DIY LED Strip (SMD 5630)

Discussion in 'D.I.Y.' started by Blueneon, May 18, 2015.

  1. Blueneon
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    Blueneon Green fingers

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    Hi guys,

    Ok so this DIY is a morph based on Wolf's DIY of a similar design. I have to say however up front that I'm not overly impressed with the end result, but I believe the product I got is not up to scratch, you may have better luck with the LED strips.

    Here goes..

    What you need:
    • 5M LED Strip (Cool White, 6500K) - I got the SMD 5630 chips as they are meant to be the brightest (Online)
    • 2M Aluminium Flooring Step (Builders Warehouse)
    • Computer Power Supply (Or 10A+ LED Driver)
    • Soldering Iron + Solder Lux
    • (Optional Volt Meter)
    5mLED.jpg ALuStep.jpg Packaging.jpg PSU12V14A.jpg voltmeter.jpg

    Step 1... take your computer power supply and short the green wire to any black wire (later on you will cut them out of the ATX connector and join them permanently). This will switch (and keep) the power supply on.

    ShortPSU.jpg

    Step 2. Cut your strips to size and stick them into the aluminium step.
    SripsStuckDown.jpg

    Step 3. Solder + and - on one end to some two core wire, join all the positive and join all the negatives... Ie. we're going to connect these in a semi parallel manner, this way we will not get any voltage drop-off on the far end of the strip (like we might if we stayed in series). I also placed a bit of double-sided tape under the ends, just to ensure no shorting on the aluminium.

    ConnectedParallel.jpg

    Step 4. Cut any black and yellow wire combo from the PSU, I chose one of the SATA power connectors (note, you must use YELLOW as that will be our 12V+ with max Amp for the power supply).

    YellowBlackWires.jpg
    voltmeter.jpg

    Step 5. Connect the yellow (12V+) and the black (common/negative) to our LED strips + and -......
    And "Hey Presto" we have light!

    PluggedInSwitchedOn.jpg


    The images from the camera are a bit misleading though, it does not look this bright in real life....
     
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  2. Blueneon
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    Blueneon Green fingers

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    result_notank.jpg

    Unfortunately for me, I found the LED's to be too dim and not really worth it... check it out....

    1. My 4 x 39W T5 on their own (PLEASE excuse the cynobacteria on the front bottom of the glass, its been a bit of a pain of late, plus these images have been taken on my water change day - prior to the clean and water change being done... I was too impatient and keen on doing this project)....
    TNK_T5.jpg

    2. My T5's + LED
    TNK_T5_LED.jpg

    3. LED on its own
    TNK_LED.jpg

    As you can see, the LED is certainly not something you could use on its own for a planted tank this size. I suspect if I were to chop up the fixture and make it into one shorter unit for a nano or 60P it could work. But certainly wont do a tank this size (110cm L x 45cm D x 50cm W).

    All in all, a fun build but disappointing result. I expected the LED to be far brighter given their rating of 0.4W each and being 60/meter (or 300 per 5m strip), giving 120W which means for the full strip it should draw 10A (120W / 12V)... in reality it is actually producing about 20%. I measured the Amp draw of the unit to be steady at about 2A, so it's actually using 24W (2A * 12V).
     
  3. Blueneon
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    Blueneon Green fingers

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    Conclusion adapt this DIY for use on much smaller tanks and you will likely have success. Otherwise, it will make a nice under-light for your bar counter (basically what I will probably end up using it for!)
     
  4. Blueneon
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    Blueneon Green fingers

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    Oh one last thing, the pics I took of the tank with lights on were done using a proper camera (nikon D3100) in raw mode, so as to get no incorrect lighting (eg. If I used my cell phone even that last pic of the LED on its own would look awesome.. but the above are more "realistic" of what it really looks like with the eye.)

