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Help me Plan: Nano LED Project

1671 Views 9 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  IWANNAGOFAST
Hey guys! I won a $100 gift certificate to earlier this year but haven't had the opportunity to put together a design.

I was going to upgrade the lights on my 10g but picked up a new fluorescent bulb and that's treating it very instead I was hoping to do a fixture for my 5g.

My goal is to have the lighting fall into the 'medium' light category. Currently I have a 13w 6500k CFL in the hood and just about everything is growing well.

My plan is to build the fixture so it's above the top by a couple of inches. That wouldn't be too hard to do (and possibly make adjustable). My biggest concern is balancing the lighting. I don't want it to be a spotlight of a crazy amount of light but I also don't want it too dim. So to figure this out I plan on using a dimmer set.

How many LEDs would be appropriate for a five gallon tank trying to get into the medium light range. Right now I'm looking at the CREE XM-L Cool Whites (6500k) as well as some Bridgelux.

Also, since I have $100 I'm hoping to get a bit fancier with this setup. What would tossing in some colored LEDs provide? Do you think I could set up either a series of dimmers or a programmer chip so I can add in Sunrise/Sunset programs into the timer? It would also be cool to have a moonlight switch capability (although this is definitely starting to push the budget...if the last one hadn't already).

I'm just kind of thinking out loud. It's been hard to track down circuit designs although I've been looking at some 10g ones that I could modify. Many 10g designs used 4 white LEDs (for planted tanks) so would two be appropriate or would I get better coverage with a triangle of three or an array/staggered four?

Any help would be appreciated.
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5 gallons? Seriously? This should be easy, as you'd be hard pressed to spend $100 on a build that small. 3-4 XML's would put you into high light territory, so be sure whatever driver you choose is dimmable. You could opt for the DIM4 Controller/ led driver and a few bridgelux leds. IIRC you can drive 3 leds per each 12v channel, so that's an idea that could be used to fit your needs.
Im using the dim4 and it works great. I'm running 9 cree xp-g's off it and the 4th channel I use to power a small fan to cool the electronics down.

The only problem I have with the dim4 is that you can't override the programming, meaning if you want to turn the tank lights after they turn off, maybe for maintenance or to show someone your tank, you have to go in and change the settings on the controller.
Thanks for the suggestions. That's exactly what I was thinking of doing.

Has anybody tried mixing color LEDs to try and get colors to pop? I know some salty people have done it but it would also be more apparent in a reef.
I don't know how you could pull that off without a serious "disco effect" on a build that small? Unless you're able to find some of the older RGB leds that share a common die. Here's some-
I was thinking of clustering them very close close as they can be.

The challenge i'm facing is how to best place the LEDs to cover the whole tank. First I need to figure out high above the tank I'll be mounting the fixutre...probably a couple of inches. The LEDs I'll probably end up using have a 160deg (off the top of my head) spread so it'll fill in pretty well.

I'm not positive about the colored LEDs though. If there's enough of a gap between the water and the LEDs are close enough together then there shouldn't be too much of a Disco effect and more of a mixing. And as long as I spread out the white LEDs I should prevent a spot light effect.

Here's the LED light I built for my GF's tank using the dim4 controller. 3 cool whites, 3 neutral white and 3 blue. All with 60 degree optics. Absolutely no discoball effect
That looks great! Very similar to something that I'm looking to do. How do you like the colors those lights are outputting?
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