Modding the Chihiros A series to include RGB LED

Discussion in 'Hardware & DIY' started by rebel, 3 Nov 2018.

  1. rebel

    rebel Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I have been using the Chihiro style (mine are actually clones??!) lights on my 60cm tank without any issues. They don't render or grow red plants that well but it's probably low CO2 etc on my part.

    [​IMG]20181103000802_IMG_6322 by Reb El, on Flickr

    Since I really love the slim look of these lights and don't have the DIY knowledge to replecate them, I thought I'd try my hand at installing RGB LED 5050 in the middle row. The outer two rows will be the original 5630 (5730?) LEDs which are meant to be 7000-8000K.

    For maximum effect I thought I would go for double row RGB LED. I don't think I will try to colour tune as much. Just run them at full power although I may change my mind if they cause too many undesirable colour casting at full power.

    if colour needs to be controlled, then I could use this sort of thing although I would like to keep the wires very clean and neat.

    [​IMG]


    My first hurdle is the tiny little allen key required to dismantle the light! :banghead:
    [​IMG]20181103000831_IMG_6323 by Reb El, on Flickr


    I am also awaiting the RGB LED to be delivered.
    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Double-...f170548e2:m:mhKRSIK1hGR7INiMEzQ79Yw:rk:7:pf:0



    I will keep you updated and would welcome any input.
     
  2. Lee iley

    Lee iley Member

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    RGB led what effect does this have in the tank for plants? Not really clued up on the leds just yet?

    Cheers lee
     
  3. rebel

    rebel Member

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    It's complex topic but it improves CRI and colour rendition in theory. IE Things look better in the tank.
     
  4. zozo

    zozo Member

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    Full power white light from RGB is rather very blueish.. :) To render the color and get the blue out you obviously need to dim the blue.. To render it even further you might need to dim one of the other colors out. SO actualy rendeering the color will cost you intencity.. Then for example you would need to start at an 80% total over all 3 channels and work you way up to get the decired color.

    What might be of help to understand RGB color mixing is this site, the displayed colors and % mix is pretty comparable with the invironmental light it will reflect if you look at the light to a white wall.
    http://www.december.com/html/spec/colorper.html

    It shows the percentage RGB mix you need to get to a specific color.. If you scroll to the light greys and or light yellows (honey/buttermilk etc.).. You get the most natural invironmental effects with RGB light mixing. But you definitively need a controler able to set each channel per %

    For example the Buttermilk color requires a RGB mix of red 100%, green 95%, blue 71%

    I've also used the SMD5050 RGB led.. I did experience them as not particularly intens and color changes costs intencity on top. Personaly i experienced no positive effect on plant growth with the plants i grew at that time.. i stoped using RGB because i wanted more intencity i couldn't get with 5050 RGB. Since 1 strip still occupied 3 of my channels. Having 2 channels left there was no room to extend. So i choose to ditch the color fun and swaped it with a stronger performing white led instead.

    Also tried the so called red en blue grow light units.. Same experience, no beter effect on plantgrowth a simple white only light can't do. And also the aesthetic changes for my personal taste wasn't improved with these sets. I had beter effects and results with mixing over powered white light colored setups. For example 1 x 10.000k, 2 x 6500k and 2 x 2700k, all at 100% was a blast to much. Than dimming the colors respectively it can change color in the white range between 10.000k and bellow without loosing to much intencity. But this is something striktly personal what i like to see, can't debate over color taste preference.. :)
     
    Last edited: 4 Nov 2018
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  5. rebel

    rebel Member

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    Hey @zozo ,

    As usual I really appreciate your reply!!

    It's interesting to learn about the blue casting on the RGB leds. How irritating.

    As for the power, I don't need to depend on this for the power as the LEDs are used heavily dimmed as it is. The only thing concerning me is the colour rendering of the plants and critters. Perhaps the strips may not be enough but at $20, it's worth a trial I suppose.

    As you have indicated, I'd better order that color adjusting controller as well. The only issue is the increasing cable burden which I will have to manage discreetly.

    The option remains to install a strip with warm and cool LED so I can control the reds etc.... Ideal would be a 10k strip and a red/blue combo. I wonder whether I can try my hand at SMD soldering.....

    Watch this space....
     
  6. rebel

    rebel Member

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  7. rebel

    rebel Member

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    Ok so finally bought the allen (hex) key size 1.5 (metric) required to remove the screws holding the light together.

    Turns out they have glued the strips to the heatsink ..this means that I may have to destroy the strip to remove it .Here I was expecting a simple slide out....

    Some pics to help you understand the simplicity of this led light.
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. rebel

    rebel Member

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    Turns out that the glue was only in the corners .I just scraped it away. Desoldered the connections and added the rgb double strip. The double strip didnt fit the heatsink well but Ive just stuck it on for colour testing purposes .

    No color tuning at the moment because it means I will need to run 4 wires out.

    20190108_140527_HDR.jpg
     
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  9. rebel

    rebel Member

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    So far I am liking the colour which has a slight blue tint. I dont have much reds in my tank but looks acceptable.

    Plant growth remains to be seen but I will probably turn up the light to 5/7 instead of 4/7 previously .
     
  10. Lee iley

    Lee iley Member

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    How much did you pay the lights/strips?
     
  11. rebel

    rebel Member

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  12. rebel

    rebel Member

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    So far so good. The light now runs at 42 degrees C. Not sure whether this is a good idea in the long term though.

    I am very happy with the colours. This is a definite poor mans RGB conversion if you have a little bit of soldering skills to complete it. I love how the greens are more vivid with much less yellow, and the reds on the plants and fish are more obvious.

    Whether it will grow my AR mini better remains to be seen. I suspect it might, because I also increased light intensity.
     
  13. rebel

    rebel Member

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    So I've now modded by second light as well. This time around, I only connected the red and blue channels (full power) and was pleasantly surprised that the resultant light was very nice with just the right amount of yellow. I think I could tweak it a little more but will leave it as it is. Here is the result.

    [​IMG]2019-02-25_10-21-45 by Reb El, on Flickr
     
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  14. rebel

    rebel Member

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    Whether this mod will grow red plants well remains to be seen. I doubt it but time will tell.

    My Buce is looking more purple immediately. The fish render really well.
     
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  15. rebel

    rebel Member

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    I am really liking the mods. Eventually I decided that I like the bluer version better so that's in the front of the tank for now. I've had some RGB chips burn out and only display green which is not a huge issue.

    Plant growth is quite comparable as before but I only have slow growers in this tank.
     
  16. Barbara Turner

    Barbara Turner Member

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    I would cream it with thermal paste before assembly, try and get the led's to run as cool as possible.
     
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  17. rebel

    rebel Member

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    I am going to make it a permanent mod soonish, when I get the time. I have been happier with the colours compared to pure white LEDs only.
     
  18. zozo

    zozo Member

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    Search Ali for Led Strip Connector.. :) No soldering needed using them, at least not the strip.. Soldering RGB or RGBW strip can be a bit tricky with little space to work.

    I also experienced RGB strips burn out rather soon.. Don't believe beter cooling solves it.. It might just be 3 to 4 diodes on a 5x5mm surface stays to hot anyway in the tiny cavity they are placed in.
     
  19. rebel

    rebel Member

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    To make matters worse, I used the dual 5050 strips. They get super hot!
     
  20. zozo

    zozo Member

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    That's what SMD5050 stands for 5x5mm chip, that's a tiny bit of space to house 3 diodes. Than dual is that 6?.. :) The numbers are equavalent to chip size L x W.
     
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