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Unread 12/28/2010, 06:50 PM   #1
katchupoy
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(Another) DIY LED Build - Linear Design

Hello to all,

For months now, I have been wanting, reading, planning to phase out my current T5 setup to LED. Right now I have 4x39 watt and 2x54 watt.

I believe, I have reach to a point that Im going to make one for my 75 gallon tank. 48x18x18. I am not going to replace all my T5 all at once, but will be replacing them strip by strip, thus going for this "linear" approach instead of the traditional square/rectangular heatsinks.

I will try to make it as simple as possible and as clear as possible so that people who also want to make one for their tanks can follow what I did.

Disclaimer: This is my first LED build so I am no expert. Everything I know are all based on previous builds here in this forum.

Here are some of the references. If you are new and does not know anything about LED build but wanted to make one for yourself, then may I suggest to start reading....

a) DIY LEDs - The write-up - You can find the concise and summarized version of it on Page 200 of that thread, post #4994 by TheFishMan65
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...78127&page=200

b) Taqpol's Diy LED Build - Complete with PAR readings.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1826521

c) Santoki's LED Build - Also with PAR readings.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1761942

d) Widmer's ceiling mounted led build
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1784873

e) Soundwave's - original build before it became a monster.
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1587273

and the last reference where I based my design from...

f) $100 DIY Cree LED Actinic Supplement 48" Strip - from 3reef.com
http://www.3reef.com/forums/i-made/1...rip-92290.html

So with all of that taken care of, lets move forward.


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Unread 12/28/2010, 07:20 PM   #2
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Last edited by greeneyed; 12/28/2010 at 07:27 PM.
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Unread 12/28/2010, 07:31 PM   #3
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So here is the current setup. This will serve as a baseline for our future comparison with LED.

75G glass - mixed tank, mostly softy and LPS and some SPS
4x39 watt T5 (3 Blue+, 1 Fiji)
2x54 watt T5 (2 Blue+)




I came from 400 watt + VHO's down to 2x250's down to my current T5's, all because of wanting to save on some electricity.



Parts List:

24 Ultra Premium LED DIY Kit with Dimmable Drivers
12 - Cool White Cree XP-G R5 LEDs (Rapidled)
12 - Royal Blue Cree XR-E LEDs (Rapidled)
12 - Cree XR-E Lenses (60 degree white lenses!) (Rapidled)
2 - Mean Well ELN-60-48D dimmable drivers (Rapidled)
1 - Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive or 1 tube of Thermal Grease (Rapidled)
4 - Water resistant wire nuts (Rapidled)
2 - Power cords (US orders only) (Rapidled)
23 - Pieces of pre-cut wire (Rapidled)

1 - 8' aluminum 1" square tube (McLendon, hardware store) $20

2 - 1 ohm 2 watt resistor (Frys) $1
2 - 5K potentiometers (Frys) $8
2 - Knobs for potentiometers (Frys) $4
1 - Screw terminal block 10-141-p (Frys) $4
1 - Soldering wire (Frys) $1
1 - 25' #18 wire red (Frys) $4
1 - 25' #18 wire black (Frys) $4
2 - 14' RJ11 extension chords (Frys) $4

1 - Plastic shoe box (Target) $2

1 - Regulated 9 volts Power Supply (RE-PC, local recycle store for PC's) $1



Tools needed
Wire cutter
Soldering Gun
Steel saw (to cut aluminum)
Digital Tester $3 @ Harbor Freight[/QUOTE]



Last edited by katchupoy; 12/28/2010 at 07:51 PM.
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Unread 12/28/2010, 07:36 PM   #4
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On Rapidled's website, you have several options on what to order.

a) I chose the dimmable so I have flexibility to acclimatize my corals. And for the price difference between the two, I went with the non-dimmable.

b) I selected the Mean Well ELN-60-48D for analog input since im not going to do arduinio or dusk or dawn effect. Maybe in the future.

c) Selected also the 60 degree optics for the RB's. To be honest I might not need this since my lights will be close to the water. Maybe for added protection on water splash.

d) Selected also the thermal paste so i dont have to screw them down to the heatsink. I dont have access to drill press.



