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http://indianaquariumhobbyist.com/community/ :: View topic - First DIY LED Build
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First DIY LED Build
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nishantvats
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:14 pm Post subject: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Hello!
 
 Wanted  to  share  some  details  of  my  just-completed  DIY  LED  Build  for  a  new  55  gallon  (36"  x  20"  x  18"),  planted  tank  with  injected  CO2.  It  has  been  a  long  process  that  started  with  the  design,  changes  in  the  design  due  to  lack  of  availability  of  certain  parts  (including  CREE  LEDs  -  I  searched  far  and  wide  in  Bangalore,  but  couldn't  net  any  -  I  went  with  Edison  3W  LEDs  in  the  end).  While  the  efficacy  of  these  lights  with  plants  is  yet  to  be  seen  (they  sure  are  bright  though  -  am  running  them  at  70%  to  view  the  tank  comfortably  -this  is  without  water  of  course),  I  am  happy  about  the  fact  that  it  being  my  own  build,  I  can  always  change  things  around.
 
 Am  attaching  a  few  pictures  of  various  stages  of  the  build  (you  will  notice  that  pictures  were  frequent  in  the  beginning,  and  then  I  got  so  immersed  in  the  build  process  that  I  stopped  taking  any  at  all!  All  the  final-stage  pictures  are  "after-the-build"  -  taken  only  after  I  had  completed  and  hung  the  fixture  above  my  tank).  I  might  be  building  another  one  pretty  soon  (for  a  friend),  so  will  try  to  be  more  thorough  with  my  documentation  of  the  process  in  that  one.
 
 Am  also  documenting  some  of  the  costs  of  the  exercise,  in  case  anyone  wants  to  attempt  anything  similar.  
 
 Fixture  Specifications:
 
 66cm  (26")  long.  According  to  my  calculations,  it  would  give  decent  light  coverage  over  the  entire  36"  x  20"  tank  base  (wanted  to  minimize  light  spillage  as  well).  I  have  used  36  LEDs  in  3  rows  of  12  each  (Pattern  shown  in  Picture  00  -  I  was  unable  to  get  the  Blue  and  Neutral  White  LEDs  though,  so  have  had  to  throw  out  the  red  ones  from  the  design  as  well.  The  final  build  uses  only  cool  and  warm  whites)  -  central  row  with  60  degree  optics,  outer  rows  with  40  degree  optics.  Since  the  fixture  will  be  hung  approximately  12"  above  the  water  surface,  I  should  be  getting  close  to  PAR  250  at  the  surface,  and  PAR  100  at  the  substrate  (way  too  much  at  full  intensity,  so  shall  definitely  be  dialling  down  the  lights).  Would  love  to  borrow  a  PAR  meter  from  someone  to  check  actual  figures.
 
 Components:
 
 Heatsinks  for  the  LED  bank  (Anodized  Aluminium  extrusions,  one  for  the  main  heatsink,  two  for  the  cladding  -  cosmetic  elements)  Shown  in  Picture  03.
 Sourced:  locally  from  local  ALuminium  extrusion  shops.  I  would  highly  recommend  anodization,  both  because  it  gives  a  nice  finished  look,  and  it  is  better  for  heat  transfer  in  the  long  term  (prevents  oxidization  of  the  aluminium,  etc).  It  was  fun  selecting  the  profiles  for  these  extrusions,  and  I  managed  to  find  ones  that  would  look  good  in  the  final  assembly  and  at  the  same  time  gave  me  plenty  of  options  for  assembly,  like  slots  to  slide  in  my  acrylic  sheets,  hanging  fixtures,  etc.
 Cost:  Rs  2500/-
 

 3W  Edison  LEDs  -  I  have  used  a  mixture  of  Warm  White  and  Cool  White.  Was  unable  to  source  the  Neutral  White  and  Royal  Blue  ones  (and  since  I  couldn't  get  the  blue  ones,  ditched  the  red  ones  as  well,  as  I  wanted  the  red  and  blue  to  balance  each  other).  Have  decided  to  go  with  this  combination  of  just  whites  for  now,  and  will  perhaps  change  things  around  later  if  they  don't  work  for  plant  growth.
 Sourced:  locally  from  SP  Road.
 Cost:  Rs.  2000/-
 
