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Wildechild_01
11-09-2014, 11:44 PM
Okay, so definitely still in the research and decision phase on this one but figured I would throw this up in here and see what people think.

I am dealing with a 72x18x24 tank with a center brace. Leaving me 2 openings 16x33 to get lighting into the tank. I have been looking into LED fixtures and there are some pretty good options out there I think, some of them get pretty pricey though and based on tank construction for effective lighting I am probably looking at running 2 fixtures so lets say if I keep it cheap $1000 for Lights i will be happy with for a while and will support my desire to keep some more SPS corals.

That got me thinking... what can I do for $1000.

After reading though as much DIY LED stuff as my brain could take this morning I started looking around at materials. I'm thinking will probably go with 10W LED's very readily available on the good ole ebay, haven't looked for actual heat sinks yet but I am thinking they will be fairly easy to find as well.

To be fair my biggest hesitation when it comes to the DIY fixture is the automated control. Running separate channels and dimming LED's are nothing new to me but i have never DIY'd a programmable controller. Is there readily available DIY stuff out there for this, or am i better off looking into something like an APEX controller (lets just ignore the budget reasoning for DIY if that is the case) With a bit more reading I'm sure I could track down drivers with the 1-10v dimming control APEX uses, and how to actually wire that up. Just wondering if anyone has any advice on the automated/programmable control side of the DIY process.


Lets assume I am building a 32" fixture for the purposes of these questions as i can simply build 2 or double up for a longer fixture.

How many 10W LED's would you recommend?
I am thinking for each 32" fixture between 15-20 LED arrays
8-10 x 10,000K
4 x 6000-7000K (i'm not 100% certain on these, but worried without them the tank will be too "blue")
4 x 450-455nm Royal Blue
Wondering about adding another colour in here, something maybe in the violet spectrum... lots of commercially available lights throw in greens too, im guessing just for colour balance. I have to say from pictures I actually really like the colour blend in Mikes thread here (http://www.canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=82206&page=5)

I actually feel like that may be way more light than I need now that i look at the list.... hence the desire for the programmable dimming... upside to overkill now is wont need to upgrade lighting anytime soon. Haha

Hopefully some good advice comes out of here, the prospect of a new DIY project related to the tank is pretty exciting itself.

Anyway, thoughts and ideas definitely welcome as well as sources for material would be awesome.

mike31154
11-10-2014, 02:00 AM
My DIY fixture consists of 3 rows of 10 watt multichip LEDs of various colours. I chose to keep it fairly simple using several 12 volt power supplies & manual dimmers. Auto control would be nice, but things get complex fast. There are some Arduino solutions out there if you wish to go that route. Changing from a Halide/T5HO combo with little in the way of control, I figured my livestock wouldn't notice a whole lot of difference if the new LED lighting just came on & off like the old fixture. After running the LEDs for at least a couple of years now, I suspect I was correct. Auto dimming, lightning storms etc. are cool, but does the livestock really care that much?

A link to my build is at the below my name down there.... not too many pages, so not a whole ton of reading, but there's a good bit of info in there, including some of the changes I've made during the build. I wanted to keep the fixture fairly light, so no massive heatsinks. Originally I started with small heatsinks with built in fans, but the fans were beginning to fail after a while & although I had spares, it became tedious. So I switched to larger heatsinks & built a cover that has 4 fans built into it to move some air. The larger heatsinks are supposedly enough to cool the 10 watt LED without a fan, but I think I made the right call with the fans in the cover. More info in my build thread. Have fun.

Coral Hoarder
11-10-2014, 03:38 AM
Tryed diy LEDs hated them won't go back

WarDog
11-10-2014, 04:04 AM
If you are serious about DIY LED's I would recommend you invest 30 mins of your life and watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7rpUQEorDU&list=UUcJv2rQDivg8NwXIxydJ86A

xenon
11-10-2014, 04:28 AM
Why type of corals are you planning to keep under LED's?

Wildechild_01
11-10-2014, 04:28 AM
My DIY fixture consists of 3 rows of 10 watt multichip LEDs of various colours. I chose to keep it fairly simple using several 12 volt power supplies & manual dimmers. Auto control would be nice, but things get complex fast. There are some Arduino solutions out there if you wish to go that route. Changing from a Halide/T5HO combo with little in the way of control, I figured my livestock wouldn't notice a whole lot of difference if the new LED lighting just came on & off like the old fixture. After running the LEDs for at least a couple of years now, I suspect I was correct. Auto dimming, lightning storms etc. are cool, but does the livestock really care that much?

