LED controllers for high powered LEDs?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by GRNDPNDR, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. GRNDPNDR

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 1, 2012
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    I'm in the process of setting up a 75 gallon aquarium and will soon be setting up the lighting once I finish the stand.

    Since I intend this to be a fully planted tank I'll need lots of lighting. Not to mention that it will have to shine through a plexiglass lid that will be wet, and it has to penetrate the water column all the way to the bottom of the tank.

    I want to put maybe 100W+ of LED lighting in my hood, but I also want to be able to change colours and set it up with a sunrise/sunset program.

    Where could I find a controller that can control multiple sets of lights and can be programmable but also manually controlled in case I want to switch the colours of lights around if I want to.
     
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    http://coralux.net/
    https://aquarium-led-controller.com/
    and any of the "Aquarium controllers" meant for turning on pumps/heaters,etc.. typically have PWM output ability..
    Apex, Digital Aquatics, Reef Angel, etc..

    Of course with a cheap ESP8266 wifi module you can quickly create your own/cheap device to send a PWM signal to the drivers..

    Look into Meanwell LDD drivers for those LEDs.. Or any of the other Meanwell LED drivers with PWM inputs for dimming..
    Notice the LDD 2,3,4,5,6 up PCBs on the coralux site..

    LDDs with a regular 24 or 48VDC power supply work great for this stuff..
     
  3. mcgyvr

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    Note:.. You can buy an off the shelf LED light that does all you want for less than you can DIY now... But where is the fun in that..
    Just wanted you to know that too.. A few years ago that wasn't the case.. Now "controllable" LEDs are all over the place and cheap "Chinese Black Box" LED fixtures feature the dimming/sunrise/sunset and can be had in freshwater/plant spectrums and Reef/Coral Spectrums all over the place now..
    galaxyhydro is the first low cost "planted" one that comes to mind.. (should be on amazon for a bit over $150)
    Like this..
    https://www.amazon.com/Galaxyhydro-Manual-Control-Dimmable-Aquarium/dp/B00NNDHVCG
     
  4. GRNDPNDR

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 1, 2012
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    I'm going to go check out those links right now, but all I want is a controller for the LEDs.

    That amazon fixture isn't bad though, but it only has 3 channels.

    I'm not entirely sure what I need at this point as I'm just getting everything setup, but my tank is 48x18" tall, and I'm custom building the hood, there will be quite a bit of room in it but maybe not enough for the Amazon setup you linked. Plus I think I can put way more lights in there.

    I was originally going to use light strips because I could have a basically unlimited range of colours, but I'm sure I can find multi color LEDs in the 3-5W variety and a separate controller that will let me do sunrise/sunset/moon phases as well as change through a range of different colour.
     
  5. GRNDPNDR

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    what's an LDD?
     
  6. mcgyvr

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    LDD is an LED driver series from the manufacturer Meanwell.. Great little devices..
    They accept a PWM signal to control dimming.. and color with RBG LEDs (1 LDD per color string)
    I assumed you were going to build this light from discreet high power LEDS.. As such you need a way to power them/feed them constant current..
    The driver does that and is powered by a regular power supply of a voltage higher than the sum of the Vf of the LEDs in the series string..

    and don't forget heatsinking..
     
  7. GRNDPNDR

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 1, 2012
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    Ya i knew I needed a driver, I was either going to pick one up locally when I knew how many LEDs I'll using or get one from the guy who is selling these LEDs
    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/1W-3W-High-P...ar-pcb-/321471559197?var=&hash=item76d40d96e8

    I might even throw in a few 10W LEDs as well. I really need to be able to have an insane amount of light available, but not necessarily in use.

    Attached is a picture of what my hood will look like. It's 4.5" in height, 48" long 18" wide and 2.25" tall at the short part.

    Heat sinking is where I'm a little stuck. I don't know if I want to get one big heat sink and stick them all to it, or if I want to do something as crazy as using smaller northbridge heatinks/fans on each one.... that probably isn't viable for a lot of reasons though.
     
  8. mcgyvr

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    You are going to need multiple drivers... But you need to determine how many LEDs in each string,etc... before you can select one..
    You can usually put up to 13 x 3W LEDs on a single driver..

