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Old 03-01-2011, 09:41 PM   #21
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I've been looking into LEDs for a while and I found all of your information quite helpful. I'm thinking about replacing the fluorescent lights in my stock hood with LEDs simply for the increased light. Anyways, since installing your LED system two weeks ago, is there anything you wish you did differently or any advice to give me? How are the plants looking? Have you bumped the lighting above 2/3 power yet?
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:35 AM   #22
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There are a few things I wish I'd done differently, but most of them are pretty trivial:

1. I should have run the wires through the fixture. It would have been a pain in the neck to drill all the extra holes and thread the wire through, but I think it would have been worth it from an aesthetics perspective.

2. I would have used smaller screws. The 8-32s I used were overkill and I had to use nylon washers to make sure the wiring was insulated from the screws holding the LEDs down.

3. I don't think I would have bothered with making the fixture rockable. I didn't take the thickness of the square tube into account so I still have to slide the fixture back on the tank a little to open the lid.

4. I would have used a linear potentiometer for dimming. The audio pot I'm using adjusts on a logarithmic scale so I don't get any dimming except for the last 1/4 turn of the pot.

5. I'd make a few minor changes in the frame design. Nothing major, just flipping a few members around and adjusting a couple lengths for easier assembly and better adjustability.

6. I'd have ordered all the electrical components together to save money.

I had to turn the LEDs down to 2/3 power after the tank had a GSA breakout in less than two days at full power. I've got dry ferts on the way and I'm hoping to get a CO2 tank for my birthday in a couple weeks. After I've got that stuff, I'll try cranking up the lights and see what happens. Even at 2/3 power, I've got a whitish film on the glass.

The good news is the plants are doing very well. I pulled out all the anacharis and most of the guppy grass to make some room for different plants. fort384 sent me some glosso and some rotala wallichii that are growing well. The rotala is a poor shipper and came out of the box looking a little wilted, but it's perked up now and turning a nice pinkish-red. My asian ambulia pretty much died off under the T5 light, but it's coming back with the LEDs. My crypt lutea is developing some pinholes in the leaves which is a sign of potassium deficiency. I'm hoping that starting a fertilizer regimen will boost the growth of the plants.

I've been crazy busy this week with work and trying to get my wife's car back on the road. If I get a chance this weekend, I'll take some pictures of the tank if it's presentable.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:47 PM   #23
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Well that is a great testimonial. I think that's the route im going to go since its worked for you and it's very cheap. The leds you chose don't light up the red spectrum as much as id like but it is still much better than what I have. I might even run some tests in the future to see what works best.

I can't wait to see those pictures.
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:24 PM   #24
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I could have run both warm white and cool white LEDs to get a more complete spectrum, but that would have complicated the build. If the LEDs aren't nearly identical in their power demands, they can't be wired together. I've seen a few builds where someone tried running blue LEDs and white LEDs together in series and it resulted in a lot of blown LEDs and a very expensive lesson.
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Old 03-02-2011, 03:26 PM   #25
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+1 for DIY and also +1 for LEDs in general.

I just recently upgraded my 26gal Bowfront to a LED fixture but I went the retail route (Marineland's Double-bright 18"-24" fixture) and I have to say that it is a fantastic improvement over the stock single CFL I had in the old hood.

I was able to replace the stock black plastic lid with a glass top (awesome for looking down on your fish) - and the improved lighting has inspired me to try growing some easy low light plants (Anarchis, Ludwigia Repens, Anubias Nana) with nothing but a gravel substrate and weekly doses of Flourish.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:29 PM   #26
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Do you have the schematic or pictures for the pot modification to the power supply? I can't seem to find it.

Also, what is the resistance of the resistor and pot?
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:41 AM   #27
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I followed this: DealExtreme: Customer Uploaded Photo Gallery - 2000mA 30W Power Constant Current Source LED Driver (85~265V)

It's in the customer images section on the LED driver page I linked to earlier in the thread. I have no idea how the poster figured out which resistor could be used to control the current, but it does work.
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Old 03-05-2011, 10:47 PM   #28
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As promised, here's some pictures of the tank.


Here's a shot of the tank shortly after I added the LED fixture.



Here's the tank after I removed a bunch of the low-light plants to make room for the high-light plants. Left to right: water sprite, asian ambulia, glossostigma elatinoides, crypt parva, moneywort, rotala wallichii, crypt lutea, more rotala wallichii, guppy grass.

I got my dry ferts!





I decided to give the PPS Pro method a try. I mixed up a batch of macro ferts in a 1L Green River bottle and dosed all my tanks today. I should have a second bottle soon to mix up the micro ferts. In the meantime, I dosed Flourish in addition to the macro mixture. I don't have CO2 injection on the tank yet. Hopefully my swarm of guppies will provide enough to prevent a massive algae bloom.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:38 AM   #29
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Holy epsom salt, 4lbs!?! Tank looks good, get that thing planted heavier! I'll have some trimmings available in a week or two - Just got a new load of plants last week. I also started PPS Pro dosing yesterday with my new auto doser. I posted a build thread in the DIY section if you are interested.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:46 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim
The sunrise/sunset and moon phase capability is actually in my plans for the next fixture. I just have to learn how to program ICs in my spare time. I'd actually like to make the moon lights at least move across the "sky" in addition to rising, setting, and phasing. I think I can actually possibly retrofit my current LED driver with an IC and a transistor using PWM control for the sunrise/sunset effect.
I will be following this with eager eyes. This is exactly what I want to do for my bichir tank. I am a fourth year electrical engineering student at the university of Toledo. Good luck!
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