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How To - Aquastyle DIY LED - Coral Photos Added


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#1
Trogdor447

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Here you will find photographed instructions on how to DIY Aquastyles LED kit. It took me about 4 hours to completely assemble everything - I'm not a novice to wiring though.
Whats in the box!
Posted Image
2- Heatsinks - I ordered 2 at rays suggestion, glad I did.
2- Mounting Kits (currently he is shipping with heat sinks for free)
2- Power cords with convenient connectors - I don't like these and I solder my wires!
2- 12v Fans (the fan blades color is yellow but they work)
Pack of LEDs of your choosing - Ray ships a few extras I did not get extra UV bulbs
2- LED Dimmable drivers
3- Tubes of Heatsink Plaster - (only used 1)
2- ~6 foot long 16 guage wires.
37- 60 degree Optics

1 Free fish thermometer!! Thanks RAY!

Posted Image
Oh wait that is my cats trying to find out whats in the box :) Too late kitties.

What you will need!
Posted Image
The basics:
Permanent Market (Sharpe fine tip I prefer)
Wire Cutters
Soldering Iron
Solder - thinner the better for this job.
Measuring Tape
Small needle nose pliers - Not required but makes life easy when soldering
Electrical Tape - I used almost an entire roll of it.

The Extras:
Volt Meter (if you have any wiring issues - I did not fortunately)
Duct Tape (used for holding the heat sinks together)
Project Box - Will be used to mount the dimmers

These are the step by step instructions from Ray at Aquastyles.
1: Decide Position of LEDs.
2. Using the Heatsink plaster to adhere the LEDs to the Heatsink. Be careful it dries in 10 minutes.
3. Position the LEDs so they are easily soldered. Remember it's a simple +- +- in series arrangement.
4. Once you have all LEDs soldered in series you can attach and power up the driver. The red wire is connected to the + on the LED and the black wire is attached to the - on the LED. You can directly solder the driver wire to the LED or use the provided wire connectors to remotely mount the driver away from the fixture.
5. For dimmable driver, there is two white wires on the output, connect them to potentionmeter.(as the picture shown, connect to the middle and either side)
6. When attatching the plug, connect to the Live (L) and the Neutral (N) of LED drive. (L and N can be swapped over)
7. Place the optics on the LEDs.
8. Verify all the connection is working before you connect the power.


Step 1: Decide Position of LEDs.
This should be very simple, you want to try to get the best spread out of your LED pattern as possible. Every other row changing colors, make a different chain etc. I sketched mine out on paper long before my kit got here, this way I would not be ill prepared. It is one less thing to have to concern yourself with.

Posted Image
I left 1/2 inch on all corners from the Heatsink(this helps prevent any accidental bumping/grabbing). My girlfriend came in and told me she figured out my pattern while I was making food (perfect timing). Using your permanent marker, mark a line at each side of the Heatsink with your measurements. Then using a ruler/yardstick/corner of a straight box draw a straight line across. This will help with more accurate positioning of the LEDs.

Posted Image
This is my pattern sketched out. W- White, B- Blue, UV - Ultra Violet

Posted Image
Here is the LEDs laid out - I suggest using one color LED here, this way you don't get confused - However you can take them out of the package(s) and initial on the back in permanent marker!

Step 2. Using the Heatsink plaster to adhere the LEDs to the Heatsink. Be careful it dries in 10 minutes.
Step 2 & 3 are one in the same
This should be common sense, however you do not need to overdue this, in fact it may cause problems transferring heat if you lather it up to much. Use sparingly, I got 3 tubes of Heatsink plaster with my order and I only used 1.

Posted Image
About a pea size drop is all that is required to mount them.

3. Position the LEDs so they are easily soldered. Remember it's a simple +- +- in series arrangement.
All this means is make sure that all of your LEDs are aligned the same. They are kindly marked with + and -.

