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Discussion Starter #1
I've been working for a year or so trying to convert my tank from metal halide to LED and I thought I would share my progress as I go.

Last Fall I started a DIY project building an Arduino controller. I knew I wanted to be able to dim the LEDs for sunrise/sunset, but I also wanted to be able to control the fans on the heatsink, have a dimmable moonlight that follows the moon cycles, and be able to control a seperate frag or fuge tank that would be running in sync or opposite of my main tank. The frag tank would also be a good place to accimilate new corals to the LEDs without having to dim my main tank all over again. If I wasn't able to do this, then there would be no point in switching over to LED since that is one of the main benefits. After a few months of learning electronics and programming an Arduino I'm about 90% finished with the controller. You can see some of my progress here:

http://www.carolinafishtalk.com/forum/diy-section/30981-my-aurdino-led-controller-build.html

I never build a fully functional PCB for the controller because I never knew how it would be mounted or displayed on the tank. That's where the MakersLED heatsink came into play, but more on that later.

After knowing that I could build a controller, I started on a small LED setup for my frag tank. My frag area is half of my 20H sump, so it didn't need to be a big setup. I opted with 3 Cree Cool White LEDs and 4 Cree Royal Blue LEDs powered by a Meanwell ELN-60-27P driver. Once I had all the LEDs setup on the small 4.25" x 4" heatsink I was able to connect it to the controller to test everything out. Luckily everything worked great! It has been running on my frag tank for the past 6 months or so and my sps, ricordia, and zoas are loving it.

Now that I knew I could do it, I started designing the LED setup for the main tank.

http://www.carolinafishtalk.com/forum/diy-section/39098-check-my-led-design-my-40-breeder.html

I finally decided to go with:
(1) 24" MakersLED heatsink
(3) XM-L Cool White
(3) XM-L Natural White
(2) Luxeon Violet UV
(3) XP-E Red
(24) XT-E Royal Blue

The XM-L will be run from an ELN-60-27P driver @ 2.3A
The Violet and Red will be run from an ELN-60-27P driver @ 700mA
The Royal Blues will be run from 2 ELN-60-48P drivers @ 1.3A

All LEDs will have 80° optics.

The red, violet and white will be run off of one channel from the controller with the blue running on the other channel. This will give me the ability to control the amount of blue or white in the tank.

Since I went with the MakersLED heatsink, I didn't have to do the standard block layout of the LEDs. You can easily position them pretty much anywhere on the heatsink so I had a little more freedom. I decided to make some groups of LEDs so every white LED will be surrounded by at least 3 royal blue LEDs. This should prevent the spotlighting effect some people get.

I don't have a SketchUp image of the new layout, but you can see the LEDs here after I finished all my soldering.


The positioning and soldering took quite a while, but I'm pretty happy with how it all came out. After I finished the layout and soldering I used a hot glue gun to organize the wires a little better. That's when I found out that I'm much better with a soldering iron than a hot glue gun! That stuff gets everywhere! :mad: It's a good thing I started with the wires instead of the optics or I might have had to replace a few LEDs!





Then I positioned the fans on the top and checked the location of the drivers. There will be 2 mounted on the front and back of the heatsink.




I plan to mount the controller between the fans. The "brains" of the controller will sit on the very top of the heatsink between the fans and the display and controls will be on the front between the drivers. This should give me good access to be able to check the status of the lights and change any settings if I need to. One of the best things I like about this heatsink is that it gives me the option to keep most of the wiring all within the heatsink. There will still be a few wires running to it for the controller, but if I wanted the only wires I would need to come to the LED setup would be DC and AC power. It makes for a really clean setup.

That's all I have for now. The next steps are to glue the optics and start planning the PCB and enclosure for the controller. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll have this thing up and running!

I'll be sure to post updates as I make them.
 

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Looks awesome man. This thread made me laugh because I am also planning a build with a makers heatsink for a 40b. Thanks for sharing all the info and pictures. Cant wait to see this beauty running!
 

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Very nice, I don't have the patience for that at all so just going with manufactured units for now and I can dream through your thread. Maybe when the kids are grown and gone I could deal with something like that to pass the time. lol!
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Very nice, I don't have the patience for that at all so just going with manufactured units for now and I can dream through your thread. Maybe when the kids are grown and gone I could deal with something like that to pass the time. lol!
I thought really hard about just buying a couple of Radions, but when I compared it with a DIY project it was $1,000 more. I really love how they integrate with the MP10 pumps, but I just couldn't justify spend that much extra for something I could do myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got my grommets in the mail today so I could finish wiring the LED side of the heatsink. I drilled 2 holes in the middle so the wires could be routed to the top of the heatsink and eventually get hooked up to the drivers.



On the image from the top, you can see that all the wires are accumulating to the center of the heatsink where the controller will eventually be.



