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xerophyte_nyc

Finished 12" Full-Spectrum MakersLED [54W Mixed + 24W Violets per Cluster]

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EDIT: FTS 2/27/13 upon completion of the project and hanging the light:

 

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THREAD BEGINS HERE:

 

I decided some time ago I wanted to upgrade my stock LED fixture. I think it is a good light, and I get good growth, but I feel certain colors do seem washed out and I wanted dimming ability. The MakersLED heatsink is an attractive option and is suitable for my tank. I have never soldered before but my profession entails fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination so I wasn't really concerned. I did plenty of reading mainly on this forum. I also picked the brains of some of our in-house LED "experts" - thank you all!

 

The final plan was to incorporate 2 clusters, each would have 2 OCW, 4 3-ups, and 8 violets:

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There is definitely too much light for my needs, but I want to run the lamps cool, and the excess headroom potentially gives me more flexibility with color.

 

Power Needs

Ocean Coral White (OCW) @ 8.6V x 4 = 34.4V

16 Royal Blue (RB/ 3-up) @ 3V = 48V (!)

8 Natural White (NW/ 3-up) @ 3V = 24V

403nm True Violets (TV) @ 3.4V = 27.2V

430nm Hyper Violets (HV) @ 3.4V = 27.2V

 

I selected Meanwell ELN-60-48P drivers because I want to integrate the Typhon digital controller, and these drivers are PWM and can deliver enough power for my design. However, if I want to run the RB and NW on separate circuits, the Meanwell driver cannot power all 16 RB diodes (need 48+V, but only have exactly 48V). I will have to run 1 or 2 RB on a different circuit. They will go in series with the 8 NWs.

 

I placed my LED order with LED Group Buy, and the drivers were purchased at Onlinecomponents.com. I had some other parts and pieces at home already, and got some odds and ends from Home Depot.

 

Here is the 12-inch heatsink

 

 

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Five MW drivers.
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Typhon controller
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I already had a multimeter. It comes in handy when testing certain batteries. I also picked up a cheapo made in China 60W soldering iron from LED Group Buy. It's funny reading the English translation on the box.
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4 different LED stars (OCW, 3-up, HV, TV)
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Here is what the layout looks like on the heatsink. There is a dilemma. I want the clusters spread out as far as possible so that it could light my tank more evenly, but if the stars line up along the edge of the heatsink, then some of the light will be blocked by the plastic end caps that fit on the sides. I can either not use the endcap, or figure out a way to cut them. I haven't figured this out yet, but I'm thinking I may want to make a bunch of 3/4" holes using a powerdrill so that light can penetrate. We will see.
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Nuts and bolts.
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When assembled they look like this. Boy was this tedious. It must have taken me literally an hour to make enough for my needs.
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Here are the clusters arranged on the heatsink, screwed into place. I used some thermal paste underneath the stars to help achieve maximum heat dissipation.
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I made sure to add enough extra screws so that I can upgrade as needed in the future.
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There are enough video tutorials on YouTube that show you how to solder. I watched a couple, and went at it. Wasn't too bad. My first circuit was the Hyper Violets. Here they are all lit up, with the multi-meter hooked up in-line so I could tune down the driver to 500mA.
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Word of Advice: Make sure a dimmer is always connected to a dimmable driver! After testing this series, I decided I would use it to tune my other drivers. When I went to tune a new driver, only 2 of the lights lit up, very faintly. I thought something was wrong with my solder or the polarities. I turned up the power and then heard one of the LEDs crackle and pop. Not knowing what else to do, I decided to go ahead and solder the next set of True Violets. When it was time to power them, again nothing.
This time, I unplugged the driver completely and noticed all the LEDs lit up briefly. It was the capacitor discharging, which is normal, but clearly nothing was wrong with the wiring, there must've been a mistake elsewhere.
Then it hit me - after that first test run, I didn't bother to reconnect the dimmer. I had mistakenly assumed that by default the driver powers at 100%, and that the function of a dimmer was to override the built-in function. Once I reconnected the dimmer, all was well! Doh!
Here are the Hyper Violets.
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...and the OCWs. Wires are getting messy!
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Here are 14 out of the 16 RB's. The solder pads keep getting smaller and smaller! By the time I got to these, I felt very comfortable soldering. I would definitely recommend soldering the single stars first, there is more room for error.
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And finally, 8 NWs + 2 RB. Looks like a tangled mess!
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...............................................
And that's where I'm at right now. The 8th TV diode was short circuited, but I won't bother replacing it, there are enough violets already. I simply left it attached to the heat sink.
I have to figure out how to assemble the wires neatly. I need some grommets and wire mesh, as well as some connectors. And most importantly, I need TIME to do all of this! More to come...
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Looks great so far. I'm building almost the exact same setup over my 40 breeder with just a few small differences. I'm using LDD drivers and a separate power supply, I'm using two separate 6" MakersLED heatsinks (should be here tomorrow), and I'm using half as many TV's (but have plenty of driver capacity to easily add more). The Typhon controller, dual cluster layout, and everything else is the same.

