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LED Light Build for 30 Gal Oceanic Cube **Updated 100% done with pics**


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#1
McJosh13

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About 3 months ago I began planning a led lighting fixture for my empty 30gal oceanic cube. Now that fixture is about 90% done and instead of updating the old thread I thought I would start a new one. I would have taken more pictures of the building process but my x-wife stole my camera along with half of my sh#t.

Here are the plans I came up with in google sketch up

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Here is the basic parts list (lots of little parts missing):
LED'S
21 Royal Blue Cree XR-E Etgtech.com
19 White Q5 Cree XR-E Etgtech.com
3 UV 3w led Kaidomain.com
40 40 degree cree optics

POWERSUPPLY AND CONTROLLER
2 Meanwell ELN-60-27P Powergate.com
2 LM317 voltage regulator Radioshack
2 5k potentiometer Radioshack
2 700ohm resitors Radioshack
1 12v power supply Around the house
1 hobby box Radioshack

CASING
2 19" L x 5.375 w " Heatsinks HeatsinkUSA.com
2 19" L x 2" w x .5" thick aluminum flat stock SpeedyMetals.com
2 11.75" L x 3" w x 1" thick aluminum flat stock SpeedyMetals.com
2 11.75" L x 1" x 1" angle bracket Speedymetals.com
2 19" L x 1/4" x 1/4' angle bracket Speedymetals.com
2 10.75" x 1/4" x 1/4" angle bracket Speedymetals.com

10-32 Taps (high speed steal, plug style) and screws
4-40 Taps (high speed steal, plug and bottoming style) and screws

Here are some pictures of the heatsink getting ready to be drilled

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Summary of build:

#1 order aluminum stock of the appropriates sizes
#2 drill and tap the aluminum stock and the heatsink as shown in previous model, being careful to drill straight holes
#3 sand the bottom of the heatsinks, mark, drill, and tap the holes for the leds (here's a tip, DO NOT use high carbon steel taps, they are brittle and break easily. I broke a 4-40 high carbon steel tap on my second hole. I then got a couple high quality high speed steel 4-40 taps to finish the rest of the holes for the leds and didn't break a single one.)
#4 use a belt sander to put a nice brushed finish on the aluminum stock
#5 anodize the aluminum stock using the LCD anodizing process (for more info on home anodizing see http://forum.caswell...zing-questions/ )
#6 assemble the casing, apply arctic silver thermal compound to leds and screw in leds.
#7 wire the leds
#8 build circuits to control meanwells as suggested by evil http://www.electroni...articles/LM317/

Steps left

-Anodize and screw in angle bracket for splash cover mounting
-Get plexiglass splash cover of appropriate size and screw in to fixture
-bundle wires and feed through rubber grommet



And here are some pictures of the nearly finished product

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Will post more later details later. Many thanks to Evil who without his tireless efforts this project would probably never would have been possible.

Edited by McJosh13, 27 August 2009 - 09:52 AM.


#2
evilc66

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Damn dude, that thing's built like a tank!

#3
McJosh13

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Damn dude, that thing's built like a tank!


I know...it must weigh like 25 pounds

#4
Kraylen

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#5
nate82

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Wow awesome job that light is sweeeeet.

#6
cptbjorn

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Whats with the little guy in the middle not connected to anything? Feng shui?

Edit: is that the black anodizing dye from caswell? I've been using RIT dyes forever but black doesn't always turn out the best and I've been too cheap to pay 30 bucks shipped for a little bottle.

Edited by cptbjorn, 06 June 2009 - 08:30 PM.


#7
McJosh13

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Whats with the little guy in the middle not connected to anything? Feng shui?

Edit: is that the black anodizing dye from caswell? I've been using RIT dyes forever but black doesn't always turn out the best and I've been too cheap to pay 30 bucks shipped for a little bottle.


The little guy in the middle is the moon light which hasn't been connected yet.

As a note the Meanwell power supply's don't seem to dim down very far (they don't seem to go down further then 333ma/string in my setup which is still is pretty damn bright so separate moonlight is required.) The dye is from Caswell's and I have been very happy with it. As you know black is the hardest color to dye and it has been very reliable thusfar.

Edited by McJosh13, 06 June 2009 - 11:10 PM.


#8
CONSTANTNE

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I really like the modern look of the fixture. You did a great job!

If you dont mind how much did the fixture cost to build?

#9
cptbjorn

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Very nice, sounds like I'm gonna have to get some of that black dye.

You probably know this already but on large surface area passive heatsinks like this a good black anodizing can cut the thermal resistance by up to half by doubling-tripling the emissivity compared to the dull aluminum (silver heatsinks depend more on direct air conduction while black ones do that plus emit more IR radiation basically). By my ballpark rough estimation you'd probably need a fan if you hadn't gone black. Plus it looks slick as hell. Great job, makes me want to hurry up with my builds.

#10
McJosh13

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As far as how much it cost..I haven't tallied up all costs but would estimate around $500 give or take.

Cptbjorn, My original plan was to anodize the heatsink but because of it's huge surface area my power supply cannot supply enough amperage to get the job done so I left it un-anodized. Even so the temp never exceeds 46*C so I don't think I will add a fan.

#11
cptbjorn

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Oh ok then, I thought from the pics that it had been anodized but was just reflecting different. If its only hitting 46C then it doesn't matter anyways; I thought it would be closer to 55. Cool.

