Diy led part 3

Today the rest of the MeanWell LDD-700h drivers arrived. Its now time to start planning to make driver board. I will use proto board since I have few pieces already (there is very nice fabricated PCB’s available from Coralux and diy images and files can be found from e.g Reef Central forum thread). Let me know if anybody has them on ebay with reasonable price and shipping cost.

I will use dip headers for LDD drivers for easy replacement if needed. I will also use big enough wires in perf board to handle current and not to rely on perf board copper lines. I hope to get everything working soon.

Here is the placement for LDD’s and terminals which will be used.


My controller unit includes Arduino Mini Pro (few bucks from, 2×16 characters display, DS3231based realtime clock, and few DS1820 temperature sensors. First I used small OLED display (similar to Adafruits oled displays). It broken down after few days of development so I replaced it with HD44780 display with i2c adapter. Both units sourced from ebay. Now the controller have also 3.3v regulated power output (it was needed by oled display).

The current state of development has these features : 

  • Sunrise and sunset times calculated by location (barrier reef is used as location at the moment and adjusted to our current timezone). Moon phase is also added for controlling Adafruit Neopixel string. Neopixel string will be used as moon lights and the code can emulate moon rise (code is ready in another project and not yet implement in the reef controller code). These calculations are made by Timelord arduino library.
  • Sunrise and Sunset light level ramps (linear at the moment for each channel). I have to research this little bit more.
  • Temperature sensor readings for light cabinet and water
  • Clock
  • State of the control cycle (night,sunrise,day,sunset)
  • Led channel power control (max output level can be chosen between 0 and 100%). I have 4 channels at the moment.
  • 3 button easy control
  • Quick presets for different lightning (photography, full moon, mid day, etc)

I will add these features if necessary and have enough time to complete project.

  • More configuration options 
  • morning, mid-day, evening and clouds for light levels. I have to research this little bit since I have not yet information how light levels change during a day in reef locations.
  • Average temperature calculations
  • ATO device control
  • Ethernet connectivity? (do we really need this, not yet decided)
  • Something more… Not sure yet.

I will build this unit in a some kind of a box and use ethernet wire to connect it to drivers unit which will be located inside the Fluval Edge closure.

After I started to build this system I found out that there is lots of similar projects and products at the market (like Coralux Storm-x device or Reef Angel). I think it will be wiser to buy one of these options than build your own since you get professional made PCB and pre-made software which you can alter yourself if needed (the source codes are open sourced). But it was fun to make one:). I will post messy source code and final image when ready. 


Diy led part 2

Today I had time to continue led build. Now was the time for some screw driving and soldering.

Leds screwed in with nylon washers and Arctic Silver thermal compound.

Wires soldered.It was hard to solder because the heat transmission to heatsink.

I decided to have 4 channels for leds so extra channel for green led. I tested the led strings with buckpuck driver and everything was ok. Still need two more LDD-700H drivers to continue this build (waiting items from fleabay supplier). 

Next phase is to complete drivers board. The driver PWM controller board and software is ready and I will post blog about it when its closure build is completed.

Replacement diy led for Fluval Edge part 1

I decided to replace Fluval Edge leds with new ones. After a few iterations and suggestion to my original plan from Nano-Reef forum thread here is my current build plan.


5x Cree Royal Blue (XT-E)
3x Cree Natural White (XP-G2)
2x Cree Blue (XP-E)
1x Cree Warm White (XP-G R5)
1x Cree Green (or I replace it with Luxeon Rebel Lime if I found supplier for one)

Edit: I updated my diy Led. I added 2 violet leds from Semiled (bin u70) and replaced one white with Lime led and replaced green with Cyan led (Luxeon rebel).

Drivers will be MeanWell LDD-700h and DIY Arduino controller (another post will follow on this subject) will be used for PWM control. First I ordered 1 Amp Buckpuck drivers but the suggestion from Nano-Reef people I decided to change them to LDD-700h. At the moment I have only 3 channels for controlling led but I might use another channel for green led only.

The heat sink is 184mm x 84mm and it will fit perfectly to Fluval Edge top. I have to build some clips to hold it (prevent it to slip into the aquarium:) ).


Drilled heatsink. I used above image as template (printed it to paper and taped on the heatsin. First I punched small marks with hammer and nail. Then I drilled holes with 1mm drill bit and then 2,5mm drill bit and use M3 drill tap for M3 bolts.



And result after quick lapping ( 320, 600 and 1000 grit over the glass surface) not a perfect end result but much better than starting point. Surface should be good enough for leds with arctic silver thermal compound paste.

Background job

I decided to paint fluval edge background. I used black spray. I did one one mistake. I did let  the paint dry before removing masking tape… Now I have to repaint rim as one can see from pictures.

Fluval edge masked and taped


Edges with masking tape


Edges are rough. Top and bottom are ok, but sides are not. So back to spray can 🙂


And the rim after repaint (now it is ok)

First post

This is the tank (Fluval Edge 6gal) which will be used for pico reef build. Now the tank is quarantine tank for new freshwater fishes. I’m gonna modify tanks lights (replace original leds with new Cree XPG,XPE and XTE leds) but retain original look. More details on following posts about the tanks, diy led build and controller and actual pico reef setup.