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jdubslopro 02-09-2007 02:52 AM

LED Moonlight
So I know there's a lot of you out there wondering what the best way to do this is...I contemplated getting a 3/4" square acrylic (plexiglass) bar and drilling the leds into that...but didn't want to wait, nor was the $20 price tag really worth it all that much to me. So, what I did was marked my reflector approximately every 2 inches (with the existing fluorescents and wiring/brackets in place) and then drilled 18 holes for my 5mm blue leds.

The leds I buy in bulk, I had them left over from a car stereo project, which was my main motivation for doing this. I had a 12v transformer lying around from something or another, supports up to 1 Amp of current. (Each LED draws around 20 milliampsx18 leds=360ma) I used the resistors that came with the leds (I think around 440 ohms or so) to drop the voltage, and soldered one resistor per each individual LED. At this point, I put all the leds in place and hot glued them in from above.
I then used a solid 18 gauge copper wire (I stripped a coaxial cable because I didn't have any 18/2 or thermostat wire) and clamped it to my reflector and soldered the resistor end (cathode) to one wire (+12v) and the other end (annode) to another 18 gauge copper wire for ground. I then hot glued the primary wires to the reflector lid to keep them in place, then soldered the transformer wires to the end. The end result? A 1-2 hour project that will last as long as your fish tank! I have mine on a timer so it sort of mimicks the actual moonlight cycle (comes on an hour before I turn the lights off, then completely off at 4 am.)

Here's with the lights on, shutter speed real fast to capture all the light.

I also installed a light switch into the stand for the fluorescents, with 2 separate outlets for ballasts, and one dual gang outlet for heater and filter.

Daz 02-09-2007 02:56 AM

Real tidy, nice job mate.

Lupin 02-09-2007 03:57 AM


Looks awesome.:thumbsup:

Matt 02-09-2007 09:46 AM

I have something simailar to that on 1 of my tanks!

magic_marty 02-09-2007 01:07 PM

with 1 resiter per led i assume you wired them in parallel and not in a series.
prolly didn't need to use as many resisters as you could just wire the leds in a series witch then provides there own resistance.The only drawback would be if you have one burn out it would kill the whole circuit and all would stop lighting, but with leds they very rarely burn out.

Good job it looks very nice.

jdubslopro 02-10-2007 01:01 AM

correct, they are wired in parallel. I did this because the LEDs I buy come with matched resistors for a 12 volt power source. Also, when wiring in series the current draw can be enough to get the resistors hot and make them fail long before the LEDs lifetime expires. That, and my snap-on butane soldering iron doesn't get much of a workout these days...

magic_marty 02-10-2007 01:20 AM

ah ok i see what you mean, prolly would of had to use a large resister like a one of those big square ones i think there like 10watts or something.Then maybe still might of had to heat sink it..i converted a pc power supply to a 12 volt power supply to power a lithium polymer charger and i had to use 6 i think of the big resisters and still i had to mount them in front of the fan to help keep them cool..I love LEDS they are in my opinion one of the best things to happen to any hobby.Ive used them for RC cars for tail, parking, backup and even put blinking turn signals on them.Also i have a RC plane with LEDS on it and its a blast to fly it at night..

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