DIY Dimmable RapidLED Kit - Converting from MH's

Discussion in 'I made this!' started by evolved, Sep 27, 2010.

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  1. evolved

    evolved Wrasse Freak

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    Thanks! The dimmering is just done via a potentiometer (manual), but this function is really only there to set intensity/color blend of the LEDs. I have the drivers on two different timers, so the RBs come on first and go off last, to 'dummy' a sunrise/sunset effect.

    With the meanwells ( -P model), you can set them up to run off a controller. Then the dimming at sunrise/sunset could be automated.

    I don't run a controller as I like to do everything manually. I gladly take that piece of mind with the cost of the labor. :)
     
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  3. ReefBruh

    ReefBruh Giant Squid

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    Very nice job. Love the heat sinks. Great work.
     
  4. evolved

    evolved Wrasse Freak

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    Alright, a few last items to finish out the build portion of this thread.

    First up, the price list total:

    Heatsinks: 114.69
    Angle Iron: 31.60
    Anodizing: 68.90
    140mm fans & mounts: 27.29
    RapidLED order: 650.99
    Various electronic parts, tools, equipment: 161.05
    Various hardware: 68.09
    R2 moonlights: 52.98
    Total: 1175.59


    And finally, the DIY outline, focusing on the assembly of the Rapid kit:

    After figuring out your LED arrangement (alternating white/blue is best), mark your heat sink accordingly for the placement of the stars. Then, mix a small amount of the A/B thermal epoxy. It truly sets in 5 minutes, so don't mix more than you can use in that time. Also, when applying it to the stars, less is more. A thin coating, wiped extra thin with a scraper or credit card is best. You only want enough glue to fill the air gap. Too much and it can become an insulator. When sticking the stars to your heatsink, press firmly on the metal edges of the star. A small twisting action will help the glue distribute nicely. If you do it right, only a very small amount will "ooze" out from the sides.
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    Next, you'll need to solder up the LEDs. Make sure you connect them in series, + to -. Cut and strip the length of wire you'll need for each connection. Also, pretin your wire and LED star (if not already pretinned).

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    Next comes the very important part. Crack open the Meanwell driver and locate the SVR2 internal pot. This is the current limiter. Turn it all the way down before connecting the driver.

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    Now, place your DMM in series with the circuit. Make sure you have the correct scale selected. Before you plug in the driver, double/triple check all your connections, including your +/- LED connections. Ensure nothing is accidentally reversed.

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    Now plug in your driver. If your using a dimming circuit, turn the dimming voltage to its max setting (the most a Meanwell can handle on the dim circuit is 10.5V and no more than 950ma. Most people are using a 9V wallwort. Make sure it is a regulated wallwort).

    Dimming turned down:
    [​IMG]

    Now at its full voltage; current not yet adjusted:
    [​IMG]


    Now, very carefully using a small screw driver, increase the current by turning up the SVR2 internal pot in the Meanwell. Careful, it's touchy. Watch your ammeter. If you're using XR-Es, do not exceed 1A. If you're using XP-Gs, do not exceed 1.5A. Personally, I adjusted to XR-Es to about 950mA and my XP-Gs to 1.45A. I also used fast blow inline fuses to ensure I did not exceed these values. This was explained earlier in the thread.

    [​IMG]


    At this point, power down and disconnect your ammeter. You're basically done. Put the case back on the Meanwell, and you can permanently solder up your leads to the Meanwell at this point.

    Attached is a nice little pictorial for you visual folks. It's pretty inclusive, with the exception of the inline fuse (not shown, but imagine it's on the red lead, + side, of the Meanwell before the first LED).
     

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    Last edited: May 24, 2011
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  5. evolved

    evolved Wrasse Freak

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    I did end up spending a bit more on this than I had hoped, but as you can see I didn't cut any corners. Also, as I stated before, there are some miscellaneous items in that cost breakdown that some of you probably wouldn't occur, as you may already have them. So take the "various electronic parts" and "various hardware" categories liberally.

    Also, if you have any questions regarding the process, materials, parts, etc. please post them. I'll gladly answer anything to help others along in their LED feats. :cheesy:
     
  6. ctxmonitor

    ctxmonitor Plankton

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    awesome, very nice diy work.. hows the light breaking in?
     
  7. evolved

    evolved Wrasse Freak

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    Well, it's been six weeks, and I'm quite pleased. I don't regret this decision at all.

    Coral observations:

    The greens have definitely become more prevalent. I have a piece of tyree undata that has lost nearly all of its purple and has shifted to a beautiful green.

    The zoas absolutely love the spectrum. Growth has accelerated.

    SPS is doing fine, overall. A few pieces have taken about this long to adjust, but the growth of the others do not seem to have slowed down. The now adjusted pieces are growing again.

    LPS is fine, of course, but the LEDs were a bit too intense for some, even on the sand bed. I even started with the LEDs dimmed down and increased their intensity a little each week, but I still had to move some pieces to more shaded locations.

    Growth shots (apologies for the white balance being shifted a bit too yellow):

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    Cool shot of the rainbow monti:
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    New Shawn Bennet tort:
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    New Fromia monilis (Fiji, Pink Tile Star):
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
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  9. damon

    damon Sea Dragon

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    very inspiring! I will use the anodizing and fuse ideas when I get to making a led light. What is the over all watts on this light? are you running it at full power now or are you always going to run them a little low to keep them cooler?
     
  10. evolved

    evolved Wrasse Freak

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    Thank you.

    Each LED is 3W, so 180W total. It's really all about the output (lux), not the wattage however.

    They are not running at full power, but not to keep them cooler. You can't get cooler than room temperature. ;) They're not at full power because at full power, I'd bleach everything in the tank.
     
  11. exactlyobp

    exactlyobp Giant Squid

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    This thread is over a month old, but still AMAZINGGG! I am sooooo gonna...... convince the wife.

    I got a question tho, you mentioned in the very first post:
    Can you cover this part a bit more? Ive read the whole 58 posts for a few times but I still couldnt figure out. How is the glass/Plexiglas held by the side pieces? Did you use some stuff you had? Are they made of plastic or metal?

    This thread is VERY inspiring and I am so ready to do this.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  12. evolved

    evolved Wrasse Freak

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    Why thank you sir. It may be a month since the last post, but it still gets referenced quite frequently.

    The lexan is simply held in place by gravity. I am able to slide it in/out from the side so I am able to clean it. The side pieces are aluminum angle iron which are screwed to the heat sinks. I used a plastic spacer between the angle iron and the heat sink, as to not impede cooling and not block any light spread from the lenses. The "lip" the angle iron provides is what the lexan sits upon. You can see all of this in the following pictures from the thread:

    Upside down, but note the angle iron, plastic spacers (white), and the lip provided by the angle iron:
    [​IMG]

    Note the lexan sitting on the lip provided by the angle iron. I cut the lexan to fit.
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    Last edited: May 24, 2011