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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is a follow on from a previous thread on here which of course got lost a few months ago :)

I'll start with a quick refresher of the original setup and then move onto the MkII. I won't add all the pictures of the MkI as you can see these in the original threads above. Also the complete build journals and pictures can be located on my website here:

MkI
GreenNeedle-Page1-DIY LED Lighting

MkII
GreenNeedle-Page1-DIY LED Lighting MkII

The basic electrics: 5 seperate series of 3 x Luxeon 3W LEDs. Each series supplied with 12V which then run through a current controller (driver.) The driver consumes 1.5V and therefore 10.5V goes into each series of 3 making 3.5V per LED. This equates to 2.45W per LED and 7.35W per series. The whole setup with all 5 series on is therefore 36.75W.

The tank it goes over is 33USG thus making 1.11WPG when all series are on. If they ran at max for the whole 9 hour photoperiod this would be a highlight tank.

The reason for seperating the electrics into 5 series rather than 1 large setup is that I am no electrician and it is much easier for me to use 5 x 12V adaptors run on timers rather than PCB boards to simulate the sun moving along the sky as each series turns on at an appointed time until all 5 are on and then they turn off in the opposite direction (Left to Right series)

Starting with the MkI unit (January 2009)

The Plan:


1 series:


1 LED mounted:


The whole board fired up:


The unit in Situ:


So that was 18 months ago. Next post will be the MkII version

Regards AC

continues............
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
.............continued

The MkII version of my DIY LED setup.

Although I've called it MkII what I have done is in fact to make a new design of the unit and then transfer exactly the same electrics into it. Prettier and darned cool IMO ;)

So...pictures below but first an explanation of the changes:

1 - The unit is now made from 6mm MDF instead of 22mm pine. Much much lighter but still strong enough to support my 10ltr bucket if I need to empty and refill for any reason.
2 - Access is now via a lid on the top rather than removing the glass underneath.
3 - The bottom is now solid rather than glass so you can't see the internals.
4 - I have used lense holders fixed into the bottom section to 'tidy' the appearance up. They house 45º lenses.
5 - The unit has been veneered to match my other furniture.
6 - The fans reduced to 3 at each end as they fitted nicely behind some vent covers I bought rather than the 4 at each end previously.
7 - The unit is much more slimline now. 12cm to be precise :)
8 - I am now using proper heatsinks for the LEDs rather than cut up pieces of reflector

Why did I use lenses when I have mentioned before that the spread is much better without? Because it tidied up the appearance. Being 45º they do spread pretty well but if 1 LED is not as bright, the spread from the others does not make up for it anymore. I changed 2 LEDs that were a little 'yellower' than the others.

So the unit is new but the actual lighting setup has now been running for 18 months with absolutely zero problems. The 2 LEDs that were removed were still working fine. It was just the differential in their colouration that made me change them:

Drawing out the plan pre-routing:


Aligning the fans on the side panels:


Making sure the lense holders fit into the routed holes:


Veneering the lip:


The finished outer with nice laquered and polished underside (still to trim the veneer aound the fan holes):


Positioning the vents on each end:


The lid in place. I routed a 2mm recess around the perimeter of the unit which the lid sits in (The 'finger' hole is the rear of the unit and has a piece of black carrier bag on the inside to stop the dust):


continues................
 

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Discussion Starter #3
.............continued

The electrics fitted inside:


The aliens are landing :eek:, I mean yippee it still works ;) :


All finished apart from 4 coats of Tung Oil. That is why the veneer looks much lighter than the cabinet. Once the Tung Oil is on and cured it will go the same colour as the cabinet:


You may notice that the scape looks the same. That is because...........it is :) The scape is 15 months old and has only ever known LED light. The picture in the first post above is about 1 month into the scape where the picture in this post is about 1 month ago (14 months old.)

How has it been maintained for that long without becoming a huge mess? I shall explain:

1A - Full pressurised CO2 @ 30+ppm. for the first 6 months.
1B - EI nutrients for the first 6 months.
1C - The lighting stagger was much quicker meaning the full 5 series were on for 5 hours in the centre of a 9 hour photoperiod.

After 6 months I was happy that it was nearly at the stage I wanted and so to preserve it as it was (almost like a permanent picture)............

2A - The CO2 was ditched (I have in fact sold it and probs won't go the CO2 route again.)
2B - The ferts were ditched (no ferts are added to this setup now.)
2C - The lighting stagger is much longer meaning the full 5 series are now on for the central 1 hour only. Still a 9 hour total photoperiod though.
2D - Now it is non CO2 there is no 20x turnover. The circulation pump has gone and the filter provides just under 6x turnover.
2E - The last water change was in September 2009. 10 whole lazy months ago.

Basically the lighting is reduced and CO2/ferts ditched meaning growth for the past year has been much much slower. Not stagnant but much much slower and almost no maintenance needed. This is effectively an El Natural tank except for the filter :eek:

AC
 

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That's amazing! I've looked at all the other posts you have (your personal one and the one on Tropical Fish Forums). I'm really tempted to try this out now!

