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Old 01/31/2011, 07:07 PM   #1
Kahuna
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Cool DIY LED Build - 90 gallon system

First, let me say thanks to Wall_Tank, jjoos, and der_wille_zur_macht for their time, advice, and information sharing. Also to Bill at Reef LED Lights for his support. Awesome dude!

I wanted at least 250w MH power, dimmable, controllable, and flexible when building this. Cost was considered, and was done more for coral growth, color, and life rather than energy savings. I was using a dual 150w MH/96w PC setup previous to this. It was great for fish, inverts, softies, and some LPS, but wasn't where I needed to be for SPS.

I started out with 40 3w Cree LED's per side of my 90 gallon tank - 16 cool whites, 15 royal blues, and 4 reds. 80 LED's total. This meant that I'd need to use 3 of my four 0-10VDC analog outputs from my Apex; one circuit to control each color. This meant that I would have to use seven total Meanwell drivers; 6 dimmable 48VDC units and one 27VDC unit. Two of the kits shown were used plus the red LED's, 80 deg optics, and driver for the reds.



I began by laying out the heatsink/LED arrangement. The heatsinks were drilled for 160 4-40 machine screws by D and E Machine in Lebanon, OH. After tapping the holes by hand, I found that the solder pads on the Cree star boards were too large for the screw heads, and the star boards can get hot enough to melt an insulating washer. This forced me to do something I didn't want to do; glue the LED's onto the heatsinks using the provided heat-sink epoxy.

Once the epoxy had cured overnight, I soldered all wires into place using a 3w soldering iron, good quality rosin-core solder, and 20 ga hookup wire.

Once complete, the optics were mounted. They fit very tight, so be careful! I used 70 deg optics for the blues and whites, and 80 deg optics for the reds.



Using thin aluminum bar stock from Lowe's and stainless 10-32 button-head socket capscrews, I attached the fans to the upper side of the heatsink. The fans are mounted 1/2" above the top of the heatsink fins. All of the wires for the LED's and the fans were dressed-in and terminated in a 12-conductor male Molex connector from Radio Shack. Aluminum standoffs and mounting brackets were fabricated and attached to the heatsinks with stainless fasteners.



A 3/16" spashguard for each LED array was cut to size and mounted on standoffs; acrylic is from Meyer Plastics in Huber Heights.

A 15" tall canopy was fabricated from 80/20 aluminum extrusion and black 3/16" acrylic. The extrusion and hardware is from Grainger. The acrylic was cut to size per print from Meyer Plastics in Huber Heights. The LED arrays were then mounted to the canopy. Pocketing of the extrusion for the corner hardware was provided by D and E Machine.



A 4-LED Lunar Simulator Module was purchased from Kurt at Neptune Systems via Jeremy at Premium Aquatics. Kurt, your hardware ROCKS! Jeremy, your service is superb. The LED's were attached to the heatsinks with 3M double-sided foam tape squares from Hobby Lobby.



At this time, the entire assembly was flipped over for installation of the power distribution panel, which is a solid 12 ga aluminum panel cut to size and purchased from True Edge in Lebanon, Ohio.

The power panel was assembled, wired, and dressed-in as shown. It was then attached to the canopy frame using stainless hardware.



The LED's were then adjusted for 750mA output using the video instructions located at LED Reef Lighting's website. DON'T SKIP THIS STEP. THE LIFE OF YOUR LEDS DEPENDS ON IT.
LED's shown below at min and max output.





Custom aluminum feet fabricated by D and E Machine were attached, and the system was set onto the tank. Power-up took about a half-hour. The system uses a total of two power outlets from my EB8 module; one for the LED's, and one for the moonlights.

Programming took about 6 hours to get right, and uses all 16 profiles available in the Apex controller. Early dawn, sunrise, morning daylight, noon, afternoon daylight, sunset, and twilight are all simulated. The lunar simulator is set to max output so that i can see in the tank at night, but is much dimmer and more realistic than standard moonlight LED's. Daylight that is at a level usable to the corals lasts from about 0600 to 2100, and varies throughout the day.

Upon first starting up the system, the corals were getting blasted, so max output during the day is now limited to 75% LED output. Also, I've moved from approx 7 amps of usage during full daylight to about 4 amps.
Here's the PAR readings for the tank, with the blues and whites at 100%, and reds, blues, and whites at 100%. Please note that, using my 150w MH fixture, max PAR on the bottom was at avg of 133.

Blue/White/Red


It took about 3 weeks to get everything done. It does everything I wanted and looks great! Discuss among yourselves.

Update: The whites are turned down to 60% and the blues are turned down to 70%, 'coz my corals are bleaching.

Kev
http://www.worcreef.org



Last edited by Kahuna; 01/31/2011 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 01/31/2011, 08:23 PM   #2
firechild
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Awesome build, everything looks very tidy.