Posted Image

Step 4: Solder.
If you are a novice please read. You always want to 'tin' your wires when soldering. This helps a lot when making connections later on and your wires don't become frayed when trying to solder to the LEDs. To tin the wires, all that you have to do is hold the wire to the soldering iron and WAIT for it to heat up enough that it sucks up the solder without melting it over the top.

Forgive me for not having 3 arms to photograph while soldering
Posted Image
Non Tinned Wire

Posted Image
After Tinned - this may not have been my best job but it is sufficient

Posted Image
Once your wires are tinned you can solder to the LEDs themselves. This should be very simple pending you have done your pre-planning with the diagram. This was probably my worst solder of the night.

Tip: When wiring your kit use a different color for each 'dimmer' strip. I used my blue wire on my Blue strip, and my black wire on my White strip.

5. For dimmable driver, there is two white wires on the output
A key note here - connect both of them in the same pattern, if you do one with the opposite post your dimmer will be backwards from one another.

Posted Image
The provided photo is sufficient.

-I also forgot to take a photo of this step. I'm sorry -

MAKE SURE you connect the wires in order or it will blow your driver almost instantly.
Red to + side
Black to - Side

6. When attaching the plug, connect to the Live(L) and the Neutral (N) of LED drive
Please be advised that of any time in your project you need to be concerned with bare wire exposure it is here. The kit provides nice clamps for this, I stick to wire nuts. As stated you can use the L / N for either of the posts. I soldered the wire together to connect them! THIS ensures the wires wont come apart and become bare and exposed. And then I used electrical tape to cover everything.

Posted Image
I put one driver on each heatsink.

7. Place the optics on the LEDs
Nothing really needs to be said, this is common sense.

Posted Image
Don't crush your LEDs but make sure that they have been secured enough.

8. Verify all the connection is working before you connect the power.
I have to leave the typo on connection in Ray's instructions :). However this step is basically saying make sure you don't have loose wires dangling around. I left my LED kit plugged in the entire time while electrical taping to ensure i did not have any bare wires exposed.


Posted Image

Enjoy - Please feel free to comment - Photos of my tank lit up will be coming as soon as I figure out how to mount it up.

Photos over my tank
Tank is not the cleanest - my GHA war is almost done - just have the rock on the left with it - If anyone seen my 20H you would understand its not bad - I did not scrub the walls etc - My clown is not the happiest with the new light yet - Anemone is doing just fine - in fact hes not extended near as far with the new light.

These photos are not elevated above my tank yet - its still sitting on the class with the 60 degree optics - Until I elevate it I am leaving my T5HO in the corner to keep my frags lit - But thats not on or in any of these pictures! In fact when its on I can hardly tell.

Posted Image
My preferred blend of colors there is no % to really give but id say 80% white / 90% blue power

Posted Image
All white - The walls just have a little film algae - I try not to clean all the walls at once, My blenny and coral beauty love nomming on it - the left wall i never clean so they always have something.

Posted Image
Blue.. OMG my poor camera :)

Edited by Trogdor447, 19 August 2011 - 10:03 AM.

"hun I think George(anemone) is trying to eat Mr. Clown"

Burninating 40b
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=268998

Aquastyle 36 LED Dimmable (40 LEDs)
http://www.nano-reef...?...279188&st=0

Aquastyle 12 LED Sump Reactor
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=287534

My 20h - Flame on - Retired
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=236391

#2
28g nano noob

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Here you will find photographed instructions on how to DIY Aquastyles LED kit. It took me about 4 hours to completely assemble everything - I'm not a novice to wiring though.
Whats in the box!
Posted Image
2- Heatsinks - I ordered 2 at rays suggestion, glad I did.
2- Mounting Kits (currently he is shipping with heat sinks for free)
2- Power cords with convenient connectors - I don't like these and I solder my wires!
2- 12v Fans (the fan blades color is yellow but they work)
Pack of LEDs of your choosing - Ray ships a few extras I did not get extra UV bulbs
2- LED Dimmable drivers
3- Tubes of Heatsink Plaster - (only used 1)
2- ~6 foot long 16 guage wires.
37- 60 degree Optics

1 Free fish thermometer!! Thanks RAY!

Posted Image
Oh wait that is my cats trying to find out whats in the box :) Too late kitties.