You might be asking why go Linear and not the traditional heatsink block that most people use. The reason behind this is so that I can replace my T5's set by set and not all at the same time. Since my T5's have two bulbs per ballast, I will be replacing them by two's. This way, I dont have to spend lots of money upfront thus upgrading one at a time when there is budget for it.

If you are really tight on budget, another option is to do 8 LEDs instead of 12. Since meanwell drivers can do minimum of 8 LED's. So with 24 LED's, you can do 3 linear strips with 8 LED's on each.

Another option for you is to use Steve's Led's which is more cheaper than the CREE's. At least, something to work on and get your feet wet with LED's. Although I havent seen any "PAR" reading on these emitters, I wont comment on how efficient it is. This is why I went with CREE's, I believe Santoki and Taqpol showed very good PAR readings on these emitters on their LED build.



Last edited by katchupoy; 12/28/2010 at 07:50 PM.
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Unread 12/28/2010, 07:54 PM   #5
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Here comes the goodies.





this what XR-E looks like, and they are very very small. This is crazy... all those light coming from this small source


And the XP-G R5 is even smaller.... what the ?


Interesting, this one doesnt have any branding at all. How do I know Im getting the real one?



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Unread 12/28/2010, 08:06 PM   #6
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Adjusting LED driver.

I want to remind all about the meanwell drivers before you connect these drivers to your LED circuit that "you have to adjust the internal trim pot". This is true whether your driver is dimmable (ELN) or not (LPC).

You will need to remove 4 screws on the driver.


Be careful to crack it open, its really hard (in my case) to remove it. There are two notches on the center of both sides that locks the cover from the bottom part.


On the DC side, or where the big metal part is located, you will see a white plastic screw.


You have to turn this counter clockwise. Remember that this does not turn 360 degrees. If you turn it carefully counter clockwise then you will notice that it stops to a certain degree.

We are not sure what the current setting is right now thats why we are trying to make sure that we start at a very low current (amps) in order not to damage the LED's. And the only way to adjust it in the correct position is by using a digital multimeter (we will do this later).

When your done adjusting it counter clockwise, then do not put back the cover yet. We will need to readjust it again once we connected our LED's in series later.

Remember, dont rush yourself. Dont try to connect one or two LED's with this driver to test it if it runs or not. There is a minimum volts that these runs and in my case for the 48D, it runs 24 to 48 volts, or 8 to 12 LEDs. The best way to test it thru AA batteries. I ended up using a 3 volt adapter I already have. The milliamps on my adapter is 300 ma. Not enough to damage it or run the LED's in full blast, but enough for me to check polarity of the LEDs and shorts on soldering touching the sink.



Last edited by katchupoy; 12/28/2010 at 08:13 PM.
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Unread 12/28/2010, 08:28 PM   #7
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Here is the basic wiring diagram that I will use as guide.


Pay attention to the number of wires and corresponding color. 2 wires coming out on the AC side, and 4 wires on the DC side. You also have labels on the driver cover.

On the AC side, there is no polarity or postive/negative. So you can put it either way on a plug. Unfortunately, it does not have a ground wire.

I ended up using a 1"x1" square aluminum tube. Tried to find C chanel but only found 1/2". I was about to use 1.5"x1.5" angle bar but guessed that the 1" tube will have more material compared to angle for the same price. Remember that the Cree Star is about 20mm diameter. And a 1" tube has 25mm surface area on each side.




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Unread 12/28/2010, 08:30 PM   #8
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So here is a SketchUP model showing LED spacings.



Its 3.5" between LED and on the center, it is 4" spacing. This is because of the brace on the center of the tank.
I can really go with 3" spacing and then bigger spacing on the center, just worried that I might have a noticeable shadow spot on the center. Either way, we can always adjust it in the future.

[/QUOTE]


I dont know if I mentioned it already that with the package, I bought 60 degree optical lenses. So I have been playing around with SketchUP or SU, to determine if my 3.5" distance will work with my tank which is a 75 gallon.

so here are some images showing the 60 degree lenses.

These are at 12" above the water line and 3 inches between strips.


Another view with the same configurations.


Here you can see the scope of the cone.



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Unread 12/28/2010, 08:33 PM   #9
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That was 12 inches from water line...