Just a suggestion, could you possibly resize the pics and edit the original post? The thread is extremely difficult to read.


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Old 02/01/2011, 09:58 AM   #3
Kahuna
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I can try that. They aren't as large as they are being displayed.


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Old 02/01/2011, 10:44 AM   #4
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What would you say is the grand total on the fixture?


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Old 02/01/2011, 10:50 AM   #5
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Double post.


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Old 02/01/2011, 01:47 PM   #6
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Thumbs up

Looking really nice, congrats


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Old 02/01/2011, 09:04 PM   #7
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Cost is about $950.


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Old 02/02/2011, 06:38 AM   #8
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Looks reel nice, How does the red look. have you tried covering them up to see any difference?


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Old 02/02/2011, 07:46 AM   #9
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Reds really make the colors pop at sunrise and sunset; noon not so much. They only run a total of 3 hours/day.


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Old 02/02/2011, 08:00 AM   #10
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Your using your apex to control to light intensity though the day? (16 settings?) What part is used on the apex to control this? If it was an additional part, was that included in the price you mentioned?

Thank you for putting this thread together, if these are all true then I will be soon building a very similar setup for my 70 gallon tank. The tank is only 3ft wide so I may only need one. Which should cut the cost greatly. I have wanted to simulate sunset and sun rise forever!


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Old 02/02/2011, 11:15 AM   #11
Kahuna
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Originally Posted by srusso View Post
Your using your apex to control to light intensity though the day? (16 settings?) What part is used on the apex to control this? If it was an additional part, was that included in the price you mentioned?

Thank you for putting this thread together, if these are all true then I will be soon building a very similar setup for my 70 gallon tank. The tank is only 3ft wide so I may only need one. Which should cut the cost greatly. I have wanted to simulate sunset and sun rise forever!
I was able to reduce my profile count to 14 for the LED's; three of the four 0-10vdc output channels that are included with the base Apex are in use. The only additional parts I purchased was a lunar sim module and one cat 5 ethernet cable to wire the variable output power to the LED drivers. All of this is in the total price. The Apex controller is not in the price. I would use 60 LED's for a 70 gal tank.


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Old 02/05/2011, 06:37 PM   #12
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Very nice DIY! I'll keep this one saved for a possible future build!


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Old 02/05/2011, 09:53 PM   #13
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nice build, definitely gonna have to refer back when I get the new 120 going.


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Old 02/06/2011, 01:22 AM   #14
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Fantastic! I've been searching for a good build thread for some DIY canopy LEDs and it really looks like you had some success! Thanks for sharing!


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Old 02/06/2011, 07:24 PM   #15
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Thank you for your compliments.


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Old 02/18/2011, 06:59 PM   #16
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What are your tank dimensions?


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Old 02/27/2011, 07:42 PM   #17
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What size heat sinks did you use?


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Old 03/05/2011, 06:58 PM   #18
Kahuna
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Sorry, didn't notice the post. 10.46 X 18".


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Old 03/05/2011, 06:59 PM   #19
Kahuna
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What are your tank dimensions?
Standard 90g - 48 X 18 X 24 deep.


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Old 03/05/2011, 09:13 PM   #20
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Thanks Kevin! Looks like your lights are up pretty high from the water? Why so high?

If you get closer does it crank up the PAR readings?

Also, do you need them that high to get even light distribution? Is there a spotlight effect?

Thanks,
Matt


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Old 03/06/2011, 08:36 AM   #21
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The assembly is very heavy with the canopy - about 75-90 lbs. Didn't want to move it around much. As you referenced, this eliminates the spotlight effect, is above any water splash, and this sytem was based on another local reefer with a similar system that has absolutely knockout growth on his acros. The PAR would be just too much if I lowered it any. It's already 255 average on the bottom, and like 1000 at the water surface.


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Old 03/06/2011, 09:38 AM   #22
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Cost is about $950.
I'll buy it!

I have the exact same tank dimensions - and cant justify $2k on a new system.

How much experience do you have with this kind of work? Would you say a novice like myself could handle this?


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Old 03/06/2011, 11:17 AM   #23
Kahuna
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15 years fixing F-16's, 13 years as an engineer (not the train-type), and my 3 year old could do it. It's not complicated. You just need to take your time and pay attention to details, or it WILL look like it was built by my 3 year old.


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Old 03/09/2011, 09:26 PM   #24
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Nice looks awesome. where did you purchase the heatsinks. heatsinks usa doesnt have 10.5


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Old 03/10/2011, 08:09 AM   #25
Kahuna
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Nice looks awesome. where did you purchase the heatsinks. heatsinks usa doesnt have 10.5
Sorry, my bad. Widest they have; 8.46"?


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