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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Proposed Aquarium Lighting fixture. The plans are still being drawn up and I haven`t purchased anything yet. I have placed about 6 ordered through Dealextreme.com and have been highly satisfied with their level of quality and satisfaction. I will be updating the price and parts list as I choose and add parts.

Parts List: (mostly from Deal Extreme)

Electronics Parts
10 x Cree XR-E Q5 Emitter on Premium Star (228LM at 1A)
10 x 23.36mm feflector optics
2 x 80mm DC Brushless PC Chassis Cooling Fan
2 x 15 watt driver
1 sheet of aluminum to mount the LED's onto.
1 x 500W computer power supply (kicking around the house, not included in price. you can often see computers on the side of the road. You can get a power supply from one of these :) )

49.36 USD. Shipping included in price.

Light Case Parts:
Quarter Sawn Scrap Brazillian Cherry (Jatoba)
Scrap particle board
Misc. selection of hardware.

I will probably end up using a CNC machine to cut out the pieces .

Random information about jatoba. It is about twice as hard as oak, machines beautifully, and is very easy to work with. It can move and twist quite a bit, so its very important to glue it and screw it as soon as you finish milling it. It doesn`t need staining, as it has a beautiful colour all by itsef. Jatoba isn`t that oily, and takes to a shellac finish very well.

Discussion:

Light absorption spectrum for a generic green plant


Plants generally absorb light heavily in the Red and Blue spectrum, (which is why most plants are green). Theoretically, favoring the blue and red spectrums should allow for a more efficient use of lighting, allowing for a lower watts per gallon, but higher efficiency rating. This could potentially turn into significant savings over the course of the lifetime of the light.

Adding red light to the growing environment should help increase the plant growth rate. The chosen Cree XR-E leds are slightly on the blue side, which should also favour plant growth.

Overall, the above lighting setup should provide a total of 33 Watts of White light at maximum power (1 A x 3.7 Volts =3.7 Watts x 9 LED= 33 Watts) and 1-3 watts of red light. This equates to a total of 1.7 watts of light per gallon. I should also be able to dim the light output, if required.

I also plan on adding a moon setup, using some strip LED`s.

Any suggestions or questions are more than welcome.

Build Update:

I have mounted the LED's directly on a piece of sheet aluminium. I am using two 15 watt drivers to drive 10 3 watt LED's. I am leaving it "bare" for a couple of weeks to see how the LED's do. If everything seems dandy, and the plants do fine I will finish it off with a jatoba box. The electronics will be concealed in a $3 electrical junction box. I plan on mounting 2 heatsink fans directly to the sheet metal, although I feel like this would be overkill, as the temperature of the sheetmetal feels barely warm after running 12 hours.

The aquarium stand is made from 2x4's and some 8x1 yellow cedar boards I had leftover from a deck I built.
 

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Are the Power regulators the 'drivers/current controllers'? If so make sure they are good uns. The first original setups didn't use them at all hence why their LEDs lasted aonly a few months.

If you are using large fans like 80mm I would suggest geting some Artic Colling F8s. You cannot hear them at all. I have these in my PC along with the freezer Pro and it is absolute bliss. lol

Arctic Cooling

They are only about £5 each so not expensive but worth it for the lack of noise.. I had some brushless ones on my LED and although they are pretty quiet, after a while you notice them. Not that they get louder just that the constant humm becomes apparant.

AC
 

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Cool. Have you dealt with Deal Extreme a lot? Do you find that they are ok, or hit and miss? Let me know how you find the LED's from there. I wouldn't mind buying a bunch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
LED's

I have made about 5 or 6 seperate transactions with them. Sometimes it takes a while for the stuff to arrive, but the service is generally good. Keep in mind, that if you email back and forth with a service rep, their native language is probably chinese, which can make communication a bit difficult.

As for LED quality, I have ordered quite a few LED's from them, a couple arrived damaged. You send them an email, and they apologize and send you a new one. Sometimes they require that you send them the old ones back.

If you are not solid on electronics, buy the drivers from somewhere else. The drivers can be hit or miss. I received one driver rated for 9 watts at 1000mA. It was actually outputting 1.5 A and was only good for 5 watts. Needless to say, I burned out an LED and wrecked the driver. After having that experience, I always test the drivers before I hook them up to my LED's. Other than that, you can't beat the price. All said, they are a good company to order from, you just have to be aware that their QC isn't 100%.

