Cheap DIY LED strip build

VetSmoke85

Nug of the Month: Dec 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2021 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2021
I made a DIY flower tent from an old canvas shoe rack and needed a light. The dimensions are 60x30x90cm. Not many quality lights out there to fit the space so I decided to build my own.

After searching online and reading guides I opted for a strip build. Part of this plan was to keep costs as low as possible so I went with the 280mm Bridgelux EB Gen 2 strips in 3500K.

Parts list
8 x Bridgelux EB Gen 2 LED strips
1 x ELG-150-C700A driver
1 x 300x400mm 3mm thick aluminium plate
1 x waterproof connector
18 AWG wire
Bootlace ferrules
25M of 30mm thermal tape
1 x AC side 3A plug and wire
2 x wire connectors
Cable ties and electrical tape

I had a couple of bits already laying around so only spent £73.10. With those added you're probably looking at about £80 All in.

So for my space I was aiming for about 60W with the option for higher power. The strips nominal current is 350mA and the chosen driver is adjustable 350-700mA. As I'd be running the strips fairly soft I decided not to bother with a heatsink. Some may argue against this but that's the choice I made. Here's some voltage and power calculations for the strips wired in series with the constant current driver.
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I cut two 300mm x 30mm and two 280 x 10mm strips to create a frame for the strips to be mounted on with a 15mm gap between each strip. Excuse the wonky one I lost concentration for a second and that thermal tape is like super glue.
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Here's the driver.
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All connected up I tweaked the internal dimmer until I had 60W on the socket meter. Then tested the voltage across the 8 strips which read at 152.6VDC. So the current should be around 390mA. After running for 30 mins I could still hold my hand on the strips or frame no problem and testing several spots around the strips and frame the temperature didn't exceed 32.2C.
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I still need to mount this into the tent and do some further tests after being on for a longer time but so far so good. Cheap, easy to build and really bright. First grow will be the real test for it.
 

VetSmoke85

Nug of the Month: Dec 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2021 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2021
Got a lux meter app on my phone and measured 46500 at 12" when powered at 60W. Probably not overly accurate but gives a rough idea.
 

VetSmoke85

Nug of the Month: Dec 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2021 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2021
looks awsome!
cant wait to build my own :))))
Thanks. Hopefully the plants enjoy it. Looking forward to seeing what you build.
 

VetSmoke85

Nug of the Month: Dec 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2021 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2021
The light has been in use for nearly a week now and my gorilla glue seems happy enough under it so far. Worth the small amount of effort I think.
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VetSmoke85

Nug of the Month: Dec 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2021 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2021
Must say this light is working a treat. It's currently running at 65W and this lady is loving life under it. Think I'll build all my own lights from now on.
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VetSmoke85

Nug of the Month: Dec 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2021 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2021
that is awesome mate ! i just bought a new light too cost £270 lol ordered yesterday , voost 2000w uk
Just seen on your journal mate. Looks like a really nice light. Good to have another option here in the UK.
 

VetSmoke85

Nug of the Month: Dec 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2021 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2021
Love the build im wanting to do somthing similar
Id need somthing for a 120x120x180 so maby 14 to16 strips for 4 gals
What you think
Hows yours performing
I've had a glass of wine and very rarely drink so I'll have to come back to you once it's worn off :19: But I'd say it's definitely worth looking at building your own. This is the first plant grown under it but it seems to be loving it.
 

VetSmoke85

Nug of the Month: Dec 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2021 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2021
Looking good.
Thats basically what I did except I opted for the 1400mA with heat sinks version at 325w.
Building your own is really the best way to go because you can custom build to fit the exact size of your space and wattage requirements.
Yeah yours looks sweeeeeet. It was a gamble not putting a heatsink on mine but they really don't heat up much at all with how I'm driving them. Time will tell if it reduces the lifespan of the strips at all. If it was a bigger rig I'd definitely put them on a heatsink though. You're totally right, DIY is the way to go.
 

VetSmoke85

Nug of the Month: Dec 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2021 - Plant of the Month: Feb 2021
I had no idea you had built your own lights! Very impressive @VetSmoke85 :high-five:

A potential project to work on together in the future :48: I have some interesting ideas around the light spectrum, but lack this sort of know how.
Totally up for that. I'm far from an expert but having a technical background I can figure things out pretty quick. It's the spectrum and plant science side I lack in. We'll form a dream team :19:
 

Nunyabiz

Well-Known Member
Yeah yours looks sweeeeeet. It was a gamble not putting a heatsink on mine but they really don't heat up much at all with how I'm driving them. Time will tell if it reduces the lifespan of the strips at all. If it was a bigger rig I'd definitely put them on a heatsink though. You're totally right, DIY is the way to go.
Running them at the mA you are they will last 10 years probably.
I rarely if ever run mine more than about 75% in flower and about 30% in Veg so with heat sinks that are actually made to run those strips at 1900mA, when in Veg I can close my eyes and touch the lights and can't even tell they have been on for 24 hours, they are actually cool to the touch.
Don't get warm until at least 75% power.
I also have plenty of headroom when they inevitably slowly start to lose some intensity then I'll just run them at 85% instead of 75% to maintain the same PPFD.
You simply can't go wrong with a build it yourself light.
 
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