 Optics  and  Star  PCBs  for  LEDs  -  I  have  used  a  mixture  of  40  degree  and  60  degree  lenses.  While  the  initial  plan  was  to  use  blue  and  red  LEDs  without  any  optics,  lack  of  avaialbility  of  these  LEDs  made  means  I  have  optics  on  all  the  LEDs.
 Sourced:  while  the  optics  were  available  for  around  Rs  20/-  each  in  SP  road,  I  got  lucky  with  a  manufacturer  that  I  stumbled  upon  close  to  where  I  live,  and  got  them  cheaper,  at  Rs  15/-  each.  Star  PCBs  from  SP  Road.
 Cost:  Rs.  750/-
 
 Fans  for  the  canopy  -  I  am  currently  using  cheaper  fans  but  would  like  to  upgrade  to  ones  that  cost  almost  double  my  current  ones,  but  will  run  quieter  and  more  reliably.  I  used  2  x  24V  DC  fans  120mm.   
 Sourced:  from  SP  Road.
 Cost:  Rs.500/-
 
 Acrylic  and  PPE  sheets  for  the  canopy  -  I  have  used  a  clear  acrylic  sheet  as  a  splash  guard  for  the  LEDs  and  white  PPE  sheet  to  conceal  the  LED  light  wiring  etc.  Made  holes  to  accommodate  the  lenses  and  slid  it  into  my  fixture.  This  is  wehre  the  interesting  profile  of  the  aluminium  extrusion  came  in  handy.
 Sourced:  Acrylic  and  plastics  shops  close  to  BVK  Iyengar  Road.
 Cost:  Rs  250/-
 
 Canopy:  This  is  the  one  part  of  the  build  that  I  wasn't  at  all  confident  about  fabricating  by  myself.  I  had  some  material  left  over  from  the  construction  of  my  tank  stand,  and  since  I  don't  trust  myself  with  my  woodworking  skills  at  all,  got  this  done  by  the  carpenter  who  built  the  stand  for  me.  Used  12mm  ply  and  1mm  laminates  for  this.  It  is  just   a  simple  C-cross-section,  with  holes  to  accommodate  the  fans.  While  this  canopy  did  not  cost  me  anything,  please  factor  this  in  at  approx  Rs  500/-  to  750/-  based  on  how  cheap  you  can  get  it  done!
 Cost:  Rs  0/-
 
 LED  Driver  &  Controller  PCBs,  ICs,  and  miscellaneous  electronic  components  -  I  designed  a  controller  circuit  based  on  the  PIC  microcontroller  because  I  had  a  couple  of  them  from  previous  projects  lying  around.  I  have  designed  the  controller  with  a  programmable  timer,  controls  for  manual/programmed  adjustment  of  the  light  in  3  channels.  (I  have  arranged  the  LEDs  in  order  to  be  able  to  control  my  Warm  white,  Cool  White,  and  Natural  White  banks  individually)  and  also  to  be  able  to  take  some  sensor  inputs  in  the  future.  It  includes  a  bank  of  6  relays  to  control  various  external  devices.  The  LED  driver  circuit  itself  was  based  on  the  CAT4101  chip  from  ON  Semiconductors.  These  drivers  are  capable  of  driving  strings  of  6  LEDs  at  a  constant  current,  with  a  LED  supply  voltage  upto  25V.  The  circuit  I  designed  used  an  array  of  6  of  them,  and  hence  can  drive  36  LEDs,  in  6  channels  although  I  have  coupled  the  channels  to  get  an  effective  3-channel  output.
 
 Sourced:  The  PCBs  were  manufactured  through  an  online  service  called  PCBpower.com  and  they  are  based  out  of  Gujarat.  Since  I  ordered  a  prototype  quantity  of  the  PCBs,  the  circuitry  ended  up  costing  me  quite  a  bit,  but  would  work  out  significantly  cheaper  if  I  was  to  order,  say  50  of  them!  I  wish!  Smile   couldn't  find  the  CAT4101s  locally,  and  hence  had  to  source  them  through  mouser.com.  They  were  shipped  from  Singapore.  I  got  the  24V  power  supply  and  components  for  my  controller  enclosure  and  for  the  build  from  various  shops  in  and  around  SP  road.
 