What you will need!
Posted Image
The basics:
Permanent Market (Sharpe fine tip I prefer)
Wire Cutters
Soldering Iron
Solder - thinner the better for this job.
Measuring Tape
Small needle nose pliers - Not required but makes life easy when soldering

The Extras:
Volt Meter (if you have any wiring issues - I did not fortunately)
Duct Tape (used for holding the heat sinks together)
Project Box - Will be used to mount the dimmers

These are the step by step instructions from Ray at Aquastyles.
1: Decide Position of LEDs.
2. Using the Heatsink plaster to adhere the LEDs to the Heatsink. Be careful it dries in 10 minutes.
3. Position the LEDs so they are easily soldered. Remember it's a simple +- +- in series arrangement.
4. Once you have all LEDs soldered in series you can attach and power up the driver. The red wire is connected to the + on the LED and the black wire is attached to the - on the LED. You can directly solder the driver wire to the LED or use the provided wire connectors to remotely mount the driver away from the fixture.
5. For dimmable driver, there is two white wires on the output, connect them to potentionmeter.(as the picture shown, connect to the middle and either side)
6. When attatching the plug, connect to the Live (L) and the Neutral (N) of LED drive. (L and N can be swapped over)
7. Place the optics on the LEDs.
8. Verify all the connection is working before you connect the power.


Step 1: Decide Position of LEDs.
This should be very simple, you want to try to get the best spread out of your LED pattern as possible. Every other row changing colors, make a different chain etc. I sketched mine out on paper long before my kit got here, this way I would not be ill prepared. It is one less thing to have to concern yourself with.

Posted Image
I left 1/2 inch on all corners from the Heatsink(this helps prevent any accidental bumping/grabbing). My girlfriend came in and told me she figured out my pattern while I was making food (perfect timing). Using your permanent marker, mark a line at each side of the Heatsink with your measurements. Then using a ruler/yardstick/corner of a straight box draw a straight line across. This will help with more accurate positioning of the LEDs.

Posted Image
This is my pattern sketched out. W- White, B- Blue, UV - Ultra Violet

Posted Image
Here is the LEDs laid out - I suggest using one color LED here, this way you don't get confused - However you can take them out of the package(s) and initial on the back in permanent marker!

Step 2. Using the Heatsink plaster to adhere the LEDs to the Heatsink. Be careful it dries in 10 minutes.
Step 2 & 3 are one in the same
This should be common sense, however you do not need to overdue this, in fact it may cause problems transferring heat if you lather it up to much. Use sparingly, I got 3 tubes of Heatsink plaster with my order and I only used 1.

Posted Image
About a pea size drop is all that is required to mount them.

3. Position the LEDs so they are easily soldered. Remember it's a simple +- +- in series arrangement.
All this means is make sure that all of your LEDs are aligned the same. They are kindly marked with + and -.

Posted Image

Step 4: Solder.
If you are a novice please read. You always want to 'tin' your wires when soldering. This helps a lot when making connections later on and your wires don't become frayed when trying to solder to the LEDs. To tin the wires, all that you have to do is hold the wire to the soldering iron and WAIT for it to heat up enough that it sucks up the solder without melting it over the top.

Forgive me for not having 3 arms to photograph while soldering
Posted Image
Non Tinned Wire

Posted Image
After Tinned - this may not have been my best job but it is sufficient

Posted Image
Once your wires are tinned you can solder to the LEDs themselves. This should be very simple pending you have done your pre-planning with the diagram. This was probably my worst solder of the night.

Tip: When wiring your kit use a different color for each 'dimmer' strip. I used my blue wire on my Blue strip, and my black wire on my White strip.

