aluminum heat sink material How to Build a DIY LED Aquarium Light, Part IV

by:Hanway     2019-08-25

In the last article in this series, I will show you how I built an LED array for my 29 gallon BioCube salt water aquarium.

, I talked about why you might want to build your own array;

, I looked at the basic supplies you need to build your array and where you can buy them.

, I discussed how to plan your LED array.
Now, it's time to combine it all.I'll review what I did and how I built the array and hopefully give some helpful advice if you decide to build your own.

It might be helpful to see my complete parts list before I start.



4-pack 1.

Resin core solder, 2.

#8-wire stripping/cutter

I tested each LED with battery before I went further-powered tester.To use the tester, I came into contact with a red cable for a positive terminal, a black cable for a negative terminal.If the LED is good, it will light up.The video on the right shows how this works.

bright.I made a mistake when I tested several LEDs.I watched the sights for about 15 minutes.

I printed the layout I had prepared before and fixed it to the surface of the radiator.Earlier I changed the layout and placed an X in the center of each LED circle.I put a nail on the X and tapped it gently with a hammer.This leaves a small but obvious mark on the radiator, large enough that I can use this mark to locate my LEDs.
Before proceeding, I blew off the surface of the radiator with a can of air.

I live in the apartment so I don't have a garage to work.I set up a card table next to one of my windows, opened the window and set up a fan to ventilate the workstation.I filled a small plastic container with water and put a new sponge in it;This is to clean up my soldering iron while I'm working.Finally, I cleaned the card table and laid a piece of cardboard on the surface to protect the table from any welding residue.

There are usually two hot adhesives.part solution.After mixing the solution, I have about ten minutes to work before I need to mix another batch.
To securely connect to the radiator, only a small amount of mixed solution about the size of the pea is required for each LED.I used my previous mark on the radiator to stick the LEDs down.I used my previous mark on the radiator to stick the LEDs down.After quickly tapping the adhesive onto the back of the LED, I gently pushed the LED to the appropriate position, rotating the LED to evenly apply the adhesive.I have my layout on hand so I can put each LED in the right position and the terminal is in the right direction.

"Tinning" is a short statement, "melting some solder to something "."In this case, I put the terminals on the led into the tank.It would be easier to do this before I stick the led, but the heat is the death of the led.I want the radiator to absorb the heat of the weld instead of forcing the LEDs to absorb the heat.

I measure from LED to LED and cut a wire for each connection.Next, I use my wire stripping machine to strip about 1/2 of the insulation from the end of each wire.
I put each wire in the clip and each wire ends in a can.Before soldering the LEDs together, coloring the wires improves the electrical connection.

Now that the preparations are ready, I can start the meat and potatoes for this project.I work on one circuit at a time and weld each wired connection in place, always from positive to negative.
I'm glad I had pre-Will be connected to the tank;I had to fix the wire in place with a pair of needlesWhen the other hand is working on the soldering iron, the pointed pliers.After getting the initial melting, I pushed the wire into the melted solder with pliers.After the welding is completed, the solder completely covers the end of the wire.
This is a very delicate process.The swiping of the soldering iron could ruin an LED or give me a pleasant burn.It also requires some patience.I had to use a small welding tip to get the precision I needed on a crowded radiator, so the welding wouldn't melt too fast.But after several nights of work, the array was all welded together.
After welding, I use my LED tester to run current on each connection to test each connection.Most relationships are strong enough when they first appear, but there are still some that need to be redone.I'm satisfied. I'm doing well.Welding the array, it's time to prepare the driver.
How does the potentiometer work?
You may want to know how installing a knob on your drive can make your led brighter or darker, or what all these terms mean.
For the purposes of this discussion, potentiometer is an electronic device that changes the voltage of an electronic signal based on certain external factorsIn this case, how much the knob on the potentiometer turns.
The driver sends a static 10 v signal on the yellow line.The signal passes through the potentiometer and is changed by the potentiometer.Depending on the distance the knob turns, the purple wire transmits the signal back to the drive between 1 v and 10 v.The voltage is then used to send power to LEDs, and depending on the power they receive, they are lit at a certain brightness.

