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New LED light

The LED light worked on the aquarium for two years. I observed two effects:

  • Intensity weakening in the blue area
  • Epoxy coating degradation – turning yellow

The intensity weakening may be caused by the LEDs overheating. The overheating can be related to the thermal isolation of epoxy coating. The epoxy surface turned yellow. As can be seen, it melted down at certain points. It caused worse light intensity and deficit of the blue component.

I decided to change the LEDs. A new parameter I started noticing, was the CRI. It defines the quality of color rendering. In other words, the higher the value the better color rendering. I didn’t manage to find high CRI RGBW LEDs. I had an idea – rather than using the RGBW strip, to use two types of strips:

  • High CRI white strip
  • RGB strip to adjust the color

The problem was getting high CRI 24-volt coated strips. Finally, I abandoned the coated strips solution idea. Instead, I tried a solution of uncoated strips which I placed inside the profiles covered by diffusers. The advantage is that the epoxy surface will not turn yellow and make worse LED cooling.

First, I tried to get some strips on eBay. The offer is wide, but quality strips are not cheap. Finally, I discovered the eshop www.ledme.cz. This eshop effers profiles, diffusers and quality LED strips for a reasonable price. The delivery cost is 200 Kč (US$ 9) but all of it arrives in one well packed package.

In this eshop I ordered:

  • 24 V LED strip 13 W/m, daylight white with CRI 98, 2 meters, 398 Kč (US$ 18)
  • 24 V RGB LED strip 14,4 W/m, 4 meters, 680 Kč (US$ 30)
  • Aluminum profile Mikro, 6 meters, 354 Kč (US$ 16)
  • Diffuser for the Mikro profile, 6 meters, 330 Kč (US$ 15)

I cut the new profiles to match the length of the profiles of the aquarium hood. I always placed three profiles on the original profile. I used a bit of silicone to stick them. I also used the thermal paste for better heat dissipation. I screwed the profiles at the ends and sealed the ends with silicone.

Into each group of three profiles, I placed the white LEDs into the one in the middle, and the RGB LEDs into the outer profiles. It results in: 1.7 m of the white LED strip and 3.4 m of the RGB LED strip. The power of approx. 20 W for the white LEDs and 15 W for each channel of the RGB LEDs. On the full power the light delivers an intensity of 3500 lx.

The light is now visibly brigher and one can even notice cyan colors of some fish’s fins. The plants have significantly grown up since the light was installed.



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