Timbit
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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If you are intending to use LED for marine or plants you don't want 1 big LED. It defeats the advantage that LEDs have over other lighting in the aquarium.

The main advantages of course are the decresed power for more PAR and the energy eficiency BUT......

.........the super advantage is that you can have multiple point sources.

Think about it you have 1 tube. Anything directly in its way shades everythign else. Get 2 tubes and immediately 1 has a better chance of getting the shaded area if the other can't.

That is why I hate the luminaires that 'squeeze' 2 tubes together into the 'sameish' area. Defeats the benefit of having 2 tubes it you put them together in the same place.

So with LEDs you can spread them out in a grid like pattern and it tends to 'eqaulise' the spread much better. No plants (or corals) in dark areas although there may be some that you intentionally stick 'under' something to get shade.

Thats why with LED you can not only go much lower than flouros for the PAR. You can then space them out and go even lower. The output PAR is lower BUT you are not having to have such high PAR in the centre to get a target PAR for the edges of the substrate.

By putting 1 big LED in you then lose the second benefit. Still have a benefit over flouro or MH but lose the spread advantage.

You get my drift ;)

It depends what your goal is with the light.

plus loads looks much cooler:




AC
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks!

If you are intending to use LED for marine or plants you don't want 1 big LED. It defeats the advantage that LEDs have over other lighting in the aquarium.

The main advantages of course are the decresed power for more PAR and the energy eficiency BUT......

.........the super advantage is that you can have multiple point sources.

Think about it you have 1 tube. Anything directly in its way shades everythign else. Get 2 tubes and immediately 1 has a better chance of getting the shaded area if the other can't.

That is why I hate the luminaires that 'squeeze' 2 tubes together into the 'sameish' area. Defeats the benefit of having 2 tubes it you put them together in the same place.

So with LEDs you can spread them out in a grid like pattern and it tends to 'eqaulise' the spread much better. No plants (or corals) in dark areas although there may be some that you intentionally stick 'under' something to get shade.

Thats why with LED you can not only go much lower than flouros for the PAR. You can then space them out and go even lower. The output PAR is lower BUT you are not having to have such high PAR in the centre to get a target PAR for the edges of the substrate.

By putting 1 big LED in you then lose the second benefit. Still have a benefit over flouro or MH but lose the spread advantage.

You get my drift ;)

It depends what your goal is with the light.
AC
Excellent information :) I plan on using 10 Cree XR-E Q5's and maybe some blue LED's for a moon light. :)

My power supply is going to end up being an old ATX computer power supply. I managed to find some good constant current drivers for a reasonable price as well. I am about to update my list uptop.

Is there any advantage to using moon lighting in a freshwater tank?

Tim
 

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This links to another LED thread on UKaps. I am testing the string of 7 for this guy this wek on a 24V source.

There is some useful info in there r.e. LED vs MH/flouro (written by you know who of course. lol)

Basically 27W LED = 100W MH in terms of PUR. that is a given from tests but we are suggesting between 12W and 20W of LED = 100W MH in terms of PUR when you look at the aquarium and proper spacing with several point sources

That is just a bit better don't you think :) for us and the environmet. Also for your leccy bill too.

Take a read:
UK Aquatic Plant Society Forum • Login

Is there any advantage to using moon lighting in a freshwater tank?
Tim
Yes you can see the fish when the daylights are off :lol:

The amount of moonlight is key really. I have enough from those blue cold cathode tubes to see quite clearly however in terms of W and in terms of actual light they make no contribution to the overall light.

My moonlights are on from half an hour before the daylight period ends until half an hour into the next day's photoperiod. That makes 16 hours. When there is 1 series of LED on at the start and end hour of the day (0.2WPG) you can't see the moonlight. It is only when the other lights go out you can see it.

Well worth having. Much as people say 'my fish are happy and healthy' they need to se every fish they own at night. All sorts of fun and games ;) going on at nightime in my tank.

Personally they are good for me because I often stay up into the early hours of the morning and it is good for me to see them at 4-5-6am without having to alter the photoperiod or override the timers all the time :)

AC
 

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Looks good. I have some questions; the driver when you turn it on dose it change mode every time, like high, next time low, next time flashing? If so you would not be able to use a timer. But the aquarium looks well lit. I want to do the same thing but bigger and I don’t know it the driver would work for me.
 

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lednail,

Driver memory: switching faster than one second changes the mode (High, Mid, Low, Fast Strobe & SOS). Switching slower than 1~2 seconds keeps the same mode.

This driver will work great with a standard timer.
 
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