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GTi's 30 LED Build Thread - BioCube 29


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#1
GTi

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Just a teaser for now. I have just got home and all my parts have arrived. This is supposed to be a Christmas present but I had to be sure nothing was missing or damaged so I opened up the packages to check and thought I'd share with photos. I won't start the build until the end of the month but I am planning to document the LED build, Typhon hookup and the cooling I am using.

I bought components during Rapid LED's Black Friday sale. 16 Royal Blue XP-E, 8 Neutral White XP-G, 2 Blue XP-E and 4 Violet UV 3W LEDs. 4 Blue moonlights. 3 Meanwell dimmable drivers ELN-60-48P. 5.9 x 16" heatsink. Moonlight driver. Arctic Alumina thermal adhesive. 3 power cords for drivers. Wire for LED hook up.

2011_12_09_0238_zps6f84b6bf.jpg


I also bought a Typhon lighting controller (comes with power supply and output wires).

2011_12_09_0239_zps003aaa1e.jpg


Finally, I bought some cooling gear. Coolerguys programmable thermal controller, 12V/5V power supply, Noctua 80mm fan, extension harness for thermal probe and fan.

2011_12_09_0240_zpsbb6bdc50.jpg


Proposed design detail:

I'm trying to alternate the RB and NW LEDs which is definitely harder with some colour ratios and numbers of LEDs than others. I think I am going with this layout but if anyone has comments I'll be glad to hear them. NW will be on one driver and half the RB on another and the remaining RB and the 2 B on the third. This way I will have the ability to vary the colour temperature as well as intensity by selective dimming of each circuit. LEDs will be approximately 2" apart (centre to centre) and rows approximately 2.5" apart.

ledlyout.jpg

The heatsink will replace the stock lighting in the hood, inside the splash shield. The drivers will be external to the hood because 3 won't fit and also to keep the heat down in the tank.

The stock fan set up will not flow air in the right area so I am removing the stock fans and using the openings as air intakes and making a new hole in the hood front and centre for the 80 mm fan. This will be above the heatsink and will pull air from the rear openings. I have a programmable fan controller with thermocouple which allows the fan on and off temperatures to be set. Definitely overkill but I wanted the flexibility to adjust these parameters rather than have to redesign later on. I got the medium speed fan which has adapters to run at 800 RPM / 26 m^3/h, 1300 RPM / 39 m^3/h, or 1800 RPM / 53 m^3/h with noise ratings of 7, 10 and 17 dB(A) respectively. Should be a lot quieter than the stock fans. If the flow isn't adequate to keep the heat down, I will step up to the high speed fan. I got a grille that will cover the fan and tidy things up a bit for a more stock look. There are extension wires for the fan and controller to allow flexibility of where to mount the controller.

The Typhon is an Arduino-based light controller that uses a Pulse Width Modulation output to the drivers. The stock programming allows one one/off cycle per channel per day with sunrise and sunset ramping. It can be reprogrammed using a PC and USB cable but this is beyond me right now. The unit should be capable of controlling fans and moonlights if you know how to programme it. As I don't, I bought the LED moonlight kit and will operate that separately to the main LEDs. The Typhon comes as a DIY board with dispaly and needs a housing. There are plenty of project boxes out there and even some Arduino-specific ones but the problem is the screen height makes it difficult to get a flush screen and also allow button integration. I have seen some other projects out there with a variety of solutions, some elegant, some less so but nothing off the shelf. I don't think the Typhon will need constant adjustment once the acclimatisation of the coral has been completed so it may not be a big deal.

Comments welcome!


Edit 10 Dec: Add proposed design detail.


Edited by GTi, 06 January 2013 - 05:07 AM.


#2
GTi

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I finally started the build yesterday.

The first step was to do a partial disassembly of the BioCube hood to find suitable mounting points for the heatsink. Under the heatshield/reflector there are a number of moulded screw holes. I picked 4 of them and used a sheet of paper placed on top of them to mark their relative locations. Next was to determine where to drill these holes in the heatsink so it would fit inside the splash shield and also so the holes did not coincide with a cooling fin on the backside of the heat-sink. The holes were drilled and suitable screws located in the box of odds and ends in the basement! The heatsink was wiped down with rubbing alcohol to remove grease and swarf in preparation for the next step. (I reassembled the hood so I will try to remember to get photos of the mounting locations when I do the installation).