Now what if we have it at 9 inches....





I am worried that with 3" spacing between strips that Im not covering the front and back area of the tank.... some people will probably like that so that less algae grows on your glass and all the light are focused on the corals...



Last edited by katchupoy; 12/28/2010 at 08:42 PM.
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Unread 12/28/2010, 08:39 PM   #10
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I bet with those optics and spacing if you turn the LED up to 750mah or so you will not need any more light for the corals you have. I made a fixture out of the square aluminum also and it got too hot to touch quickly. I added a small 12v cpu fan to one end that blows through the tubing. I never measured the temp difference but now I can hold my hand on any part of it without burning myself.


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Unread 12/28/2010, 08:47 PM   #11
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Unread 12/28/2010, 09:12 PM   #12
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Time to attach the LED's.

Here are some of my suggestions.

1) Make sure that the aluminum surface (heat sink) is very clean. I cleaned mine with alcohol and cotton balls.

2) When you mix Part A and B, make it on small batches. Maybe a 1/4" diameter of part A and 1/4" diameter of Part B. You only have 5 minutes to work on the mix before it starts to harden.

3) On that 1/4" diameter A & B, mix it in a circular motion by the included spatula.

4) On that same mix, maybe you can divide it to 4-6 LEDs. You only need small amount, enough that when you press the LED on the heatsink, you will see some oozing out on the sides.

5) Push and then twist. I did a push then twist it slowly 360 degrees while pushing. this will evenly spread the adhesive and squeeze the extra on the sides.

Remember, it is suppose to just fill up the imperfections of both sides, the LED and the heatsink.

6) It is very important that you arrange it in such a way that all polarities are oriented the same way. So that when you start soldering, you just connect left then right, left then right, etc. or + then -, + then -, etc.

Here are some pics...







Last edited by katchupoy; 12/28/2010 at 09:17 PM.
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Unread 12/28/2010, 09:28 PM   #13
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Next was the wire stripping and soldering time.

With the spacing that I have, the wires that come with the package is of no use to me. They are a bit short than what i needed. I ended up buying some ga#18 wires from Frys Electronics.

Problem...
I only have an old 30 watt soldering gun and since these are already attached to the heatsink, it was a pain.

Solution...
Buy a more powerful soldering gun, or connect all the wires to the LED before you attach to heatsink. I dont know how youre going to twist and push those with wires already connected.

What I ended up doing is to wait at least 30 seconds before i solder each wire contact to LED... What happens is that the second you connect your soldering gun with the STAR, it absorbs all the heat on the gun, thus making it useless. So I have to wait for the temp to go up again.


Here is the finish product.




Since we need a little bit of flexibility when we are soldering the wires, I ended up cutting a little bit longer than what i really need and make an "S" curve like in the picture. This way it will act like a spring that you can pull and push while soldering it.

Another note... The optics are does not lock to the LED's by itself. So you need to manually attach it by means of adhesive or glue. Do not use... superglue because there are anecdotal evidence that it fogs up the LED inside the optics. They suggest that you use the same two part thermal paste that came with the package. Use a toothpick as applicator, so you only use very very tiny. So in the future you can easily remove them without problems.


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Unread 12/28/2010, 09:35 PM   #14
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I need to think of something to use so i can easily plug and unplug these lights, I have thought of those audio plugs, or headphone plugs, etc. But they are expensive compared to what I ended up using. I bought these 14' telephone extension cables for $2 something. And the end looks like these.



I was worried about the gauge of these wires, so what i did was use two wires for each. What Im saying is since you have 2 pairs or 4 wires inside the phone chord, I used two of them for (+) positive, and the remaining two for (-) negative. Since they have gauge 24 (I think) for each wire, doubling it should give me at least equivalent or more to gauge 18 of copper wire, which is capable of handling 10 amps based on this chart

http://wiki.xtronics.com/index.php/Wire-Gauge_Ampacity

To be honest, I really dont know how to read this chart. Is this per 100'? or 1000'? Anyone?

