The Modified Black Box Thread

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Flippers4pups

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oreo5457

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It's more of a grease. The way these diodes are mounted, the compound is only used to transfer heat to the heat sink.

You sort of miss the point.. just paste and the diodes can lift off and overheat.
Look at what uses it and how most apply pressure to the heat sink.
Others use like "tape"..
Those solder tabs may or may not do that..
Remeber there is a lot of heat concentrated at that point
You asked for suggestions.
I've never built one that
I would trust just "grease" with unless screwing.. say.. stars onto a heat sink..

Some of the normal BB's are soldered on that spot..

Some DIY-ers had problems w/ cheap diodes on stars lifting off the pad enough to cause the diodes to burn out.
 

Flippers4pups

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You sort of miss the point.. just paste and the diodes can lift off and overheat.
Look at what uses it and how most apply pressure to the heat sink.
Others use like "tape"..
Those solder tabs may or may not do that..
Remeber there is a lot of heat concentrated at that point
You asked for suggestions.
I've never built one that
I would trust just "grease" with unless screwing.. say.. stars onto a heat sink..

Some of the normal BB's are soldered on that spot..

Some DIY-ers had problems w/ cheap diodes on stars lifting off the pad enough to cause the diodes to burn out.
I hear what your saying, though the way these diodes are attached by the poles, plus and minus, the solder, when done properly, holds the diode down on to the heat sink/PCB board. Thermal grease or compound is there for thermal conductivity only. Thermal adhesive would make replacing them impossible in the future without destroying the PCB board and or the diode.

The artic silver product was recommended by numerous members here that have replaced diodes on their black boxes and I just wanted others to chime in on their thoughts. Thank you for your response.
 
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Pyrosteve

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I hear what your saying, though the way these diodes are attached by the poles, plus and minus, the solder, when done properly, holds the diode down on to the heat sink/PCB board. Thermal grease or compound is there for thermal conductivity only. Thermal adhesive would make replacing them impossible in the future without destroying the PCB board and or the diode.

The artic silver product was recommended by numerous members here that have replaced diodes on their black boxes and I just wanted others to chime in on their thoughts. Thank you for your response.
I ordered by leds and lenses also but I forgot the thermal paste ;Facepalm. I have some leftover thermal conductive pad from my DIY Led FW light so I may try that.
 

blasterman

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I've modified several black boxes, built dozens of high powered DIY rigs and spent too much time years ago screwing around with PC and server building. Some highly opinionated thoughts on the topic:

Thermal grease is an oxymoron. There isn't enough silver in those over priced noob greases to warrant their price, and they've been debunked to death over the past decade. I recall Dans Data testing multiple silver based thermal compounds and concluding that toothpaste worked just as well. From a physics standpoint you want as much as the metal in contact as possible with as little air as possible. The chinese diodes can't take much more than 700mA anyways. Never seen a production server running silver based compounds either. If a $1200 Xenon processor doesn't need it a $1.00 chinese diode doesn't need it.

I use a tiny drop of super glue (cyanoacrylate ) on the diodes for Black Box retrofits. We're talking a tiny amount. This way they can be easily popped off with a tap of a screwdriver and base cleaned with a few scrapes of a razor blade. I'm just too impatient to fiddle and bend the pins perfectly and prefer to adhere first, push the pins down and then solder. Note that some black boxes they epoxy the diodes down and you can't remove them without destroying the PCB.

From a color perspective I remove most of the whites, the greens, and replace with royals. The inherent problem with Black Boxes is each channel is 50/50, and the vast majority of us light our reef tank no less than 75/25 blue/white. So, you need to retrofit in a way that's customized to your power levels.

