Basic LED build

latino277

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So what was the cost and where did you get the wiring diagram to wire it all up? and did you need buckpucks or any stuff like that? and why the heat sink do they really get that hot?

The heat sink is very important. Even tho LED's don't tranfer heat to the tank, the do get very hot. I just turned of the fan for 2 min and the temp went from 84.8 to 86.4.

As far as driving the LED's, I used Mean Well drivers. They run a little better than buckpuck (at least thats my understanding.) and they have a built in power adaptor.

Wiring is easy. just solder the LED's + to - untill you reach your max per string. If your using buckpuck the max is 6 (correct me if I'm wrong) and for mean well's it is 13.

This whole project came out to about $250 not including any tools that I had to purchase.
 

cali_reef

Fish and Coral Killer
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thx everyone even tho it's not perfect. I'm happy with it.

What would you do different to make it "perfect"? would you add more LED's since you have the space and voltage?

As for par with 80 deg reflector, I think the lower distance and cross coverage will make up some of the "spot light" effect loss. I plan to built one using 80 deg optics in the center LED's with 60 deg on the outer row.
 

newbie_newbie_new

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nice build! same price (or less) than the cheap fixtures, but all good quality components (cree, meanwells), and you know how to fix it if something goes wrong!

i had a few questions:

1) i don't really understand how to dim the meanwells. my understanding was that a potentiometer was not enough, that you need a special dimming circuit. is that what your blackberry charger was?
2) was it hard to drill the heatsink? what kind of drill bit did you use?
3) what other stuff did you need to buy from radioshack? i couldn't make out all the items in the photo
4) are you happy with the coverage in the corners of the tank? what are your tank dimensions? have you tried taking off the optics and hanging the fixture lower?
5) that first pic looked very bright! i know this is FOWLR, but if you wanted to, what kind of corals do you think you could grow in there?

again, great job
 

latino277

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What would you do different to make it "perfect"? would you add more LED's since you have the space and voltage?

As for par with 80 deg reflector, I think the lower distance and cross coverage will make up some of the "spot light" effect loss. I plan to built one using 80 deg optics in the center LED's with 60 deg on the outer row.

The only thing I'm not happy with is the look... the plain box over the tank looks a little borring. and for some reason the holes I cut on the acrylic done line up right... really PO about that. :irked:
 

latino277

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nice build! same price (or less) than the cheap fixtures, but all good quality components (cree, meanwells), and you know how to fix it if something goes wrong!

i had a few questions:

1) i don't really understand how to dim the meanwells. my understanding was that a potentiometer was not enough, that you need a special dimming circuit. is that what your blackberry charger was?
There are 2 types of mean well 1) analog D driver (this is the one I have) and digital P driver. the d driver uses a voltage from 0 -10v to dim the Led's. the P driver needs a PWM

I was lucking enough to have a 9v 1amp bb charger hanging around. For testing I just connect one lead direct to the diriver and the other lead through the POT. For the final product I took off the POT, as I liked the way is looked full on.

2) was it hard to drill the heatsink? what kind of drill bit did you use?

Not hard, just time consuming. I picked up a #6 bit/tapping set from HD

3) what other stuff did you need to buy from radioshack? i couldn't make out all the items in the photo

Radio shack = Thermal Paste, solder, fan, pot, 18 gage wire
Home depot = #6 plate screws, plastic washers, #6 bit/tapping set, Tapping T.

4) are you happy with the coverage in the corners of the tank? what are your tank dimensions? have you tried taking off the optics and hanging the fixture lower?

I'm very happy with the light output. I'm very supprised by how close to plan this came out.

The tank it 30X30X25 and I get good cover into the corners.

I could run the fixture without the optics but that would do 2 things that I don't want: 1) it would throw the light across the whole room as opposed to just in the tank. That has always been my problem with fixtures... the light is for the tank... not the whole damn apartment LOL 2) optics focus the light. In doing that it increases the intensity/PAR where you want it... in the tank and not on the wall... lol

I actually like the fixture up high... it's compleatly out of the way.

5) that first pic looked very bright! i know this is FOWLR, but if you wanted to, what kind of corals do you think you could grow in there?

