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