 

Did you have any trouble soldering the LED's while attached to the heatsink? I thought I heard some people say it's harder to get them hot enough with the heatsink pulling the heat away, but I think a lot of people do it this way. I'll be curious to see how your build goes (especially all that violet), and hopefully I'll be starting mine in the next day or two.

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Did you have any trouble soldering the LED's while attached to the heatsink? I thought I heard some people say it's harder to get them hot enough with the heatsink pulling the heat away, but I think a lot of people do it this way.

 

No problems at all with the 60W iron. Just give the iron a few minutes to heat up when first plugged in.

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Did you have any trouble soldering the LED's while attached to the heatsink? I thought I heard some people say it's harder to get them hot enough with the heatsink pulling the heat away, but I think a lot of people do it this way. I'll be curious to see how your build goes (especially all that violet), and hopefully I'll be starting mine in the next day or two.

I've put together ~9 array at this point in time and I've always attached the LEDs to the heatsink first, and I've had zero issues soldering because of it.

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A few notes concerning solder:

 

I used the pre-tinned wire, and solder, from the ledgroupbuy site. Also, most of what I read stressed the importance of preheating the solder pads right before adding the solder. I did not encounter any problems with flowing the solder right onto the pads, except for the 3-ups which had a greater tendency for the solder to form a ball rather than flow.

 

Another observation is that the 24g wire is very brittle, it breaks easily if the exposed portion is bent. Try to bend and curve the wire as needed before it is soldered down. Small, thin pliers work nicely for this. And definitely try to strip a small piece from the end, 1/4 to 1/2 inch tops.

 

I used a contra-angled very thin forceps to manipulate the wire into the solder.

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The violet portion of the spectrum has a strong photosynthetic peak and contributes greatly to PAR. I have to be careful to very slowly and gradually work this into the lighting to avoid bleaching.

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Following along...i want to see this over the tank. This is identical to what (in my mind) is perfect for my tank.

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Yes I want to see this over your tank.

 

I am planning to build my LED's starting this month.

 

Only difference is I will be using my own controller which I am in the middle of coding.

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Ok I have a few questions.

 

You are using a 48P driver and the combination of LEDs is 2 to 4 correct? The 48P has a min and max output range of 24v to 48v, so I am wondering if your are using a mixture of drivers.

 

Which means that you need to place X number of LED in order for the LED to light? Am I on the right path ?

 

So my question is how are your running just four LED stars on one driver?

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Ok I have a few questions.

 

You are using a 48P driver and the combination of LEDs is 2 to 4 correct? The 48P has a min and max output range of 24v to 48v, so I am wondering if your are using a mixture of drivers.

 

Which means that you need to place X number of LED in order for the LED to light? Am I on the right path ?

 

So my question is how are your running just four LED stars on one driver?

 

I'm not sure I understand your question completely.