A link to my build is at the below my name down there.... not too many pages, so not a whole ton of reading, but there's a good bit of info in there, including some of the changes I've made during the build. I wanted to keep the fixture fairly light, so no massive heatsinks. Originally I started with small heatsinks with built in fans, but the fans were beginning to fail after a while & although I had spares, it became tedious. So I switched to larger heatsinks & built a cover that has 4 fans built into it to move some air. The larger heatsinks are supposedly enough to cool the 10 watt LED without a fan, but I think I made the right call with the fans in the cover. More info in my build thread. Have fun.

Yeah had a great read through your build thread, was actually thinking of using the same heat sinks you did. For now the fixture will likely remain open since it is all mounted behind a wall. Adding fans to the rig is something i would plan for in case they are needed.

The programming and control is from me being lazy, and accustomed to sunrise/set cycling with my current fixtures (current USA) No real reason I couldn't use manual dimmers to adjust the look and intensity of the tank and go back to timers. Part of the awesome of the DIY would be the ability to change it down the road. I would agree too that the natural lighting cycle is likely more for us visually than for the livestock.

was just doing some looking at Mean Well LED drivers, can dim them with some controllers but taking that route may defeat the financial side of the DIY, unless I can justify the controller as something I should have anyway for dosing and monitoring the tank :twised: Muwahaha???

Wildechild_01
11-10-2014, 04:37 AM
Why type of corals are you planning to keep under LED's?

Hard to say Specifics at this point but I do know that I want to start being able to move towards a more sps dominated reef. My existing lighting is great for LPS and softies. The potential lighting upgrade is part of a larger project to turn my tank into what I've always imagined my reef tank could be rather than what is easy to keep. The build on the lights will be a little ways off as I have some other tank issues to address before I get there. As for look and functionality i am going for the Evergrow IT2080 is the main contender for purchasing a fixture but was thinking for the same or less i could probably build a better light (light ramping control aside)

Craigdillman
11-10-2014, 08:56 AM
Have you looked at places like rapidled.com or Steve's led

I've had rapid leds over my tank in both my 30gallon and now my 125g love them and for 1000$ You can cover your tank and get the same if not better par for fraction of the price you'd pay

Wildechild_01
11-10-2014, 01:26 PM
Have you looked at places like rapidled.com or Steve's led



I've had rapid leds over my tank in both my 30gallon and now my 125g love them and for 1000$ You can cover your tank and get the same if not better par for fraction of the price you'd pay


I have not looked at those sites yet but will definitely add them to the list of places to check out. :)


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duncangweller
11-10-2014, 02:47 PM
I thought about DIY LED too and was put off by the idea of needing many individual drivers to control the lights. I don't have the room in the stand or the patience to run it all tidily.

I ended up going for a single hydra 52 which has one transformer and only uses one outlet on my apex and is pretty easy to use.

I really like it but do miss T5 to some degree.

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Wildechild_01
11-10-2014, 03:17 PM
If you are serious about DIY LED's I would recommend you invest 30 mins of your life and watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7rpUQEorDU&list=UUcJv2rQDivg8NwXIxydJ86A

Have not had a chance to watch the entire video yet, but did take a look at the BuildmyLED site, they may be another option depending on budgeting and what I decide i want the final product to look like. Would still need multiple fixtures as it doesn't look like they have multi channel fixtures. Regardless their suite could prove to be incredibly informative even with the DIY Route.

Vancouver Reefer
11-10-2014, 03:19 PM
If your looking to go diy, check out the thread on reef central regarding the DIY array using Ecotech Radion bulb boards. You can buy 2 boards from Ecotech for $150, hook them up to powersupplies and drivers and you can get a DIY Radion for half the price of a new one. You can find the Gen 2 upgrade array boards on Ecotechs Parts website.

http://store.ecotechmarine.com/store/upgrades

You could then use something like a storm controller for the control.

http://coralux.net/?wpsc-product=storm-led-controller-2

You could easily build 3x fully controllable Radion Gen 2 (2arrays per unit) units for under $1K

daplatapus
11-10-2014, 03:30 PM
Wardog: Cool link, thanks. I learned a few things :) It'll be interesting to see their findings after their little experiment.

Wildechild: Much depends on your goals. If you're looking to DIY the fixture and controller to save money... save it elsewhere.
If you just love to tinker and build stuff, wow your friends with your creative process... then DIY LED's are for you. I started my build with the thought of saving, but I bet in the end I'll have saved nada, lol :) But in all fairness, I've had a blast doing it and I think it's cool. That's all that matters on "my tank". I bought all the components - ledgroubuy, eBay, and other locations. I built a Jarduino controller, from scratch, but now you can buy remade controllers like the one Blue World Aquariums in Victoria makes.
Lots of knowledge here to help you build one if you want to. But don't rush the process. Understand what you're doing. It'll be much easier to diagnose and fix anything in the future.

