crs2k

Biocube 14 LED Retrofit done!

55 posts in this topic

I just have to start this by thanking Waterproof and Evilc66. I think I bugged them to death with my build. I am a total newb when it comes to any kind of electronics, lighting, soldering, etc., so my knowledge was really just coming from their threads and posts. But with their help, my build is done!

 

Mine is a little bit different than Waterproofs, but the same idea. You'll see some of the differences as I go through the pictures. Here we go:

 

Started with the heatsink marked with sharpie for the location of holes and mounting, as per Waterproofs specs in his post. I decided to go the 12 LED route. 6 white, 6 royal blue. (cree XR-E from ledsupply.com)

 

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I drilled, tapped, and mounted all the LED's.

 

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Here is my project box all wired up. I used 1000mA buckpucks with pots (only I forgot to specify the pots, so I had to add my own, DOH!) I also have two power supplies, so they are not wired in parallel.

 

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Here is the outside of the box. Pots on top, power jacks on one side, LED jacks on the other.

 

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Here are the power supplies I used. 24V 6.5A Potrans from MPJA.

 

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This is how everything connects.

 

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Edited by crs2k

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Continued...

 

I chose to do a top mount fan. Again, I used a spec sheet that Waterproof had done in another thread and drilled the hood. By doing this, I had to do my brackets a little differently, because they blocked the fan at first. So it turned in to four little individual brackets.

 

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I used a silenx 80mmx15mm fan. Fit with no problem at all. Plenty of room.

 

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Here is the top of the hood.

 

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LED's mounted in the hood with the splash guard on.

 

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LED's fired up! Man those things are bright!!!

 

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Power supplies and project box safely in the stand.

 

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So, even for a total newb like me, it can be done. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

 

Thanks again to Waterproof and Evil.

 

crs2k (Chris)

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Edited by crs2k

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nice build! So what is that comparable to output of PCs? Right now I have 72w of the nanocustoms build and its nice but the damn heat even with the evercool fans is to much.

 

-jds

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Honestly, I don't know. I would love to get my hands on a PAR meter to check the output. But I think Waterproof posted some PAR levels of his tank in his thread, so it's got to be about the same as his.

 

Chris

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very nice, I am really thinking about doing this to my NC 12.

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any tank shots?

 

Nope, not yet. I have three sheets of screen so I can acclimate my corals first. So I don't feel that I have even seen the true color of these things yet. But as I take them off, I'll take pictures and post them up.

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im making a parts list now, any suggestions? whyd you use two power supplies and what are pots & project box?

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nice build! So what is that comparable to output of PCs? Right now I have 72w of the nanocustoms build and its nice but the damn heat even with the evercool fans is to much.

 

-jds

 

:lol: There is no comparison. This retro puts the light levels well into MH territory. Waterproof measured over 200 PAR at the sandbed in his setup. PCs can never hope to reach that.

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This looks great. I can't wait to see the tank shots! I'm relieved to hear the hood vent layout worked. I wasn't sure how the plastic would hold together with so many holes close together. It looks very clean. So, you're only running the 80mm fan, right? And it passively vents out the rear?

 

I think your pots look like better quality than the stock buckpuck pots. The stock pots are really tiny and hard to turn. Plus, the terminals are pretty fragile. I had to resolder the connection on one of them during installation, which was a pain. Your pots look pretty solid. If you wanted to get knobs, you could pick up a couple at radioshack pretty cheap. Unfortunately, the stock buckpuck pots are too small of a diameter. I'd have to special order knobs.

 

Do you plan to have the blues kick on a little early and then off a little later using 2 timers?

 

jds,

A few of the benefits of LEDs is that they produce much greater PAR than PC bulbs but with significantly less heat and power consumption. My tank temp dropped by about 2 degrees going from the stock biocube lights (2x24w PC) to the LEDs. Also, the LEDs have a really nice color, which is hard to explain. I'd say the color seems "cleaner" but also "thicker" or "warmer" at the same time. I know these are weird descriptives, but it's the best way I can describe them. It's kinda like listening to a tube amplifier compared to a digital amplifier.

