Led lighting

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by reddogracing, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    NOOB here.

    I am trying to redo my diy aquarium lighting.

    Currently I use 4x100 white led xmas lights. And they light great. Problem is, they are multi "8" function lights, I have them on timers, and when they come on, they default to one of the flashing functions, and I have to go at change them to "always on". Each string of 100 has its own box, so i have 4 of these little control boxes. They are smaller then a pack of cigs. 3 bulbs in each string of 25 has a rsitor one the neg side. And they are the 3 bulbs closest to the box, or closest to the neg side. 12 bulb in all has resistors.

    So i want to rework the whole setup. I am a mechanic and pretty good with diy, just no led experience. What i WANT to do is cut out the multi function part of the lights, and cut back to just one box or power supply if i can.

    So each box has 110 input, 2 wires, and 5 wire output, 1 +, and 4 -, each - wire controls 25 bulbs, and the one + wire runs to the end of each of the strings of 25. I am measuring 109 volts dc as output, but i have a pretty cheap meter.

    Can i scrap the boxes and power them with one transformer, or use maybe one of the boxes i have to power all? And how can I bypass the multi function part of the little boxes if i did use them?

    All ideas are welcome,

    lightbox.jpg

    Photo0485.jpg

    Photo0484.jpg


    curious if i take 400-600 of these lights and make one big panel,,,

    What would be a good power sourse to use?

    How should i wire the lights?

    like they are now, but do 24 strings of 25 lights, or something differant.

    I want to keep it as simplle as i can and use the xmas lights i have to do it. I also have several others wanting me to make them lights as well.
     
  2. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    FYI in my little diagragm, i only have 7 bulbs per string showing. That was just for space, there are 25 bulbs per, 22 w/o resistor, 3 with.
     
  3. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    The basic design is not safe, as it does not include a transformer to isolate the circuit from mains power.

    It cannot be made safe unless at least a 1:1 isolation transformer is added.
     
  4. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Visualize what happens if the lights go in the water with the fish.
     
  5. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    i realize that that would be bad. But the lights can not get in the water. And I installed gfic outlets on everything i use on the tank as well. I have an acrylic tank with only 2 small openings, and they both have their own covers. Plus the lights are mounted securly to the wood canopy. And the light assy is 6 ft long, 18 inches wide, the openings are 18x9 inches. Trust me the ones i have one there now dont even get damp.


    I am open to your suggestions though, so let me know what you recomend. Please try to keep it laymen, as i may not know all the terms you use.
     
  6. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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  7. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    We have to be hard nosed about the transformer. Attempting to operate a circuit directly off the line is very dangerous. It can't be made to fail safe, and always presents a lethal shock hazard.
     
  8. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    OK, i can understand safety. And i know how hard it is to give advice in your subject area to ppl who have no clue. I get the same in my field alot. Thanks for trying. I will do some more research.

    The diagragm i posted is not something i made up though. They are xmas lights? Wouldnt UL stop their use if they were so dangerous,, as is?

    I am not opposed to useing a transformer. Just looking for some simple specs. Like i said I do not fully understand all the electronic lingo here.

    I was hoping to get something like. "get a 24vdc transformer from say this,, leave your lights in the strings of 25, no more then x bumber of bulbs,, hook all the pos together, all the neg together and you should be fine." or "" you can use the bulbs, but scrap the resistors ,,boxes,, and everything else"" if it is to much involved, i will continue working at it until i find a way to bypass the flashing functions and use them as i am now.

    I realize this can probably be complicated. But again, i have them hooked up now, they work and look good. Only thing i do not like is that when the timer turns them on, they are flashing, and i have to go over to them and turn them to constant on mode. When i am not home, i can not do this, and all the flashing is going to drive my fish nuts.
     
  9. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Is the number of LEDs shown in your drawing accurate?
     
  10. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    NO

    There are 100 bulbs.

    each wire has 25 bulbs.

    3 of the 25 bulbs have a resistor on them,, 22 do not.

    The pic is accurate,, in location etc, but i only show 7 bulbs, where there are actually 25. Everything else is correct the best i can tell.
     