    And I would really recommend avoiding the "cheap" drivers on ebay,etc... seen them catch fire,etc...
    And avoid LEDs/strings in parallel
     
  9. GRNDPNDR

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    Mar 1, 2012
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    Why not parallel? I was probably going to do a series/parallel wiring.
     
  10. mcgyvr

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    LEDs don't share current well when placed in parallel without current limiters for each string in series..
    The can go into thermal runaway and draw more current than the string next to it and it all goes downhill from there..

    Can it be done. yes sometimes you can get by doing it... should it be done ... no.
    The extra few dollars to limit each series string is well worth the reliability in the long run.. Plus more drivers = greater control..

    I'd stick a max of 12 LEDs on each driver all in series with a 48V power supply and a single meanwell LDD..
    Make multiples of that..
    If you are doing RBG and 3 watt diodes then a string of each would give you roughly 12 x 3w = 36 x 3 = 108 watt fixture..
    I'd also do a string of 6500Ks giving you a nice 144W fixture with full color control and dimming..
     
  11. GRNDPNDR

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    Mar 1, 2012
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    There's a few things I was looking at, and despite the cost I may well just go with one of these heat sinks, get it at 18" and place it perpendicularly in my hood.

    Each hood section is about 22"x18" inside, I don't know the width dimensions of the heatsinks but I could probably fit 4-6 of those in my hood.
    Given the number of LEDs each can hold I could have a ridiculous amount of lighting in that hood.
    I'd like to shoot for 300W if it's possible and I could get rid of the heat effectively, that would give me a good 4 watts per gallon which is way more than I'd probably need except for way down the road when everything is established and plant growth is full and lush.

    What are some of the more powerful drivers available? I want to keep the amount of components to a minimum, ideally I would only need one controller to control up to 4 sets of lights (dimming/sunrise/sunset/colour change) one really powerful driver, and some kind of remote so I can change things on a whim while I sit on my fat a#$ on the couch.

    am I looking for the holy grail?
     
  12. mcgyvr

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    yes t the holy grail... One driver will not allow that control..
    At the very least its 1 driver per color..

    And I think 300W is far too much for a 75G tank.. But thats why dimming is nice.. I'd expect you only need half that for good growth..

    Just double what I wrote in post 10.. So 8 channels.. 2 x red, 2 x green, 2 x blue, 2 x white.. 1 driver for each channel and each running 12 x 3W LEDs.. That gets you right to 300W almost.. In reality plants don't use green light so a green channel is only going to allow you to have a "pleasing" color from your perspective but its not going to help the plants really.. While plants use most of the visible spectrum red and blue (something like 440nm blue and 650nm red) grow plants like crazy but they look almost "black" so the addition of other spectrums will make it more "natural" and better color rendition.. Many are now using a "lime" LED vs a typical green too.. So red/blue/lime/white would be excellent..

    Sounds like you want more of what "you" want and not what the plants want.. They aren't going to want you changing the spectrum all over the place.. They really don't need sunrise/sunset.. (yes they get that in nature but plants have been grown indoors for years with just an on/off). You aren't going to want orange light or pink or any of the other million possibilities with RGB leds.. Personally I think the ability to change colors via RBG LEDs isn't the right way to go. But its your light..
     
  13. GRNDPNDR

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 1, 2012
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    I'm not going to be changing colours all over the place, I just like to have the option really.... I'm one of those people who like features.

    I won't be using green for the exact reasons you stated, the colour will be in the white/blue end of the spectrum with some red added and I might throw in a couple of actinic tubes.

    you could be right, 300W may be far too much but again I want to have it available in case it's needed, I've got a topic going on a large facebook group for fish keepers and the responses I'm getting about the LED lights people are using are all over the place.
    some say their lights are working great and the plants are growing well, and others are saying that similar wattage lights are working but not getting the growth they should be getting.....

    my 75 will be heavily planted though, and once the plants are established they will require a lot of light. another thing to consider is that a lot of light intensity is apparently lost when trying to make it through the water column and lid and when the plants get big there will be a lot of growth to penetrate.

    I didn't mean to make it sound like I just wanted what I wanted though, I'm getting slightly ahead of myself at this point and just trying to look at all my options.

