Reef Discussion

MagicJ

Moderator
Jul 11, 2011
9,651
3,761
Hobart, Tasmania
DIY LED Build - All you need to know Question & Answers
I am planning to do a series of posts covering everything you need to know to build a DIY LED light fixture.

I am planning to cover:
  • What LED's to use, how many and what colour
  • Driver options and how to dim LED's
  • Heatsinks and cooling options
  • Fixing the LED's and wiring everything up
  • Putting everything together so it looks good over the tank
  • Where to buy the components and other useful links
Now, I am no expert but I have successfully completed a build - I will be looking for input from forum members as with a lot of these DIY projects there are many ways to achieve the same result.

Anything else you think should be covered?
 

marineclass

Member
Jul 12, 2011
604
77
Gold Coast
Fantastic Idea:D Also, if anyone can reccomend shops/websites they have used or seen to buy peices.

Looking forward to some good reading ahead!:cool:
 

DavidS

The Resident Loony
Jul 17, 2011
3,337
1,033
Ballarat, Victoria
I have the DIY LED bug now - waiting patiently for this read :D
This forum is starting to cost me money. Or is that just because I keep listening to Matt? :D
 

DavidS

The Resident Loony
Jul 17, 2011
3,337
1,033
Ballarat, Victoria
I'm ordering that damn TV tomorrow, and handing over every last damn cent I have as a deposit just to ensure I can't spend any more money until next pay day :p
 

marineclass

Member
Jul 12, 2011
604
77
Gold Coast
Looks great. I am about to begin a DIY LED using RAPID LED - still have to order but im thinking around 15 blue, 15 royal blue and 20 white leds - with possibly a couple of UV globes and moonlights all built into the one unit. will this be enough to produce light to a 120 x 18 x 18 tank? Also, what do you guys think of the colour ratio - I do like a little more blue in the tank but maybe i still need a few more blues????
 

MagicJ

Moderator
Jul 11, 2011
9,651
3,761
Hobart, Tasmania
Hi Jonathon
  • I went with 20 Blue (10 x 2 different blue bins), 10 Royal Blue, 30 Cool White (15 x 2 different white bins) over a 4x2x2. I think that 50 over your tank will be fine. I also think your colour ratio is pretty good - maybe substitute some of the cool whites for neutral whites (maybe 7 or 8) to get a bit more of the red spectrum into the mix.
  • The jury is still out on UV's - have a look at Cozers thread as he uses some UV leds
  • Moonlights - are you planning on dimming the led's? The blues will be much too bright for a moonlight. Let me know what you are planning and I will respond.
  • Also let me know what you are planning to put in the tank and how it is to be aquascaped
Cheers
 

marineclass

Member
Jul 12, 2011
604
77
Gold Coast
Thanks MajicJ, mixing the nutural and cool white is a great idea. As for the UV - it was Cozer who i first saw using the UV and he seemed to think they were a great addition, and i thought, it wouldnt be much more expensive to add a couple more globes. As for moonlights, i was looking at getting the moonlight kit off Rapid LED. I believe they are just 2 low powered blue LEd from memory - i thought for moonlight i would like them to just be either on all the time or just switch on automatically when the lights go off. The only reason i wasnt goig to just dim the other lights it that my lights are on from 7 - 6:30 and i usually leave the class around 5:30 so i would have to dim the lights an hour earlier than usual.

Sorry, i hope this makes sense - besides guitar electronics, i have never wired anything up like this so its a learning curve - however from what I've seen, quite managable - I just thought id learn as much from you experts before i do it!
 

marineclass

Member
Jul 12, 2011
604
77
Gold Coast
Sorry - forgot the tank - basically just an easy to keep tank with easy corals. I hope to add a full range of zoas, morphs, torch and hammers etc - basically a softies garden and then when confident i can upgrade into something a little more difficult. Aquascaping - Basically id like to have a bommie at each end with plenty of open room i the middle - but this will change every month probably! haha
 

MagicJ

Moderator
Jul 11, 2011
9,651
3,761
Hobart, Tasmania
I would do your research on the UV's. I am not disputing Cozer's comments as I do not know enough about them at this stage (that might be my next project :)). Don't quote me, but I do remember reading somewhere that the cheap UV LED's did not produce the required spectrum and the ones that did where around $50. Keep in mind that you need to put a glass cover on SE Metal Halide bulbs to screen out the UV - makes you think what is correct??

Moonlights - personally, I don't use any moonlights and don't see the need. The RapidLed one you mentioned uses 1 to 3 (comes supplied with 2) 1w LED's driven at 350ma - I could be wrong, but I think you will find that even 1 LED will be too bright and may impact on the ability of the fish to sleep at night. But, at only $14 you havn't lost a great deal if you give it a go - if it doesn't work hook up a couple of whites and use it over your sump.

Your situation is a bit different to most as usually the tank will still be lit when it is dark outside - in your case the sun will be your natural dimmer:)

Look like you are heading in the right direction.
 

marineclass

Member
Jul 12, 2011
604
77
Gold Coast
Thanks for the advice - yea matt was saying not to bother with the UV aswell - As for the moonlight, im not going to bother for now but can rig something up later -

and matt - i will be right to set it all up and get it ready, i might just need a hand soldering - i have some experience but will see how it goes - ill let you know
 

Joshwaaaa

Member
Jul 22, 2011
1,326
634
Hanging to read your thoughts on how many LED's are necessary over a tank. Even after a heap of reading I'm still not sure. I have come to the conclusion that an educated guess is the best you can do
 

marineclass

Member
Jul 12, 2011
604
77
Gold Coast
If i want an overall heatsink of 4.5 x 36, does it matter if it is made up of 1 large peice or 4 pieces of 4.5x9?

Does this effect the cooling efficience in any way?
 

MagicJ

Moderator
Jul 11, 2011
9,651
3,761
Hobart, Tasmania
If i want an overall heatsink of 4.5 x 36, does it matter if it is made up of 1 large peice or 4 pieces of 4.5x9?

Does this effect the cooling efficience in any way?
Going home now - I will answer this later tonight.

Short answer for now - for most builds some of the heatsinks used are overkill.
 

MTG

Moderator
Jul 10, 2011
10,665
2,149
Gold Coast
another quick answer if you use a nice big quality heatsink you might be able to get away without the need for cooling fans!
 

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