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Old 04-11-2014, 11:06 PM   #1

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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 353
Default Hand-build LED Light for Planted Tank

Hi All,
Sharing my LED project for planted tank.
Had been searching and trying various types of leds which I got from SimLim and finally found something suitable for my planted tank.
The light module is basically constructed with LED strips, aluminium case and powered by 12Vdc.
Also added a dimmer to control the light intensity, plus an acrylic cover to prevent water splash.

To get the brightness I want and also considering the power consumption, heat problem and cost... After quite some testing... finally, decided to use 3x of 50cm LED strips for 2ft light module…

LED strips are glued on the aluminium case with thermal glue.
DC jack is secured on the case using cable tie.
Some soldering works to connect the DC jack to the strips.
Mount the dimmer, cover, power adapter.
Job done

LED power vs Power Adapter:
Good thing that for most of the LED strips sold in the market, they are operating at 12V DC.
So it is very easy to get those off-the-shelf 12V power adapter from hardware shop.

When you buy the LED strip, ask for the voltage and power rating of the LED strip, normally it is about 10~20watts per meter.
What you need to know is how much is the total power consumption of your LED strips and then select the right adapter for it
The trick is always give a extra buffer on top of your LED light power consumption.
Remember, higher power rating is better for the life of the power adapter however the cost is another factor you might need to consider…
eg: Led strip I used is 18W per meter, I used 3 strips of 50cm each for my 60cm light module, so total power is about 27W (9W x3)
So, for my LED module 27W requirement, I am giving it extra 50% buffer, the power becomes 54W (27W x2) and the power adapter suitable for my requirement is the 60W ones (12V 5A).
Hope this helps you to understand the relationship between power of your LED strip and choosing the right power adapter.

... and it works !!!
From the photo below, total power consumption of the 2ft LED light module including the power adapter is about 32W.
2A is the actual current drawn by the LED, so power of the LED module itself is 24W (12V x 2A).
Power adapter itself consumes about 8W (power lost). This very much depends on the efficiency of the power adapter.
By rotating the dimmer knob, the brightness / power can be adjusted from 0~33W.

Tested on my tank (LWH: 81x36x50cm), light panetration is enough to cause pearling at optimum CO2 and fert.

Have fun DIY-ing …
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