My take on the Aquarium Light!

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bigal344
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My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby bigal344 » Mon May 28, 2012 4:49 pm

So after reading Rich's post on his aquarium light setup using LDR's and daytime/nighttime lighting, I thought I'd give it a go!!
First things first was to get some sort of idea of how many LED's I would need. So using the existing cutout in the tank lid I made up a cardboard template, upon which I began doodling various LED positions.
I've decided to use Piranha 5mm LEDs in warm white for the daytime and blue for the night time.
I already had 10 white LED's so I started off with just these positioned evenly on the cardboard thus.
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Wire them all up in groups of 3, with 1 odd one that'll get a higher rated resistor. When I make the final light, I'll use a nice evenly dived number!!
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Sat in place on the tank.
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And being powered by an Xbox that I had lying around.
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Its difficult to get a good picture of the tank lit up, but it has made a great difference to the quality of light in the tank, this is our smallest tank, and is naturally quite dark with the natural wood on the bottom. At the moment all it houses is 2 small Otoclinus catfish as the Betta that was in with them passed away last week. You can see one of them attached to the front of the tank in the second photo!!
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So having found that this works great and that I'm not gonna need anywhere near as many LED's as I thought, I've now ordered up some LDR's, transisitors and all my LED's and resistors/wire from the boys at Phenoptix.
In the meantime, I can start building a more permanent housing for the LED wiring, that will sit in place of the standard bulb.

I have a 240v ~ 12v DC power supply (from a camera I believe), its 12v and 1 amp output, I think that this should be fine for what I need, anyone confirm this? :?
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Today I have been mostly Nyaning.

phenoptix
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Re: My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby phenoptix » Mon May 28, 2012 9:37 pm

Stellar start! That power supply should be more than enough. Great pics mate!

bigal344
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Re: My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby bigal344 » Mon May 28, 2012 10:18 pm

Thank you very much, now that I've proven that it works and have a rough idea of how many LED's I need, I've ordered up all of my bits.
90% of it from yourselves of course!! :D
Next up while I'm waiting is to build an enclosure to house the LED's and wiring/circuit board. Somewhere at work I have some black perspex which I rescued from the bin.
I have made a test piece (as always!) and found that using an 8mm router in our machine I can cut a groove that will seat the Piranha LED's perfectly, simply drill a 3.2mm hole in it (5.2mm for the ones I will be using) and you have a nice way of lining up and securing the LED's.
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Shown here also using the very handy LED tester to prove the point.
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As mentioned this is for the smaller of our aquariums, so if this works out ok, it'll be onto the bigger one next!!! :o
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Today I have been mostly Nyaning.

Rich
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Re: My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby Rich » Tue May 29, 2012 8:35 am

Sterling work Al.
Use a big enough transistor for the job. Check the maximum collector current on the device data sheet usually labeled iC in milliamps.
The variable resistors come with 3 pins so connect them in like this:

http://www.electronicspoint.com/attachm ... titled.jpg

bigal344
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Re: My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby bigal344 » Tue May 29, 2012 9:17 am

Thanks for the advice Rich, my electronics is somewhat basic!
I understand what most components do, but sometimes actually choosing the correct size/type/color or flavour is not my strong point!
I shall dig through my component box after work today.
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Today I have been mostly Nyaning.

bigal344
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Re: My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby bigal344 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:09 pm

So, whilst waiting for some bits to turn up I decided to make a start on constructing an enclosure for the LED's, wiring and circuit board.
The panel in the tanks lid is hinged and I wanted to keep this if possible so the only thing I really had to get right was the height of the box, so that it would clear the edge of the cutout.
Now I probably could've taken loads of measurements and worked it out precisely, however I opted for the measure it pretty close/make a dummy one method, and came up with this.
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The first attempt was slightly to tall, so I shaved 5mm off the height and voila, it fitted perfectly and opened and closed.
Note here that the water level in the tank is about 2.5" from the top so there is plenty of room between water and box.
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Next was the circuit. Seeing as how my electronics skills leave rather a lot to be desired, I decided to make up a breadboard version first.
On the first attempt, nothing worked!! :oops:
Second attempt, after re-checking the transistor pin-outs and resetting the wiring to suit, I managed to burn one of the transistors (literally, smoke and everything!!). :o
So I sat down and started again from scratch, with some helpful sketches to help with trimmer and transistor positioning.
This time everything worked, the finished board looks like this!
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And here with the 'daylight' LED on.
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Cover the 'daylight' LDR and the matching LED goes out.
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Cover the 'moonlight' LDR and that LED comes on, its white on this test but will be blue in the finished device!
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Thanks so far go to Rich for the help with understanding his diagram and sourcing parts, and Phenoptix as usual for a large amount of the electrical components!! :D :D
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Today I have been mostly Nyaning.

bigal344
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Re: My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby bigal344 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:44 pm

After looking at those last pictures I noticed that the breadboard was massively complex and could be made a great deal simpler and therefore simpler to transfer to a proto-board!
So after so head scratching and several in-correct connections, I ended up with this, much better!!
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Today I have been mostly Nyaning.

phenoptix
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Re: My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby phenoptix » Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:45 am

Wow. Great progress and I love the simplified version of the breadboard! Such a satisfying feeling when you get something working, then even more satisfying when you have that moment where it clicks in your head and you can lay it out elegantly.

I might have to get some patches in after this though, think you just earned this one

Rich - great work inspiring this one, fantastic having you on the forums.

Rich
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Re: My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby Rich » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:06 am

Thanks, pleased to be of help.

Love that badge. I popped a couple of LEDs when I built mine due to wires hanging out everywhere and one shorted :D thats why you sell them in tens tee hee.

Rich
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Re: My take on the Aquarium Light!

Postby Rich » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:12 am

Al how did you stick the box together? I always buy mine but they are expensive and sometimes hard to find the right size.


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