5. For dimmable driver, there is two white wires on the output
A key note here - connect both of them in the same pattern, if you do one with the opposite post your dimmer will be backwards from one another.

Posted Image
The provided photo is sufficient.

-I also forgot to take a photo of this step. I'm sorry -

MAKE SURE you connect the wires in order or it will blow your driver almost instantly.
Red to + side
Black to - Side

6. When attaching the plug, connect to the Live(L) and the Neutral (N) of LED drive
Please be advised that of any time in your project you need to be concerned with bare wire exposure it is here. The kit provides nice clamps for this, I stick to wire nuts. As stated you can use the L / N for either of the posts. I soldered the wire together to connect them! THIS ensures the wires wont come apart and become bare and exposed. And then I used electrical tape to cover everything.

Posted Image
I put one driver on each heatsink.

7. Place the optics on the LEDs
Nothing really needs to be said, this is common sense.

Posted Image
Don't crush your LEDs but make sure that they have been secured enough.

8. Verify all the connection is working before you connect the power.
I have to leave the typo on connection in Ray's instructions :). However this step is basically saying make sure you don't have loose wires dangling around. I left my LED kit plugged in the entire time while electrical taping to ensure i did not have any bare wires exposed.


Posted Image

Enjoy - Please feel free to comment - Photos of my tank lit up will be coming as soon as I figure out how to mount it up.

very nice great job defently enplanes every thing
Posted Image Posted Image

EPIC^

#3
th64

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nice... how about a pic with it over ur tank

#4
Trogdor447

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nice... how about a pic with it over ur tank


I have the contact cement curing now - to hold the 2 heatsinks together. Next I will have to figure out a way to mount it for a month before I move :-/ ugh... I cant put a hole in the roof knowing I'm moving out so soon. I may just put 2x4's ghetto style for the short term :)
"hun I think George(anemone) is trying to eat Mr. Clown"

Burninating 40b
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=268998

Aquastyle 36 LED Dimmable (40 LEDs)
http://www.nano-reef...?...279188&st=0

Aquastyle 12 LED Sump Reactor
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=287534

My 20h - Flame on - Retired
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=236391

#5
cberglof

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Did you not put optics on your uv lenses? I just saw how one led was bare in the photo. If you didn't why?

#6
Trogdor447

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Did you not put optics on your uv lenses? I just saw how one led was bare in the photo. If you didn't why?


because I had extra LED's and built it with 40 instead of 36 - I only had 37 Optics - So i left it off of the UV's and one off of my whites.

Good eye though :)

I should also note that the white LED's have a yellow hue to them - if you accidently misplace them
"hun I think George(anemone) is trying to eat Mr. Clown"

Burninating 40b
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=268998

Aquastyle 36 LED Dimmable (40 LEDs)
http://www.nano-reef...?...279188&st=0

Aquastyle 12 LED Sump Reactor
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=287534

My 20h - Flame on - Retired
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=236391

#7
smai-tai

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Very nice build and well detailed thread. I am too about to embark on my first DIY LED build.
Salvation: the realization of the supremacy of infinite Mind over all bringing with it the destruction of the illusion of sin, sickness, and death.

#8
scrappy34

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impressive.. do you think the 24led kit would be enough for a 30g long?

#9
FishSticks

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If you ever had experience with Cree Leds do you think those are as good?

#10
then00b

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When you hang the kit, What do you hang them on to?
Btw, I'm from scranton too :D

Edited by then00b, 16 August 2011 - 10:17 PM.

Posted Image


#11
Trogdor447

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Tank Photos added

I think the 24 LED kit would really be pushing it on a 30 long - The 40b is 36 inches long, and the 36 LEDs is just about right -

I cannot say that these are 'comparable' to the CREE LEDs, however you could build 3 of these sets for the cost of 1 CREE system -

MY contact cement has cured finally going to ride it out today to see how it handles - and Then I'll figure out how i'm going to mount
"hun I think George(anemone) is trying to eat Mr. Clown"

Burninating 40b
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=268998

Aquastyle 36 LED Dimmable (40 LEDs)
http://www.nano-reef...?...279188&st=0

Aquastyle 12 LED Sump Reactor
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=287534

My 20h - Flame on - Retired
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=236391

#12
th64

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I dont think theres any telling yet if they are comparable to the crees until his corals are growing good but they look bright as hell over the tank!