#12
Muggz

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This has to be one of THE slickest LED lights I've seen. Well done!
Love the design... can't get over it, just WOW.
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#13
McJosh13

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This has to be one of THE slickest LED lights I've seen. Well done!
Love the design... can't get over it, just WOW.


Thanks, I appreciate that. Soon I will update the thread with a few of the things that I would have done differently.

#14
iMaGin3

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hows the dimming with the pots for these p drivers?

#15
McJosh13

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hows the dimming with the pots for these p drivers?



The dimming range is definitely limited. They will dim down to about 50% before shutting off, no range between 0% - 50%. Still the range works fine for my purposes.

#16
Christo

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The dimming range is definitely limited. They will dim down to about 50% before shutting off, no range between 0% - 50%. Still the range works fine for my purposes.


Nice Light man,

Any updates on the tank?
Christo


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#17
McJosh13

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It's been a while but I finally got access to a camera again so I thought I would update the thread. The light fixture has been done and the splash shield is installed so I've been running the tank with an open top.

The light fixture transfers very little heat to the tank and it only experiences about a 1-2 degree variance between night and day staying at 79 at night and getting up to around 81 tops towards the end of the day (usually less.) Some of this heat is probably coming from the refuge light which is a 18w compact florescent and is very close to the water.

The tanks has been set up for about 3 months and besides for an initial diatom outbreak everything has been looking real good. All of the tanks parameters have been very stable with 3gal/week water changes.

I have no reference to gauge my coral's growth by because this is my first reef tank but I have been getting what seems like very fast growth out of my Zoa's and Ricordia. My frogspawn and plate coral has been looking very healthy but I haven't really seen any growth yet.

Now for the fun part:


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I removed the UV leds from the normal RB/W pattern and put them in separately because the spots where the UV leds were looking very uneven do to their low visible output

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Fuge light has been removed to give better shot of the refugium
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I really have no idea how to take a good tank shot, they all come out like s##t, so I will try to get some good tank shots in the future when I figure out what settings to use on this camera

Edited by McJosh13, 27 August 2009 - 11:34 AM.


#18
ajmckay

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Nice update!

What kind of return pump do you have in there? It looks small, but maybe that's just the photo.

Your rocks are really great, and of course the LED fixture is top notch!

#19
McJosh13

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Nice update!

What kind of return pump do you have in there? It looks small, but maybe that's just the photo.

Your rocks are really great, and of course the LED fixture is top notch!


Your eyes do not decive you, the return pump is small...its only a maxi-jet 1100, but I don't really see need of moving huge amounts of water through my refuge and it seems to be working out good thus far, besides the Vortech Mp20 produces mostly all of the flow inside the tank.

I am happy with the rocks, the shapes are great, but they are taking forever to grow coralline on them (The majority are dry rock from Tampa Bay Saltwater)

#20
Crazy Tiki

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Hey McJosh,

Question about your LED wiring: Did you wire 3 strings of 7 leds in parallel for each Meanwell? I know alot oppose wiring LED strings in series unless you do current mirroring, but it doesn't look like you did that.

With your ELN 60-27 I figured 27/3.7 = 7leds and with the current being at 2.3/3 =760ma per line. Is that correct? I was trying to trace your wiring but couldn't figure it out.

thanks.

#21
Bamato

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I think I just pooped a little. That lighting is awesome!!!

#22
McJosh13

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Crazy Tiki,

You are correct about the way I wired the leds. I know people on this site oppose wiring leds this way but based on my past projects I think the risks are way overstated. Each parallel string of leds has very close to the same amount of current flowing through them and after the fixture has been running and heated up the variance is the same.

Bamato- Lol, thanks

#23
Crazy Tiki

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Crazy Tiki,

You are correct about the way I wired the leds. I know people on this site oppose wiring leds this way but based on my past projects I think the risks are way overstated. Each parallel string of leds has very close to the same amount of current flowing through them and after the fixture has been running and heated up the variance is the same.

Bamato- Lol, thanks


Thanks MCJosh,

I was just gifted a 60 gallon Truvu and wanted to build 2 seperate arrays to cover the tank. Putting 3 or 4 meanwells for each array seemed kind of alot, especially if you could just wire them up in parrallel strands, I know the risk, but I couldn't imagine that comercial uses for these drivers are just limited to 13 led's. Thanks you just saved me like $120 bucks.

#24
McJosh13

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I think it is a good thing that evil and others here instruct the safer way of wiring by using either all series circuits or parallel w/ current mirrors, but for those of us that understand the risks of wiring in parallel and are willing to accept them, I think it is worth the savings in money/extra equipment.

For example, if something were to happen and an LED in one of the strings were to fail for some reason the 2.3A from the driver would now be distributed over 2 strings instead of 3. This would result in 1.15A/string. While this is higher then you would like it would not be catastrophic and as long as you identified that there was a string out (should be pretty obvious) and replace the faulty led in a reasonable amount of time there would be no damage to anything.

There is also the theoretical danger of each string receiving different amounts of current do to differences in the vF of the leds. I have not experienced this problem to a great extent in any of my projects but it should definitely be tested for when the system is first set up.

I would not recommend wiring like this to a newb, but if your familiar with the risks/benefits I think it may be a viable alternative

Edited by McJosh13, 12 September 2009 - 02:31 PM.


#25
evilc66

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The other issue is if one LED fails shorted, and that string is now over volted. Now you run the risk of killing all LEDs in that string.