29g LED Lighting system build thread

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Cory Keeper

LED Guru of Aquaria Central
Aug 7, 2007
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So yeah, now I'm going to go the route of LED lighting for my 29g tank.

Its become apparent that my old CFL lighting just isn't cutting it and I need something better. The options are PC, T5HO and LED. Well, considering an LED system can do twice the growth a PC can, and I can build a High Power LED system (watt for watt) that will last 15 or so years for the same price as an T5HO system that I will have to replace bulbs about once a year (looking about 4 bulbs at $10 a pop, ouch) the winner is apparent. An added advantage to LEDs is the shimmer effect that I get if I have some watter agitation. Don't believe me? point your LED flashlight at the water with some surface agitation. Be amazed :)

I've heard the arguments. Lemme list a few that I have heard

"LEDs can't grow plants". False, someone did a 7w LED system vs a 7w PC system, the plants under the LEDs grew far better than the PC tank. I just gotta make sure I use the correct ones.

"LED technology isn't here yet, wait a few years". I beg to differ, that may be the case in the marine side (almost) but thats a battle between LEDs and MH, something MH is going to lose in about 5 years. For a planted tank the battle is typicly between PC, T5HO and LEDs. LEDs already hold an advantage over PC, but is about twice the cost for a nice system.

"You'll need a bajillion LEDs to get enought light for plants" Not unless I go high power, I can get a 60w LED system using just 30 LEDs. Not bad :grinyes: .

"But what about all that heat?" Non factor, even the high power LEDs don't get near as hot as PC or CFLs. Yes, I'll have to use heat sinks and maybe a few fans, nothing major.

"You'll still need special drivers, thats gotta run the price up way too high, all those LEDs." again, non factor. Lux Drives Buck Puck is cheap and can power 10 of my LEDs easily. I'll explain why in a minute.


"The Plans"

My plan is to purchase 30 high power Luxeon Rebel LED lights, run at 750 mA (milli amps to those wanting to learn) and to power them using three Buck Pucks. I will use thirty individual heat sinks and two fans to avoid frying them.

Since Current remains constant in a series circuit, and the voltage output of a single Buck Puck is 32v, I can have 10 LEDs running off one Puck. Heres why.

LEDs don't work like your normal light bulb. Those work off of Voltage (think of it as electrical pressure), instead LEDs work off of current (amount of electricity that is flowing) to produce light. The more the brighter.

In a series circuit voltage can be different at two or more points in the circuit, however current will remain constant at all points. So why can't I power all thrity off of if thats the case? Well, LEDs still need voltage, without enough of it the LED simply won't turn on. I need 2.5 for the LED to turn on, but the typ voltage is 3.1, so ten is a good number.

So, a 12"x30" tank, the plan is to have 3 rows of 10, and a dimmer control on the midle line puck to provide a moonlight effect when I want.

I do have few other things to work, I'll figure it out later however.
 

traelman

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Jun 11, 2008
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Sounds like a good plan to me man. I Luv LEDs. I'm almost thru with my little project also.
 

Cory Keeper

LED Guru of Aquaria Central
Aug 7, 2007
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I've read your project, looks like good progress. One thing I don't understand, how do you power the buck pucks? out of curiosity?

Oh, quick update. I found a suitable source for all my heat sinks. something from lowes cut into to 30 or so pieces. With a decent air flow it should provide more than enough.

A new hood will run me about 40, and 165 for the light, not bad considering a T5 setup runs about the same amount.
 

Fordtrannyman

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Apr 27, 2008
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Hey Cory, The input for LED Drivers is 120vac using 18AWG.

Keep us posted with links, breakdown and pics. Experience shared has great value!
Great DIY-this is something I myself have done some research on and given some thought. I have only applied it to moonlighting thus far.
 

Cory Keeper

LED Guru of Aquaria Central
Aug 7, 2007
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AnDr3w

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Apr 29, 2007
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Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Neat! When is this going to start?
 

Cory Keeper

LED Guru of Aquaria Central
Aug 7, 2007
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Probably not for a month or so. In about two weeks I plan on starting construction of the new hood assuming I can find someone with a table saw I can use. Once that has been completed I will need to get money together for the LEDs, which isn't going to be easy. Once I have the LEDs I will need access to a band saw, I may be able to use the one at school though.
 

traelman

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Jun 11, 2008
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I used a computer pwr supply that I converted for this purpose. It was pretty easy using these site as a guide. I put Ilink about in my thread also.
 

Cory Keeper

LED Guru of Aquaria Central
Aug 7, 2007
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Quick update. Next friday I'll begin construction and place my order of LEDs.

A small change has been made though, I've reduced the number of LEDs to about 16 and two buck pucks, this saves me about $60 and a headache with future algae bloom.

Within two weeks from now I hope to have everything installed and my new LEDs going. Time will tell though. Expect pics of the process while I build the hood, and the end result.
 
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