#13
symon_say

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What do you think about the color, is ok, you think some neutral whites can improve the color? You find something is missing from this setup against the other?

#14
LeslieAnn

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I dont think theres any telling yet if they are comparable to the crees until his corals are growing good but they look bright as hell over the tank!


What do you think about the color, is ok, you think some neutral whites can improve the color? You find something is missing from this setup against the other?


I have the same response for both of these posts.

Buy more than you need.

As someone mentioned, you can get 3 of these entire kits for the price of a single Cree system, so get a few extra LEDs. This gives you extra power if you need it and allows you to tune the colors. This is even easier on larger systems where you can have a dimmer for each color. If think you need 20, grab 30. If you don;t use them all, you have spares for later if some burn out.

Edited by LeslieAnn, 17 August 2011 - 07:36 PM.


#15
scrappy34

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Tank Photos added

I think the 24 LED kit would really be pushing it on a 30 long - The 40b is 36 inches long, and the 36 LEDs is just about right -


by "pushing it" do you mean 24 LED's is too much? or too little?



thanks for the help

#16
beliak

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Buy more than you need.

As someone mentioned, you can get 3 of these entire kits for the price of a single Cree system, so get a few extra LEDs.


Wouldnt that kinda defeat one of the great aspects of LED technology though? Don't we flock to it because of how low the energy consumption is? Lol, Just a thought, but if we got more than we should need, we'd probably be nearing T5 Energy usage, atleast, that's how I'm looking at it. I'm looking forward to seeing some output levels on these Aquastyles systems so much. I would love to have 1 of the systems from how they look in you guys' pics. But I don't want to get them and they be crappy output. I'd rather spend the extra and get CREE if I have to. Just mah .02c

#17
LeslieAnn

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I said use a few extra bulbs not 3 whole kits.

Instead of getting, say 20 bulbs that you think you need, get 30. If you need more light, use a few, and keep a few for spare or for color tuning, is what I meant.

I didn't mean us all 30 bulbs and I did not mean buy 3 kits. 10 bulbs isn't even $30. Still a far cry from Cree even with extras.

As for T5, I don't think t5 would be better, but you still save money in the long run (bulb cost and Air Conditioning). You may match T5 watt for watt, but the bulb life and customization is better, and the fact that if one bulb fails you have several to cover for it, is still a benefit.

Would you prefer, "Oh darn I lost a $3 LED" or would you rather, "Damn, there went a $40 bulb, I have to fix that before I lose a bunch of corals."

Not to mention being able to build your own and replace each part seperately? Why would I want to mess with anything else. Want more lights add a larger driver and more bulbs, different more powerfull, bulbs, also easy. color change? Swap few cheap bulbs, it's modular. I will never go CF or T5 again. At this point, forget MH even. They just aren't worth it anymore. LED is the future. Sure you can build those, but not like this.

Edited by LeslieAnn, 17 August 2011 - 09:27 PM.


#18
symon_say

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Andwith leds you might have the wattage for the full system but you never run then at 100%, a lot of people run then lower than 50% so final consumption is less than t5, and you don't have to change bulbs every 10-12 months, and with this kit you're actully spending less up front than a t5 system, for me is a win situation at every corner you look at.

#19
Trogdor447

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To give a better understanding why order extra bulbs.. everyone is in debate if these are quality etc.. so just grab a few extra! This is the same common sense why I keep a stair set of t5 bulbs! In case something happens you are covered. I'm going to be ordering another kit for my girlfriends edge and possible fray tank when I get more cash!