Now the mounting holes were done, the next step was to arrange the LEDs in a suitable pattern to avoid spotlighting and shadows and to get good colour blending. I ended up following the pattern shown in the original post except I reduced the spacing between LEDs in the middle row so they covered the same area as the other 2 rows. I have 4 circuits: 2 circuits with 8 rotal blue and one blue, 1 circuit with 8 neutral white LEDs and a circuit with 4 blue moonlights. When laying out the LEDs the objective was to ensure the wiring did not cross other LEDs and to follow the simplest route. I offset some of the white LEDs to accomplish this. I left the moonlight LEDs until last as their placement is less critical than the others. As you can see in the photo, this was only partly successful!

Once the LED layout had been determined, I mixed up a small amount of the Arctic Alumina adhesive and glued down the 9 LEDs in the first circuit. The adhesive firms up in 4-5 minutes so make small batches. The LEDs only need a thin smear on the back and are applied to the heatsink with a press and rotate action.
This process was repeated for the remaining circuits.

While the adhesive was curing, I attached the power cords to the Meanwell drivers. This consisted of sliding some heatshrink tube along the cable and soldering black to brown and white to blue (green is cut off as it is not used - Meanwells are double-insulated). The soldered joints were covered with insulating tape and the heatshrink tube slid in to place and heated with a heat gun to created a tidy and waterproof joint.

The LEDs were wired up next. I cut lengths of wire to reach from the first LED's solder pad to the second LED's solder pad of the opposite polarity. (- to +). The wired were then tinned with solder and soldered in place taking care not to have any whiskers of wire sticking out or excess solder making unwanted connections to other solder pads or the heatsink. I used a multimeter in continuity mode and touched the probes to the unsoldered pads on the 2 connected LEDs to check for connectivity. (If the wire ran from LED 1 - to LED 2 +, I touched the unused - pad on LED 1 and the unused + pad on LED 2. If the soldering was good, the meter beeps). I also checked for conductivity between the solder joints and the heatsink by touching the solder and the heatsink - checking to jmake sure there is no beep in this test. All connections were good.

Next I drilled a few holes for running the power supply wires behind the heatsink to make things less crowded and to stop additional wiring from obstructing the LEDs.

At this point I needed supplies and the local HD didn't have anything suitable so I stopped and will visit Radio Shack tomorrow.

2012_01_01_1004_zpsaeb6bdba.jpg


Edited by GTi, 06 January 2013 - 05:08 AM.


#3
GTi

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Yesterday I picked up some supplies and continued the project. First I added a terminal strip to the side of the heatsink and then ran wires from the first and last LED in each string to it. I drilled the heatsink so the power wires would be on the backside to keep things tidier. I then hooked up each circuit to the driver (with dimmer attached to the driver) to check everything was working. Before powering up the driver I turned the SVR2 adjustment all the way counterclockwise to the stop. Use very light pressure when doing this as I believe these are easy to break!

With all of the circuits working well I proceeded to connect the drivers to a 12 position interlocking connector. I want to be able to disconnect the bulk of the electronics from the BioCube hood easily - the stock ballasts being attached to the hood annoy me when I am doing water changes and such. I got carried away and attached the dimmer wires as well which would mean the dimmer would be attached to the hood which is not the plan - back to RS today to get a pin extractor tool!

I also realised that the depth of the splash shield is probably not sufficient to house the 80 mm fan on top of the heatsink and that I will have to cut down some of the cooling fins to accommodate everything. Clearly this would be much better done before attaching all of the LEDs and wiring. The alternative is to revise the cooling system and use the existing fan openings. I want to stick with the fan extracting the heat directly above the heatsink so I will need to cut the fins down.

Once this is done I just need to make the harness that goes between the terminal strip and the 12 position connector. This will be done at the time of stripping out the hood so the harness length can be adjusted appropriately.