Wildechild_01
11-10-2014, 04:04 PM
Wardog: Cool link, thanks. I learned a few things :) It'll be interesting to see their findings after their little experiment.

Wildechild: Much depends on your goals. If you're looking to DIY the fixture and controller to save money... save it elsewhere.
If you just love to tinker and build stuff, wow your friends with your creative process... then DIY LED's are for you. I started my build with the thought of saving, but I bet in the end I'll have saved nada, lol :) But in all fairness, I've had a blast doing it and I think it's cool. That's all that matters on "my tank". I bought all the components - ledgroubuy, eBay, and other locations. I built a Jarduino controller, from scratch, but now you can buy remade controllers like the one Blue World Aquariums in Victoria makes.
Lots of knowledge here to help you build one if you want to. But don't rush the process. Understand what you're doing. It'll be much easier to diagnose and fix anything in the future.

The "hey look what i built" side of it is actually a little more of a draw than the money savings. That is probably why I want them all fancy controllable too. With my tank revitalization I am moving into automated dosing, researching a way to almost automate the water changes as well (that might be a project and a half, should have put the fish room on the other side of the basement haha), and who knows what else. So if i do take the DIY route with the lights will want to make sure down the road (if not right away) I can interface them with whatever controller/monitor I decide on, the APEX definitely being the lead choice at the moment.

As for timing, by the time i read through everything, make other related decisions with the tank, consider re-building a wall in the basement, and all that other stuff It will likely be the new year before I even start ordering material.

Tons of awesome advice already here, currently piecing my way through that thread on RC... it is huge. I'm sure i will be back with more questions, but until then keep the references and suggestions coming.

kamloops_reefer
11-10-2014, 04:11 PM
I used groupbuy LED which has links to many other peoples build.

the Storm X controller is probably your best bet for DIY that I'm aware of. the multichip boards will probably be your best option :biggrin:

Wildechild_01
11-10-2014, 05:19 PM
If you are serious about DIY LED's I would recommend you invest 30 mins of your life and watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7rpUQEorDU&list=UUcJv2rQDivg8NwXIxydJ86A

Oh my.... well, that was an insanely thought provoking presentation. The technical stuff behind the LED's I know a fair bit, but when he started talking about the research they are doing... now that got me thinking. How awesome would it be to have your lighting look amazing when you wanted it to but like he said, who cares what it looks like when I am at work as long as the tank gets what it needs. Now to me this just increases my desire for programmable and switchable lighting schedules. I don't know too much about the controllers but that warrants even more research into the different controllers and what they are capable of doing.

Thanks for the link Wardog

Wildechild_01
11-21-2014, 07:29 PM
Huge thanks to forum member jettawagon for the used DIY led gear can't wait to dive in and go through it all as soon as I get some time.


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Wildechild_01
11-22-2014, 03:37 PM
Note to self: don't stare at the LED you are testing. Those things are bright.


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DSlater
11-22-2014, 05:30 PM
Tagging along for this build.

What direction are you taking this? Larger 10 to 20W LED's or the smaller 3 to 5W? Control?

_Adrian_
11-23-2014, 09:38 AM
I'm about to take a similar path...

Too many choices, and with tending to overthink things don't help either LOL

I have an Arduino Due from another project that I'm going to use for control, as well as wanting to monitor and control a few other things on a 5" touch screen that will be sunken in a chunk of acrylic that will be mounted on the hood.

Now for the LED million dollar question...
Multiple smaller units ( 3W or 5W ) or a few larger units ( 10W or 25W ) ??
Both have their Pro's and Con's but it ultimately all really depends on the tank depth and what your planning on keeping in there.

Myself...
Its going to be a DEEP 150Gal ( 30" ) reef.

ponokareefer
11-23-2014, 03:23 PM
I did it and I wouldn't recommend diy. Kessil is probably the least expensive and is a great fixture.

mike31154
11-23-2014, 04:10 PM
Aside from the 10, 20, 30 watt multi chip LEDs, 100 watt and larger have been available for some time. They can also be had with different colours on the same chip. With optics, one or two of these would make a diy project much simpler with respect to number of components & soldering. Great option for deeper tanks I would say. Downside is heat management becomes a bit of an issue & all your eggs are in one/two baskets. You need a massive heat sink with fan & if that fails.... Prices have dropped significantly though, so replacement of a cooked 100 watt chip no longer hurts quite as much. The Kessils are similar, using a 30 watt multi chip I believe.