    You keep mentioning separate colour LEDs like Red/blue/etc..... is it better to do it that way opposed to have RGB LEDs so the colour could be infinitely adjusted ?

    I forgot to post the link to the heatsink I was talking about.
    http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/makersled-designer-heatsink-kit-professional-grade-anodized/

    so right now at this moment this is what I'm thinking...

    buy probably two of those heatsinks, I haven't decided if I want to run them front-back or along the length of the aquarium, but going front-back then each one would be 18" long and I think it says you can get 25 LEDs per 12" .... but that might be a heatsinking limitation.

    that would be a total of 50x3W LEDs, 150W.
    Assuming I go with that plan, what would I need to drive and control all those? I really like the CORALUX Storm X controllers, but are you saying that I would need to have multiple controllers?
    At the basics of it all I really want is for the multiple fixtures to be synced such that they can all have the same sunrise/sunset, timing etc.
     
  14. BR-549

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    Sep 22, 2013
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  15. GRNDPNDR

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    Mar 1, 2012
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    I could probably utilize that to make my own circuit, but I didn't want to go that far for this project. I'd rather just buy and assemble already existing components.

    my problem is that there are so many components lol.
     
  16. GRNDPNDR

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 1, 2012
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    I just realized that I've been thinking about this all backwards.

    the controllers control the drivers that power the lights?
    So one controller with enough channels would control multiple sets of drivers/lights?

    for some reason I was thinking the driver was like a main power supply and that I'd need multiple controllers.....

    bit of a brain fart...
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  17. GRNDPNDR

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 1, 2012
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    I ordered the LEDs, I won't use this many, but it's always nice to have spares :D
    This should cover a good enough spectrum for plant growth and yes I even threw in some green ones just to bring out the colours of the plants for our human eyes.

    10x Cold White 30000K
    50x Cold White 10000K - 15000K
    50x Cool White 6000K
    50x Red 610-630nm
    10x Green 510-530nm
    50x Blue 460-465nm
    50x Royal Blue 445-455nm
    20x Full Spectrum 380-840nm

    Most of these are 700mA, and the LDD1000H is a 1000mA driver, do I need a driver for each LED?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  18. mcgyvr

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    Because light isn't the only thing that makes or breaks a tank.. Water quality..nitrogen/food... blah blah blah...
    And watts says nothing about the spectral output of the fixture either... PAR and spectrum and make it work or not..
     
  19. mcgyvr

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    Bingo... Nice to see that lightbulb turn on. :)

    With the LDD's you have a single power supply (constant voltage) that plugs into the AC outlet.. That provides power to the LDD's that regulate the output current to strings of LEDs..
    A single power supply can run many strings/LDD drivers.. It just needs to be able to supply enough current for all the LEDS/LDDs wired off it..

    You can have multiple LEDs in series so long as your power supply output voltage is greater than the sum of the LEDs in that string..
    So with a 48V power supply and a LDD700 (they make them in 700mA versions too) and assuming that the LED has a Vf (forward voltage of 3.2V) then you can have
    The LDD needs 2V higher than Vf so..
    48-2 = 46 volts to work with so
    46/3.2Vf = 14.375 so up to 14 LEDs in that string and it will work perfect... All will get 700mA and all LEDs in that string are dimmable via the PWM signal from the controller..
    And most controllers have multiple PWM channels so if its got 5 channels then you can control 5 different strings of LEDs separately/independantly..


    Here is a diagram.. Pretend each LED is actually 14 in series
    http://coralux.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/connection_diagram_01.png

    Here is a single string/single LDD
    http://www.fishroom.es/blog/wp-content/uploads/esquema_en.jpg
     
  20. GRNDPNDR

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    Mar 1, 2012
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    I got confused because I have a 10W LED and a "driver" for it which is actually a driver, dimmer and power supply all on one board so I was thinking a driver was that type of thing.

    Vf on those LEDs is 3.2 to 3.6V, and they're actually all 700mA.

    so chances are I'm going to need multiple power supplies right? or are there ones available that would power all 300W of LEDs?

    The Coralux Storm X has 16 channels and fan controls which is very nice so that would allow up to 224 LEDs if they were on strings of 14. Way more than I'm going to use.
     
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