My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Making the move to LED lighting? Have a great DIY solution? Share your questions and get feedback here!

Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby gminor » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:44 am

My only thought is that you may have to decide whether you want to keep plants that do well in low to medium light or plants that require strong light. Low light plants sometimes don't handle high light very well. I've put my Anubias under too much light before and the leaves start to spot and turn yellow.

I suppose there are work arounds for this if you customize your tank to shade areas and allow full light in other areas. I've never attempted to keep plants with significantly different light requirements in the same tank though. At least not intentionally ;)
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Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby lordadamar » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:53 pm

I plan to create areas where things like anubias will be ok, but I Really want to change to medium / high light plants cause ther a couple things I really like but current lighting isnt high enough to maintain them...

I was more interested in is, if the amount of LED's I was thinking was to much or not enough..
700 lumens isnt really alot. Read article below im really not sure if the LED and 700 lumens has more penetrating power than T5HO bulb...

T5HO 54w bulbs average 4000-5000 lumens
T8 32w bulbs average appox 3000 lumens

T5 = 80-90 LPW
T5ho = 75-85 LPW
T8 = 65-75 LPW
LPW = Lumens per watt

I also found this very lengthy article about watts, lumens and spectrums, thats very interesting...
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/aquarium_lighting.html
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Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby gminor » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:47 pm

The info and link you provided look like some good information.
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Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby lordadamar » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:00 am

After reading a little further it looks like if I did 11 LED's ( 6 ) would be 6500 ( 5 ) would be 10k. If the intensity of the LED's is where I thinking with none visible lights waves than the Photosynthetic response would happen better with higher 6500k lighting. Assuming these led's are not junk and perform as rated...

I also found this and I know Chief posted one, maybe this or similar one..
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007MXUGRK/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&smid=A1APAKLCNYIJ78

But after talking with a few people about power load, draw, and length of time its on because all my tanks are digitally controlled with 10-12 hour cycles, and heres some advice when building this..

Design for 75% or less of full power output of your power supply..

11 LED's @ 1amp = 11amps
11 LED's @ 10W= 110 Watts
Fans used in walkthrough have a 0.11 amp draw at 12 volts and roughly a 2-5 watt draw depending on RPM.
Case fans for PC use do not need a Resistor to step the voltage down to the 9-10w ( which is what the 5w 2ohm resistor does ) they run off the PC's 12v rail..
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181023
There are also case fans like this one that have adjustable speed controllers..
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835200028

The more room the Power supply has between use and cap the longer it will last. Most power supplies are not efficient past 80% load and they will burn out alot quicker if constantly running above 80% for extended periods..

So take a close look at your numbers the type of Switching power supply Chief and myself have posted come in many Watt and Amp ratings ranging from $12 to $40 on amazon...
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Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby lordadamar » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:18 am

Glen,

When you ordered the LED's I assume you didnt pay the crazy EMS rate for shipping did you just let it come HongKong Post how long did it take?

Apparently the U.S. Doesnt make LED's cause every website I have found with these is all over seas...
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Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby gminor » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:21 pm

No, I opted for the free shipping. The LED's took just over 3 weeks and arrived via US post. Not an easy wait, but that gave me time to build the hood and heatsink.
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Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby lordadamar » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:43 pm

Yah when I saw $30 for shipping I was like whoa really, almost did it, but I read there shipping terms and the more expensive shipping didnt really guarantee them any faster or in one shipment..
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Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby gminor » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:54 pm

Well my first DIY LED fixture has been running for 3 months now on the old computer power supply with no real issues. One solder joint came loose, but that was due to my questionable skill with a soldering iron.


Original wiring - not so pretty. Exposed solder joints on one side and electrical tape on the other.
Definitely room for improvement.
Image

This time I soldered a separate positive and negative wire for each LED. This made it easier to insulate the solder joint with some heat shrink tubing.
Image

The shrink tubing is actually fun to use.
Image

2 Ohm resistors attached
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Positive wire attached in a braided fashion to reduce the amount of wire needed.
Maybe looks kinda cool too?
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Negative wire attached
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Braided style again
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Part of the trick was remembering when to place the shrink tubing before soldering the next wire.
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Much happier with this wiring job. Took a few hours, but was a nice Sunday afternoon project.
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End of heat sink wiring
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The LED and heat sink assembly is back in the hood
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One more blue LED added on the far end for a total of 4 10000k and 4 royal blue.
The loose solder joint was fixed as well.
Image

The LED's that have been running about 9 hours a day for 3 months are still very bright. I've ordered materials to build a second row of LED's for the hood as well as a small soldering aid tool that holds wires in place for soldering:

Eclipse 900-015 Helping Hands Soldering Aid
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002PIA6Z4/ref ... 1_ST1_dp_1

For $10.00 it's one of those tools that makes soldering projects significantly easier
and will likely last for many years.
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Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby gminor » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:36 am

With the first row of LED's still burning bright after almost 4 months of operation, I've "upped the ante" and started building the second and final row. Four more 10,000k and royal blue LED's will be positioned in alternate order from the first row to help evenly disperse the different light spectrums.

I also purchased an additional refurbished computer power supply from a local retailer for around $8.00.
The second power supply will be on a separate timer and will power just a few LED's on the second row to allow reduced morning and evening light levels. The rest of the new LED's will be added to the first power supply.

Second heat sink cut to 34" length and marked about 4" apart for LED placement.
Image

7/64" holes drilled for securing LED's
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Holes are drilled for the mounting rails. The pair of steel rails are inserted thru both heat sinks to confirm the holes are aligned.
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The royal blue LED's have "wings" on their electrical leads that I've clipped with off with a pair of tin snips so the shrink tubing will fit over the solder joints later.
Image

Old computer screws and a tube of thermal paste are set out. If you don't have a bunch of old computer screws laying around I imagine you can buy a small bag of 7/64" machine screws from the hardware store.
For me, it was just an opportunity to use what I already had.
Image

LED's are secured taking care to position them so +/- polarity are all pointing in the same direction.
Image


more to come...
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Re: My first DIY LED Lighting Project

Postby gminor » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:00 pm

Wiring is done after another few hours at the bench this evening. I found myself going back to the hardware store more than a few times in the course of this project to by more 1/4" shrink tubing though. Next time, I'll probably look for a bulk quantity/price.
Image

16 LED's ready to go. Using thermal paste and screws to secure the LED's is a little more work then just using thermal adhesive, but if any LED's need to be replaced down the road, it will be easier then.
Image

Four LED's on the new heat sink are wired to a second power supply which will have a separate timer and serve as morning and evening lights. The other four new LED's are wired to the first power supply.
Image

I Was very happy to see no noticeable difference in brightness between the 4 month old LED's
and the new ones.
Image

The next step is to mount the heat sinks back into the hood.


More to come...
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