Here is a pic of the connection already mounted on my light hood. Notice the black tape I used? Well that tells me which one is Royal Blue. This is very critical, since we can easily plug the wire for cool whites on the blues. You ask why not? they use the same drivers right? Well they do use the same drivers but they dont have the same amp usage. Remember that the RB's will have a 0.75 amp, And CW's have 1 amp... if we accidentally plug the cable for cool whites (which has 1 amp settings), then it should be ok correct? actually yes, but just dont want to risk it. What if for some reason you have more than 1 amp on that plug, then there goes your RB's. This is just a precaution.





Last edited by katchupoy; 12/28/2010 at 09:41 PM.
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Unread 12/28/2010, 09:44 PM   #15
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Since it is very tricky if not hard to find a 10 volt power supply, I ended up using a regulated variable voltage power supply. Those types that have 3, 6, 9, 12 volts selection. We need regulated so that we can make sure that no matter how many drivers we connect to it (as load), it will stay on the correct voltage that we want it to be. I adjusted mine to 9 volts, and put tape over it so i dont accidentally adjust it in the future, which might be catastrophic if we accidentally adjusted it to 12 volts.

Once were done with the 9 volt signal, then its time to connect everything and adjust the drivers. Remember early on that we opened our drivers and turned it down (counter clockwise) so we dont accidentally use these drivers with more amps than we need to. 750 milliamp or 0.75 amps for XR-E, and 1000 milliamp or 1 amp for XP-G. These are just recommendations. If you look at the spec sheet of these LEDs, XR-E can go max of 1 amp. and XP-G can go max of 1.5 amps.

Now this video will explain to you how to adjust your mean well drivers using 9 volt power supply.
From Reef Led Lights website.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1thX...layer_embedded


There are many ways how to check your milliamp reading thru your tester, one example is from the video above. Another one (the one i used) is by means of a resistor (Thanks to Kcress). I used a 1 ohm resistor connected inline with my LED circuit. Why? On the video above, you need to break the circuit to put your tester inline to know the amps. That is fine, but with the resistor technique, I dont have to break anything. Just put your tester in volts, and then connect it to both ends of the resistor, and tadaa!!! there is your milliamp reading. You can always do this and check your reading anytime you want.

So why not just break it and put your tester inline, like what they did on the video???? Well, there is a danger to that, specially like me, I keep forgetting stuff.... Remember... that when you are breaking off the circuit, you need to turn off the driver first, then put your tester inline, then turn it on. The same thing when removing the tester. If you dont and you forgot to do this, then say bye bye to your LED's.

Here is a pic of my temporary setup showing the resistor (1 ohm 2 watt @ frys $1 for two resistor) connected inline with the circuit.




Here is the plastic shoe box (less than $2 @ Target) that I used to make it a little bit nicer to look at. It houses two meanwell drivers and the variable voltage adapter (less then $2 @ RE-PC) that i used.



Note... We need a 10 volt power supply to provide signal to our mean well drivers. And if you recall, I am using two Mean Well ELN-60-48D dimmable driver. One for each strip of LED. And the 48D needs analog signal of 10 volts. The 10 volts will not need to be powerful, just milliamp's of signal to tell the driver that it will go full blast. So it means you can use one (1) 10 volts power supply to many mean well drivers. If the driver senses 10 volts then it will give off 100% of power. And if it senses 5 volts, then it will give of 50% of power, etc, etc, etc.



Last edited by katchupoy; 12/28/2010 at 09:53 PM.
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Unread 12/28/2010, 09:57 PM   #16
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Here is the picture of how I arranged my resistor permanently... it also shows how i connect my meter to test it.








Tadaaa!!!!!!


The picture above shows 60 degree optics on the royal blue, and 45 degree (tighter) on the cool whites.



I cannot wait to test it so I install the lights using zip ties mounted on my existing T5 bulb, turned off of course.






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Unread 12/28/2010, 10:04 PM   #17
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Just the blue alone, is already a win win situation for me. It is really a very good actinic supplement, even it they are not the same spectrum. The blue color is so deep and rich that it fluoresce everything. Its like a black light, I cant explain.

I highly recommend it.




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Unread 12/28/2010, 10:23 PM   #18
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Ok, I dont have access to par meter or something similar, so the best method of comparison i can think of is to do a side by side camera shot/s. At least by our naked eye (un-scientific) we can actually see or tell the difference.