I haven't been able to get my hands on a PAR meter so I really have not clue. I think it could get a way with some softies but not sure.

again, great job
 
Last edited:

cali_reef

Fish and Coral Killer
Rating - 97.3%
36   1   0
nice build! same price (or less) than the cheap fixtures, but all good quality components (cree, meanwells), and you know how to fix it if something goes wrong!

i had a few questions:

1) i don't really understand how to dim the meanwells. my understanding was that a potentiometer was not enough, that you need a special dimming circuit. is that what your blackberry charger was?
There are 2 types of mean well 1) analog D driver (this is the one I have) and digital P driver. the d driver uses a voltage from 0 -10v to dim the Led's. the P driver needs a PWM

I was lucking enough to have a 9v 1amp bb charger hanging around. For testing I just connect one lead direct to the diriver and the other lead through the POT. For the final product I took off the POT, as I liked the way is looked full on.

2) was it hard to drill the heatsink? what kind of drill bit did you use?

Not hard, just time consuming. I picked up a #6 bit/tapping set from HD

3) what other stuff did you need to buy from radioshack? i couldn't make out all the items in the photo

Radio shack = Thermal Paste, solder, fan, pot, 6 gauge wire
Home depot = #6 plate screws, plastic washers, #6 bit/tapping set, Tapping T.

4) are you happy with the coverage in the corners of the tank? what are your tank dimensions? have you tried taking off the optics and hanging the fixture lower?

I'm very happy with the light output. I'm very supprised by how close to plan this came out.

The tank it 30X30X25 and I get good cover into the corners.

I could run the fixture without the optics but that would do 2 things that I don't want: 1) it would throw the light across the whole room as opposed to just in the tank. That has always been my problem with fixtures... the light is for the tank... not the whole damn apartment LOL 2) optics focus the light. In doing that it increases the intensity/PAR where you want it... in the tank and not on the wall... lol

I actually like the fixture up high... it's compleatly out of the way.

5) that first pic looked very bright! i know this is FOWLR, but if you wanted to, what kind of corals do you think you could grow in there?

I haven't been able to get my hands on a PAR meter so I really have not clue. I think it could get a way with some softies but not sure.

again, great job

You mean 16 gage?

I think the thermo pads from nanotuners.com can save you the drilling and taping, it replaces the thermo paste too.
 

latino277

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the kit came with the thremal epoxy but I wanted to be able to remove them easy. Just in case one went bad or I wanted to change the color. I'll look into those pads for next time. If they can be removed with little fuss, I might go that route.
thx.

it's actually 18 gage... I edited my post. thx.
 
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ming

LE Coral Killer
Manhattan Reefs
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If your using buckpuck the max is 6 (correct me if I'm wrong) and for mean well's it is 13.
.
For the buckpuck, it depends on your power supply, but most people are using the 24V which can supply up to 6 LED's. (almost 3.7V each x 6 = 22.2, which is less then 24)
The Volts determine how many LED's in each string.
The Amps determine how many strings it can supply.

For your model meanwell, yes, its 13. Most people been doing it with 12, but I've read it can handle up to 13.
 

ming

LE Coral Killer
Manhattan Reefs
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What would you do different to make it "perfect"? would you add more LED's since you have the space and voltage?

As for par with 80 deg reflector, I think the lower distance and cross coverage will make up some of the "spot light" effect loss. I plan to built one using 80 deg optics in the center LED's with 60 deg on the outer row.

I'm thinking about doing 60 only in the front row and 80 everywhere else since I tend to only keep corals on the sandbed in the front of the tank.

I'll probably do the drill and tapping instead of thermal pads because it might be a lot easier replacing/moving LED's in the future if they go bad
 

cali_reef

Fish and Coral Killer
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I'm thinking about doing 60 only in the front row and 80 everywhere else since I tend to only keep corals on the sandbed in the front of the tank.

I'll probably do the drill and tapping instead of thermal pads because it might be a lot easier replacing/moving LED's in the future if they go bad

Drilling and taping is a lot of work, doing it GOOD without a drill press is difficult. Pads or potting it is fine when replacing, because you won't want to use bad LED's. Only scenario would be swapping different colors around.
 

latino277

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Oh your taking orders? I'll take one. LOL

maybe you can do a demo at the swap, maybe josh can arrange a corner in the room for a small demo. That would be great and an invaluable Q & A for those of us that are all thumbs.


WOW... slow down there budy. As nice as that would be, this is pushing the limits of my engineering. LOL Maybe we can get wingo or one of the other to demo this?
 

Alex

Pretzel in Orange M&M
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no disrespect towards wingo, as he does good work, but this was meant from one individual who's never done it to another individual who'd like to give it a try. A learning process.
 
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