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Marineland Double Bright L.E.D w/timer function DIY

Postby notreel » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:21 pm

I'll start by letting it be known that while I am fairly new to the forum, I have been an aquatic hobbyist for the latter part of my life. That said, I apologize if the delivery of my post is not by the "forum books".

Alright, enough of the disclaimer mumbojumbo! I, along with quite a few others have employed Marineland's Double Bright L.E.D setup for my Malawi tank. While the lighting is great, both day and moonlight settings, I wasn't very impressed with the fact that you had to manually switch between settings. Now obviously if you can afford to do so, there are a plentiful amount of products that allow customizable lighting, dimming and spectrum setting. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I am not able to afford such luxuries. Which is why I set out to incorporate my idea's into Marineland's Double Bright L.E.D, which are INDIVIDUAL POWER SOURCES, for both the white and blue L.E.D's which allows one to place each function on its own TIMER. Thus resulting in NO MORE ON'Y OFF'Y

I know most people would be skeptical in doing this project, mostly because of the upfront cost of the light itself. Now luckily for me I was able to get my ML D B L.E.D (marineland double bright L.E.D) for about 90% below cost from a LFS that sadly went out of business in my area. So, if you are willing to embark, you may find this DIY helpful.

Supplies List from Radio Shack
-Size K coaxial DC power jack (p# 274-1565 $2.99 2pk)
-Enercell Universal 1000mA AC adapter (p#273-316 $19.99)
-Enercell size K adapt-a-plug (p# 273-342 is free w/ purchase of adaptor)
-Roughly 12" of 14-16 gauge wire.
-Soldering set ($20.00 tops at Lowe's/ home depot)

Step 1:

1a: Remove clear L.E.D beam guides from bottom of housing, as cover will not clear L.E.D's when slid off, unless removed (pry gently with very small flat head screw driver).

1b: Open the L.E.D housing, via 2 screws at each end (when removing end caps, be careful not to lose little white plastic casters, used for arms of fixture to slide through).

1c: Now that you have exposed the board itself, take a minute to figure out how the IC board is laid out (pretty simple, if you don't over-think it like I did at first). **Do not wipe off white Di-electric grease from between IC board and light housing, as it insulates the L.E.D's from contacting the metal of the housing**

1d: Remove all 18 insulated screws holding L.E.D's in place (this will be necessary to route ground wire for added power input jack to the backside of the IC board).

Step 2: (REFERNCE THE ILLUSTRATION FOR CLARITY OF INSTRUCTIONS)

Image

2a: At this stage you should have easy access to the inner portion of the toggle switch and power supply input.

2b: At this point you are no longer going to need the 3 function toggle switch. The factory installed power supply input jack is going to operate the white L.E.D's, while the power supply input jack that you add will operate the blue L.E.D's. So, you will do the following:

- Remove the red 12v wire that supplies power to the switch from the power supply input jack (reference illustration).

- Remove red 12v wire attached to toggle switch and solder this end on to 12v tab of power supply jack (reference illustration).

-Nothing needs to be done to the black -/ground wire as it was the ground for the entire circuit, but will now function only as ground for white L.E.D's.

2c: Choose your mounting point for the additional power supply jack that you are about to install (I chose to use the case from the toggle switch, along with a couple of very small metal brackets, to hold it in place). Whatever method you choose, make sure that it is secure, as you do not want the power supply jack pulling free 6 months down the road.

2d: Now that you have your additional power supply jack mounted, you can take the green 12v wire, for the blue L.E.D's and while the one end is still soldered to the IC board, the loose end can be soldered to the 12v tab of the power supply input jack that you just mounted. (reference illustration)

2e: This is the step where you will use that 12" 14-16 gauge wire. Take and solder one end to the -/ground tab of the power supply input jack and with the other end, run it along the backside of the IC board to the unused -/ground eyelet on the opposite side of the board.

2f: Tada you're done, well that is if you don't mind the blue L.E.D's being on all of the time. I on the other hand wanted to get a bit longer life from the blue L.E.D's and attaining that goal was very easy.

- Right were the 12v/power and -/ground wires are closest to the first blue L.E.D, you will see a very small translucent orange-ish bridge connector, that when power is supplied to the white L.E.D's will also result in power being sent to the blue L.E.D's.

- In order to stop that from happening, all that you need to do is A.) Remove the bridge connector, or simply un-solder one (1) end of the connector to break the circuit and viola white's come on without blue's.

2g: At this point you are ready to connect your Ennercell 12v 1000mA adapter to the blue L.E.D's (making sure to align the size K adapt-a-plug to positive tip polarity, which is very important, but the box for the adapter explains this plainly).

2h: Now the ENTIRE reason I wanted to complete this project was to be able to have the lights set to a timer. This part is easy, go to your nearest home improvement store and by 1 very expensive multi-capability timer ($49-$59) or buy 2 fairly inexpensive digital timers ($14.99 from Lowe's).

-Now what I did, which kind of comes without saying is, for the white L.E.D's, depending on when the sun rises and sets in your area, set them to come on at 8:45am and then set them to go off at 8:45pm.

-Now for the blue L.E.D's, since dimming a diode that only runs on about 3 to 4 max volts each is another project in itself, I decided to just stagger the time's in which the white and blue L.E.D's come on and go off. So, abrupt as it may be when the lights come and go, at least there will be consistency when that happens. For instance, your white's are set to come on at 8:30am and go off at 8:30pm, then set your blue's to to come on at 8:29pm and go off at 8:31am.

So, for those of you that stuck with me through all of the above and were able to complete the task without destroying one of the most expensive features on your tank, Congrats. I think you'll enjoy the ease of operation your L.E.D's now have, I know I did.