So here is the side by side shots.
Setup: All shots were taken on these settings.
Nikon D50 camera on full manual setting. ISO 800, Speed is 40, Aperture is f8, white balance is flash.
Intentionally made my T5 shot darker (as a base line test). No photoshop adjustments, just image cropping.

12" above water line....

First shot is 4x39 watt T5 (1 Fiji purple, 3 blue+) + 2x54 watt T5 (2 blue+). Total of 6 bulbs.


Second Shot is all LED running on 50% power.


Third shot is all LED. 50% white. 100% Blue.


Fourth shot is LED. all running on 100%.



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Unread 12/28/2010, 10:24 PM   #19
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Lets do a comparison of the T5 and LED....

T5 (264 watts)


LED (72 watts)


Just a note:
The pics may look dark or dimmed to you, but this is not true. I just made my settings in such a way that we dont have over exposure on the images. It is very deceiving, I know, but on camera, you can make your pics really bright or really dark....

The most important thing here is that all shots are taken on one setting as listed above.

Another note, that these are only 24 bulb LEDs only. Based on my calculations, I should have 36 minimum on a 75 gallon. But to be honest, The 24 bulb setup is way more than enough to lit my softy tank... Im running on 50% only right now, so i dont shock my tank creatures. Its too bright....


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Unread 12/28/2010, 10:24 PM   #20
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Awwwwwww Sooooooo Sweeeeeeetttttttttttt NICE!!!!



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Unread 12/28/2010, 10:36 PM   #21
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And the shimmer.... Oh my! Oh my! I really missed this shimmer. Whats amazing is the blue shimmer... can you do that on actinics? hahaha... Just this alone, made me so very very happy.

This is the shimmer im talking about in HD 720p...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yp4aFc45v0
@0:50 - turned down the whites to 50%
@1:20 - turned off the whites

compared to my previous light setup...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg2Jr...layer_embedded



If you have questions... now this is the time to ask....
Thank you for reading and stopping by.



Last edited by katchupoy; 12/28/2010 at 11:25 PM.
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Unread 12/28/2010, 10:45 PM   #22
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Temperature...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgrog76 View Post
I bet with those optics and spacing if you turn the LED up to 750mah or so you will not need any more light for the corals you have. I made a fixture out of the square aluminum also and it got too hot to touch quickly. I added a small 12v cpu fan to one end that blows through the tubing. I never measured the temp difference but now I can hold my hand on any part of it without burning myself.
Jgrog76, I wonder why your setup is too hot to touch. On my setup using 1/16" thick aluminum square only goes up to 100F on full blast even after hours of use. It is just warm to the touch. At first I thought I am going to have issues but to my surprise, the 1" square tube handled it really well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Just2Many View Post
Awwwwwww Sooooooo Sweeeeeeetttttttttttt NICE!!!!
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Unread 12/28/2010, 10:52 PM   #23
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My current (24) LED setup right now is similar to what I used to have. 2 x 250 watt metal halide.... but more even and do not have hot spots (reflector?).

Here is the all cool white.... still using the same camera settings as above.



I know, I know, that is not white, that is green. I need activated carbon very bad, lol....

Seriously, I was disappointed when I saw this color on my tank. Im guessing that since they are selling cool whites, that it should look like similar to at least Ushio 10k... This one looks like 65k Iwasaki's... I dont know if thats bad or good... because some people are changing their cool whites to warm whites since their LED combo 1:1 is too blue....

One thing I noticed though is that being blue is true when they order both blue and cool white and all are XR-E. And since my XP-G are overpowering my blue (bigtime) I might need to order another set of 12 blues...

And yes, i really need to run carbon on my tank and do water change... I did not notice this on my mostly blue T5's but now it is very obvious.

.


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Unread 12/28/2010, 11:50 PM   #24
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double post


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Unread 12/29/2010, 12:32 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katchupoy View Post
I want to remind all about the meanwell drivers before you connect these drivers to your LED circuit that "you have to adjust the internal trim pot". This is true whether your driver is dimmable (ELN) or not (LPC).
I'm not LED expert myself, but I don't think LPC are designed to be opened or adjusted. I believe it is only the ELN that need the adjustment.


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