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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've looked at different pre-packaged moonlight systems and other semi-DIY systems (christmas lights, etc) and haven't found anything that i really liked. Due to my knowledge of electronics and my slight ability to create hardware for this, i'm going to build my own DIY LED Moonlight. Here's the start:

Requirements
-White and Blue LED's. I never liked a pure blue moonlight, and i thought white was a bit too pale for my taste, so i'm mixing it appx 2:1 blue to white led's
-fair distribution across the tank. I don't like the idea of having one or two led's creating point source lights on opposite corners of the tank, so i would rather go with more dim LED's creating a fairly consistent glow pattern.
-CHEAP! I don't want to spend more than $15 on this.
-Finished look. It can't look like a bunch of lumber thrown on top of my tank... i have to stare at it multiple times a day.
-adapted to my tank. I have 2 pc lights above my tank, with no room to put the moonlights below them, so the fixture will be mounted on top of the pc fixtures, with the led's hanging down between them.

Basic Idea
-H bracket across the pc fixtures, so that the led's are mounted on the cross beam and hanging between the fixtures (schematics to come in the future).
-Hollow cross beam to hide the wires from plain view.
-coaxial cable to carry the power and ground rails to the lights. I'm thinking a retooled RCA cable might work.
-Modular design. I want to be able to change the lights out with ease, switching white with blue or even other colors if i want.
-Transformer harvested from my "lost electronics box", will provide DC power to the bulbs.
-I want the structural pieces to match my coralife pc fixtures, so i'll look for a brass or copper beam to use (or maybe painted wood?)
-1" dispersion of the led's. These led's aren't that powerful, so a 1" dispersion will light the tank up, but not make it so light that it's a day light.
-27 Total LED's, 10 White, 17 Blue.

Electrical Pretest
I wanted to test out the brightness of the bulbs, especially with regards to the tank, so i wired up some on a breadboard, and plugged in the transformer. Here are the results:






Any advice, questions, comments, etc.?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I put so many resistors on because, quite frankly, i don't trust them to handle the current that would be associated with using just one or two. They get scorching hot even if i leave them in parallel and yank the cathode or anode row out. They came with the LED's, and i'm too lazy to get a real resistor (or do the math) to replace them.
 

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I've thought about using some Mono-Systems cablem managment conduit that you can get at lowes or home depot to buid a moonlight.

There are several different styles, this ine is just an example.
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=186070-35681-CH51-W&lpage=none

My thought was that you could drill holes in the flat side of the conduit and then glue the led in place. The conduit itself could also be used to hide all the resistors and wiring. With the use of some quality outdoor double sided tape, this could be attached somewhere in the hood that it would be out of the way.
 

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How do you like the white and blue mix so far? Do you think you can take some comparison pictures of individual colors, and then a shot of the mix (in the dark and maybe over water)? 27 LEDs is a lot for a moonlight, yes/no?

I installed 4 blue LEDs over a 30g. I'm satisfied with the light intensity, but it is too blue for my liking. I'm about to wire up some moonlights for a 40g. I have blues and whites to spare. I can't decide which color or combination I want to use, so I'm curious how yours turn out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
27 may be a bit high, but i'd rather prep the fixture for too many and be able to remove some as i go. These are 1/3 watt lights i believe (don't quote me on that... i did the electronics calculations 8 months ago), so i definitely want at least 10 up there over 30". I'm thinking of building 27 sockets and removing the LED's as i see fit. I'll do comparison shots as i actually get it mounted over the tank. Since the LED's will be removable, i can just build 15-20 of each color LED, and mix and match for pics.
 

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Looking forward to the progress here. :thumbsup:

Would you like to trade a few LEDs to add to your spectrum? I have quite a few blues I can swap. They're: 5mm, about 465nm, and have a viewing angle of 100 degrees. I'm not sure what the wattage is, but I can send resistors too if you're interested.

Your blue ones look lighter than mine. Do you happen to know their color temperature? The ones I have may be too blue for your taste also, but they cover a wide area and may mix well with your whites.
 

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I'll have to post pictures of my setup. Mine uses four 470 nm leds over my 36 gallon tank. They have a 120 degree veiwing angle, so they give my tank a nice, faint blue glow. Superbrightleds.com sells a wide variety of led lights if you need diferent led lights.
 

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I won 470 Ohm Resistors 1/4W on Ebay. Do you know if they will work with 10mm Blue LED Lamp 10000 mcd which I am bidding on on Ebay?

 
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