View Full Version : LED lighting CONTINUED from another thread

09-05-2010, 11:28 AM
Good god no!! I have 2 x 250 hqi, but I did a DIY low voltage experiment meant to replace PC bulbs in traditional fixtures, kinda a retro fit strip.

You sound skeptical about the effectiveness of LEDs for SPS. Several local reefers have switched to the 119 LED systems over large SPS tanks and are happy with the results.

I've ordered my LEDs, resistors, Mean Well power supply and dimmable Buck Pucks for my DIY LED system to go over my 150G tank. This is going to be a BIG project. I'll have 600 5mm LEDs total: 20% white Crees, 40% royal blue Crees (470nm peak wavelength), and 40% blue LEDs (460nm peak wavelength).

I'll be using a rheostat to dim each circuit at first, then switch to an Arduino Mega (microprocessor-based) board that supplies pulse-width modulation (PWM) to dim the LEDs by strobing them on/off faster than the eye can see. The effect is the ability to dim the LEDs and increase the lifespan of the LEDs. The Arduino can output PWM signals on up to 14 pins, although I'll be using 5 circuits--1 for the white and 4 for the blues.

The Arduino has multiple benefits/capabilities. First, it will allow me to duplicate the sunrise-to-sunset daylight cycle by fading in/out each LED circuit when I want to. Second, PWM also allows me to control the maximum intensity of each circuit, so I can make sure I don't over-illuminate the tank.

09-05-2010, 12:38 PM
sounds like a sweet light ...whats it going to cost?

09-05-2010, 01:55 PM
$200 for 670 LEDs, 550 led holders and 600 resistors. I got extras just in case.
$90 for 5 BuckPucks
$25 for the power supply
$10 for 5 potentiometers (not rheos)
I already have cooling fans and some bits and pieces

09-05-2010, 06:45 PM
so 325 for all I'm wanna see the finished product.

09-06-2010, 08:06 AM
so no controller necessary for these?

09-06-2010, 08:25 AM
The potentiometers will suffice for now.

09-06-2010, 12:08 PM
I think you are going to have way too much PAR and will smoke your corals. Lil E has been smoking SPS with his LED units from Todd.

09-06-2010, 07:48 PM
That's why I've planned for 5 separate, adjustable circuits. Besides, isn't his tank only a foot deep?

09-06-2010, 08:09 PM
From an email exchange I had with with Bob Fenner last Feb:

Is there a comprehensive list of PAR requirements (compensation, saturation
and photoinhibition points) for SPS?
<Mmm, a few sources of such information, yes>
If not, are these general conclusions accurate: The optimal PAR (i.e.,
saturation) for the average acropora sp. is ~300, acropora millepora sp. is
~200, and that PAR above ~650 is usually too high, with the exception of a
rare few SPS?
<I'd go along with these values, yes>
I found a partial list compiled by Dana Riddle at
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2007/3/aafeature1#h10, Table 1. Do you know of others?
<Just in the scientific literature. See here:
Bob Fenner>

Plus, I have enough shady spots for lower light loving corals

09-07-2010, 07:55 AM
I hope you know how easy it is to smoke the LEDs as you solder them. They are extremely heat sensitve and have to be wired correctly as they are DC and not AC. To much heat or backwards polarity they die. FYI. I toasted some of the DIY moons I got beause of the dang heat.

09-07-2010, 05:41 PM
No problem there. I never mentioned that I maintained the electronics on the SR-71, and I have an electronics degree.

09-09-2010, 07:00 PM
The first shipment arrived. Here are the Buck Pucks.
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g46/coloradorocket/Buckpucks.jpg (http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g46/coloradorocket/Buckpucks.jpg)

I found this sign at Western Scrap off South Academy. It's 1/8" thick aluminum with a reflective sign face. I'll cut two pieces from it and drill about 600 holes for the "through-hole" leds.
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g46/coloradorocket/Sign.jpg (http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g46/coloradorocket/Sign.jpg)

09-10-2010, 06:15 PM
The LEDS, LED holders and LED tester showed up today. I plugged two LEDs into the tester and held them up to the aquarium with the lights off to see if the blue LEDs were all I'd hoped.

WOW! Here are two pics. The first is under VHO actinics. The second is with just two blue LEDs.

09-10-2010, 06:44 PM
6:30 p.m and FedEx just dropped off the power supply. Time to build!

09-22-2010, 12:07 PM
Any updates?

09-22-2010, 06:35 PM
I should be able to post more this weekend. The final gauge of success will be PAR measurements. I just need someone with a meter to help me determine if I have too much or too little PAR.