    Here is an example of a pic taken from cell phone with LED only, this is completely out of wack as it actually looks nothing like this... it looks pretty much exactly like the last image ("3") above taken with proper camera in raw mode... just showing this to illustrate a point regarding how different they look. So careful when you see other's pics online and think, wow that's enough lighting for me.

    LED_PHONE.jpg
     
  5. Trev Pleco
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    Trev Pleco Algae destroyer

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    Thanks for the thread and pics B'Neon, great neat DIY job. As you know several of us have gone down the the 5630 and 5050 LED strip route a year or so back with mixed results and yes I agree they are too dim.

    The one challenge I found is finding the correct colour temp strip and also fell into the same trap as you in the beginning with going for the so called daylight or cool white, which is far too cold IMO and compared with say the temp of the ADA LED lights. The cool white therefore needs to be balanced with a warmer colour strip such as the "neutral white", but here lies the next challenge, not all neutral whites are the same as it depends on the source and the terminology used by the 101 mail order outlets or local suppliers and you only know what colour you have actually received when you turn it on :). The colour also changes a little between waterproof and non waterproof strips just to confuse you further.

    In conclusion I found that I needed to mix a couple of different strips to get the correct colour I wanted or one was that was aesthetically pleasing and sort of close to the ADA light that I also have on my rack, although not as bright. I feel the LEDS strips are economical and good value for low light use such as breeding and shrimp tanks and I have got really nice results from them with moss, pellia and tennellus to name a few, but I would not recommend them for your high light planted show tank.

    If I remember correctly the 5630 uses about 18W p/m. To get enough light for a high light show tank you would need at least six plus rows of LEDS probably several more and depending on the width of your tank and by then the consumption is starting to get near the T5 ball park..

    Nice soldering by the way, is that some sort of transparent tape you have put over the soldering points, can't quite work it out or have you simply pealed the waterproof layer off there ..?
     
  6. tyronegenade
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    tyronegenade Specialist

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    This is a 1.2 m tank? What T5s are you using? If I use average lux values from T5s then you had about
    7622 lumen to start with. The LED strips give 800-1000 lumen/m. How many m do you have? 4? So that is only 4000 lumen at most. Half the light input... The outcome is as would be expected: use less lumens, get less light.
     
  7. Blueneon
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    Blueneon Green fingers

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    Hi Trev,

    Yes I agree 100%, as mention in my post, I would say using these on much smaller tanks (or low light requirement tanks) you would probably get good use out of them. But for anything larger than 2ft I cannot see how one would get any benefit (like you mentioned you would need so many as to start getting back to T5 territory on the wattage anyway and your upfront costs would just not make sense). I'll likely just leave this one going on my main tank anyway along with my current T5's, as the colour blend with them is fine (hardly notice a change as seen in the pics - though I do notice it lights the sides a little better).

    The 5630's are actually rated at 0.4W for each chip and in general LED strips come with 60 chips per meter, meaning these strips are meant to be 24W/m (or 120W for the full 5m). Though as I mentioned they do not seem to consume anywhere near that figure, which I think must simply be a max-draw/peak figure rather than an actual steady-use figure. My measuring showed that these things only really use about 20% of that - ie. the entire 4.4M of strip that I am using in my build only consumes around 24W (this explains why they are so dim). When compared with H/O LED chips like the 1W-30W range (which actually do use their specified wattage and are muuuuch brighter) these ones really have no place in a high-tech setup.

    In terms of my the soldering, thanks :p In terms of the transparent stuff, yes indeed I just peeled back the epoxy (waterproof layer) enough for me to get to the copper connectors to solder my wires on and then let the epoxy rest back on-top of the solder. Now that it's all working I'm likely going to mix some of my own epoxy resin up and seal it off properly so the solder is also completely waterproof.
     