 

Your 72w PC setup will probably look brighter. LEDs don't have as high of a lumen output. Crs2k's system is a bit beefier than mine, so it might be a closer match. I have a total of 11 LEDs, six of which are run at 700mA and the rest at 1000mA. Mine has a slightly brighter color than my old PC bulbs. Crs2k has 12 LEDs all run at 1000mA, so he'll have brighter results and better PAR.

Edited by Waterproof

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Great write-up! So what was the total cost on all of the parts needed, if you don't mind sharing.

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Also, the LEDs have a really nice color which is hard to explain. I'd say the color seems "cleaner" but also "thicker" or "warmer" at the same time. I know these are weird descriptives, but it the best way I can describe them. It's kinda like listening to a tube amplifier compared to a digital amplifier.

 

I think you hit the nail on the head right here. The color is different, but better. I think a lot of it has to do with the warmer 6500K color temp of the whites compared to the 10,000K+ that we are used to.

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A job well done crs2k, great work. :)

 

It's amazing to see how many people have now successfully made their own LED units.

 

Do you get anytime to eat and sleep these days evilc66? This forum needs renaming in your honour I think ! ;)

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Thanks for the comments everyone. Right now I'm pretty bummed though. One of my solder joints came loose on the whites, but I didn't know which one, so I started tesing the LED's one by one. BUT, not thinking, I tested the whites using just the power supply and FRIED those suckers! I forgot to test through the buckpuck. DOH!!!So now my whites are toast. I had to order more last night to redo them. I'll have it done in a couple days and post some tank shots. Everything looked fantastic when they were both working though!

 

TB!^: All the parts that I got were straight from Waterproof's thread on his build. But I didn't have ANYTHING, so I bought quite a bit of stuff. (i.e. soldering iron, tap set, drill bits, wires, etc.) Check out Waterproofs thread and everything he used, I bought.

 

I used two power supplies because I wanted to still be able to create a dawn/dusk effect. So the blues come on earlier than the whites, like actinics would. The only way to do this, at least for me, was to go with two separate power supplies. They were fairly cheap though at like $15 a piece, so not to bad.

 

A pot stands for potentiometer. It's the little knob that lets you adjust the color on the lights. I'm sure Evilc66 can give you a better explanation.

 

The "box" is just a little black plastic box from RadioShack that I put the buckpucks (little things that direct current to LED's) and all the connections, jacks, etc. in.

 

Waterproof: the pots are definitely sturdy. They are pretty big. I was looking for smaller ones, but those were all I could find, but turns out they are pretty nice. But they were like $9.00 a piece!

 

Subielover: I added up all my reciepts last night (wife wasn't too thrilled), and it came to a grand total of $322. But now I just had to order 6 new LED's for another $60. So I guess I'm close to $400. I didn't want to spend that much, but, it has been a really fun project, I have learned a TON, and my tank will be better than it was IMO. So it's worth it to me. It could definitely be done for less if you had some parts laying around and didn't fry your LED's like I did. But, live and learn.

 

Tank shots will come soon.

 

Chris

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So, when are the replacement LEDs getting here?

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They came in yesterday and I already set up the new whites! I took pictures last night too, so I'll get them up ASAP. I've had 3 layers of screen on there the whole time, so I haven't really seen the true color yet, so once I got everything fixed, I took the screen off to check it out. WOW!!! It's awesome. I love the color. Super bright and makes the water really "shimmer". Pics up soon.

 

Chris

 

P.S. Waterproof, I put a regular tank thermometer inside the hood, and it was up at 110 degrees. How hot does yours get? My heatsink is definitley hot to the touch. I just have the one 80mm fan mounted above it, and it is blowing down onto the heatsink. I'm thinking I may get two more 60mm fans and stick them under the splashguard to flow through the fins. What do you think?