 Cost:  Rs.  800/-  for  the  PCBs,  Rs.  2500/-  for  the  electronic  components,  Rs.  1000/-  for  the  24V  power  supply,  Rs  700/-  for  the  enclosure  components  (fan,  cabinet,  etc),  Rs  1000/-  for  various  other  build  components,  such  as  wires,  thermal  adhesive,  thermal  paste,  paste,  nuts  and  bolts,  etc
 
 Total  cost  of  the  build:
 Rs.  12500/-

 
 I  benchmarked  the  cost  of  my  DIY  build  with  some  of  the  readymade  stuff  I  found  online,  including  DIY  kits  from  the  likes  of  RapidLED.com,  etc.  I  had  seen  another  build  on  this  forum  which  was  based  on  one  of  these  kits,  and  I  do  believe  that  my  build  ended  up  being  much  cheaper  due  to  locally  sourced  components  (for  the  most  part).  As  they  say,  one  cannot  put  a  price  to  learning,  so  I  must  say  that  irrespective  of  whether  I  got  a  cost  advantage  or  not,  it  has  been  a  thoroughly  satisfying  endeavour.  In  case  you  have  any  questions  or  doubts,  please  feel  free  to  drop  me  a  line,  and  I  would  love  comments  on  things  I  could  have  done  differently,  as  it  will  help  with  my  next  build.
 
 Finally,  have  also  included  a  couple  of  pictures  of  my  the  final  setup  (without  water!).  Would  love  comments  on  how  to  effectively  aquascape  this  tank  -  want  to  make  it  a  lush  one!
 
 Picture  00:  The  LED  bulb  arrangement  and  simulated  light
 
 
 Picture  01:  The  Edison  LEDs  pasted  (with  thermal  adhesive)  onto  the  Star  PCBs
 
 
 Picture  02:  LED  soldering  completed!
 
 
 Picture  03:  The  heatsinks  are  here!
 
 
 Picture  04:  Marking  out  the  locations  for  the  LEDs
 
 
 Picture  05:  Holes  drilled  into  the  heatsink  for  screwing  down  the  Star  PCBs
 
 
 Picture  06:  The  PCBs  arrived  in  the  mail!
 
 
 Picture  07:  Programming  and  testing  the  controller  circuit
 
 
 Picture  08:  The  Controller  box.  The  bottom  row-left  on  the  display  shows  the  various  relay  outputs  (6th  relay  output  is  reserved  for  the  LEDs).  The  bottom  row-right  shows  the  levels  of  the  three  LED  channels  (Warm-Neutral-Cool).  My  current  LED  combination  only  has  a  pseudo-neutral  channel  (mixture  of  cool  and  warm  white).
 
 
 Picture  09:  The  interface  for  adjusting  the  outputs/LED  channels
 
 
 Picture  10:  The  completed  LED  fixture,  with  canopy
 
 
 Picture  11:  A  view  of  the  LED  bank.  Acrylic  and  PPE  sheets  for  splash-protection  and  to  hide  the  LED  wiring.
 
 
 Picture  12:  Top  view  of  the  fixture  -  the  fans  are  120  mm,  both  towards  the  centre  of  the  fixture.  The  two  holes  towards  the  sides  are  air  intakes.
 
   
 Picture  13:  The  fixture  hanging  above  my  tank
 
 
 Picture  14:  My  planned  hardscape  (driftwood  and  brown  rock).  Substrate  is  Amazonia  with  Contro  on  top.  Layer  of  gravel  at  the  bottom  to  prevent  minimize  compaction  of  the  soil.  Would  love  to  hear  suggestions  on  how  to  aquascape  this,  choice  of  plants  etc.  Have  underexposed  the  picture  by  quite  a  bit  as  the  lights  are  too  bright  (will  be  dialing  them  down  during  actual  use).
 
 
 Picture  15:  Another  slightly  zoomed  out  picture  of  the  setup!
 
