100w Multi Chip LED Project

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Tenny, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Tenny

    Tenny Supporting Member

    Intrigued by the simplicity of multi chip LED's, I decided to dive into it and give it a try.

    I started by researching a lot, while they are not full spectrum, I figured I'd still give them a try. My thought process was I can add other colors at a later point of time if I wanted to get those other colors... I went to ebay and picked up 2x LED's (Super Actinic/White Hybrid) and 2x matched power supplies (Sadly they are not meanwell's, but they are better than the open PCB ones at least...).

    The LED's are listed as:
    Color Temperature/Wavelength: 40 chips 10000-15000K + 60 chips 445-460nm Royal Blue
    LED chips: EPISTAR ES-B4545V-A3 45x45 mil

    Lense: 60-80 degrees.

    Below are some build photos. I set it up quickly to test it, without doing a completely shotty job. I do not intent them to be permanent as I want more water-proofing before they go up above a tank.

    Driver's that were included. Pretty loose spec's...
    LED Chips
    Decided to "hold" the LED to the CPU Heatsink by screwing it in (drilled/tapped 6-32)
    Quick solder job...
    With the lens on it (60-80 degrees). Thermal paste between the CPU heatsink and LED of course.
    First time powered on.
    The light pattern... Not very good spread for the blues...
    Second one, just no lens to see how it did. (the color was better...)
    Both together.
    Fired on.
    This is above my 30g with the Kessil A350W off.
    Kessil A350W comparison (on full power, both channels)

    Initial thoughts:
    • It's much more "white" than I expected.
    • Brighter than the Kessil by far (not sure if this is just because of the color diff (white/blue).

    I've already ordered some 100w 450-460nm's. I may do every other as one of those. I am also going to buy a different lens. The 60-80 degrees is way too tight, while the open (120-140degrees) is too scattered. Overall assuming I can get decent growth this is a very cheap alternative. With what I have here (including the 450-460nm LED's) I've spent around $150.
    bondolo likes this.
  2. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Not too bad, not bad at all.

    I will say it should be brighter than the Kessil, while each LED is no where close to efficient you have twice the power 2 x 100W vs 90W (or are you only running one LED?). Also note the "whiter" aspect as our eyes are not terribly efficient at seeing those lower wavelengths so they naturally will look "darker", this is why actinics work so great otherwise the whole tank would look super bright purple!

    How many are you planning on putting over that tank? I would think 1 would work fine.

    I thought about doing something like this for a while, especially when those 5 channel multichips came out, however too many of them shoehorn red and/or green in there to try and do "full spectrum" and I'm not having any of that. Plus the failure point of a single LED could possibly wipe out the whole fixture worries me.
  3. Tenny

    Tenny Supporting Member

    In the second to last photo, that's just one of the two LED's, I can't recall if it was with the lens or not. So it's the 100w vs 90w (kessil) comparison.

    Very good points on our eyes not being good judges. Really wish I could analyze the light spectrum just for my own benefit. The 5.1 [dream chips] were appealing, but the cost of them just put them beyond what I want to spend on my first attempt at this.

    The plans for them are to go over some frag tanks. I really don't think they will ever replace my display tank's Kessil's. The Kessil/Gooseneck combo on a rimless is just too clean for me to walk away from.
  4. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Wow, that looks cool. I can only imagine how much better those multi chips will be in another couple years.
  5. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yeah those multichannel chips are twice the cost, but multiple channels! If you're happy with on/off then you're good to go, I've always had a soft spot for a gradual change in colors/intensity as the day goes on.

    I've seen a few Cree multichips on ebay, it's funny they're very high powered for the number of LEDs on them, 50W emitters with only 10 LEDs each, vs the epistars which have which are usually 1 per watt.
  6. brleong

    brleong Supporting Member

    I built these about a month ago and they're great! Probably need to back down on the power level I have right now since they're probably too strong.

    One thing I recommend is sealing up all your wiring. Epoxies, tv, or liquid electrical tape are your friends. My setup is splash resistant up to the whole fixture falling into the tank. There's no way any circuits will short out if it got splashed.

