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Whats up guys,

I want to make my own light for my 75 gallon project I'm working on, building it myself would allow me to dial it in just right. I want to use those LED strip lights off E Bay. Finnex makes great products, but I believe with the right information, I can build an equal or better product for less, but I have one concern, erm a few concerns.

-Powering it isn't an issue
-Wiring it isn't an issue
-Dissipating the heat isn't an issue
-Building a housing isn't an issue
-Keeping the LED strips mounted isn't an issue

I have solutions for all these obstacles, what I need help on is which LEDs to use.

There are SO MANY different LEDs to choose from, and range from $5 a reel to $200 a reel. I don't want to go through all this work just to have the LEDs die in 4 months. Also I want to make sure I get the right color. In a single ebay listing there is like 8 different options for " White ". Cool white, Warm white, Neutral white, sun white, soft white. Its like saying that wall is blue, there is an infinite spectrum of the color " blue ". How do I know which LED strip to buy that is accurate, there is no standard that these Chinese LED manufacturers follow. There is a standard for measuring the color of light, the Kelvin scale, but how do I know that these Chinese manufacturers have accurately tested their lights for color reproduction.

I just need someone to point me in the direction of a very bright, 6500k, quality LED strip...

I wish I could find out who Finnex gets their diodes from...

Input is appreciated.

-Sean
 

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There are some good DIY threads if you do a search for "DIY LED".

I have used the cheap LEDs for extra lighting, 5050 waterproof cool white. Some use the very nice Cree LEDs.
Personally I bought a Finnex cause the price was OK and I just have too many projects.
 

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Most of the better planted tank lights have several different color emitters in them to get full spectrum. Specifically, they often have 450(ish) nm blue and 660 nm red in addition to 6000(ish) K white. The best (but not cheapest) way to go is to have a mix of warm white (2700-3000K) and cool white (6000-10000K) with dimmers for each so that you can mix to the color temp you want. You can put the blues and reds on their own channels as well, or combine blue with cool white and red with warm white . . .

My own build cost a lot more than anything Finnex makes, but is more comparable to high end reef lights (Aqua Illumination, Radion, Kessil) in output and features, just customized for a planted tank.

-Justin
 

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First, yes K's are all over the board no matter what they say.. More of a range..
I used to know who made the RayII diodes (an OEM, not a normal brand name most are familiar with)
consider colors "accents" except if you get real anal ( I am) and want to fill spectrum gaps/weaknesses such as cyan, violet , and the deeper reds..

Skip the 5050's (or any .2W or less ) diodes. Look for the .5w ones..

Using strips restricts you to constant voltage and as such have inherent losses due to the terminating resistors..


Doing 3w or better ind. diodes or COB's is a bit more expensive but a bit easier to get quality..

As an example:
Vero 18 is a COB that runs at 31V @ 1A w/ and output of 142Lumens/Watt for $11.21
http://media.digikey.com/pdf/Data Sheets/Bridgelux PDFs/Vero_18_Array_Man.pdf
36 cents/watt...
4402 Lumens per chip..

Now "supposedly" 110W for $24 (300 smd5630's % meters)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0090CYFNC/ref=psdc_2314207011_t2_B0090E62RW

But who knows.. see comments..
Point is if you are going to be even a bit fussy.. well wouldn't do strips nor really most of the 3w el-cheepo LEd's on eek bay..


Ther are laces that sell very expensive strips/reels so "theoretically" they should be high quality..
$116/5M
http://www.ledlightsworld.com/samsu...-flexible-led-strips-with-300-leds-p-432.html

now that said.. there are some really fun cheap products:
291177489517
go to eevil bay..
120W for 15.29...:)
Panels run at 12v..
 

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First, yes K's are all over the board no matter what they say.. More of a range..
I used to know who made the RayII diodes (an OEM, not a normal brand name most are familiar with)
consider colors "accents" except if you get real anal ( I am) and want to fill spectrum gaps/weaknesses such as cyan, violet , and the deeper reds..

Skip the 5050's (or any .2W or less ) diodes. Look for the .5w ones..

Using strips restricts you to constant voltage and as such have inherent losses due to the terminating resistors..


Doing 3w or better ind. diodes or COB's is a bit more expensive but a bit easier to get quality..

As an example:
Vero 18 is a COB that runs at 31V @ 1A w/ and output of 142Lumens/Watt for $11.21
http://media.digikey.com/pdf/Data Sheets/Bridgelux PDFs/Vero_18_Array_Man.pdf
36 cents/watt...
4402 Lumens per chip..

Now "supposedly" 110W for $24 (300 smd5630's % meters)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0090CYFNC/ref=psdc_2314207011_t2_B0090E62RW

But who knows.. see comments..
Point is if you are going to be even a bit fussy.. well wouldn't do strips nor really most of the 3w el-cheepo LEd's on eek bay..


Ther are laces that sell very expensive strips/reels so "theoretically" they should be high quality..
$116/5M
SAMSUNG LED Inside SMD 5630 Flexible LED Strips with 300 LEDs [HK-F5630X30-X-X-X] - $98.95 : LEDLIGHTSWORLD.COM

now that said.. there are some really fun cheap products:
291177489517
go to eevil bay..
120W for 15.29...:)
Panels run at 12v..
What is your time worth?
 

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It is very educational to make your own LED light, because you have to do a lot of studying to figure out how to do it so they work the way you want them to. It is also a lot of fun when the finished product does what you wanted it to. But, it is not a very economical way to get LED light now, or at least it seems that way to me. I don't expect to ever make another one - I got the education, and had the fun, so now I prefer to save the $$$.

Every year, if not more often, the range of available LEDs for DIY use gets bigger, with most of the latest ones significantly better, and more costly. So, if you haven't researched this for a couple of years, you almost have to start from scratch in figuring out what LEDs will do what you want, and do it best at an affordable price. It has been more than 2 years for me, so I'm back to being a LED know-nothing.
 

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according to my sig. other... nothing.. ;)
LOL!!!! It would probably save a lot of time to get the strips then, so you can do things like bagging leaves in the yard or washing underwear for the sig other.
 
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