 
 Cheers!


Last edited by nishantvats on Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:46 pm; edited 5 times in total
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mougliblore
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:55 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Beautiful  Nishant!!  I  once  ordered  CAT4101  from  http://shopping.kitsnspares.com/bon1/index.asp.  They  were  shipped  from  a  warehouse  in  Indiranagar.
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Athreyan
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:53 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 that's  an  awesome  build  man!  Bow   Bow   Bow  
 I  wish  I  could  build  like  that!  Sad  
 My  builds  look  like,  well,  DIYs...
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Hari4Green
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:17 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Great  Work.  Interesting  and  detailed  -  specially  the  cost.  I  would  like  to  know  more  on  the  PCB,  would  you  be  able  to  provide  information  on  your  design?
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nishantvats
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:36 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Thanks  for  the  kind  comments  guys!  It  was  a  fun  build,  and  very  much  a  learning  experience!
 
 @Harish.  Thanks  so  much  for  that  hint  about  KitsnSpares!  I  have  ordered  from  them  in  the  past,  but  couldn't  find  the  CAT4101  with  them.  Then  I  searched  again  right  after  I  saw  your  post,  and  they  had  them!  I  wonder  if  it  was  a  goof  up  on  my  part  or  just  that  they  didn't  have  it  in  stock  when  I  was  ordering?  Wouldn't  have  tried  them  again,  but  now  I  know  where  to  order  from  for  the  next  build!  :)
 
 @Athreyan,  I  have  realized  that  the  finish  is  almost  as  much  about  planning  than  about  skill  itself.  In  this  case,  so  much  of  what  you  see  of  the  end  product  was  determined  and  made  possible  by  the  choice  of  aluminium  profile.  The  part  that  required  the  most  skill  -  well,  I  outsourced  that  to  the  carpenter!  Chuckle  
 
 @Hari  -  would  love  to  share  details  about  the  circuit  (and  pointers  on  a  couple  of  design  errors  on  my  part  -  nothing  that  broke  my  build,  but  made  it  tougher).  Also,  are  you  interested  in  just  the  driver  or  the  controller  itself.  Would  be  glad  to  share  details  on  both.  The  LED  driver  itself  is  relatively  simple  because  the  CAT4101  IC  takes  care  of  most  of  the  stuff,  with  external  components  just  being  passive  ones.
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radjanair
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:53 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Hi  nishantvats
 Congratulation.  
 One  more  DIY  Guru.Very  nice.   I  appreciate  for  your  neat  work  and  detailed  report.   It  is  very  useful  to  others,  whoever  is  interested  in  DIY  projects.
 All  the  Best  and  God  Bless  You.
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karthik_nambiar
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:06 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Nishant,  Reading  your  post  it  does  not  seem  you  are  doing  this  the  first  time  !!!  Very Happy  
 
 It  was  just  simply  nice  to  see  one  More  DIY  which  looks  VERY  Professional.  Great  job.
 
 The  most  important  thing  i  see  from  this  DIY  which  really  intrests  me  is  that  COSTS  are  going  down  for  making  these  LED's   Cheering  
 
 Just  couple  of  things  
 
 1)  in  pic  13  i  see  that  there  are  masking  stickers  -  asuming  you  have  removed  them  now  -  if  not  please  do  so  since  over  a  period  of  time  it  will  stick  to  the  laminate  &  will  have  to  work  more  to  remove  it
 
 2)  May  be  you  could  have  made  it  more  wider  (i  understand  that  there  is  a  fan  too)  but  still  feel  its  great  to  have  a  more  wider  look.  will  make  it  look  very  sleek  (possible  since  you  were  using  star  LED's.
 
 3)  Please  do  update  your  location.
 