Edited by crs2k

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P.S. Waterproof, I put a regular tank thermometer inside the hood, and it was up at 110 degrees. How hot does yours get? My heatsink is definitley hot to the touch. I just have the one 80mm fan mounted above it, and it is blowing down onto the heatsink. I'm thinking I may get two more 60mm fans and stick them under the splashguard to flow through the fins. What do you think?

 

I hit 101-deg when I had 2 700mA buckpucks driving the array. I didn't retest when I switchout to 1x700mA and 1x1000mA. I think 110-deg sounds reasonable for two 1000mA buckpucks. I know my old PCs heated up to around 110-deg. I'm suprised you aren't getting cooler temps, especially with the way your fan is mounted. What's the flowrate of the 80mm fan (36cfm or something like that)? They're typically much more than even 2 60mm fans combined. Adding more fans to blow across the fins probably won't help much. You need to get the air out of the hood. Blowing across the fins will just mix the air within the hood. Have you tried turning the 80mm fan around so it sucks out? As an alternative, you could add a fan(s) on the stock vents to help blow out the air that the 80mm fan is sucking in. Also, do you have a decent seal around the fan so that it is tight up against the hood, forcing it to suck from outside the hood?

 

One more thing...you could try drilling the holes in the hood so they are a little bigger. This will decrease the drag and allow more air to be sucked in. What size holes did you use?

Edited by Waterproof

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One more thing...you could try drilling the holes in the hood so they are a little bigger. This will decrease the drag and allow more air to be sucked in. What size holes did you use?

 

This would be my suggestion. You probably are creating a fair bit of flow restriction with just the holes. Making the holes bigger will help, but cutting the entire opening out and using a PC fangrill will be ideal, and will limit the possiblity for noise.

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Here are the pics of the tank. I have a REALLY old digital crappy camera unfortunately, so it really doesn't do it justice. But it will give you an idea.

 

Here are my radioactive dragoneyes under full blues only:

 

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Here are the LED's (man these things are bright!!!):

 

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Here is a full tank shot. Again, the picture just doesn't show how bright and shimmery it is. But I'm happy with it!

 

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I keep telling people, royal blue LEDs are the best actinics going :)

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and on that note... after I get my 250 watt LB3 pendants I think I will be retrofitting 6 or so high power royal blue LED's in to each around the base of the pendant. Maybe on a little lip or some thing ?

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So I took things apart tonight and redrilled the holes in the hood to 1/4 inch. I also flipped the fan so it is blowing out just to try it out. Turns out though, that I read my thermometer wrong and the temp inside the hood by the heatsink was only 104. So that's not to bad, and sounds like it's about where Waterproof's is/was. So, I'll try this out for a couple of days and see what happens.

 

Thanks for the help.

 

Chris

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Nicely done! I am going to get a BC14 next weekend and thinking about doing this mod. What is your tank temperature like with the LED mod?

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This would be my suggestion. You probably are creating a fair bit of flow restriction with just the holes. Making the holes bigger will help, but cutting the entire opening out and using a PC fangrill will be ideal, and will limit the possiblity for noise.

 

 

^^ +1

 

Back in my PC (computer) tuning days, I ran across a computer case that I loved the look, but it had just holes drilled in here the 80mm fan fit.

 

By using only holes, you effectively lower the air throughput by 75% (picture the whole area of the fan, then picture the whole area of the open space, put it on top of the other, and you can see how much airflow you block by using only holes.

 

If you put a screen in, or cut slits, you can improve the airflow you need, and I bet you see your temp drop 10-15 degrees at the heat sink.

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Nicely done! I am going to get a BC14 next weekend and thinking about doing this mod. What is your tank temperature like with the LED mod?

 

It's running right at about 80 degrees. Like I said though, I just flipped the fan and drilled bigger holes, so we'll see how that effects things. I'd like to drop tank temps to 78-79, so I may just cute the top and install a fan grill as others have suggested. Still just trying to sort things out at the moment.

 

Thanks for the tip DoubleD. We'll see what happens and I may go that route.

 

Chris

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