I'm quite a newbie at this (and it's been a few years since my Electronics and Microprocessing courses in University)... but I have a few questions:

- so you used 12V adapters. Did you just get ones from a store and cut off the leads?
- Where did you get the current controllers (actually I know you got them off eBay, but the links you posted are old so they are no longer active... I've never looked up current controllers... How do you find them online. i.e. what should I be looking for... brand, model..)
- You used reflectors in the original one, but then heat sinks in the second one. I know the reflectors were used as heat sinks rather than reflectors. Do you find that you don't need reflectors with the LED? i.e. no spot light effect in the tank?
- Have you ever checked the internal temperature in your light box? With 6 fans and 37W do you find it excessive, or ok? ... have you ever smelled burning wood?
- what are the white things? (wire connectors, wire holders...?)
- what are the distances between each of your LED's?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
good jod. Just wondering what it cost you in the end to make it..
The original setup was in the region of £110 (GBP) add the lenses which were £10 that makes £120 for the actual job before making the housing.

That includes all the electronics except for wire which I've robbed from old cables I don't throw away.

All the wood, veneer, pins screws are not included either in that cost.

I'm quite a newbie at this (and it's been a few years since my Electronics and Microprocessing courses in University)
That puts you at a more advanced level than me :) This is my first attempt at soldering and other than connecting things like light switches on walls (open an existing one and copy the way that was done into the unit ;) )

Maybe you could use 1 power source and then add a PCB to do what I am doing with adaptors and timers :)

used 12V adapters. Did you just get ones from a store and cut off the leads?
Exactly. As long as the ma is => than the requirement of the LEDs they are standard adaptors.

id you get the current controllers (actually I know you got them off eBay, but the links you posted are old so they are no longer active... I've never looked up current controllers... How do you find them online. i.e. what should I be looking for... brand, model..)
The seller I bought from seems to have stopped selling. I have no idea what to look for. When I researched someone else pointed me to these. The place that sells the LEDs cheap will be able to supply drivers but you will have to explain exactly what you need the driver to do. You don't want to have a driver for each LED which is the most common type as far as I can tell

These are the guys. They are pretty helpful:
//cgi.ebay.co.uk/25pcs-3W-White-Hig...H_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53e2105358&afsrc=1

You used reflectors in the original... LED? i.e. no spot light effect in the tank?

reflectors are used to capture light that is emitted away from the target area. LEDs do not emit light backward. only sideways and forwards. lenses do this job. LEDs also have a reflector behind the die.

Have you ever checked the internal temperature in your light box? With 6 fans and 37W do you find it excessive, or ok? ... have you ever smelled burning wood?
Its not that hot. I rarely use the fans. The heatsinks seem to do the job on their own. You can touch the heatsinks without burning your fingers. You cannot touch the star without a heatsink. It burns skin in seconds. I guess these heatsinks do their job as they are supposed to :)

what are the white things? (wire connectors, wire holders...?)
You answered the question yourself ;)

what are the distances between each of your LED's?
Lol you can work it out. pretty easy. 82cm in length divide by 5. 36cm in width divide by 3. That leaves you 15 squares. The leds are in the centre of each square :)

AC
 

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Awesome. Thanks for the quick reply! I'll look around locally for those LED. I know a few places that might sell them.

Yeah, if I can remember how to wire a breadboard properly and program a micro processor, I might consider programing the light sequence. Wouldn't it be cool if I can program the processor to turn on one light every 4 minutes (starting with then the timer turns on the light) so that it takes 1 hour to turn on the entire box?! :rolleyes:

... one day.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
One last little improvement on this project is the hanging 'equipment.

The unit was hanging by 2 chains that were linked to D ring on the luminaire and then up to some hooks in the shelf above.

This wasn't the nicest looking piece of kit but has sufficed the past 18 months. My wife had commented on it. Several forum members had commented on it and it was something I was looking to replace so I finally got round to it.

I bought one of the hanging kits that are meant for the old style Arcadia Luminaires and whilst mine is much bigger than the units this is intended for mine is probably a little lighter .

The kit consists of 2 long cables which have a close loop at one end to hang it from. There are 2 shorter cables with round 'washer' type ends to attach to the luminaire, Both of these are similar to bicycle gear/brake cables in thickness.

Next ther is a little 2 metal piece which is like a cylinder with an internal locking 'grip' mechanism. they are only about 10mm in diameter. The hanging cable goes through the centre of the cylinder and then when oyu pull it locks in place. Then the luminaire cable threads through a groove at the bottom and a screw in part then tightens to hold it in place.

It is then just a case of raising/lowering the hanging cable by using the release mechanism on the cylinder unit. I used a spirit level and locked them off when I was happy the unit was level left to right. then it was a case of levelling the unit front to back which meant sliding the luminaire cables back and forth through the groove until the whole unit was level. then the screw in part is tightened to hold it in place.

That is this unit completed. There are a couple of minor cosmetics to sort out where the old D rings were but these are just a case of plugging the old screw holes with some tiny veneer 'patches' and then applying some more Tung Oil over the are athey were to match them in.







AC
 
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