WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH DIY LEDs?

Koh23

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Like i said many pages before.....

It all depends on three simple things - how much money i have, what exactly will that money buy me, and will that what money buy me will be adequate and meet all my expectations....

If you have 1000$ budget, and need a unit to light 20g tank..... Then, yes, your money will buy you best possible thing, and it will be adequate....

If you have 200$, and need to lit 500g tank..... Then no, whatewer u can buy, will not be adequate and you will not be happy.....

If you have 1000$, and knowledge, time and will, then sure, you cannot buy adequate light for 500g, but you can make one yourself...

Of course, prices are example, not exact numbers what you can or cant buy.... ;)
 
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KimG

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I still do.

20220622_183923.jpg

20220622_190615.jpg

Both home and office tanks run on diy leds.
screen3.jpg
screen2.jpg

(Some details on the led build Post in thread '15g Office nano tank - natural sea water' https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/15g-office-nano-tank-natural-sea-water.820995/post-8825471 )


I think you can save money if you know what you are doing and if you accept some compromises.
My home led cost less then 400usd (probability around 300) and give me even par of around 300 in the middle of the tank using about 140w. Tank is 4 feet long, with very litle shadowing as the led are distributed over an area of approximately 100cm by 30cm.

If you really want to get fancy you can have your own pcb made so you can have multiple chanels for control
20220622_184850.jpg


The office leds are just on and off (although they can be easily modified for dimming) while the home ones are controlled by the ghl.

Cheers
 

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I still do.

20220622_183923.jpg

20220622_190615.jpg

Both home and office tanks run on diy leds.
screen3.jpg
screen2.jpg

(Some details on the led build Post in thread '15g Office nano tank - natural sea water' https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/15g-office-nano-tank-natural-sea-water.820995/post-8825471 )


I think you can save money if you know what you are doing and if you accept some compromises.
My home led cost less then 400usd (probability around 300) and give me even par of around 300 in the middle of the tank using about 140w. Tank is 4 feet long, with very litle shadowing as the led are distributed over an area of approximately 100cm by 30cm.

If you really want to get fancy you can have your own pcb made so you can have multiple chanels for control
20220622_184850.jpg


The office leds are just on and off (although they can be easily modified for dimming) while the home ones are controlled by the ghl.

Cheers
That's some really nice DIY work!! Great job!!
 
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KimG

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Next is wiring in sun rise and sun set and maybe lightning.
Not sure if you were referring to mine, but if so it has sunset and sunrise, controlled by th ghl. In the past it was arduino controlled.
It will never have lightning, never got yhe point of it, exept as a fish torture device
 
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KimG

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The point is for entertaining young children. They are fascinated by it and ask me every time they are over to turn the lightning on.
Sorry if the last post sounded a bit grumpy. There were supposed to be some funky emojis at the end, but they went missing.

That may be the best (only???) reason I ever heard to have it. It would not be too complicated to have a few leds fir that effect, but its definitely not something I 'm interested in. Having seen plenty of fish die from lights being turned on suddenly, lightning is way to much for me.
But thanks for the suggestion
 

PeterErc

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Cut down some aluminum kick plate off old catwalks that were being replaced into 2”x 6” legnths. Drilled and tapped the aluminum for days, just for the blues. Replaced 3 T5 blue plus and holy flipping wow. Couldn’t wait to do the whites, same deal, drilling and tapping for days. White’s sucked liked the blue LED T5 better. This was back when you couldn’t grow SPS under LED. Before that you couldn’t grow them under T5. Hell I had SPS growing under VHO.
I have now switched to JB quick weld and inexpensive LED stars. Even used the cheap LED drivers. Corals don’t seem to care much. I still run T5 and halide over the tanks with blue led supplement. I tried the all LED with RB and CW and wasn’t a fan. However a bio cube is all LED. My favorite chip is the Vero10 high CRI, still running those on a nano . The fish look like fish although it is one mandarin and a bunch of crap lol.
DIY LED and a timer and I am good to go. I could barely afford this hobby back then and definitely can’t keep up with the Joneses now.
Even if I could afford it, it’s more rewarding to DIY.
 
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Rmeyer

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I'm still DIY. Refuse to pay almost $1K for a light like a Radion. I'm surprised more DIY people don't use what I do, since it's as plug and play as it gets for DIY. I built two fixtures to blanket 48" x 29".

Heatsink: Maker's LED 36". LED stars screw right to its slots. Any length you want.
Drivers: Maker's 5 up board with LDD drivers.
Control: Maker's controller- 5 channels of sunrise/set, clouds, and a manual dimmer.
LEDs: Rapid LED solderless. 14 Neutral/Cool white, 28 450nm, 7 430nm, 7 395nm per heatsink.
Power: Meanwell 350w power supply.