 

 

Driver 1: OCW @ 8.6V x 4 = 34.4V

Driver 2: 14 RB @ 3V = 42V

Driver 3: 8 NW + 2 RB @ 3V = 30V

Driver 4: 7 TV @ 3.4V = 23.8V

Driver 5: 8 HV @ 3.4V = 27.2V

 

I suppose the forward voltage on the 7 TV could be too low???

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Ok I assumed from the pictures that you were running a different setup. I didn't realize that some of the LED Stars have three LEDs on them.

 

Can you get optics on those LEDS are is it better to blend them without optics?

 

How long until we can see the unit over your tank? I am chomping at the bit here :)

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The OCW has 90* optics, 3-up has none (40* is the only option, too narrow for me), and for the violets I went with 60* since there are so many, I could afford to have them tight.

 

I'm probably 1-2 weeks away from finishing, family and work obligations come first.

 

I plan to merge all the driver to LED wires into one, along with the fan power supply, via a single hose in the middle back of the heat sink. They will merge into a DB15 computer connector for easy attachment to a project box housing the drivers.

 

The Typhon wires will be spliced into an ethernet cable, with an RJ45 jack on the side of the project box. There will be one dedicated power cord for all drivers.

 

I already have a handheld torch so I will put heat shrink connections to good use. I want this clean and neat.

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Just chiming in my two cents here, the 3up do have an option for 40* optics but that is a little tight for most nano tanks where spread vs depth is favored, and the ocw have the optics built right on top. I believe you have 90* and 120* to choose from.

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Is the typhon controller programmable?

 

The built-in software allows independent customization of 4 different channels. You set the duration of on/ off, maximum intensity and fade time. So for example, you can have the RB and violet turn on first at low intensity and slowly ramp up over several hours duration while the OCW comes on later, finally joining the white to full intensity, with a similar step down "sunset".

 

If you're a tecky, you can upload custom programming.

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Ok so i read up a bit on the Typhon. If you need any custom code or need help let me know.

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Ok so i read up a bit on the Typhon. If you need any custom code or need help let me know.

 

Thank you!

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I was just looking at my Typhon controller, and I have no idea how I'm going to mount it. There doesn't seem to be any brackets or screw holes on it. Do you have any plans for yours yet?

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I was just looking at my Typhon controller, and I have no idea how I'm going to mount it. There doesn't seem to be any brackets or screw holes on it. Do you have any plans for yours yet?

 

This: Typhon Box

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Hmm, interesting. I'd like to incorporate mine into a single box with the drivers and power supply. It seems like the best way is just to cut the appropriate holes for the display and buttons and then support the PCB from beneath so that it can't move.

 

Thanks for the link.

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PHASE 2


Starting to organize the wires from the LED strings to the driver. I used colored electrical tape to identify the wire. Sure it would have been nice to use different colored wires, but that's an extra unnecessary expense.


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I used a wire sheath to bundle the exiting LED wires.

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Now I am pulling in 18 gauge wire through holes I drilled in the middle of the heatsink. They too are color-coded with tape. The fan power wires will join the others.

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Another view of the incoming 18-g wire.

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It was not easy at first to twist together a solid 24-g wire to a stranded 18-g wire. A needle-nosed plier came in quite handy to hold the wire together while I twisted. After a few attempts, I got the hang of it.


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Next, I soldered the wire together. It went pretty smoothly.


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Finally, some shrink wrap tubing to protect the newly made inline joints. I had to wrap some electrical tape on the 24-g wire. Because of the wire thickness mismatch, the heatshrink tubing leaves a gap on the 24-g side. The tape made up for this discrepancy.


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Wire mesh was used to cleanly organize all the outbound LED + fan power cables. The other end will be soldered to a DB-15 computer connector.

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The wire batch in the heatsink will be tucked in along the space by the wall. The fan will cover the hole.

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Plenty of cable length. I will probably end it at around 6 feet. Much longer and then voltage drop will be a concern.


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That's all folks!

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Pics on the tank!

I like the fixture. Is it really violet though?

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