ringing" ( see peizo effect) but not sure if it was a defective driver or caused by a frequency mis-match.

Just something to be aware of.

12,857 Posts
Should I buy some green/lime leds while I'm at it and also should I maybe put a lesser reflector on the middle coloured channel to reduce spotlighting?
Lime has a bigger spread and is more efficient than green diodes. That is why they were created.

In my own builds I rarely used reflectors or lenses so spotting ( except from condensation lenses) was never much of an issue.

Many reefers and sbreef lights use wider or no lenses on the center sections to eliminate " disco" effects.
The hanging height and geometry gets tricky
Narrower lenses with the lights hung higher
is a common work around.

12,857 Posts
Yep. Thanks for the info.

I think what I'll end up doing will be run with 4 Channels at 1000mA for the CW/WW and then 4 more channels for the Deep red, Blue, Cyan & UV and have them run at 700mA.

I think I'll end up getting the meanwell LDD-H dc-dc converters and then find myself a 48v psu.
@jeffkrol do you have any controllers in mind? The only one I've seem to find is the coralux storm x that would be capable of controlling up to 16 channels.
I don't think ill be able to use my TC420 for this project.
You can control more than one ldd off a channel btw.

Before I had some custom controllers built for me I thought the bluefish mini was adequate.
The tc420 or 421' s number of setpoints is hard to beat.

The current is dependent on diode quality and cooling.
More diodes at lower mA preferred over fewer at higher mA.

If going for longetivity 50-75% of max current is recommended.

12,857 Posts

How would you go about mounting leds?
Is thermal epoxy good enough?

Last time I drilled and tapped but that was only for 15 leds.

I will probably stick with the TC-420 then for now. Can always upgrade in the future.

For the heatsink I'm trying to source some T-Slot similar to a build already on this forum.
I've used it before. Switched to a thermal siliçon.Common name on fleabay would be " heatsink plaster".
What I used was like that but by a company called Tian Mu.
Purple box. Problem is it dries really slow.

12,857 Posts
Would you reccomend it? Or should I just stick to drilling and tapping and use a cpu style paste?
I drilled and tapped my first fixtures. Doubt if I'd do it for any large fixture.
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