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Stealth Actnic for Fluval Edge 6g


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#1
safemode

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The Parts ... most of them:

Posted Image

What you see:
  • 12" x 1" heatsink (thick base) 1" tall
  • 5 3w Cree XP-E LED's. Max 1A.
  • 700ma buckpuck with rheostat
  • Arctic Alumina thermal epoxy
What you dont see:
  • 2 male enercell adapta-plug sockets
  • 2 female enercell adapta-plug sockets
  • various amounts of wire (stranded and thicker than buckpucks 20ish gauge)
  • Rocker switch
  • 24v 1amp dc power supply (20v should be sufficient but good luck finding it)
  • 6.25" x 1" polycarbonate sheet
  • Marine Goop

Cost: What you see up in the picture I had to get from two sites. $18 from one and $34 from other. Shipping brought things to $63. The sockets I got from RS (hate them) at $5 a piece. Shopping around online would have probably gotten me quick disconnects for much cheaper. Rocker switch from same place at $4 and I'll be getting a 24v 1amp ac-dc converter for about $18 online. Polycarb was $2 and marine goop is roughly $8. Wires I already had, along with solder, iron, heatshrink.
Total: $115 complete.

You can save a lot by not needing the disconnects (lid will have to remain on top of tank when off) and by already having your own power supply and sealant. That would knock about $46 off.

Construction:

First you need to cut your heatsink to about 6.25" in length. Hacksaw or if you are lucky, circular saw it.

Next, mix your thermal epoxy and apply thinly but completely around the area you will place the first LED. Leave some room to the nearest edges. Place the positive terminals toward one side (one of the short sides). Place all other LED's in the same direction. To get an even placement, do the ends first, then the middle and then fill the remaining spaces at their mid-points. You may need to mix another little batch of epoxy part-way through. It takes 5 min to start setting up. Once complete, it should look something like the picture below. Allow this to cure for a few hours before handling.

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On to some soldering. Cut lengths of wire that will reach roughly the center of each pad from LED to LED. Eye up each length you cut since the LED's will be off a tiny bit one to the next. Once you cut and strip and then tin the 8 pieces you should use a needle nose and hold the ends of the wire down as you solder the ends to the pads. I doubled up my wires to more evenly distribute the heat from the current (not that 700mA is a lot).

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Next you are going to drill some holes into your lid. These will be done in the rear so they can't be seen from the front or sides. You need one hole for the power switch and one for the rheostat. Make them as near to the top as possible.

You can now start soldering the buckpuck to the power switch and attach your quick disconnects (one on LED side and one on input side). I wired my power switch across V+ input. The picture below shows my rough final placement. Once all is good, marine goop will be used to cover the buckpuck and rears of switches and to bond certain wires to the lid. The sockets seal pretty tight but if the idea of having them under the lid is bothering you, you can extend the side connecting to the buckpuck a bit and ensure that they both end up in the rear compartment with the stock lighting connector.

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Here is what the rear of my lid looks like. It's upside down obviously, so when on the tank, the rocker switch will be in the top right rear side. In retrospect, I really should have looked for a smaller one and placed it even higher. As it is, my switch is dangerously close to pushing on the filter a bit. Wont bother anything though.

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Finally we are ready to test things prior to gooping everything and attaching the plastic cover over the LED's. Wire your other socket to the DC adapter and the last one to two wires you solder to the final positive and negative pads on the lightbar. Ensure your positives and negatives are all where they should be and that your rocker is switched to off. Also ensure that the rheostat is roughly mid-level. Connect the sockets and plug the DC power supply in. If you did things right, nothing should be smoking or sparking or lit up. Now flip your rocker switch and you should see some fairly bright light. Turn the rheostat to full. This is what you should see as you become blind.

Posted Image

_BRIGHT_

Play with the rheostat slowly. The LED's will turn off well before the full counter-clockwise motion is reached.

Finally:
Turn the switch off and disconnect the power supply. Disconnect your sockets to the light bar and power supply. Glue the lid up and allow to sit for a day. You can rough up the lid parts that will contact the goop with sandpaper if you want.

Gluing the cover over the LED's is fun. We are going to cut out the 1" x 6.25" polycarbonate and then cut out slivers of roughly .25" to create the sides to our lid. Notches can be cut out on either short side for the positive and negative leads. Goop will then be used to bound the sides to the lid and then the lid to the heatsink. Once complete, allow the goop to cure for over a day. It should not really smell when fully cured.

I will be completing this part later today.

Once the lightbar is fully cured, you can attach it to the stock light housing a couple different ways. First, you can goop it to the light. Also JB weld will work. This is not really unsafe, but if it's not enough for you, you can screw in tiny metal L brackets onto the stock lighting that will travel down and under the LED cover on your lightbar and then goop it in place. It should _JUST_ fit.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have some pics of before and after in the tank. You should end up with well more than enough photosynthetic friendly light for any reef need. The light bar adds well over 5x the amount of light than in the stock LED unit and all of it is useful photosynthetic light as opposed to much of the wasted white LED light in the stock unit.

#2
Stoops718

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This is great, very helpful and informative. Could post links to where you got all the supplies. I have the 12gallon Edge, Would this setup be good for it too? Also, Do you still have the stock light running?