 Overall  i  was  amazed  with  the  work  you  have  done  &  a  very  nice  scape  comming  up.  Plants  will  only  add  more  beauty  to  this  setup.
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dotfish
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:43 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Simply  awsome  &  very  neat  and  detail.   Rock On  
 Many  Thanx  for  posting  it  here
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AbhishekD
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:48 am Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Nishant,
 
 Why  have  u  used  warm  whites?  You  mentioned  about  PAR,  it  is  the  photosynthetic  ally  active  radiation  and  is  a  spectral  range  of  solar  light  from  400  -  700  NM.  To  initiate  photosynthesis  blue  spectrum  465  -  485  and  for  photosynthesis  red  spectrum  620  -  720nm  is  required.  This  is  referred  as  PUR  photo  synthetically  useful  radiation.  In  warm  white  there  is  more  of  green  ang  yellow  spectrum  which  is  not  useful  and  promotes  algae.
 
 Regards,
 Abhishek.
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Mortis
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:03 am Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Abhishek  :  No  specific  colour  of  light  will  produce  algae.  Plants  will  adapt  to  whatever  colour  of  light  you  give  them.  They  might  not  do  as  well  as  light  of  the  exact  wavelength  needed  for  photosynthesis  but  they  will  do  just  fine
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menonabhishek
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:36 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Nice  and  Clean  Smile
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AbhishekD
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:36 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

                                                   
Mortis  wrote  (View  Post):                
Abhishek  :  No  specific  colour  of  light  will  produce  algae.  Plants  will  adapt  to  whatever  colour  of  light  you  give  them.  They  might  not  do  as  well  as  light  of  the  exact  wavelength  needed  for  photosynthesis  but  they  will  do  just  fine                

 
 Mortis,
 
 Non  PUR  spectrum  will  not  "produce"  algae  it  will  "promote"  algae.  Algae  is  opportunistic  and  blooms  when  there  is  imbalance.  Light  with  predominant  spectrum  other  than  blue  -  red  creates  that  imbalance.
 
 Apologies  Nishant  for  steering  away  the  discussion.
 
 Regards,
 Abhishek
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nishantvats
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:42 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 @Karthik:  Thanks,  and  in  response  to  your  comments.
 
 1)  Yeah,  the  masking  tapes  are  gone.  Considering  how  easy  they  come  off  when  they  are  fresh,  it  is  indeed  a  surprise  how  tough  it  is  to  remove  them  once  they;ve  stayed  for  a  while!
 
 2)  Perhaps  I  could  have  used  a  80mm  fan  and  gone  for  a  slimmer  profile  and  a  wider  body.  Wouldn't  that  have  meant  more  light  spillage  on  the  sides,  and  less  light  coverage  at  the  fron  and  back  of  the  tank  though?  Or  maybe  I  am  misunderstanding  your  suggestion.
 
 3)  Done!  :)
 
 @Dotfish:  Thanks!
 
 @Abhishek:  I  appreciate  the  point  you  make.  I  am  in  fact  already  reconsidering  my  LED  composition.  While  my  initial  choice  was  based  on  a  combination  of  what  I  thought  would  be  a  good  balance  and  on  availability  of  the  LEDs,  now  that  I  have  them  up  and  have  also  done  my  first  round  of  planting,  I  do  realize  my  mistake.  Will  go  looking  for  3W  LEDs  in  SP  Road  again!  Smile  This  time...  Royal  Blue  (will  settle  for  Blue  if  I  can't  find  RB),  Red,  and  more  cool  whites  is  what  I  will  pick  up.  Anyone  have  use  for  some  star-mounted  Warm  White  LEDs?  :)
 
 Continuing  the  Algae  discussion.  I  do  believe  Abhishek  has  a  point  Mortis.  Opportunistic  is  the  key  here  -  while  the  plants  might  adapt  slightly  (probably  also  resulting  in  a  distortion  of  their  intended  form  /  colour),  different  types  of  algae  (I  understand  they  too  have  spectral  preferences  -  so  the  ones  that  will  bloom  will  be  based  on  the  kind  of  imbalance  one  causes)  will  probably  pounce  on  the  imbalance  before  the  plants  have  a  chance  to  adapt!  Correct  me  if  I  am  wrong.
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jjaaxx44
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:41 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

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jabba
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:06 pm Post subject: Re: First DIY LED Build Reply with quote

 Awesome  man.....  I  really  appreciate  your  documentation  and  thanks  a  lot  for  keeping  the  expense  here.
 It  helps  us  a  lot  in  planning
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