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DIY LED lighting

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22nd November 2008


After seeing the rise of LED luminaires but being amazed by the retail price of these units I decided to have a go at making one myself.

I have never soldered anything and have no electrical knowledge whatsoever so I relied on the knowledge and expertise of UKaps and Tropical Fish Forum members.

The complete and original threads can be seen here:

The first step was to see how other people had gone about their setups, what failings they had and any advice on making mine better or at least more likely to succeed
. I drew up a (non electrician's) plan.

Basically using my limited knowledge and abilities the plan is to use 15 high power 3W 5500K Leds with a Lambertian shaped die. After advice I would be using some current controllers/LED drivers which basically make sure that the current is even through each LED and makes sure that if 1 LED stops the others don't take up the additional current and burn out too.

I wanted a sunrise/sunset stagger and therefore had a choice. Either I went in to the deep end and learned all about programming chips to run the lights in a stagger or simply treated the LEDs seperately. This meant powering the LEDs seperately too.

LED2I decided to run the LEDs in 5 seperate series of 3 each with its own current controller, 12V adaptor and timer. In effect there are 5 seperate LED setups here, all independent of each other but enclosed in the same 'luminaire.

As you can see above the adaptor enters the current controller and then runs the current through the LEDs as a series and not parallel as I was advised not to go the parallel route.

Next step was to plan the fitting and how to dissipate the heat created by the LEDs.

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