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DIY LED build


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  1. #1
    Tom@HaslettMI - Reefkeeper
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    Default DIY LED build

    After several years of lurking, learning, and planning I have finally begun the process of building a DIY LED array. So far all I have are the heatsinks. I hope to order the rest of the gear sometime in the coming months (as the wallet allows). I plan to purchase the LEDs and thermal pads from rapidled and the two drivers, either Thomas Research or Inventronics (supposedly the same driver with a different brand name), from either nanotuners or LEDgroupbuy.

    The layout... (close up of one side)

    AlwinLED23x4 1 - DIY LED build

    Additional details...
    • One driver run 15 royal blues and the other drive 8 neutral whites (yellow), 2 cool white (white), and the remaining 5 royal blues (see pics).
    • This will be run along with 2 T5HO bulbs (Blue+ and Fiji Purple) slightly over driven by an IceCap 430.
    • May run on a 50 breeder for a bit but hopefully I'll have switched over to a 75 gallon before the LED build is complete.


    Potential add-ons
    • I may eventually get the Digital Aquatics ALC unit to dim the LEDS. The research I've done suggests it can dim these drivers.


    I will add to this post as I progress, but be forewarned it will be a slow process! I'm open to suggestions, constructive criticism, and compliments!

    Thanks for looking,
    Tom
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Tom@HaslettMI; 10-22-2011 at 10:41 PM.

  2. #2
    MizTanks - Reefkeeper
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    Default

    Let me be the first to compliment you Tom on the great picture lol and wish you the best on your building adventure I'll def be following along mostly cause I know I can look forward to some hardy humor
    There's nothing like being a Reefer! www.upmmas.com

  3. #3
    jstan - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default

    Looks like your off to a good start Tom. I was gonna buy a kit from aquastyle online myself. However I ended up purchasing the LEDs, heatsink, and thermal pads from rapid led just a few minutes ago. I debated on the thermal pads for a day or so, and decided wth let's give em a try. I ended up getting the TRC driver from nanotuners though(never heard of the other driver before), and the meanwell just looked to confusing to figure out the first time around.
    If you'd like I'll let you know how the pads work out. Or if you're coming to the A2 swap stop by my table, I'll be using my led build there. Just have to figure out how to mount all of it into my aquatic life t5 fixture.

  4. #4
    XSiVE - Reefkeeper
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    Good luck with this, looks like you're off to a good start!

    The only issue I can see with your plan is that you're not going to have very good control over the overall color at the end of the day since you're combining strings of blues and whites together on drivers.

    Do you think that you will have enough light for the 75 with only 30 total LEDs? -I guess it depends on what you plan on keeping, and where though.

  5. #5
    Tom@HaslettMI - Reefkeeper
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    Default

    Thanks for the kind words all.

    Miz - Hopefully I can maintain a sense of humor about this build. If I drop $300+ and it goes south this thread will end up being a string of profanities.

    Quote Originally Posted by jstan View Post
    If you'd like I'll let you know how the pads work out. Or if you're coming to the A2 swap stop by my table, I'll be using my led build there. Just have to figure out how to mount all of it into my aquatic life t5 fixture.
    I can't make the swap but please keep me posted on your build and how the pads work.

    Quote Originally Posted by XSiVE View Post
    The only issue I can see with your plan is that you're not going to have very good control over the overall color at the end of the day since you're combining strings of blues and whites together on drivers.

    Do you think that you will have enough light for the 75 with only 30 total LEDs? -I guess it depends on what you plan on keeping, and where though.
    I hear you on the color control. I'm hoping that with one 100% blue string I'll at least be able to keep it from being too blue... we shall see.

    30 LEDs alone will not be enough. There will be another 30 added at a later date. Until then 2 48" T5HO bulbs (slightly overdriven by an IceCap 430) will provide additional light. If need be I will use the T5s to change overall color.

    Tom

  6. #6
    SaltyDog - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default

    Hi Tom,

    LED placement looks pretty good.Are you already using the RKL?
    Got ink????Go big or go home......

  7. #7
    Tom@HaslettMI - Reefkeeper
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SaltyDog View Post
    Hi Tom,

    LED placement looks pretty good.Are you already using the RKL?
    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I already have the RKL; however, I do not have the ALC module. My plan is to initially run the LEDs with linear pots and add the ALC when I can afford it (once the kids are out of daycare may be?)

    I'm intrigued with the DIY controller you have in your thread. You wouldn't happen to know how to DIY an ALC module and have it run by the RKL would you?

    Tom

  8. #8
    SaltyDog - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Let me goto their website and look at the specs for the output signal.....if it's a 0-5v output it'd be a simple design to DIY in a small radioshack project box....


    Update from a fellow reefer:

    The output of the RKL ACL module is a bit weak and not really designed for LED Drivers. To be honest it may work fine but would not be surprised if it does not. I dont recommend controlling more than one or two drivers.
    Last edited by SaltyDog; 10-08-2011 at 11:20 PM. Reason: Updated info
    Got ink????Go big or go home......

  9. #9
    Tom@HaslettMI - Reefkeeper
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaltyDog View Post
    The output of the RKL ACL module is a bit weak and not really designed for LED Drivers. To be honest it may work fine but would not be surprised if it does not. I dont recommend controlling more than one or two drivers.
    My understanding is that the ALC will only dim 2 drivers. Therefore, I was planning/dreading to eventually buy 2 ALC modules. Would it be possible to build a module capable of controlling 4 (or more) drivers via the RKL? if so, how hard would it be for someone who has minimal electronics experience to build, and what would you estimate the cost of parts for such a project?

    Thanks for all of the help and information,
    Tom

  10. #10
    SaltyDog - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Well I just finished chatting with Bill from ReefLEDlights and they are actually working on a driver themselves but for the APEX....I kinda read it wrong in a way and thought it'd be available for the RKL also but no go there.Yeah the $80 price tage for each one is kinda harsh IMO and only being able to control 2-channels even if that.
    Got ink????Go big or go home......

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