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Coral Vue Hydros

Enigma's 24 Gallon Nano Cube LED Build


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Materials List

(All Items Except “Additional” Purchased from Modular LED)



  • 1x 5.9x9 inch aluminium



  • 4x Cool White XP-E Modular LED (8 LEDs)
  • 2x Neutral White XP-E High Efficiency Modular LED (4 LEDs)
  • 7x Royal Blue XP-E Modular LED (14 LEDs)
  • 2x Blue XP-E Modular LED (4 LEDs)



  • 2x Mean Well ELN-60-48D
  • 1x 350mA Constant Current Moonlight Driver


Connectors & Cables

  • 10x 4inch Standard Connectors
  • 1x 6inch Standard Connector
  • 1x 2inch Standard Connector
  • 3x Start & End Kit Connectors
  • 9x 12inch Extension Connectors
  • 1x 2 Channel Apex to Light Dimming Cable
  • 2x Power Cord
  • 2x 3M Scotchlok - Waterproof Power Cord Connector
  • Arctic Alumina Thermal Glue



  • Homemade ground cords [2x Ground Wire Eyelets, 2x 36inch 16 Gauge Wire] (Active Electronics)
  • Electrical Tape (Hubby's Toolbox)
  • 10x Insulated Butt Connectors (Hubby's Toolbox)
  • 2x 14x1x1/8inch Barstock Aluminum [cut from 8foot piece] (Princess Auto)
  • High heat dual stage epoxy (Hubby's Toolbox)



Gutting the Hood


Gutting the hood was pretty easy. It really just boiled down to removing all of the screws.








The Unboxing of the first Modular LED order

(there were three orders in total)


Aquarium supply retailers are definitely trying to make me fat (I love chocolate):




Not everything in this image was used in the LED build:




LED Placement


With the help of fellow reefers, the LED placement evolves from this:




To this:




Some supplemental LEDs may be added at a later date.


The royal blues will be on one dimmable driver, the whites on the other, and the blues on a little moonlight driver.




I assembled what I had:




I used waaaaay too much of the Arctic Alumina Thermal Glue when I attached the LEDs. Good thing I doubled my order on that in my first order. I have a hard time showing restraint with adhesives. The LED connector wires were very easy to use.


I then ordered what I still required in the way of new LED boards, wiring, and a little moonlight driver. The second order arrived, and I realized that I'm an idiot (I had forgotten the start/end kit wiring for the blue string that was going on the little moonlight driver!). I placed order #3.


After order #3 arrived, I completed the LED layout and wiring.




They didn't work. Or rather, the lights didn't light up with the Meanwells. All of the lights were tested using the moonlight driver, and they all appeared to work correctly.


As it turns out the first problem in getting them to work was in not completing the dimming circuit (according to Martin from Modular LED that is a very common mistake). With the Mean Well ELN-60-48D drivers the dimming circuit MUST be completed for the lights to turn on. The easiest way to do that is with a 9V battery. I had tried to complete the circuit with the Apex VDM module, but trying to figure out how the VDM (Variable Speed/Dimming Module ) worked and troubleshoot the lights proved to be fruitless.


Additionally, after a marathon troubleshooting session with hubby, I had one bad splice on the dimming circuit for one of the drivers. There was also one bad 4inch Standard Connector and one bent connection pin in one of the plugs on the LED boards.


Once all of the circuits were properly completed . . . we had liftoff!




And, just an FYI, hubby and I trying to troubleshoot the lights together was actually WORSE than us trying to get the travel trailer hooked up and or/backed into a space. I'm going to do my best to forget 90% of the crap we said to each other while working on these lights.


I did something dumb when I originally wired everything. I used all of the little 3m Scotchlok Waterproof connectors (http://www.modularled.ca/3m-scotchlok-waterproof-connector/ ) from Martin before I tested anything. During the troubleshooting process they all had to be cut out. I had to use insulated butt connectors and electrical tape stolen from Hubby's toolbox to complete the wiring. The two big ones (http://www.modularled.ca/3m-scotchlok-wate...cord-connector/) for the driver power cords didn't have to be cut out. It is definitely a good idea to test the wiring before making permanent connections.


I opted to build my own ground wires, to get the length that I needed for them.


Mounting the Heatsink to the Hood


It gets pretty dicey here. I suggest no one take the same route . . . until mine has been thoroughly tested!


I cut two 14” pieces from an 8' length of 1x1/8” flat-bar aluminum.


Then I drilled holes in the two pieces that aligned with the screw hole locations in the hood.




Then I attached the flat-bar using the original screws.




Then (you're going to be really horrified, now), I used a flexible, two-stage, high heat epoxy to attached the heatsink to the aluminum flat-bar. I sanded both before hand. I believe it was a Lepage product. Hubby handed it to me, and insisted that it was what I should be using. I was going to use JB Weld. At this point, I don't know how much faith of have in this installation.


If the heatsink falls off, it is his fault. ;)


I screwed the acrylic cover back on . . . and I'm done!




Both Meanwells at 100% and the moondriver:




I'm pretty sure a 747 could be landed using this fixture for guidance.

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Shelley you have out done me again, I really want to hear about that 10% your not going to forget about, haha. I'm a bit nervous about the attachment of the heat sink, along with you. I would have went with stainless steel screws myself. I trust you have dimmer in hand...I see a 747 approaching !

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:lol: Christine, I could never outdo you. All I did was add more lights to the series. You've got amazing DIY skills. What you do with acrylic is incredible.


The 10% I won't try to forget is when we actually said positive or encouraging things to each other. Hubby is an electrical genius. He even builds his own circuit boards for his model trains. I am electrically stupid. I was very close to filing the light under "G" last Thursday . . . Until he intervened.


I do have these hooked up to a Neptune Apex. I've got the code all figured it. When I move my SPS into this system I'll start at 10%, and slowly work up frome there. I can't find any sort of wattage comparison for LEDs and T5s, so the safest thing to do is start low.


I may add a couple of true violet to this too, or I may swap out the four CW with NW. If it turns out to be completely way too much light, I can remove some of the LEDs from the series: since the Modular LED connectors are so easy.


Oh, the epoxy hubby gave me to attach the heatsink said it was for "hanging and overhead installations." I really didn't want to put any holes in the heatsink until I decided where the supplemental LEDs were going to go, and I don't want to drill the hood for screws. If I have to, I will, though. If the epoxy dosn't hold, I may just be able to drill though the heatsink and flatbar and use screws to attach them together.


Looks cool! :D




There aren't many LED builds for the NC24 online, so I wanted to document it reasonably well for people. :)

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