Photos to follow.

#4
safemode

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I hope you can dim your moonlight. While my tank is much shallower than your cube, Even the very low power blue led's (3) of my stock edge light keep many zoanthid polyps awake. I just dont even bother with the moonlight setting of that light anymore.

#5
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I hope you can dim your moonlight. While my tank is much shallower than your cube, Even the very low power blue led's (3) of my stock edge light keep many zoanthid polyps awake. I just dont even bother with the moonlight setting of that light anymore.

I do not have dimming ability on the moonlights - just the stock driver and 4 LEDs as supplied by Rapid LED. I have a couple of spare dimming outputs on the Typhon so I may have to look in to a different (dimmable) driver at some point. Maybe you can put some diffuser or tinted material over your LEDs to reduce the light getting in to the tank? Seems a pity not to be able to use them.

#6
safemode

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with the stock led light on the edge, the "moonlights" are the 3 actnic blue led's that are on with the rest of the white led's. You just also have the option of turning on just the 3 blue led's. Even though they aren't very bright, it's still too bright for some of the things directly below them.

Not a big loss though. I would only have the moonlight on when i'm sleeping and i dont need to bother seeing it when i'm sleeping, and fish dont really care.

#7
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with the stock led light on the edge, the "moonlights" are the 3 actnic blue led's that are on with the rest of the white led's. You just also have the option of turning on just the 3 blue led's. Even though they aren't very bright, it's still too bright for some of the things directly below them.

Not a big loss though. I would only have the moonlight on when i'm sleeping and i dont need to bother seeing it when i'm sleeping, and fish dont really care.

I understand now. I was considering just using some of my blue 'day' lights at lower power as moonlights but was concerned about the same thing. I guess I'll have to wait and see how it all looks when installed!

#8
GTi

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Last night I corrected the connector wiring so the dimmer circuit is on a separate connector. I cut out some of the cooling fins on the back of the heatsink and also cut a new hole in the hood for the 80 mm fan. I installed everything into the hood and made up the wiring harness to go from the 12 position connector and the terminal strip. I opened up the Meanwells and dialled the SVR2 adjustment all the way counterclockwise and powered up. At first the tank looked weird and then I realised the white LEDs were not on - there's a loose connection at the connector plug which I will need to fix but a wiggle worked for now.

Colour is similar to the stock BioCube fluorescent lighting with a blue stunner strip. No spotlighting or colour blending issues that I have noticed. Crazy shimmer everytime the Hydor Flo breaks the surface but I have an MP10 on order so that may be different soon.

When the Typhon sets the dimming current to zero, the LEDs are still lit at a very low power. I have heard of the Meanwells flashing the LEDs when unplugged but here the LEDs are staying lit all night.

I need to fix the loose connection, finish the moonlight wiring, tidy up the new fan hole in the hood and generally tidy things up. Also need to set the maximum current on the Meanwells.


Will get some photos taken and posted soon.

#9
cdrewferd

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Really interested to see how you did the big fan.

#10
GTi

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Really interested to see how you did the big fan.

I cut out a section of the cooling fins about 120 mm wide in the heatsink. I cut a hole to fit the fan grille in the hood of the BC just rear of the feeding door. I attached the grill and fan using the non-vibration rubber mounts that came with the fan - I superglued them to the inside of the hood. Quick and easy with nothing visible on the outside. The hole is a bit uneven and I am not happy with it - I may need to go with a different grill (one that goes on top instead of the one shown in the first post that attached from inside). I have the fan running on a programmable controller where you set on and off temp that it reads from a remote temp sensor (placed on the heatsink). I tried it briefly last night and the temps climbed by about 5 degrees F in 30 minutes and when I set the fan on, it cooled it by 2 degrees F in 5-10 minutes. You can hear a little air movement but much quieter than the stock fans. I will try to find time to photo and post later.

#11
Fish_Wiz

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This is sweet!!! I definitely need to add more LED's to my BC. Whered you get the typhon controller? I tried searching for it with no avail... Thanks, Wiz.
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#12
GTi

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This is sweet!!! I definitely need to add more LED's to my BC. Whered you get the typhon controller? I tried searching for it with no avail... Thanks, Wiz.