The next step is to weld the potentiometer to the end of the adjustable light on each drive.There are three wires on each drive and three terminals on each potentiometer: 10 v input, 10 v output and ground.Since these will definitely be confusing, I will start calling them green wires (ground wires), purple wires (1-10 v output line), yellow line (10 v input line ).
I first pre-Load the terminals on the potentiometer into a tank.On the right, you can see a similar pot to the one I used.The terminal is a small metal protruding from the circuit board.Then I welded the wires from the driver (these were pre-shippedHold the tank to the terminal in the correct order.I weld the green line to the top terminal (or the left Terminal, depending on what you think of the pan ).I weld the purple wire to the center Terminal and the yellow wire to the bottom (or right) terminal.
I then repeated this for each of my three drivers.

Next, I prepared the project box for the driver.It's a good saying, "I drilled a hole in my beautiful plastic box.
In front of each box, I have to drill a hole for each potentiometer knob.So, there is a hole in front of my small box, and there are two holes in the big box.
Next, at the back of each box, I need to drill three holes for each drive: one for power supply, one for output to the array, and one for coming back from the array.I then label each hole so that I can trace my steps back if necessary.
I then drilled a bunch of holes on the lid of each box to ventilate, and then I measured and drilled the screw holes to connect the box to the rack that was going to be their home.I screwed the case down and arranged the driver in each case.After sliding the potentiometer into their new home and fixing them in place with washers and nuts mounted on the knob, I screwed the drive into the box.

Finally, it's time for the crash course for wire nuts to use.It turns out that it is very simple to use wire nuts to connect various wires together.First of all, I screwed up the wire that I would connect together outside the nut.Next, I slide the connected wire into the insulated wire nut.Holding the wire firmly in one hand, I screwed the wire nut a few times until the connection felt firm.I pulled a few wires to make sure they were firmly fixed inside the nut.
It took me a couple of times to get it right, which led to a very bad mess.Insulation wire nut filling nonConductive silicone gel.The first few times I tried to connect the wire in the wire nut but the connection was not going on and the wire popped up and covered in a sticky gel.
It is very important to connect the right wires together.No matter what brand of drive you are using, there will be two wires on your array.A wire marked with V is connected to the first LED in a particular series.Another one, marked V-, Final LED attached to a specific series.
If the wire is connected to the wrong end of the LED string, the drive or LED may be overloaded, completely damaging the LED or drive.Fortunately, Fett, like most manufacturers, has color.Code the wire to facilitate proper connection of the wire.For the ventronics drive, the V line is red, V-wire is black.
Unfortunately, one of the wires is also black.Make sure you follow the driver's chart and make sure the correct black line is used in the cabling.You may not damage anything if you connect the wrong wire, but your led will be severely powered off and will not darken.I can neither confirm nor deny that I spoke from my personal experience on this issue.
The only really difficult part in this step is to connect the power cord to the drive.I have to cut the end of the wire, remove the insulation, find the right wire, and trim the ground wire.The power cord is much more screwed than other wires, so it's also more challenging.All in all, though, this is not too difficult.
Step 11: open it!
Finally, the moment of truth...It's time to plug in!
I plug in my surge protector and insert a drive every time.I turned on the power...
It worked!
I repeated the process for each driver.I did encounter a stumbling block;As I mentioned above, I connect the wrong black line to one of the LED string.I didn't realize what the problem was at first, so before I finally figured out what the problem was, I went back and solved the entire LED string.After typing myself a few creative words of "idiot", I solved the problem and it worked very well.

Now, the rest is to hang the array on my tank.I had my wife enlisted and we carefully hung this array off the lamp hanger.I have another obstacle here: my suspension solution does not work.The radiator should have an extrusion slot for the suspension kit, so I plan to hang it with these slots.However, when the slots are there, there is no way for them to actually fix the array on the suspension kit.If I try to use this idea, the whole array will be hung by a wire for a while before the welding joint fails, and the array will swim quickly in my fish tank.
The necessity, however, is the mother of the invention, and a few minutes later I drilled some holes in the radiator, installed some angle brackets on the radiator, screwed the hanger into the bracesThe dilemma behind us, we hang this array on the tank.
Step 13: Enjoy!
The hard work behind me, it's time to sit down and enjoy the new lights!Here are some photos of the tank before and after the new lighting.There is a gap of about three months between the front and back photos to let you know how much growth these LEDs can bring.
Also, don't let the camera fool you.For most of these photos, in order to avoid completely washing off the color, I had to run the camera at an extremely fast speed.In real life, the brightness of the LEDs is several times what it looks like in the picture.
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