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Old 03-29-2012, 08:44 PM   #1
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DIY budget LED experiment

Ok ,I've started buying some parts online to make my own led lighting. I'm not an engineer master fabricator, or even really handy.

Ive decided to use 3 10w LEDs because they seem to provide the best bang for the buck. (so far cost is going to be around $25 per 10w of led, so $75 total)
I have one of the emitters already and thought I had a driver as well, but bought the wrong type of driver. I read the description of the driver as a 10 driver, but didn't read that it powers 4-12 individual 1w emitters.
It was only about $8 so not too bad of a mistake and may be able to use it down the road.

Here is a rough mock up of what I'm trying to do.

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I got a good deal on a driver for three 10w emitters. Hopefully the right one this time.

I also bought 2 more emitters that are just like the emitter in the pic ( notice that it has 9 diodes ) except they will have 2 rows of actinic blue with one row of 15k white.

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This is the 10w 20k white led that I have.

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This is the driver, that isn't right. It works it just causes the emitter to flash like a strobe light.

I also have a lens that I may use, but I'm not sure. I only have one lens . I don't know if I will need optics or not, it may complicate things and drive up costs, or it may make it a great DIY fixture. So I don't know about the lens just yet.

Here's a pic of the lens:

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I also have a bunch of computer heatsinks so I'm going to try to use them for cooling.

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Old 03-29-2012, 08:50 PM   #2
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I will try to update this thread as I make progress. If anyone has any tips or tricks I'd love to hear them. I'd also answer any questions. Thanks for looking.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:20 PM   #3
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The voltage and the amperage requirements of your diodes are far more important to driver selection than the overall power consumption. You should really look up how to calculate voltage drops and current splits around a circuit. Otherwise you'll just end up frying a lot of LEDs.

Use a thermal paste or pad between the LED and the heat sink. You don't need much, but it makes a big difference.

Where did you get that lens? I don't think it'll do what you're looking for.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:49 PM   #4
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Here is the Led emitters that I bought:
1pc 10W Actinic Royal Blue Hybrid Led Saving Lamp for Aquarium 10Watt Bulb | eBay

Here is the LED driver I bought:
3 x 10W Waterproof LED Driver | eBay

I believe they will work together, but not 100% sure. If not I suppose I will be light a few dollars and have a few spare parts, but I'm into it now so This will be built one way or another lol.
BigJim I would appreciate your input on these parts and I will do some research on the info you mentioned.
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:06 PM   #5
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There's your problem. The driver that you tried the first time only puts out 0.3A when the LED needs 1.0A. I'm kind of surprised you got any output at all.

The specs on the links you gave look good. That driver should power three of the 10W LEDs wired in series.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Ok tried another idea I got from a YouTube video. I hooked an led up to a computer atx power supply and it seemed to work great, but my heatsink was not sufficient. I used a heatsink from a small graphics card and it became very hot to touch in less than 30 secs with a built in fan. I had the fan hooked up to the 3v wire so it was turning pretty slow. I could try the fan at 5v or 12v to see if that helps.

I feel like heatsink will be a bigger factor than I thought. These put out alot of heat! I've heard that's common with cheap high power emitters. (less efficiency). I'm going to have to come up with a serious cooling solution.



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Old 04-02-2012, 12:47 PM   #7
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Is this still a low budget build or are you finding it to be more expensive than you thought. I'm currently looking for a cheap way to light my breeding room.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:13 PM   #8
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Somewhat, but some of the cost is going to be my fault, for example, not getting the right parts, and indecision on how I will mount it to the fish tank. So I've kinda went a couple different directions. One is to use individual CPU heatsinks for the 10w LEDs or one large aluminum heatsink, and another is to use some smaller 1-3w leds with the 10w. I'm going to have some leftover parts and that's ok.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
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I've got ten 3W Cree XR-Es on my 20g and the only heat sink I've got is the aluminum tubing I used for the fixture structure. It gets pretty warm in the summer, but doesn't pass the pain threshold for me at least.

MF, LEDs have a fairly high buy-in cost, but they're really cheap to run for what you get. I've got 30W of LEDs on my high-light 20H tank and I can grow pretty much anything I want. I've got 36W of CFL on my 29g and maybe in the low-med range.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:58 PM   #10
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I bought a 600x140mm heatsink, and a 600x25mm heatsink. I've ordered most of the parts from hong kong so I expect about 2 weeks shipping time. I have around $100 in this so far. I like the look of the large heatsink. I wish I could weld the aluminum but I only have a small mig welder so that's out. I may have access to someone who can weld/help me weld aluminum, I feel like drilling and tapping holes may be difficult also. I'm used to working with steel not aluminum really so I'm unsure of the difficulties working a new material, and I'm not really great at working with steel ( my experience with drilling and tapping is when I have stripped or broken bolts lol)
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