Also, a big pet peeve but some people bad mouth the longer wavelengths blues (460nm vs 450nm) that come with some black boxes. The 460's are becoming increasingly rare, but are very beneficial. While corals don't care because PAR is about the same the longer wavelength blue help distinguish blues and purples, especially in SPS, and because your eyes are more sensitive to longer wavelength blue you get a bit brighter tank than if you ran all 450nm royals and eliminate the purple cast of LED rigs. Also, even though some site list longer wavelength Epistar / Semi blues all they sell is standard 450nm.
 

miroch

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I was helping a member here about led diode layouts for the Mars aqua black boxes, come to find out that the new ones that are being sold have a totally different board on them with different diode chips.

IMG_20190716_104821.jpg


This will make them more difficult to modify. Thoughts?
Anyone else have a board like this? I'd like to know ahead of time before ordering these lights if the boards are different now.
 

Pyrosteve

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Anyone else have a board like this? I'd like to know ahead of time before ordering these lights if the boards are different now.
I believe that's a Mars Aqua light board. The WIFI boxes are usually labeled Evergrow/Roleadro.

Well I got all the parts and opened mine up and noticed the board is siliconed in! I didn't noticed this before and don't recall reading it. This has me second guessing whether I want to try the LED swap. I don't want to damage the board taking it out. Anyone else have to do this?
 

Flippers4pups

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I believe that's a Mars Aqua light board. The WIFI boxes are usually labeled Evergrow/Roleadro.

Well I got all the parts and opened mine up and noticed the board is siliconed in! I didn't noticed this before and don't recall reading it. This has me second guessing whether I want to try the LED swap. I don't want to damage the board taking it out. Anyone else have to do this?
Did you take a picture of the siliconed areas?
 

Flippers4pups

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It's around the edge of the board were it meets the enclosure. It's hard to see in this pic...

Board.jpg


I could probably get a utility knife and cut it out I just didn't think it was sealed in.
Probably cheaper to use silicone than the rubber seal that is used on some PCB boards. Mine has the rubber. Ya, should be able to cut it out.
 

miroch

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I believe that's a Mars Aqua light board. The WIFI boxes are usually labeled Evergrow/Roleadro.

Well I got all the parts and opened mine up and noticed the board is siliconed in! I didn't noticed this before and don't recall reading it. This has me second guessing whether I want to try the LED swap. I don't want to damage the board taking it out. Anyone else have to do this?
I was looking to see if mars aqua changed there board style. Flippers said his friends board was different than the common style with soldered led chips.
 

Flippers4pups

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That's ok. If the mars aqua boards are different now, that could really throw a wrench into these mods.
It could. I'm trying to research what chips are used now. I'm assuming they are still 3w, but I believe they are now SMD type. SMD's have their cathode and anode connections under the chip body, not on their sides like the older diodes/ PCB boards. SMD chip layouts have the whole board heated to get the chips to make contact with the PCB board. They still have solder at the anode and cathode connection points.

Still researching.
 

Flippers4pups

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I was helping a member here about led diode layouts for the Mars aqua black boxes, come to find out that the new ones that are being sold have a totally different board on them with different diode chips.

IMG_20190716_104821.jpg


This will make them more difficult to modify. Thoughts?
@Dana Riddle, can you confirm what type these diodes are? Are they SMD's?
 

miroch

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It could. I'm trying to research what chips are used now. I'm assuming they are still 3w, but I believe they are now SMD type. SMD's have their cathode and anode connections under the chip body, not on their sides like the older diodes/ PCB boards. SMD chip layouts have the whole board heated to get the chips to make contact with the PCB board. They still have solder at the anode and cathode connection points.

Still researching.
Thanks. Keep us updated.
 

Dana Riddle

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@Dana Riddle, can you confirm what type these diodes are? Are they SMD's?
I can't tell without a close examination. SMD LEDs are best assembled by an automated process, not by human hands hence replacement by a second party could be difficult. Are there and +/- junctions apparent?
 

Flippers4pups

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I can't tell without a close examination. SMD LEDs are best assembled by an automated process, not by human hands hence replacement by a second party could be difficult. Are there and +/- junctions apparent?
1565310619769.png

Photo from @AquaRaider44

Up close picture. These are much different than the traditional black box led. Cathode and anode are not clearly visible. Must be on board underneath.
 
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