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Old 11-16-2009, 12:28 AM   #1
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New DIY LED Setup -- Input Appreciated

Hello All,

I'm new to forum and to electrical DIY. I'm building an LED lighting system for my aquarium.

Now there are a number of "DIY examples" on other forums that i have become acquainted with, but thought I would ask specific questions of people with more solid electrical backgrounds. Really appreciate any input from people who know electrical work.

My goal is to build two spotlights, each having both white and blue LEDs that will be separately controllable via a dimmable 48V LED Driver (

I will wire the LEDs in series (blue series / white series).

The LEDs are approx. 3.7V and will be run at 1A.

2x Spotlight: 6x White Cree XPG (80 degree optics) + 4x Royal Blue Cree XRE (60/80 degree optics)
(total of 20 LEDs)
2x Meanwell ELN 60-48D, one for 12 white LEDs and the other for 8 blue LEDs (understanding it will be underutilized as I could fit 4 more LEDs on the blue driver)
Meanwells will plug into the wall and the 1-10V dimming will be controlled by a computer with circuitry that I already have / have help on so don't really need guidance on the dimming part.

Heatsinks & fans will be used for each spotlight

it'll look a little different, but here's the idea:

Each of those wires represents 2 wires (+ and -). I'm trying to use the fancy RCA plugs so that the spotlights and cables can easily be moved / hooked up.

I'm planning to make a project box directly in front of the drivers to facilitate the series wiring. (spotlight > project box to cleanly host series wiring > driver)

I am HOPING that i will be able to use these cables to achieve series wiring. I need to learn a bit more about that but my thinking is i can use these to attach the + and - from the led to the + and - from the driver:

then I'm hoping that i can connect two of these in series:

such that if i plug in the second RCA jack from the other spotlight it will be in series with the first. If this works...i'll do this for both the blue and white drivers and therefore use only 2 drivers to drive the 2 spotlights which will both be dimmable by color.

Any thoughts? I'm particularly interest in what you think about the concept of wiring in series via the RCA jack. My plan would be:

Positive lead from Driver -> Positive end of RCA socket 1> Positive end of RCA plug 1> first white LED ....series of LEDs (pos > neg >pos).... sixth white LED > negative end of RCA plug 1> negative end of RCA socket 1 > positve end of RCA socket 2 > positive end of RCA plug 2 > second spotlight, seventh white LED > ...series of LEDs > negative end of RCA plug 2 > negative end of RCA socket 2 > negative end of driver

Lastly, if this does work ...what would happen if i had everything running and tripped over the wire for RCA plug 2 and yanked it... danger? or does it just open the circuit and shut off... or does it continue to run just now it's not feeding the second spotlight? thank you very much i'm a bit nervous about first project.


Last edited by jonnybravo22; 11-16-2009 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:34 AM   #2
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Is there a specific reason you want LED's ?
I went with (3) 23w Daylight CFL's (6500K) to light up a 6' long 125g
Bulbs are easily changed & inexpensive


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Old 11-16-2009, 07:00 AM   #3
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mainly for the unique total control you get with respect to dimming and what that allows you to do (clouds, variable light intensity during the day, etc.). wavelength and color temperature as well. LED systems are heavy on royal blue LEDs (~450nm) so you can set whatever color temperature you want (6500K - 20000K). those blues cause unique fluorescence of many corals and other inverts.

don't know the PAR (Photsynthecially Available Radation) details of the lights you have. from my research LEDs can put out as much PAR as metal halide systems, and I understand CFs to put out lower PAR, which may limit the types of high light demand corals / anemones you can host in your tank.

there are also other benefits like higher efficiency, virtually no heat transfer to tank.

any thoughts on wiring?

Last edited by jonnybravo22; 11-16-2009 at 07:20 AM.
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