DIY Doctor

Converting my Fish Tank Hood to LED

Postby lukemorgan » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:53 am

Hi all, total newbie here...

I've currently got a large-ish fish tank. Long story short I bought it second hand and whilst the tank is absolutely fine the hood is on it's way out. Had a smaller similar tank which the hood burnt out and unfortunately a new hood would cost more than double I paid for the tank.

I'm looking to gut the hood, and replace with LED striplights. I'd need to be able to run 2 x 1m strips, then connect into the power unit (which would go where the current unit is. Will save me a fortune in the long term in bulbs, be more economic in terms of power use too.

Now so far I've been able to gather I need IP68 lights. That's as far as I can get. Any tips/help on where to get what I need specifically? Is it even possible to have a unit I can connect 2 x striplights into?

Any help would be much appreciated
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Postby Mr White » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:08 pm

You need to find suitable LED strip first (It is not hard to come by)
Once you have / know the rating of the LED strip you can then buy a "driver" for the strip.

So for the sake of argument you get 2 strips each are 12v 10w You would need a driver that is the same or bigger than the total watts.

So you could easily use a 12v 25w driver since 25 is bigger than 20, but you could not use a 15w driver to run your 2 strips as it would be too small.

Some call it a driver some call it an LED power supply.
Normal lights operate on A.C. LED's run on D.C.
LED drivers have a D.C. output.

Most (not all) suppliers of LED strip also supply suitable drivers.
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Postby ericmark » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:57 pm

As said there is some confusion with names, I was taught a driver controls current but many manufacturers call the constant voltage power supply a driver, so with extra low voltage LED units you have 4 common ways to power them.
1) Constant voltage DC the coils of LED's normally use this.
2) Constant voltage AC the little spot lights normally use this often marked 50 Hz.
3) Constant current DC this is a true driver.
4) Range of voltage DC mainly designed for vehicles, often with a range 10 - 30 volt designed to run from a battery which when on/off charge can have a voltage range.

As to IP rating IP68 is really a bit OTT, that is for under water, but as to how water proof depends on how much vapour comes off the water, with old lights the heat in the lamp kept it dry inside, and even LED lights produce some heat, the main problem is when they are switched off, as they cool they can suck in water, so if there is air space often better if there is a simple hole in the bottom so water can drain out again, so outside lights are often only IP54 idea is water can drain out, but IP67 will allow immersion up to 150 mm but personally unless dripping in water with a 12 volt supply I would not really worry about the IP rating, if using 230 volt in the hood maybe, but 12 volt unlikely to cause a problem, and if the lights cost £5 against £60 then if it does fail simply replace it.

I expect a cheap role of stick on LED lighting as long as the ends are outside the hood would work well. As to UV and fish that is not something I know about, the old fluorescent had UV output and it seemed OK, so would not think there is a problem.
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