Next step is to drill a few holes so the wiring for the drivers will be clean then mount them to the sides.

After that I have to clean up this rats nest and put it on the top of the heatsink :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I haven't had much time lately to work on this, but I have all the components I need to finish up the controller. I just need some time to get it all soldered up.

In the mean time, I testing my LEDs and drivers and everything works great. Can't wait to get it on the tank!

 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I ran into some issues with the controller and decided to just buy the Typhon controller from BoostLED. I've updated the software a little to add a minimum brightness to work with the meanwell's requirement for at least 10% PWM signal. I plan on adding another small board and updating the software to control my fans and moon lights. For now the moon lights are just running at 100% and my fans are set on an external timer to come on 15 minutes before the LEDs and turn off 15 minutes after they turn off. I'm running the whites on one channel, the blues on a second and the red/uv lights on a third. I started them all at 15% and have been ramping them up slowly over the past 11 days. Right now I'm up to 50% for white, 60% for blue, and 17% for red/uv.

Just for reference the whites run at a maximum of 1.5A, the blues have a max of 1.3A and the red/UV have a max of 700mA. I'm still trying to figure out what blend of blue, white, and red I want, but right now the tank looks mostly white with a hint of blue.

Here's the ramp schedule I'm using:

Red/UV: On from 10am to 9pm, ramp on and off for 3.5 hours
Blue: On from 10:30am to 8:30pm, ramp on and off for 3 hours
White: On from 11am to 8pm, ramp on and off for 2.5 hours

The time from 10am to 11am and 8pm to 9pm are pretty cool with blue and red on then only red on!

The total cost of the project (if you don't count the messed up controller) is $588. I also bought some extra LEDs just in case I burned some out or wanted to add some more blues.
Drivers: $156
LEDs & heatsink: $332
Controller: $50
Misc stuff: $50

The total wasn't much more than buy a new dual MH setup about 10 years ago (which is when I bought mine) with a nice reflector. The good thing is that this will last me at least 10 years and be maintenance free!

I've been running the LEDs for almost 2 weeks now and everything is looking great! I'll let you be the judge :)

btw, there was no image adjustments done to these photos other than crop/resize.



































 

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Discussion Starter #13
What kind of issues were you having with the Arduino controller
There wasn't really an issue with the controller....more like an issue with the person putting it together :D

The Arduino board came pre-wired with a 128x64 LCD screen. The screen was wired to a breadboard then wired to the controller. I made a custom pcb board with input buttons and wanted to add the LCD screen. When I tried to transfer the screen to my board I couldn't get it to work again. I probably didn't have it wired correctly, but I didn't want to spend much more time on it so I found another controller that could do the job. I'm glad I went through the process of trying to build my own. It gave me a chance to learn the programming which allowed me to modify the Typhon board to work a little better for me. Now I can also easily create another add on that will work as a fan controller and moon light controller for moon phases. The only thing I don't like about the typhon board is the smaller LCD screen and the limited number of outputs (there are only 4 pin outputs). For $50 you can't beat it!
 

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Looking VERY good! I see plenty of new growth on those SPS pieces :)

Awesome stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I forgot to add a few things...

I mounted the LEDs in my existing canopy. I used U-bolts connected to the heatsink and lag hooks in the top of the canopy so the fixture could hang a few inches from the top and still have enough room for air movement.



I also used a distribution block for the A/C power to the drivers.


With the distribution block, I only have 2 cords running to the heatsink. 1 for A/C power and another for the D/C power for the controller. This makes it really easy to just unhook the LED fixture and remove it if I ever needed to.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
2 Month Update

My LEDs have been running for 2 months so far. Here's a few updates of my tank and some photos of the new additions I got on Saturday. I still haven't figured out where I'm putting most of this stuff :D

Everything seems to be growing as quick as ever since switching to LED. I did lose a few sps corals, but I blame myself 100% for that. I was having some phosphate issues before the switch which was causing problems with some corals. When I made the switch I shocked them and they died. I also ramped up the LEDs too quickly. I think I found the max that I'll be running so everything should be smooth from now on.



























 

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Discussion Starter #18
The best thing about doing DIY is that you can change the design as better equipment comes out...

I just ordered some new Mean Well LDD drivers that will allow me to dim my LEDs to zero and give much better control. I was never able to adjust the max of my current drivers correctly because the adjustment screw is so touchy. Now I'll be able to adjust the max current with a knob while and be able to dim from 0 to 100% with my new APEX.

Here are the new drivers I ordered:
MakersDRIVER - Professional grade dimmable LED driver - LEDGroupBuy.com

It's basically 2 drivers in setup. You just have to supply 48V of power from this power supply:
180w 48v 3.75A DC Power Supply - LEDGroupBuy.com

It'll be much cleaner as I won't have 4 huge drivers hanging off the sides of my heatsink anymore. I'll try to get some photos once I get everything together.
 
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