Shed some light on my LED Build
After seeing the Cheap LED Strip thread (Cheap LED Strips : A Viable Alternative) I decided to construct and LED array of my own. Many of the builds in that thread are made with aluminium channel frames, or flat sheets of metal with nice threaded screw holes for mounting, with build quality surpassing many of the LED units available in the market. Of course I don’t have any metal working tools nor access to a machine shop so I had to improvise and wanted to share a few of the details of my bridgelux LED array build.
The driver is a meanwell XLG-240-L-AB, driving 17 Bridgelux BXEB-L0560Z-35E2000-C-B3 strips.
The frame is repurposed from a discarded painting. With the staples and canvas removed the frame revealed itself to be surprisingly sturdy and lightweight. I added a few lazy coats of mildew paint to protect the otherwise untreated wood from humidity. The frame may be ugly but it’s form serves unintended purpose. The protrusions at the corners allow the frame to be set down by the edges and even tilted back and forth while providing the delicate LED strips ample clearance from any mechanical damage.
Going by the initial eyeball measurements the strips should have fit perfectly but upon closer inspection the mounting holes were about 6cm short of being useful. I took advantage of the fine joint work on the corners of the frame to suck in the edges so the mounting holes are centred within the edge faces. The cross bar has also been modified with a back saw to accomodate the new dimensions.
The strips are mounted to the frame using a bunch of brass standoffs scavenged from years of PC upgrades and repairs. I have little faith in either the soft wood or the machine threads of the standoffs, so each standoff is additionally secured with superglue. The various coloured sharpie markings indicate I’m a measure thrice cut twice kind of craftsman.
Larger standoffs are used at the edges and in the middle of the frame to allow the LED array to be set down on or leaned against hard surfaces without damaging the diodes.
Screw in eyelets and two equal length pieces of hardware wire allow the frame to hang from rope pulleys.
Each LED strip is wired in series to the next using some solid copper wire salvaged from an old flourescent ballast. Most of the rest of the wire I have only said 300V on the side and I didn’t want to tempt fate with substandard wire.
The toolless input sockets for the wiring are a nice touch, although I would probably just solder the leads next time instead of meticulously bending three dozen little jumpers.
A 6-slot terminal block connects the strip wiring to the driver DCV Output, and also the ACV Input to an IEC power socket for mains voltage. I realize that is a panel mount socket and that it looks haphazard, but under the tape each lead is properly crimped and insulated.
I used a short input cord deliberately to double as an emergency cut-off in the event that the mounting hardware should fail. I don’t want all the exposed solder points falling on any part of my body, and especially not when they are coursing with 330VDC and I am grounded to my bathtub. I also insulated all of the exposed solder points with pieces of electrical tape.
For the 3-in-1 dimming leads I attached some banana plugs. This gives me the option of easily changing or removing the dimming source, and did not require me to warm up the soldering iron. I have completed setting up a PWM dimming controller which I intend to install sometime in the forseeable future.
That’s about it, happy growing.