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Old 09-26-2017, 09:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default SMD LED tape based light fixture

It can be a lot of fun making your own light fixture, but it can and usually does, cost more than a commercially available light fixture. However, if you use SMD5630 LED self adhesive tapes, you can possibly keep the cost down, and still enjoy a good DIY project.

I made such a light fixture a few years ago, with mixed results. It did work, but I had a lot of trouble keeping the tapes sticking where I put them. And, it took a lot more of the tape than I expected. Now, I'm pretty sure I'm going to give it another try.

This time I plan to use extruded aluminum channels, and angles, as the heatsink/base for the LEDs, to act as reflectors to amplify the light from the LEDs. (My last light used an aluminum foil lined shade as a reflector to amplify the light.) I will mount the LED tape inside the channels (actually angles), so the sides of the channels reflect stray light down to the tank. Each row of LEDs will be inside a 1" x 1" aluminum channel. Using the data I collected from my last light I think I can get about 50+PAR, at 36 inches distance, from 8 rows of SMD5630 LEDs.

To keep the tapes from breaking loose from the aluminum heatsink, I plan to use beads of silicone cement or epoxy at the edges of the tape to help keep the tapes where I put them.

If all goes as planned (please stop laughing!) this will cost me about $100 total for a 32 inch long light. As I go along I will be posting photos and sketches to chronicle my adventurous fun!
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