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Old 03-23-2013, 01:24 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by CorallineAlgae View Post
If the LED driver is only manufactured to output 120 watts then it doesn't matter if the LEDs are 2, 3 or 5 watts. The driver will only use and output around 120 watts. Different drivers will use more or less electricity due to design efficiency and the quality of it's internal parts, but the driver doesn't care about the full output ability of the LEDs.

Now, the LEDs that are rated as 3 watts but run at 2 watts (or anything under 3 through use of a dimmer) will run cooler and last longer than they would if they were run at their full rated ability, unless the cooling system is very efficient. That's been my understanding at least.
You are absolutely correct. What I am trying to emphasize is you pay for the simplicity of stuff you get and not necessarily the optimum worth.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:32 PM   #52
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Just over simplifying things. You don't need a calculus to understand the basics. If you have 55 emitters with 3-watt emitter each doesn't it supposed to be a total of 165 watts?

Actually you do need fancy math, but that's why I had to attend 4 years of schooling

The fact they are 3W LED doesn't mean anything, they could be 100W but if the driver is only 120W then that's all the output you are getting across the entire load.. They run LED's at a lower wattage because they last longer. LED's are an electronic component and like most things in the world of electronics, the more you run them at full rated output the faster they break.

We use the same method of thinking in the field when installing things, if the rated diode is suppose to be 100A and 100V then you install one rated for 150A and 150V. Just makes sense to oversize them a little bit and make them longer lasting to the customer with really no cost increase.

As for heat sinks and fans I really don't understand this myself, when I install strip LED's (5W LED's in lengths of min 5ft) we don't use anything like this, and after 24hrs of constant running you can still walk up and touch them with your bare hand. They heat they produce is very very little and really is a 3$ computer fan in the top of the fixture worth as much as they want us to believe?
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:22 PM   #53
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I have sold, over the past 3 years, about 30 fish tank panels (100-300 watts) and about 40 high output tunnel lights (used in emergency vehicles we build) that all came from my supplier in China.

Of the fish tank panels, one died and 3 drivers shorted out. Tunnel lights we have had 2 drivers short out. Their drivers are not very good, but they are cheap to replace at least.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:32 PM   #54
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The LED driver plays an important rule specially when you are dimming your lights. LED strips has no driver just ballast resistor and takes the full voltage from your power supply. That explains why there is no heat. With a 120vac power for your LED lights it is a different story. It can be switching or conventional type. Switching is more complicated than conventional and that dictates the price.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:58 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by jeffaquarius View Post
The LED driver plays an important rule specially when you are dimming your lights. LED strips has no driver just ballast resistor and takes the full voltage from your power supply. That explains why there is no heat. With a 120vac power for your LED lights it is a different story. It can be switching or conventional type. Switching is more complicated than conventional and that dictates the price.
Different emitters require various amounts of heat sink. For example, a 50 watt multisegmented LED would melt down without a heat sink, where some lower wattage parts would not. Even high power LED flashlights we use have a large machined housing to dissipate heat from the emitter. I have built some solid state lasers using LED diodes and even at 4 watts these suckers get hot. Different emitters have different thermal capabilities.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:55 PM   #56
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Very good discussion guys, thanks.

I just put together a DIY fixture with 18 LEDs, (6 cool white, 6 royal blue, 6 blue). I don't intend to use a fan, as the heat sink ought to be enough to pull heat away from the diodes. With 3 dimmable drivers (1 for each color) and an arduino controller that will do all the same stuff my AI sols on my other tank will do, the total cost was somewhere around $280. That is a pretty good value.

Of course that is only 18 diodes... but the diodes are the cheap part. IT wouldn't be tough to scale this up for a larger project.



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Old 03-23-2013, 05:36 PM   #57
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If your handy, putting your own LEDs together can save you a lot of money and allows you to build exactly what you want. I do recommend a heat sink if you are stringing any number of high output emitters together, they will last longer.
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