I can indefinitely replace any piece that fails. I've got extra LEDs, drivers, and controller if I ever ned them. No phone app like the new stuff, which is a plus for me. No coral growth problems I'm ware of.
Lights.jpg
Have a similar set up mine is just one 48 inch heat sink works great
 

Pny

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I made two massive LED-lights some 10 years ago... (Custom driver PCB, custom controller PCB and everything). 112 LEDs with a total of 275 W on each. Mostly Royal blue and neutral whites (with the addition of a few violet, cyan, green and red LEDs)... Actually, they are still running on my FOWLR today...

Maybe I shouldnt reveal that I'm actually dreaming of updating these DIY LED lights to this decades standard (with some more power in the violet color range and some additional colored LED in the future)... Just need to gather some personal DIY-energy first.

You might not be able to build a DIY LED light that much cheaper than a commercial one today, but it sure will be cheaper to repair then the first LED burn out or the fan stops spinning... I've replaced the fans on both my Ecotech radions, and they have been running a fraction of the time compared to my DIY LED! (I use the radions over my 2:nd tank/frag tank). The truth is, I've replaced a few LEDs on my DIY LED also, but no fan replacements yet... :)


LED-minitures.png
 
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gbru316

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I'm still DIY. Refuse to pay almost $1K for a light like a Radion. I'm surprised more DIY people don't use what I do, since it's as plug and play as it gets for DIY.

15 years ago, I DIY'd because I had an abundance of time, but not an abundance of money.

Today, with kids, I spend $1000 on a light because I have an abundance of money, but not an abundance of time. Same goes for controllers (Apex vs Rpi/Arduino based DIY). Or protein skimmers. Or anything, really.
 

PeterErc

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I don’t know diddly about a radion or other manufactured LED lights. I am curious though, I see people mention they are using BRS AB , or Jimmy Jo Bobs settings. I know asking which settings/program is best for growth and color is subjective. There will be 100 different opinions on which and why.
The question for me is how many milliamps are these fixtures putting out? How many milliamps is 100%? Sure they are using 3w,5w led chips but that doesn’t mean they are driving them that hard especially if the drivers don’t put out that much amperage. I would like to choose a setting and mimic it with budget leds and drivers. I did this a while back with the nano v3 array, can’t remember what it was called. Turned out pretty good but I sold the cube.
 
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topjimmy

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15 years ago, I DIY'd because I had an abundance of time, but not an abundance of money.

Today, with kids, I spend $1000 on a light because I have an abundance of money, but not an abundance of time. Same goes for controllers (Apex vs Rpi/Arduino based DIY). Or protein skimmers. Or anything, really.
Amen to that. Really once I figured in my time, mistakes, supplies, it was pretty much a wash. Probably even more so with the flood of cheaper Chinese knockoff lights out there.
 

caddnima_reef

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Another option is to also watch out for black led boxes that are given away or sold for cheap. Then try to salvaged the parts and LEDs and convert them linearly.

I must admit, that the popular grow linear bars have a very very good price point.

IMG_20220407_195819_410.jpg
 

gbru316

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Cut down some aluminum kick plate off old catwalks that were being replaced into 2”x 6” legnths. Drilled and tapped the aluminum for days, just for the blues. Replaced 3 T5 blue plus and holy flipping wow. Couldn’t wait to do the whites, same deal, drilling and tapping for days. White’s sucked liked the blue LED T5 better. This was back when you couldn’t grow SPS under LED. Before that you couldn’t grow them under T5. Hell I had SPS growing under VHO.
I have now switched to JB quick weld and inexpensive LED stars. Even used the cheap LED drivers. Corals don’t seem to care much. I still run T5 and halide over the tanks with blue led supplement. I tried the all LED with RB and CW and wasn’t a fan. However a bio cube is all LED. My favorite chip is the Vero10 high CRI, still running those on a nano . The fish look like fish although it is one mandarin and a bunch of crap lol.
DIY LED and a timer and I am good to go. I could barely afford this hobby back then and definitely can’t keep up with the Joneses now.
Even if I could afford it, it’s more rewarding to DIY.

Calfo suggested using standard t8 to grow SPS when I spoke with him many years ago. Said it wouldn’t be a problem assuming shallow enough water.

Never got a chance to try it, shipped out for basic training a few months later. But not before I got an autographed copy of his book!
 
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firechild

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I have DIY LEDs on both my tanks, both units built in the last 2 years. There are a bunch of reasons I went the DIY route and cost was probably last on that list.

Most aquarium lights are designed to sit annoyingly close to the water and probably my number 1 reason for DIY was to make sure I never had to move my lights to do any kind of work in or around the tank. I use 60 degree lenses to allow me to raise the lights up without losing much intensity and minimising light spill. I can bump the drivers up to higher power if I need to at minimal cost. I have an arduino connected to each light to give me full control. There really is no downside for me and the cost saving was a nice bonus.
 
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