Typhon Dimmer

It's a nice dimmer, based on the Arduino.

#13
Fish_Wiz

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Thanks for the link GTi! Definitely following this to see how it turns out.
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#14
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I cut out a section of the cooling fins about 120 mm wide in the heatsink. I cut a hole to fit the fan grille in the hood of the BC just rear of the feeding door. I attached the grill and fan using the non-vibration rubber mounts that came with the fan - I superglued them to the inside of the hood. Quick and easy with nothing visible on the outside. The hole is a bit uneven and I am not happy with it - I may need to go with a different grill (one that goes on top instead of the one shown in the first post that attached from inside). I have the fan running on a programmable controller where you set on and off temp that it reads from a remote temp sensor (placed on the heatsink). I tried it briefly last night and the temps climbed by about 5 degrees F in 30 minutes and when I set the fan on, it cooled it by 2 degrees F in 5-10 minutes. You can hear a little air movement but much quieter than the stock fans. I will try to find time to photo and post later.


Cooling Fin Cut Out:
2012_01_04_1029_zps95f5e83a.jpg

Fan Mounting:
2012_01_04_1028_zps3d88c695.jpg

Top View:
2012_01_04_1022_zps1cb8e15e.jpg



#15
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FTS with Meanwells on Minimum Current, Typhon Dimming to 40%:
2012_01_04_1020_zpsac44988d.jpg

Heatsink Installed Under Splash Shield:
2012_01_04_1027_zpsde570871.jpg

Royal Blues Lit:
2012_01_04_1032_zps4fa337e1.jpg

Right after taking these photos I tried to locate the loose connection in the 12 position connector that was powering the white LEDs and it made and broke the circuit several times, frying the LEDs in the process. Going to have to order more tomorrow.

The fish and coral will have to live with a very odd super-actinic look for a few days until the replacement LEDs arrive.

Some colours in the tank do not show up as well as they did under the stock BioCube lighting plus a blue stunner strip so once everything is fixed and dialled in I will be looking at supplementing with some other LEDs such as turquoise, red and violet. This may require another driver and is starting to push up the cost of the project.

Oh, and I set the maximum current on the Meanwells running the blue circuits with the white adjuster shown in this picture in the top right corner:
2012_01_01_1005_zps478b8a23.jpg


Edited by GTi, 06 January 2013 - 05:13 AM.


#16
cdrewferd

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Thanks for the pics. I'm looking hard at the Typhoon controller. Kinda bummed that I have to upgrade the LED drivers, but then again they should be better than what come standard in the ASO kit. Hopfully he emails me back soon on a price for my custom kit and then I can get my build going.

Any reason why you didn't go with a fan bigger than 80mm?

Edited by cdrewferd, 05 January 2012 - 09:09 AM.


#17
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Thanks for the pics. I'm looking hard at the Typhoon controller. Kinda bummed that I have to upgrade the LED drivers, but then again they should be better than what come standard in the ASO kit. Hopfully he emails me back soon on a price for my custom kit and then I can get my build going.

Any reason why you didn't go with a fan bigger than 80mm?

Maybe you can sell the old drivers and recoup some cost? I think there are other controllers out there that use a 0-10V dimming signal (LED Group Buy has one, IIRC) or do you have non-dimmable?

I kept to 80mm because I didn't want the 'Grand Canyon' in the middle of the hood. I think 120 mm would have been ok, though. Now I am running the LEDs a little harder (Meanwells set to 700 mA and dimmer at 40%) the fan kicks on at 80F and seems to hold the heatsink to 83F in my limited test period of an hour. When running the whites and the acclimatisation period is over, 120mm might be a good idea. I would get a high speed fan and the adjustable fan speed controller that wires in line (at Rapid LED) so you can adjust the flow to where you need it and keep noise down.

#18
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very cool set up there. ;) Have you used that controller before ? I have been looking for one and that seems to be it. It will allow different auto power thru out day corrct 8am 20% -10am 60% -12pm 100% -2pm 60% ect. for up to four channels . That would be great.