    I'm also interested in trying the dream chip build. I have an arduino micro controller I could use to try it with. I'm interested in seeing more coral fluorescence than I have right now and I think some of those other wavelengths will help.
  7. Tenny

    Tenny Supporting Member

    Thanks for replying. Yeah I am trying to figure out how I want to "seal" everything up at this point. I was thinking Liquid Tape for the direct connection on the LED's. While I did use Dean connectors (they were available), most of the other spots are all heat shrink. They are also pretty far from where water may hit (10 feet cable length). I was thinking "Side Entry Wire Sleeve" for the wires but that isn't really water tight.. but it will "help".

    What drivers are you rocking?
  8. brleong

    brleong Supporting Member

    I can't find the exact one right now, but its pretty much this one:


    Dean connectors are cool, but not water proof. You'll need to at least wrap it with electrical tape a few times to get splash resistance.

    What I did for most connections was heat shrink, and then electrical tape over the heat shrink, and then liquid electrical tape over that. A bit of overkill, but I didn't want to risk any fire's. For my main cables running down to my outlet, I have a mesh wire loom that will help, and I have a drip loop at the bottom. I also have a splash resistant power strip.
  9. Tenny

    Tenny Supporting Member

    Ok I was thinking about those, but dimming isn't a huge concern of mine. I basically run my 350 at 100% all the time.

    As far as the deans, yeah I know. They were just what was available. I've already purchased:

    I'll replace those once I get them. Just wanted to get something going. Slightly concerned my wires are too thick for them, but we'll see once they come. Thinking about getting these too though:

    Do you have any more close up shots of your system? I'm interested in how you mounted the heatsinks and hang the board.
  10. Tenny

    Tenny Supporting Member

    So updates...

    I received my " 100W Watt Blue High Power LED Light Lamp 450-460nm 2000-2500LM 30V Aquarium DIY " LED's yesterday. I did a quick throw together to hook them up and they are nice and blue. Not as blue as I was expecting to be honest. I think having a few of those mixed with the other "Hybrids" would really make the florescent [guessing] pop.

    Unfortunately I didn't have time to really test it over a tank with corals in it or anything, I just did a quick test. Once I setup another heat sink I'll wire it with the new plugs when they come in. This may take some time, as I don't have enough drivers to run all of them currently.
  11. brleong

    brleong Supporting Member

    I'll have to find some time to get some pics for you. Been pretty busy with the holidays, and I've been on the hunt for a sump to fit under my stand, yet be the right size!

    I think the hybrids are really the way to go. I am starting to want more pop from my corals. It seems that some of my corals really pop (zoas), while my other corals seem to be a bit dull. It might have to do with the different corals fluorescing at different wavelengths that my current LED's are not hitting.
  12. brleong

    brleong Supporting Member

    Any progress Tenny?
  13. Tenny

    Tenny Supporting Member

    Not too many updates really on the lights really. Waiting on shipping has been brutal.

    First I got these waterproof connectors:
    But the wire on those is about 24 awg, and I just didn't feel comfortable running such thin gauge. I was looking to do 18 AWG.

    The next set of connectors that came in were:
    These were also less than desirable, but I stuck with them. They are a pain in the butt to put together and I don't feel they will stop water "THAT" well.

    That's one set that I"m going to run with for a bit, we'll see how well they work.

    I'm really looking at getting some other ones, the one's high on my list are these:

    I may buy one of each and see how they are once they come in and then go that direction if I feel it is needed. I do want all of them to be the same so I can swap in other multichips if desired.

    I also swapped out all the cables. I applied liquid electrical tape to all the connectors at the LED side. Previously I was running 16 AWG for the LED's and 24 AWG for the fans. I bought an "Alarm Cable" 4 wire 18AWG spool which is like this:
    I'm very pleased with this besides the fact it's white. I can deal with that though. It's a much "cleaner" look though.

    I also swapped in a 30-130 degree lens rather than the 70 degree one. I'm very pleased with it. With the 70 degree one you could clearly see where the blues and whites were, this one blends them better.

    That's how it sits right now.