I love the output of these bulbs and the color is great! I of course have enough to adjust blue and white separately. If I did not I think I would go 2w/3b combo
"hun I think George(anemone) is trying to eat Mr. Clown"

Burninating 40b
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=268998

Aquastyle 36 LED Dimmable (40 LEDs)
http://www.nano-reef...?...279188&st=0

Aquastyle 12 LED Sump Reactor
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=287534

My 20h - Flame on - Retired
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=236391

#20
beliak

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So hows the corals looking under them Trog?

#21
Trogdor447

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So hows the corals looking under them Trog?


Great - I actually took some photos - my camera died ... figures battery is recharging now - I got to run to the store and will be a couple hours before I'm back - I may have to play w/ some of the camera settings I'm not sure, its a Canon SX30IS - step down from DSLR -

Edit: - One photo of the first batch turned out ok and not complete wash out -
Posted Image
one of my sps - it looks beautiful :)

Edited by Trogdor447, 19 August 2011 - 05:10 AM.

"hun I think George(anemone) is trying to eat Mr. Clown"

Burninating 40b
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=268998

Aquastyle 36 LED Dimmable (40 LEDs)
http://www.nano-reef...?...279188&st=0

Aquastyle 12 LED Sump Reactor
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=287534

My 20h - Flame on - Retired
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=236391

#22
Trogdor447

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As requested here are some photos - The GHA you see is all that I have left I'm 6 months declared war against it - I waited way to long to start that battle -

Posted Image
BLENNY! And coral beauty!! ;)

Posted Image
Not sure - a Hitch Hiker - the other zoa's on the rock dwindled - these started thriving

Posted Image
Dont know the name of these purple with green skirts

Posted Image
Radeo Active dragon Eyes - I believe - not sure got it in a bargain grab for 10 bucks

Posted Image
Purple With orange skirts really pretty - hard to focus on thats about 8 inches back

Posted Image
Teal blue - Ping ring Candy Cane - about to split again 3 heads
Eagle Eyes just to the left - I have some deforming and the center is brilliant green - I isoloated one and going to see if they continue to grow out like that

Posted Image
Frogspawn and GHA - Thats all I have left really thank god

Posted Image
I'm pretty sure this is a finger leather - was given to me as a mushroom - but well it doesnt appear to be a mushroom anymore :) - A guy was going out of the hobby.. Growing large - will have to frag soon - that is about 5 inches tall

Posted Image
Of course the mile of GSp - isolated on a rock - Hope it stays that way! - Going to frag it out soon - got some more plugs (100 to be infact)
"hun I think George(anemone) is trying to eat Mr. Clown"

Burninating 40b
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=268998

Aquastyle 36 LED Dimmable (40 LEDs)
http://www.nano-reef...?...279188&st=0

Aquastyle 12 LED Sump Reactor
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=287534

My 20h - Flame on - Retired
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=236391

#23
beliak

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Those look awesome. The corals are responding well with the LEDs then? Or are you still using other lights on the tank as well?

#24
m28cruiser

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That looks great! :D

#25
Trogdor447

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Those look awesome. The corals are responding well with the LEDs then? Or are you still using other lights on the tank as well?


Corals are loving this! there is only one that took a little 'shock' during day 1 and 2 - its the easiest and fastest grower I have - its color is starting to show finally during normal hours not just moonlight hours. It has 200+ heads -

Its difficult for me to tell if that is what was affecting it or if it was my blenny - that is his home.. and he eats flake & such - so he gets excited when i come up to the tank - my cleaner shrimp hangs out near there too and cleans him - it is possible that was more a factor than the light-

MY SPS are like frothing at the mouth, they never been happier - in the short time (1 month) I've had them
"hun I think George(anemone) is trying to eat Mr. Clown"

Burninating 40b
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=268998

Aquastyle 36 LED Dimmable (40 LEDs)
http://www.nano-reef...?...279188&st=0

Aquastyle 12 LED Sump Reactor
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=287534

My 20h - Flame on - Retired
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=236391