  11. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Are you willing to cut an splice? We could remove this controller and replace it with a wall wart and resistors.
     
  12. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    yes i am. willing.

    my thought for the final project was to put all the bulbs in a plex pegboard and resolder the whole thing to get rid of all the wire anyway.


    I am guessing I would remove the existing resistors?

    Aski because they are so netly shrink wrapped to the bulbs.


    Let me know what you think i need

    keep in mind i run 2 setups,. 400 white for day, 100 blue for dawn and dusk.
     
  13. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Can you show a picture?

    The two setups might as well be independent from what I'm hearing.
     
  14. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    pic of?

    Current setup is just xmas lights plugged in to timers.

    One 100 blue string plugged into one timer, and four 100 white strings(400) plugged into another timer.

    No special sytems. The original pics i posted are of the internals of one string of 100 lights, and the schematic is just a drawing i made of the factory circut board in the other two pics.

    here is a link to my original lights.

    http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=262743&page=18
     
  15. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    What do you think of this? And would i use the same stuff for the 100/98 blue lights.

    399 white LEDs in strings of 7 means 57 strings. If they all take 20 mA this is 1.14 amps.

    ""I see Radio Shack have these transformers:
    Model: 273-1512 | Catalog #: 273-1512
    Which sound like they would be suitable. $10.49 is a fair price.

    They also have these capacitors:
    Model: 272-1047 | Catalog #: 272-1047 for $2.59
    They are not "LOW ESR" but may be OK to try. If they get hot, you might have to get the good ones.

    And they have these bridge rectifiers:
    Model: 276-1185 | Catalog #: 276-1185 for $3.29

    Oddly, they don't seem to have 390 ohm 1/2 watt resistors although they do have 330 ohm ones which would be OK if you couldn't get anything else.""
     
  16. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    What part of the world are you? I use Radio Shack in my articles partly because they are a good reference, and partly because the original authors at this site set the standards, but the plain fact is you can usually beat RS prices by at least 50%, sometimes a lot more.

    Have you had a chance to read through my article I suggested in post #6? It covers most of the basics in chapter 1.

    A regulated wall wart is much better. Something that has 24VDC and 3 amps or more, or 12V and 6 or more amps. It is simpler and safer to use.

    ********************

    Just did a quick search, this would be a good choice, low voltage, regulated, high current. The only negative is it is not a wall wart, you would need to put a safe enclosure around it (it probably has a piece of plastic to cover the input/output terminals, but I'm thinking water).

    http://www.bgmicro.com/pwr130515v10aswitcher.aspx

    This from less than 5 minutes of looking, there are much, much better out there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  17. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    I am in south central Kentucky.

    There are a few RS near by. And there is/was an electronic wholesaler across in tn, but whne you go in there you need to know what to ask for specifically. I went there years ago for a project, but they were not very helpfull unless you knew what you wanted.
     
  18. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Yeah, it would match my experience. Since I am light years ahead of their staff I don't even bother asking them much. I have been known to print items out of their online catalog and special order from my local RS.

    I generally tell people to go for 24V, but rethinking your application 12V is better. I'm not into aquariums (though I've helped with several projects at this site, this being my favorite).

    You want the lights to be white during the day, dimming to blue during the night?

    This means you may want to build some circuitry with this. Correct?

    You could leave the blue lights on full time, and put the white lights on a timer.
     
  19. reddogracing

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2010
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    i have timers on there now. I have two digital light switch timers, one controlling blue and one white.

    in the future i would like to do something with fading and blending the two, to more represent real world.

    for now i think the timers are working good.


    ps. i like the "wallwart" idea. But I can put a box in the electronics cabinet, near where the light switch timers are. I have romex running up to the top of the hood, i am pretty flexible there.

    If you want to see pics of the project

    pics and tutorial
    http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=262743&page=16

    Photo0486.jpg

    Photo0487.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  20. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    If you start remaking the circuits the timers are going to have to be part of this. I assume you have AC timers with digital clocks in them (something I've done with several projects).

    Merging the lights by fading in and fading out is completely possible, but again the timers are going to have to be incorporated in the final result.
     
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