    Here's a few teasers:
  14. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

  15. brleong

    brleong Supporting Member

    which heat sink are you using? My heat sink came with my LED so I just used it. The round one looks sweet for a pendant
  16. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hi, those automotive connectors should work fine (they last years on cars) but I would suggest using dielectric grease on the contacts so they don't corrode in case they do get some moisture. Dielectric Grease is sold at most automotive stores specifically for use with those type of connectors.
  17. Tenny

    Tenny Supporting Member

    Yeah I was considering those. With how often I spill water, "Water resistant" is probably not enough. That's why I was really looking at IP67 or IP68 connectors.
    They are just OEM Intel CPU Coolers. The first set I used were 775's iirc, and the second set are 1366's. I bought them at WeirdStuff (Sunnyvale) for $5/each. Unfortunately the teaser ones (1366) didn't work out as I had hoped. The fins had no way of being drilled / tapped capable of holding the unit. So I used some "Arctic Silverâ„¢ Thermal Adhesive" and mounted an aluminum piece to it, and then drilled / tapped that.

    I certainly realize this is not the best "Method" for heat reduction, but so far it seems well within the LED's range of what's acceptable. I could cut the alum plate back a bit to create better flow from the fan, but I haven't found that needed yet.

    OH yes, I have some of that (I was trouble shooting a wiring problem on my Jeep years ago, and I was cleaning each contact out and filling it with some dielectric grease). Will add it too them!

    450-460nm blue, with the modified heat sink...

    Running, it realy is a nice blue. It def makes the florescent pop on the items around. There are no corals in the tank (hopefully this week sometime) so I can't comment on coral glow.

    Was able to get the camera (Nexus 5) to focus on the Lens to show the LED's themselves.

    After I powered it off, it was still retaining some power for a few moments.
  18. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Seeing that last picture it makes me wonder how effective lenses actually are on these multidiode chips. Ideally to focus light with a lens the light needs to be at the focal point of said lens, well with multiple points of light you'll will need to have all of them within the focal point, or at least very close to it. These lenses don't look much bigger than the chip, so some of those LEDs aren't being focused that much.

    It'd be interesting to see a test of said a single diode chip test with/without a lens (although they don't use lenses so much as they use a collimator to focus the light, even though they're called "lenses") and compare that to one of these guys with/without a lens. Just to see if you get a similar percentage increase in light at any given spot.
  19. brleong

    brleong Supporting Member

    I believe with most lenses, that the light going into the lens, should converge on the focal point of the lens. That is assuming that the lens was designed properly and built to spec. Also with lenses, you usually lose 15% of your power/light transmission due to the inefficiencies of lenses.
  20. Tenny

    Tenny Supporting Member

    The saga continues...

    I finally put some corals into those tanks and was rather disappointed with the color... it was very white and dull. The florescent colors were certainly not popping out. So I decided to try one of the blues with the whites... and the color was much better.

    So the work began...
    My plan was two 450-460nm blue's with one of the hybrid 60(blue)/40(white) in the center. This would cover an area 24x48 pretty well imo.

    Since as above the heat sinks are different, I put an eye-bolt through each of the plastic pieces, and then did the wire to hold them up. Then of course I rewired the end connectors so that I can work it with fewer plugs.

    Once that was done I gave it a shot...
    Two tanks with the 3 x 100w Multichips. These colors are extremely inaccurate... it's much more white IRL. That's a insulating material around them so the color light is more concentrated (by product).

    The three Multi-chips running together.

    All was fine, until I looked at the aquarium closely... one of the LED's is more of a "Sky Blue" and the other is darker "Ocean Blue".

    Wish I had a optical spectrum analyzer & par meter to see what's really going on. Either way though, with just the "Hybrid" LED's running for two days the corals appear much happier. They were previously in a 12G cube, with a Kessil 150 over it, and many of them appeared to be slowly loosing their colors. Already I am noticing some of the colors come back.

    I've already ordered two more of the 450-460nm LED's, and I'm interested in finding where the color ends up. I've also ordered one more Hybrid, that's listed as a 16,000k/450-460NM vs the ones I had before listed as 10,000-15,000K/450-460NM.

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