Stage 1 - COMPLETE!
After a solid Sunday afternoon's work, stage 1 is complete. Here is a picture of the aquarium under full light - thats 6 strips of cool-white LEDs, and two strips of RGB colour LEDs - not that you can see them against the white. If you turn the white off, it looks something like this :
|Cool-whites OFF, RGB showing White|
Enough of the pretty colours - here's how I did it :
The old hood looked like this :
|Two tubes already down, only one working and I'm not even game to turn that one on!|
|Old ballast - looking a bit worse for wear|
|All this has got to go|
Next step is to cover all those ventilation holes, and the rectangular holes where the tube fittings were held. This is where the condenstaion was getting into the electrical compartment - don't worry, the plastic top of the hood still has plenty of air vents.
|Old ventilation and tube bracket/starter holes all covered, with new holes drilled ready for grommets|
|Flip side - some scrap sheet metal bolted in place|
Now - time to prepare the strip lights. The strip can be cut every 3 LEDs in a clearly marked spot, the silicone cut off, and the coating scraped back to reveal the copper underneath.
Some quick soldering and application of heat shrink and here's the result. The termination on the strip at the top was by the supplier, the one at the bottom is mine.
I bought some clip-on connectors that attach to the cool-white strips (only 2 contacts needed) - but isntead of using them to join two strips together, I soldered wires to one side. The contact with the strip didn't seem too reliable, so I ended up soldering that side to the strip as well.
Since some of the copper strip was exposed after cutting, I covered the other end with heatshrink and flattened it while still hot, forming a nice seal :
None of there connections have to be 100% watertight, but after seeing what happened to the previous lighting system I'm not taking any chances.
Here is the back plate with all of the strips installed. Each tube has been replaced with two strips of cool-white LED, and there are an additional two strips of RGB LED, one on each side.
|And I even remembered to leave space along the middle for the bolts to mount the power supply and terminal strips!|
Now - first light test! This is with my bench power supply which doesn't quite have the oomph to push it to full brightness :
All LEDS working great! Now to install the power supply. And here it is :
Even though it will be living above the backplate, it still could get some condensation, so I bought one that is IP65 rated. 100W is more than enough for the lights I'm running.
Installed, it looks like this :
And the other end, with a small PWM dimmer for the white LEDs and a controller for the RGB LEDS :
|Even though the wires are blue/brown, this is the 12V side not the 240V !|
Each white LED strip is brought out to a separate connection on the strip - so on the next stage it can be controlled individually. For now, they all end being paralleled to one of the 12V outputs, and the other output goes to the RGB led controller.
Putting it back together :
There is a clear plastic cover (not shown) that goes over the top of this.
And there we have it : all done!
The controls sit on top of where the switches used to be - this is supposed to be temporary until the next stage, where they are replaced with an LCD and some buttons connected to an AVR microcontroller.