-Chris

#3
typicaltony

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awesome build

#4
iball1804

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That is WAY more thermal adhesive then you'd ever need.

#5
safemode

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That is WAY more thermal adhesive then you'd ever need.



All that's important is that it's thin under the LED's. I didn't care about excess that's off inbetween. It wont affect anything but personal asthetics.

#6
safemode

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Ok, so I glued up the lid internals and sealed them with aquarium safe silicone after using JB weld to tack them in place.

Posted Image

After a lot of fun cutting acrylic, I managed to get the light bar finished. It's completely sealed and ready for getting real close to water. Not the prettiest acrylic job, but it's the top that matters.

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Here is a far away full shot including the wire.

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I have to wait roughly a day for the silicone to fully cure before i can attach the lightbar to the stock lighting. I plan on jb welding the lightbar then using silicone around that to remove any seam. I may supplement that with a strap but only if room exists (likely wont). Anyway the JB weld should hold plenty strong

Edited by safemode, 30 December 2011 - 01:06 PM.


#7
safemode

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I'm not sure what the rules are for posting the sites I got things from. So I wont say here. If you're really interested to know, you can message me and I'll tell you in private.

I did find a universal AC adapter that does 15V/16V/18V/19V/20V/22V/24V DC all over 3A on a very popular online only site for 10 bucks. Freakin Awesome. My theoretical forward voltage is roughly 17.5v + 2V for the driver. So 20V is ideal and it can provide it!

I'll then be able to ditch my daisy chained 12v DC blocks (ugly) sometime next week.

The cost to make the above setup is a bit high, but you are left with enough material to build a second less powerful light if you need to for a fraction of the cost.

Online disconnects: $3 each pair. You need 2 pair per light.
Driver : $18
power : $10
LED: $12

So a second (12 watt) light would cost $46. If I wasn't impatient, the light above using the online disconnects and switches and glue/sealant would be $80 bucks + $10 for shipping. ~130 bucks for two lights isn't that bad at all.

#8
mmcguffi

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nice. what are you using for your daylights though? why not just include white LEDs in the build?

#9
safemode

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nice. what are you using for your daylights though? why not just include white LEDs in the build?


The tank comes with a nearly 100% white led light panel. I'm not replacing that light. My light will fit between this stock light and the tank opening walls.

I'm not too concerned with the amount of white light. I'd prefer to maximize the coral's beneficial light intake to maximize the variety and quantity of coral the tank will be able to support. While not destroying the look of the stock tank. White, red , UV, are all asthetic color to add to the tank, and with real-estate on such a small tank at a premium, i'm sticking to pumping as much food wavelength as possible (actnic).

#10
mmcguffi

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doesnt it completely wash it out with blue though? the stock LEDs are super weak. those crees are crazy powerful

also that's not true at all that blue is the only wavelength conducive to photosynthesis. those LEDs have a thin, sharp peak at one wavelength but the chlorophyll complexes accept a huge range of light.

I stumbled upon this thread the other day--pretty informative and analytical
http://www.nano-reef...?...=285529&hl=

#11
safemode

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doesnt it completely wash it out with blue though? the stock LEDs are super weak. those crees are crazy powerful

also that's not true at all that blue is the only wavelength conducive to photosynthesis. those LEDs have a thin, sharp peak at one wavelength but the chlorophyll complexes accept a huge range of light.

I stumbled upon this thread the other day--pretty informative and analytical
http://www.nano-reef...?...=285529&hl=



chlorophyl isn't just one thing. Plants produce a 2 and sometimes 3 pigments that will recieve a frequency range of light. Every plant is different and some produce more of one than another. Corals that have evolved to basically only ever get blue frequency to any useable degree wont have much if any of the pigment that absorbs red. Blue and red being the primary wavelengths for chlorophyl a and b. Green taking up 3rd but only a concern really with very shallow dwelling plants and surface of in saturated (full sun) conditions.

#12
safemode

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I attached the lightbar today. I did a burn in today for roughly 8 hours at full power. It got hot but not too hot to touch and hold your fingers onto it. I'd feel better with a fan if i was going to run full tilt all day every day. Though they probably would be fine.

Posted Image


As it is, I'm not going to run at 700mA since it's obviously far too bright at that level for this size tank. I dialed it down a bit and it runs at room temp easily and doesn't wash out the whites. Though, in my setup, the whites are more of an accent light than the blue light.

#13
safemode

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Here is the light closed. I'm not yet fully cured (couple hours) and then i'll probably silicone around it to smooth things out between the two lights. So it wont be cured till tomorrow. But everything is set in place.

Posted Image

And everything closed up. Just an ordinary fluval edge.
Posted Image


I'll take some pics tomorrow if the light at the power level that I'm happy with. Full power definitily made everything an insane level of blue. The one i have settled on is I would say roughly 70% actnic and 30% white.

#14
safemode

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This is with the light at roughly 400-500mA. Or about 2/3 power with 700mA being max. Light is not significantly warmer than room temp.

Posted Image

#15
Hinesassociates

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Very cool build! Also the fish you have are what I eventually want in mine. :) Keep us updated on it!

#16
safemode

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Sorry, this post was supposed to go to the tank thread, not the build thread. :)

ps:

Everything is still working great.

Edited by safemode, 11 February 2012 - 08:58 PM.


#17
BoricuaNY

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Very Nice Build!