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Old 03-31-2012, 07:31 PM   #1
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Sealing LED MR11's on a Fluval Edge (older version) - FYI

I posted this response to another thread a while back but thought I'd add it in its own thread in case one of you comes up on a new or used Fluval Edge 1st Gen. Since the release of the 2nd Gen Fluval Edge with the much improved LED lighting, the 1st Gen's are being sold on sale, clearance, or even used. As you may already know (or not) the older Fluval Edge uses MR11 Halogen bulbs that are shielded. Shielded meaning that there is a clear piece of glass/acrylic that prevents water damage to the bulbs. Since most Edge owners (along with myself) feel that the Halogens are pretty weak and run hot in terms of lighting, we opt to upgrade them with the LED MR11's often sold through LED Wholesalers (among other sources). While this provides a substantial improvement in lighting (lumens), the LED's aren't shielded and can get corroded and damaged due to water splashing, evaporation, etc over time.

So here's my solution:

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Originally Posted by Brian_Nano12g View Post
Just wanted to add to this thread in case someone else was searching for solutions to seal these MR11 LED bulbs from water moisture. I was initially considering the clear coat enamel I read people do but after reading the directions on the spray can, it said to not apply to surfaces that exceed ~200F. I couldn't find the working temperature of the MR11 LED's sold by LED Wholesalers (via Amazon) referenced anywhere online. However, other comparable MR11 LED's I found run approx. 35-55C (roughly 155F). I know that's below the threshold recommended for the clear coat but it's pretty close and I didn't want to risk it (especially leaving the lights on for extended periods of time). Plus I wasn't too sure how clear the clear coat would stay from constant heat and water moisture. I felt a better plan was in store.

Option 2 was to get some acrylic, cut it to size, and seal it on with some silicon. Problem is that I don't own any tools (i.e. Dremel) that can do the job and I didn't want to invest in one that I won't use often enough to justify that expense.

So my final option was to stop by a crafts store and find some kind of clear disks made from glass or durable transparent plastic. I stopped on at Michael's and found just the thing! And it only costed me a whopping $1!!! Note: I found similar glasses on Amazon for a bit more if you can't find these locally.

I found these Harry Potter glasses by the Halloween decor that fit just perfectly! Not only that, they are thick, pretty light weight, amd very clear. I popped out the lenses from the frames and siliconed those bad boys on the MR11's... And voila, shielded LED's...

So far so good

Here the pics:
I apologize for the poor image quality of the first 3 pics. As you can see the result is pretty clean though. The lights have been going on strong for pretty close to a year now.



Notice on the right LED bulb, there is some signs of corroding before I added the shield on. If you don't add in some shields of some sort, they will eventually be damaged.





And the final product:

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Old 03-31-2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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How did you apply the silicone? To the outside edges? Is there a certain kind/brand of silicone that is best?
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
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How did you apply the silicone? To the outside edges? Is there a certain kind/brand of silicone that is best?
Well the lenses are slightly larger than the circumference of the MR11s so I just placed the bulbs on top of them on a table and ran a fairly thick line evenly around to seal it in. I let them dry overnight and installed them in the Edge with no problems.

I used some pretty cheap clear silicone I found at the 99 cent store. Perhaps some aquarium silicone might be better? I haven't had any issues with the cheap stuff I used.
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