The goal of my BC 29 LED retro is to provide suitable lighting for a mixed reef with both LPS and SPS, and make the florescent corals’ colour pop. The original PC-R bulbs that came with my BC29 simply were not providing enough intensity to help me create the desired effect. Upgrading my light fixture to T5 or MH are not as attractive to me as LED since I am cheap and I found a lower cost LED retro option that can help me keep the overall cost down to a minimum.
I have a couple of criteria for the LED retro project. First: the project must be simple, clean and not require special technical knowledge or skills; second: the project cost must be kept as low as possible since funding for this project is limited. I researched many LED threads and aquarium forums on the web for a LED solution that provides the best value for money, and can achieve my goals without altering the original Biocube look since the Biocube’s sleek design was the reason I chose BC in the first place.
I chose AquastyleOnline’s kit for its low cost and because many people on aquarium forums recommended them. It certainly seems to offer the best value for money.
Thanks to Bjbass, it was his elegant and clean build that finally convinced me to jump in. His thread BJBass BC14 LED Build Thread, Using Nanotuners heat sink and Aquastyle's Kit also contained all the information I need to know to actually proceed with my BC retro.
Here is a list of components I purchased for this retro project:
1. AquastyleOnline 36 LEDs DIY Dimmable kit includes:
a. 18 x Royal Blue 452-455nm 3 watts Bridgelux LEDs
b. 9 x cool white 10000K 3 watts Bridgelux LEDs
c. 9 x neutral white 4500K 3 watts Bridgelux LEDs
d. 2 x Maxwellen LED dimmable drivers for (12 – 20 X 3 Watt LEDs)
e. 2 x potentiometers
f. Heatsink plaster (thermal adhesive)
g. 20 ft wire
3. 2 x standard North American 3 conductors computer power cords – NEMA5-15P to C13
4. 2 x computer power cord extensions - C13 to C14, only C13 connector (picture below) are used
5. 12 X computer motherboard standoffs
6. Various size wire connectorsStock Components re-used:
1. 3 x Moonlight LEDs and power adapter
2. Transformer for mini circuit board
3. Mini circuit board that controls moonlight LEDs and fans
4. Clear plastic splashguard
5. Sheet metal reflector cover
1. Electric drill
2. Hacksaw (resize the heatsink)
3. Keyhole saw (cut heatsink fins)
4. 13/32” drill bit (to drill holes for potentiometers)
5. Needle nose pliers and pliers
6. Solder and soldering iron
7. Wire stripper
Then, I cut the heat sink into desired size by using a hacksaw. I cut two 2 ½” X 1 7/8” rectangles from the top corners to accommodate the fans, and I also trim off 1 3/8” along the edge between the two cut-off corners to mount the LED drivers.
I enlarge the tapping screw holes to 5/64”, make four 1” posts (by putting two or three computer motherboard standoffs together), and then screw the posts onto the appropriate tapping holes. The diagram shows the cross section of how I mounted the heat sink to the Hood.
I could not line up the heat sink and posts in such way that heat sink fins will not interfere with all four posts at the same time, so I had to use a keyhole saw, snipers and pliers to cut off small part of heat sink fins to accommodate two of the posts in my build - I think this is the hardest part of the whole projects. Once I got the heat sink mounted nicely on the posts, the LEDs are ready for wiring.
Below is the wiring diagram I prepared to help me planned the actual wiring.
Careful planning for wiring is important because a good plan will make the job much easier. First, make sure you can tell the difference between the different colours of LEDs. I also suggest separating LEDs to different holders by colours; you don’t want to mix different LEDs up before you glue them to the heat sink. Also, it is worth taking the time to properly orient +ve & -ve terminals of the LEDs in such way so that the distance between two soldering points is as short and straight as possible.
I used thermal adhesive (Heatsink Plaster) that came with the package to glue LEDs on the heat sink according to the plan. It is important to wait for at least 6 hours (12 or more hours preferred) for the thermal adhesive to cure properly - the thermal adhesive worked very well for me on this project.
Edited by BBOSS, 25 December 2011 - 12:10 PM.