If I were to do another build, I'd seriously consider the larger mjulti chip LEDs.
Here's just one example of something I found with a quick search.

http://www.leds-global.com/100w-hybrid-cool-white-and-royal-blue-45mil-led-panel-for-aquarium-p-306.html

And for the non-DIY folks, if you have deep pockets, here you go.
http://www.ecoxotic.com/100-watt-elliptical-cannon-led.html

mikellini
11-23-2014, 04:51 PM
The Kessils are similar, using a 30 watt multi chip I believe.


The a150 uses around 30 watts, and the a350/360 around 90 watts. These are custom chips and optics, not sure that comparisons with diy options would be accurate.

_Adrian_
11-23-2014, 09:15 PM
I did it and I wouldn't recommend diy. Kessil is probably the least expensive and is a great fixture.

That all depends...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/10W-Cool-Pure-Warm-White-Royal-Blue-Red-Green-Purple-UV-High-Power-LED-Light-DIY/251505591137?rt=nc

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251706226157?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&var=550620468711&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

3x 48" Light Frames - $216.00
20x Pure White ( 6000K ) - $ 23.49
20x Warm White ( 3000K ) - $ 23.49
20x Red ( 620-625nm ) - $ 77.07
20x Green ( 520-525nm ) - $ 65.79
20x Royal Blue ( 452-455nm ) - $ 31.01
10x Purple UV ( 400-410nm ) - $ 99.63
1x 48V 480W Power Supply - $ 53.89
20x LDD1000H - $150.00

The only expensive option there is the UV LED's.
Other than that for around $500 I can have 500W+ a full WRGB&UV setup! And this is more of a buy bulk and use what you need, keep rest as spares sorta deal.

Now group the colours by channel, throw in an Arduino Due for control.
With the right programing not only you can simulate a complete solar and lunar cycles but also have a lot more features you can ever need!
Need OR Want tank monitoring ( Salinity / PH / ORP / Temp ) ??
You can always add more:
Wave maker, skimmer control, feeding control, open / closed loop control...
List goes on, and on...

As I have stated earlier...
My setup is a deep 150 so I need a lot of light to keep things happy in a 30"+ of water. Also with me traveling out of town for work sucks and its hard to know exactly whats always going on.

DSlater
11-23-2014, 10:32 PM
I would say there are some things you can cheap out on if you go DIY but I wouldn't cheap out on the actual LED's. The output per watt really varies.

I have both DIY and one of the dimmable Chinese 120w off ebay. Went and bought the best LED's I could find for the DIY and the light output and quality does not compare. Visually I would say I get twice the light output per watt from the DIY than the ebay fixture, better colour as well.
I cheaped out on fans and power supplies... have had trouble with both...

_Adrian_
11-24-2014, 12:40 AM
I would say there are some things you can cheap out on if you go DIY but I wouldn't cheap out on the actual LED's. The output per watt really varies.

I have both DIY and one of the dimmable Chinese 120w off ebay. Went and bought the best LED's I could find for the DIY and the light output and quality does not compare. Visually I would say I get twice the light output per watt from the DIY than the ebay fixture, better colour as well.
I cheaped out on fans and power supplies... have had trouble with both...

I checked the both the "eBay" brand VS Cree and other units on the market.
If the datasheets are "accurate", they are in fact on par with the Cree XM-L units. However... The Cree units have a 3A draw VS the eBay brand at 900mA, which means that these units are more efficient than the Cree units.

But then again... It is eBay. Some are good finds and some are just assembly house rejects. I will get a couple of these units and confirm first...

mike31154
11-24-2014, 12:41 AM
http://www.ebay.com/itm/251706226157?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&var=550620468711&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT


These heat sink/frames are pretty neat. Never heard of having a heat jacket tube designed into a heat sink & using it to feed warmth back to tank. Good link.

DSlater
11-24-2014, 04:47 AM
I checked the both the "eBay" brand VS Cree and other units on the market.
If the datasheets are "accurate", they are in fact on par with the Cree XM-L units. However... The Cree units have a 3A draw VS the eBay brand at 900mA, which means that these units are more efficient than the Cree units.

But then again... It is eBay. Some are good finds and some are just assembly house rejects. I will get a couple of these units and confirm first...

It would be neat to throw those side by side. Both showing close to the same lumens @10w.
I deal with LED lighting for general lighting applications through work and they all seem to vary. Rated hours can be from 25k up to 100k, CRI can be from 60 to 90(visually a huge difference, 100 being daylight). The pricey LED fixtures(non marine) score high in these 2 categories.

I would post pics of the differences between the 2 fixtures I have but they would both look like crap with my photography skills.