Edited by dling, 05 January 2012 - 11:39 AM.

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#19
GTi

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very cool set up there. ;) Have you used that controller before ? I have been looking for one and that seems to be it. It will allow different auto power thru out day corrct 8am 20% -10am 60% -12pm 100% -2pm 60% ect. for up to four channels . That would be great.

It is a little more limited than that out of the box. If you know how to programme code in an Arduino, you can do just about anything. Unfortuantely, I don't know this!

Out of the box you can set the on time, off time, ramp time (for sunrise and sunset - same ramp applies to both) and the maximum % output. eg I have it on at 10am, off 10 pm, 1.5 hour ramp, 40% maxiumum output. It come on at 10am, gradually brightens to 40% max output by 11:30am. Holds at max until 8:30 pm and ramps down until 10 pm.

I guess you may be able to approximate what you want by having a long ramp time as long as the current only goes up during sunrise and down during sunset. eg on at 8am, 4 hour ramp so max is reached at 12pm.

#20
cdrewferd

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Good call on the "Grand Canyon". I haven't bought the ASO kit yet as I was wanting to customize the colors so I emailed him. Just waiting on a reply. Upgrading the ballasts isn't a big deal, just would rather not spend the money, but oh well.

When you take the hood off to replace the whites, could you measure the splach shield for me? Wondering how big a heatsink I could go with to fill the whole space and put all the drivers and everything in the stand.

#21
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When you take the hood off to replace the whites, could you measure the splach shield for me? Wondering how big a heatsink I could go with to fill the whole space and put all the drivers and everything in the stand.

I used a 5.9 x 16 " heatsink. Anything longer will not fit across the width of the hood. Anything more than 6" wide will not fit without obscuring the stock fan grills unless you notch it out. I think the ideal would be a 5.9 x 16 and either bond on a smaller heatsink to fit between the fan grills; that way you would have maximum coverage.

#22
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I have ordered replacement neutral white LEDs and 4 UV LEDs (to bring out more colours). I also ordered a Noctura 120 mm fan and a 4 3/4" hole saw. I found braided wire sleeving online and ordered 10' of that too (couldn't find it locally).

Even without the whites, the corals seem happy and the anemone seems very happy.

I have decided that the 12 position interlocking connectors are not a good idea as the wires put too much strain on them. I will replace them with similar ones with fewer positions and see how this works out.

#23
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I replaced the white LEDs, added in the 4 UVs (2 on each blue circuit) and completed the wiring on the moonlight driver. The LEDs came off fairly easily when I wiggled a blade under the edge of the LED stars and the adhesive on the heatsink was scraped off with a glass cleaning blade. The single order of Arctic Alumina was enough to fix 38 LEDs with a little left over.

Colour is much fuller with the UVs - the coralline shows up much better compared to how it blended in to the rock before. I have temporary connections between the drivers and LEDs until I can work out which connectors will work better. I need to set maximum current on all the drivers - they are all dialled down to minimum at the moment.

I have noticed that I need to clean the glass a lot more since switching to the LEDs, I don't know if it is related to more PAR, a particular wavelength of light from the LEDs or coincidence.

The hole saw for the larger fan has arrived but the fan hasn't.

Edited by GTi, 21 January 2012 - 02:02 PM.


#24
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Well I am finally up to date. The 120 mm fan is in. The hole saw made the job a breeze and it is a very clean cut. The fan cycles on and off and is definitely keeping the heatsink cooler than the 80 mm did. Tank temps are very stable.

I adjusted the drivers for the blues and uvs to 600 mA and the whites to 1000 mA.

Everything seems happy especially the ricordea and anemone.

Oh and the moonlights were much too bright so I removed 2 and respaced the remaining 2 for covergae purposes. Hopefully this will be a good balance - I'll see later tonight!

After problems with intermittent connections at the connectors I gave up on them and soldered and shrink wrapped the wires instead. With some braided wire organiser it all looks fairly tidy.

Edited by GTi, 21 January 2012 - 02:13 PM.


#25
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How are you liking the color combo?