  8. Blueneon
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    Blueneon Green fingers

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    @tyronegenade yes its a 4ft tank, the current T5's are 4x39W per my first post. The LED build was never meant to replace my T5's, it was always meant to compliment them. I just expected more. According to the supplier from whom I purchased the LED strip, it is meant to produce 6600 lumens from the 5m, I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that it gets nowhere near that. Anyway, even then, let's say your avg calc for the T5's is right at say 7000lum and then I go and add the 4000lum LED (again assuming your calc is right), that would still mean together I should have an increase of about 58% more light... look at the pics again, you will notice that they (with the LED and without the LED) look almost identical, you would certainly notice a 58% increase in light.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  9. Trev Pleco
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    Trev Pleco Algae destroyer

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    tell me more please, keen to get this recipe ?
     
  10. Blueneon
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    Blueneon Green fingers

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    Recipe = Builder's Warehouse :)

    It's basically two tubes of fluid, you mix them together and use the by-product within 5min... when its cured (within an hour or so) it is transparent. You can get flexible and hard (not flexible at all) epoxy. Epoxy is generally used as a "glue" but in these types of applications it is also great because when it's set its virtually indestructible.
     
  11. Trev Pleco
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    Trev Pleco Algae destroyer

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    I can walk miles at Builders pushing a damn trolley with no fixed planned of attack, there are many aisles to navigate or peer down as though lost and lots of unhelpful staff that don't know their products or have ever used them. I need more clues once I enter the sacred glue and adhesive section, as that's usually a half hour ponder , so the trade secrets bud ...the make, the brand anything will help.. but please hurry as only two more days to go to Thursday, pensioner's day !
     
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  12. mattlamm
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    mattlamm Green fingers

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    @Trev Pleco, it's probably the Pratleys Epoxy. Think the box will be green and white.
     
  13. Blueneon
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    Blueneon Green fingers

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  14. mattlamm
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    mattlamm Green fingers

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    And here's what the Pratleys looks like. It's impressive because the packaging has an image of an actual test where it is holding what could only be a toy payloader ;)

    http://www.tools24.co.za/pratley-glue-quickset-clear-40ml-20-a.html

    Important to note that I have no idea if it would release any harmful toxins as I have never used it with aquariums, but it's always worked like a bomb when ever I have used it.
     
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  15. tyronegenade
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    tyronegenade Specialist

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    Any chance you can get a lux meter and take readings? I am curious to know what the output is. My 5630 strips put out just over 4000 lux (due to the geometry of the strips its hard to convert this to lumens). A T8 Daylight gave about the same... The T5 should be somewhere around 4600 (based on Osram T8 v T5HO). Length by length, T5HOs should beat LED strips for light output but the efficiency should be much, much better... It is odd that yours are not using as much wattage as indicated. Are you sure the driver is supplying enough amps? 12V DC is enough to light them up, but unless you have a driver with high enough amps you are not going to get them to burn at their full potential.
     
  16. tyronegenade
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    tyronegenade Specialist

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    I was doing some reading, and the waterproof epoxy has a high refractive index. A lot of the light might not be directed down, at the tank. As an experiment, tilt the LED array about 30 degrees and see how that changes the illumination of the aquarium.
     
  17. Sico
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    Sico Green fingers

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    Depending on the volumes of epoxy resin you need, you can also buy buckets of varying sizes that are used with glass fibre matting to make fibreglass. Leave the matting out, decant as much of the resin you need into another container, and add the reagent, mix well, use quickly. I made a wooden cage totally waterproof for my alligator this way. It worked very well.
     
  18. Trev Pleco
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    Trev Pleco Algae destroyer

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    Agree with your thoughts here, the waterproof covering does IMO impact on the performance as well as the colour. My electrical engineering boffin also warned me to use the correct spec LED driver and not my PC DIY idea as that would seriously impact on the performance and output..

    thanks, now you just have to show me how to solder neatly and properly...
     
  19. Trev Pleco
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    Trev Pleco Algae destroyer

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    lol, presume this is the nick name for your mother-in law ?
     
  20. Chongkie
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