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Thread: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

  1. #1

    Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    I was thinking of using 2-13 watt cfl "daylight bulbs" on a 6x8 scrubber to start and then switching over to an LED array at around 3k. I think I will use 1/2 watt or 1 watt, as opposed to 3 watt LED's. My reasoning is I can get a broader light spread with more of the lower wattage diodes then I can with a couple of 3 watt Led's, at such a close distance.

    I was wondering if anyone has done this. I would like to know how many red/white diodes would I need to get 3k. I would like to know a little more about drivers and power supplies as well.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    Re: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    Feel free to peruse and join the "Modern LED scrubber light" thread. It seems to be taking on a life of its own, and
    has some the data you probably want.

    People have done LEDs, yes, with some success, but nothing great yet.
    There have been a lot of failures. So I strongly suggest you get CFL working first, then be prepared to tinker.

    A combo CFL/LED is not a bad idea.

    From personal experience, light spread and distribution is not a problem with 3W LEDs.
    I have checked it with a light meter and various builds. And you can always add diffusion plate.
    Those small LEDs are a pain. Far less efficient, a lot of soldering, and problems attaching heat sinks.

  3. #3

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    Re: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    I think I know about where your at in the understanding of light Kelvein(K) and color(in nm). Also the graph I pieced together between a few different ones should demonstrate to you What a white LED really is. Its a modified blue LED so to speak. White is not a color. its a mixture of colors that create a white light. the more blue it has the higher the Kelvin rating the more red/yellow it has the lower the Kelvin rating. Not to mention that one..say red led is not the same as the next. slightly different red(nm) as well as lumen output per watt. The blessing and curse of LED's is that at a given color it has such a narrow but highly intense spike at such a specific nm range that you have to be sure your putting out light in exactly the right nm range for what you want or you can get poor results.
    These 3 are all WHITE from warm to cool.
    [attachment=2:1k15zc1j]White LED profiles.jpg[/attachment:1k15zc1j]

    Here is a white and also shows the narrow range the colored LED occupy
    [attachment=1:1k15zc1j]Color LED profiles and white.jpg[/attachment:1k15zc1j]

    A low Kelvin warm white CFL may have the same color as a similar warm white LED. But the CFL's light is spread more widely(and less intensely) including in ranges we believe do not promote growth in plant matter.

    Here is an example of a "full spectrum daylight T5 flourecent bulb" in the 6000k range
    [attachment=0:1k15zc1j]midday.gif[/attachment:1k15zc1j]


    I hope this is of some help.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4

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    Re: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    My first scrubber, which I considered a proof of concept, was undersized but all I could fit under the tank. It was open air, lights were clamp on fixtures using CFL twist bulbs. When I started it up I quit dosing sugar and stopped using my skimmer (it broke). Even at that it kept my nitrates in check for 3 months until I had a pump failure when I was out of town and the scrubber algae mostly died. It was messy and hard to remove for cleaning. However, it sold me on the concept so I decided to build the "ultimate".

    This is rather overkill for my 75g but I made it with my pending 140g build in mind. I used two 50 watt light panels with the red and blue LEDs. My first DIY with acrylic and I was surprised at how easy it is to work with.

    One thing to note my screen retaining method. I cut 2 slices from an end cap and notched them to make a "C". They slip over the header pipe and rotate through holes cut in the screen to hold it up. To remove the screen one just rotates the rings so the open part is down and the screen drops down. Way better than ty-raps and I don't have to take the end cap off to slide the screen out.

    I did build this just before your new design came out and frankly I'm not sure I'd recommend the LED's. They work fine but they're expensive and fairly large 12"x12". I had to mount them about 3" from the screen so I didn't have little circles of light. And I'm not sure about the benefit of the red and blue since the light doesn't mix at that distance. Pretty sure they are designed to grow other green plants at a greater distance.

    I'm feeding it with the full flow of a Quiet One 2200 which at 2' of head is about 500 GPH.

    Enough talk, here's the pictures

    First the retaining rings. You can also see one of the threaded light mounting blocks.



    Here's one without the lights mounted getting ready for the flow test at the laundry tub. You can see one of the light panels on the left. Try to ignore all the background clutter.



    And finally, here it is installed. It's so bright I had to make a cover for it since I run the lights opposite my DT lights. In the new 140g. build, support equipment like this will be behind a wall.



    This thing works. When my prototype crashed my nitrates got up to 25 ppm before I was able to get this online and in 3 weeks they were near non detect level with the Salifert test kit.

  5. #5

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    Re: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    Joe, if you don't mind telling me, what led did you use?

    Thanks for any help.

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    Re: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    These are the 40 or 50 watts panels that I recommend. Two of them is 100 watts, good for a 100 square inch screen.

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    Re: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    You recommended led? Wow

    Only experimentally I hope.

    What is the brand etc...?

  8. #8

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    Re: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    "You recommended led? Wow
    Only experimentally I hope. "

    What am I missing here?

    These are the lights I used.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/50-WATTS-LED-GROW-L ... 35a75a68df

  9. #9

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    Re: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    Great to see another LED success!!
    Nice system.
    Any pictures of the growth?

    The color seems similar to mine. A little lighter red, as expected. Of course very hard to tell with a camera.

    Those LED panels you bought seem pretty good. I think they are the best purchasable ones I have seen so far.
    The negatives (Not meant in a bad way):
    - They use the smaller 5mm LEDs, so are not nearly as power efficient, and do not last as long.
    - Who knows what sort of power supply they used. Can make a big difference in longevity.
    - Those 55W panels are probably about the same as a 30W panel that uses state of the art LEDs.

    But sure saves a LOT of hassle by buying them instead of DIY. A HUGE win there.
    Those built/shipped panels are about the same price as just the high-power-led components, so I think price is a win as well.
    Light distribution will be about the same. There are many more 5mm LEDs than for the ones using high power, but the angle is tighter. Ends up similar / slightly better.

    Only thought is that you may want to paint the outside of the box white. Everywhere except for windows onto the screen.
    Recover some of the wasted light on the side, plus shield your pipe from light. Less growth in the slot.

  10. #10

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    Re: Anyone use LED's for Lighting a Scrubber?

    Actually the bulbs on these LED panels are 8mm. Not shown in the photos is my custom cover to block the light from the DT since it's on a reverse light cycle. The reason there's no pictures of the cover is that it's made from a computer desk chair box. Agree on the need for a light shield for the header pipe although the mninimal growth that I get in that area is easily cleaned off. I'll copy a post I made on another forum that shows the cleaning process as well as growth.

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