My story-LED build

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My story-LED build

Postby Pete1399 on Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:17 pm

So, I was going to sell my 75g a few months ago. I had some interest, maybe it is today's economoy, but the offers I received were far too low for what I have put into the system. Maybe it was some kind of devine intervention/plan but a couple weeks after putting the tank up for sale one of my T5 ballasts crapped out. I was pissed but at least I still had two bulbs lit...or so I thought. 2-3 days later I come home and the other set of T5 bulbs are off. I figure it must be a timer issue or something. I plugged the ballast into a wall outlet and the lights came on for a couple minutes and turned off again. After awhile I figured out my other ballast was also shot. I have no idea what caused both ballasts to go bad, maybe an electrical surge of some sort. For the last 4 months I have been lighting my tank with 1 walmart duel T8 shop light. Yes that would be SPS, LPS, and softies all lit by two 32w bulbs. I did not have the money for awhile to buy lights with Christmas and all so I let it ride until now. So far I have not really lost anything however the corals are slowy fading away and algae rearing its ugly head.

I finally made the move last night after A LOT of research and purchased a 48 Dimmable LED kit w/4- Meanwell 48P drivers, Controller, 2-5.886"x16" heatsinks, couple 120mm fans, 12v power supply, wire, soldering iron etc... The LED kit I purchased from Rapid LED and the heatsinks are from HeatsinkUSA. Fans are from ebay. I choose a color combination with 16 Neutral White XP-G Crees and 32 XT-E Royal Blue Crees. The only difficulty I have run into is driving the lights within the parameters of the maximum voltage of each driver. I want to run them in series but I am not spending more money on drivers. I have come to the conclusion I will put 3 Royal Blues on each of the Neutral White drivers so that I keep to a max of 13 royal blues on a driver. I will make sure to put these royal blues on the back row of each heatsink so it will minimize any kind of spotlighting affect they may have.

Anyway I thought I would share my story with the rest of you. All in all instead of selling and receiving money I spent about $500 on the lighting system. Now I get to have some fun building it! :D
Pete
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Re: My story-LED build

Postby starboard on Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:14 pm

Good luck to you and I look forward to your progress. Keep posting !
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Re: My story-LED build

Postby Pete1399 on Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:37 pm

After a a lot of hours this weekend and tonight I finished my LED DIY project. It came out pretty good and without any real problems. Overall the entire build was not too bad and I would recommend it to anyone else that is thinking about switching to LED. I am happy with the results and it definitely beats out the old Wal Mart light I have been stuck using for a while now! I like the lights better than my old T5 system. Now I have to deal with the mess I made out of my apartment.

Wiring up one light. No my wiring is not too pretty but it all worked!
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Testing one string out. Dialed in my power supply to 920Ma.
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Now for a couple tank shots. Of course the camera ruins the color. The new Hippo Tang has settled in just fine. Thank you SeeingGreen!
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Re: My story-LED build

Postby Rueg on Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:56 am

Nice job!
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Re: My story-LED build

Postby jelly on Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:23 am

good job on your DIY. i did one last year but i used reefledlights they are down by chicago. the only thing for yours i personaly would of done different is i would of used drilled heat sinks and solderless LED connectors. i know leds wont burn out but in my mind there is always that chance. with the solderless connectors you can remove any bad leds and slide a new one into place. you could also wire it with out any solder. all and all you did a great job.

adam
Wounded Warrior Project Alumni.
larger skimmers and calcium reators of all sizes
http://www.aquariumeng.com/index.html#
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Re: My story-LED build

Postby Pete1399 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:04 pm

I had thought about drilling and tapping the heatsink but I honestly did not feel like doing it. I read up on the epoxy and from what I read the stars will pop off the heatsink when pressure is applied underneath them. When I set my LEDs up on the heatsinks I more or less eyed up what would be a good layout for them and went with it. I had considered doing 8 clusters of 3 LEDs together like the AI SOLs but I decided against it. I did not want to end up with spotlighting. There are so many choices when setting up DIY leds. You can easily over do it with all of the information out there.
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Re: My story-LED build

Postby SeeingGreen on Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:57 pm

One recommendation, after doing one of these and learning a bit. Make sure to lock the wires going off of your heatsink in place with a loop. I had one lead pull free because I had not secured it with a loop.

As to epoxy I don't see issues. I applied mine with the thermal stickers, and have had no issues there, and I have to believe the epoxy is stronger, though maybe not as easy to change out LEDs later.

Congrats on the build.
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Re: My story-LED build

Postby Pete1399 on Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:16 pm

Thanks for the advice Green. I did epoxy the wires on one of the heatsinks so they would not put pressure on the LED but the other heatsink the wires separated themselves from the heatsink before the epoxy dried. I will have to attach those wires soon.
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