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Old 06-01-2006, 02:01 AM   #1
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LED lighting help please

Hello;

Let me start this thread by apologizing for not being able to locate the necessary information elsewhere on this site. I have tried searching for similar situations but so far have come up empty handed. I hope someone can help!

Here is my situation. I have a 20 gallon aquarium which is home to three bala's and a common pleco. I would like to provide some dim night time light for my pleco as he/she is most active at night (being nocturnal will do that I suppose ^_^). Getting the lights is not an issue. However, installing them is a whole other can of worms.

To my knowledge, LED lights must be run using DC (direct current) at 12 volts. My current lighting set up is a simple fluorescent fixture with a starter and ballast which uses 120 volt alternating current. My question is: can I use a rectifier to provide DC power from the source for my current fixture? If not, what is the most common way of installing these lights?

I have read many DIY threads where people are using things like old adapters to power their LEDs. Does anyone have immediate experience with this?

My thinking suggests that I may have to use an AC -> DC step down transformer in order to get 12 volt DC power for the lights. Alternatively I suppose I could use some sort of an adapter with an integrated rectifier but really I have no idea what is the best rout to take. That is why I am asking all of you lovely folks here at Aquarium Advice. What would you do?

Lastly, is it common practice to have a dimmer associated with the LED circuit in order to reduce light intensity? Likewise, is it typical to install a binary toggle switch to turn the lights on and off or do people usually leave them on all of the time? Power consumption for LEDs is obviously negligible.

FYI my current fixture runs at 120 volts; 60 Hertz.

Thank you very much in advance!

Cheers,
Joseph
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:01 PM   #2
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Ok Joe, your on the right track. Check my gallery for a couple of pictures of what I made. I used blue leds and resistors on each one (more info upon request).

If you are comfortable with a soldering gun its quite easy. I always use a 12 volt DC power supply. The voltage of the led's and the ohms of the resisters used determines the voltage of the power supply.
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:07 PM   #3
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TwoHobbies;

The system you have set up is exactly what I am looking for! I have been communicating with an electrical company who sells LEDs, dc power supplies etc etc. What parts would I need? Likewise, how much did that project cost you? I am trying to determine if it would be cheaper for me to buy one or to build one.

Thank you very much for your input!

UPDATE

Is $20.00 USD plus shipping a good price for a complete moonlight kit? That is the current offer I am getting from the shop I had previously mentioned. I am thinking so but would like some opinions if anyone would care to grant me them.

Cheers,
Joseph
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:56 PM   #4
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I bought the clear tubing from Home Depot about $5.00. for 6 FT, my son purchases the led's and resistors off EBay, and the power supply I had laying around from a old cordless phone. Solder, wire, and silicone to fill the tube about $10.00, so $20.00 for it all seems about right.
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