09-22-2010, 07:02 PM
I found this sign at Western Scrap off South Academy. It's 1/8" thick aluminum with a reflective sign face. I'll cut two pieces from it and drill about 600 holes for the "through-hole" leds.
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g46/coloradorocket/Sign.jpg (http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g46/coloradorocket/Sign.jpg)[/QUOTE]

sure you did lol i was wondering why the sign was missing by my house lol wow those LED's are gonna rock

09-22-2010, 07:27 PM
Actually, It's true. I think it was something like 15 pounds. They charged me $20. They had a ton of others. I would have bouht them to hang inside my garage if I could have afforded them. The No Parking and round RR Xing signs would have been my first choice.

09-22-2010, 07:30 PM
we used to change the sign that said flaggers ahead to faggots ahead when i was a young whiper snapper. good choice in reflectors by the way

10-02-2010, 03:35 PM


10-02-2010, 03:38 PM

10-03-2010, 10:14 AM
How is the Yellow Pyramid Butterfly? Have you found it to be reef safe? I'm thinking about getting 3-4 for my tank.

10-03-2010, 01:45 PM
Some butterflies are supposedly safer than others, but the pyramid is the only truly reef safe butterfly.

10-03-2010, 02:35 PM

VHOs across the whole tank, plus just 1/3 of left side LEDs lit.

10-03-2010, 09:19 PM
A couple more pics. This is only 125 of the 326 LEDs that will be mounted on one side of the tank. The dimmer works great. The rest of the LEDs are mounted on this panel, but I haven't wired them to the power supply yet. These are 20 degree viewing angle LEDs, so you can see how they get brighter as the camera angle is closer to the center of each LED.


10-03-2010, 09:52 PM
geez if you ever get bored you could always tan under the light lol wow thats bright so what is the total wattage?

11-07-2010, 11:07 AM
Ok, this is my last post in this thread for now.

According to my Kill-a-Watt, the 5mm LEDs use just 47 watts.

The majority of the 5mm LEDs are pure actinic. I have 150 Cree white (approx 9,000K), 250 Cree 465 nanometer, and 227 blue 450 nanometer. They're on 5 dimmable circuits. The corals fluoresce like crazy under them, and the wavelength range optimizes photosynthesis. Here's a pic with just those LEDs. The camera makes it look a little bluer than it really is.

I wanted to add more white for aesthetics, so I ordered 12 Cree 3 watt LEDs from RapidLED.com. I got the Mean Well driver (120V AC in/48VDC and 750mA out), 6 Cree white XP-G with 65 degree lenses, 6 Cree royal blue XR-E on heat sinks with 65 degree lenses, and heat transfer epoxy to mount them for about $120. It took maybe an hour to mount them and solder the wires. I like the color a lot more, and the shimmer is amazing. They only use 40 watts. Here's a pic with all LEDs on.

Here's a view of half of the LEDs from underneath.

I think I'm going to get another dozen 3W Crees lenses to try to eliminate the darker area in the center. The center cross-brace on the tank is 5" wide, so it blocks a lot of light. You can see it in this pic.

The only way to deal with it is to try to angle light under it from the side. The 5mm LEDs have a 20 degree beam width, so they don't throw light to the side at all. With the 65 degree lenses on the white Crees, and the 80 degree lenses on the blues, I can reach under the cross-brace by locating the white LEDs 3" from the cross-brace, and the blues 4" from the cross-brace. Any closer and the light will reflect off the top of the cross-brace.

So even with another 12 Crees, my lighting load will be 130 watts. That's a huge decrease from the 800W MH and 230 W VHOs.

11-07-2010, 01:00 PM
Looks really good, Dan, what was the total cost for the DIY?

11-07-2010, 03:59 PM
Is that Russ' old tank?

11-08-2010, 11:19 AM
Is that Russ' old tank?

It is.

11-08-2010, 12:17 PM
I would like to know the total cost also. I'm tossing around a diy led system. Do you have fans?

11-08-2010, 07:07 PM
PMs sent

11-28-2010, 05:46 PM
A few observations so far.
- Some corals that were browning out are coloring up again. I'm looking forard to seeing how they all color up.
- Between the 5mm and 3W LEDs, I prefer the 3W. They're cost effective, put out a lot of light, and are very easy to install and solder. I'm getting a few more royal blue and white 3W LEDs to fill in darker areas and boost PAR a little more. The next order will be direct from China to cut out the middleman. Including shipping, they're less than $40 per string of 12. Just add some cheap wire and a 2-wire power cord made from a cheap extension cord.

11-28-2010, 06:04 PM
I had to move my Ponapae in to a more shaded area. The tips were loosing color and the main body was lightening up.

11-28-2010, 06:09 PM
I'm seeing color on a couple of SPS that I never saw color on before.