Again this was my first DIY post, so I apologize if it is crude in any way, shape or form, but my intention was to post a how-to in order to help all who were frustrated with the primitive functionality of such a modern device.
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Postby KaiserSousay » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:24 am

able to complete the task without destroying one of the most expensive features on your tank, Congrats
:lol:
:lol:
Again this was my first DIY post, so I apologize if it is crude in any way, shape or form, but my intention was to post a how-to in order to help all who were frustrated with the primitive functionality of such a modern device.
Well done
=D>
Will look forward to any other projects you might care to share.
Thanks.
-----John-----
Conlige suspectos semper habitos
All Malawi,All Mbuna, All Action, All the Time
"A government of the people, by the people and for the people"
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Postby notreel » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:09 am

Compliment appreciated!

I just hope that I am able to help one individual muster up the courage, wipe away the beads of nerve induced sweat and void their Marineland factory warranty :D

I must say I've had this up and running for about 3 days now and without the constant hassle of having to turn the L.E.D on and off each day :D I am at a loss for what to do with the extra 6 seconds I saved myself :-? I guess I could take 3 steps or maybe read a sentence from a book :lol:

Joking aside, as long as the DIY looked (and read I'm sure), the project itself took less than an hour and a half. I just wanted to be as descriptive as I could while explaining.

Thanks again for the kind words!
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Location: Flower Mound, Texas

Postby Deeda » Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:30 am

Very well written article. I printed it out for the future possiblity of doing this project.
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Postby Comic Sans » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:12 pm

You know, I had just decided to get one of these and was griping to myself about this very problem. Now I'll know what to do about it! Thanks!
29g: Hemichromis X "Neon" pair
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Postby notreel » Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:06 pm

My pleasure!

I knew how peeved I was about it so I thought I'd at least pass along the know how.

The only thing that it doesn't have is dimming capability, but as mentioned above, dimming a 3v max diode is another story. (will work on that and post if successful)

I'll get some shots of the completed project, maybe it'll help alongside the illustration.
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Postby Comic Sans » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:15 pm

notreel wrote:I'll get some shots of the completed project, maybe it'll help alongside the illustration.


Much appreciated! How did you end up routing the second power cable out of the housing?
29g: Hemichromis X "Neon" pair
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Postby notreel » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:25 am

[/quote]Much appreciated! How did you end up routing the second power cable out of the housing?

Basically since I no longer had a need for the toggle switch that it came with, I popped "said" switch out very carefully cut the back portion of the toggle switch housing off. The power jack, that I purchased, fit right into the existing hole that was left from cutting the back out of the toggle switch. Obviously I didn't want the jack pushing into the L.E.D housing every time I had to plug it in, so I took a very small piece of aluminum drilled a hole in one end and was able to screw one end of that "bracket" on to the existing power jack and the other end pressed firm to the newly installed power jack, giving me resistance when plugging and unplugging.

Image

Actual end product. Unfortunately I couldn't find a power supply that was black, eh! no biggie!
Image

And here are the digi timers synced and hassle free :D

Image
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Postby jrf » Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:31 pm

notreel wrote:I just hope that I am able to help one individual muster up the courage, wipe away the beads of nerve induced sweat and void their Marineland factory warranty :D


Mission accomplished! I just got done doing the mod on my 36-48â€Â
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Postby Swamplander » Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:40 am

[quote="jrf"]The only difference I saw was that the longer model has two of the LED circuit boards wired together on the “Aâ€Â
120 gallon
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2x TAAM Rio+ 2100 Powerheads w/ Under gravel jets
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Postby jrf » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:23 am

What I'm calling an "eyelet" is the spot where the wires from the power supply input are soldered on to the circuit board.

Just follow the black wire from the factory installed power supply input to where it terminates on the board. You’ll see that it’s soldered to the closest ground eyelet on the first board (See step 2 in notreel’s diagram). If you look at the other side of the first circuit board, you’ll see more of these eyelets. This time they are used to connect board one to board two. But, if you go all the way to the end of the second board, you’ll see they are unused.
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Postby iwade4fish » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:44 pm

notreel wrote:Compliment appreciated!
I must say I've had this up and running for about 3 days now and without the constant hassle of having to turn the L.E.D on and off each day :D I am at a loss for what to do with the extra 6 seconds I saved myself :-? I guess I could take 3 steps or maybe read a sentence from a book :lol:
Thanks again for the kind words!

Extra 6 seconds to enjoy the fruits of your labor, AWESOME DIY thread!! How 'bout one for turning Flourescents into HO models?!?!?!
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Postby Rick_Lindsey » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:16 pm

iwade4fish wrote:Extra 6 seconds to enjoy the fruits of your labor, AWESOME DIY thread!! How 'bout one for turning Flourescents into HO models?!?!?!


I agree :).

Have you searched for the fluorescent->HO conversion? It's around here somewhere... I forget exactly how the wiring goes, but by taking 2 "standard" (electric ballast) shoplights, pulling the ballast from one, and doubling up the wires (each ballast driving a single bulb, with both sets of drive wires)... still used N.O. bulbs, but waaay brighter. It's actually more efficient light-per-watt, but you burn through bulbs alot quicker!

-Rick (the armchair aquarist, who may go track down that article, since it sounds like a good idea!)
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Postby hiddenhighways » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:24 pm

i ordered my 36/48 off of ebay. Should arrive tomorrow. Is the inability to have the 2 on timers that big of a deal?
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Postby Sub-Mariner » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:45 pm

Its not a big deal if you dont mind turning the moonlights on and off everyday. My T5HO fixture has the LEDs on a separate switch so im good to go but if I had this LED fixture Id definitely wire them up to a separate switch so I dont forget to turn them off at night because I dont leave the LEDs on all night anyway and my tanks on the 1st floor and my bedroom is upstairs.
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