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On the right track?

Discussion in 'Algae Scrubber DIY' started by tom39, Apr 17, 2014.

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  1. I am in the planning stages of my diy ATS and have a few questions to see if I am on the right track. I have read nearly every thread and believe I have a fairly good understanding of what I have read but know that without the help and direction from someone with actual experience, it is going to be a rough go.
    About me:
    I have a 50gal total volume system with sand, LR, a few sps & lps, 7 small fish, snail & hc cuc, sump, ps, feed 1 cube/day and led lighting with a 12hr light cycle.
    I am putting together a enclosed ATS with a 4"x7" screen.
    The lighting will be led lit from both sides and will be set a distance of 3" from the screen.
    The ATS will be fed by its own pump placed in the sump.
    The questions that I have are:
    The ATS basics says 1 - 3w led per side, for every 12sq/in of screen. So I would only need a total of 6 led's?
    There is also mention of the use of blue light but running in parallel with each other. Would I substitute a red for the blue, or would I use a total of 5 led's?
    Prior to researching far enough, I bought 620nM red instead of 660nM deep red. Should I return the 620's and get 660's, or is that not so crucial?
    I am sure I will have other questions as I get closer to the build and then once installed. But if there is anything that you think is out of sorts or flawed, please let me know.
    Thanks for reading,
    Tom G

    Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk
  2. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer


    For the feeding based guideline, that's 12 sq in for each cube/day. But I usually recommend a 2 cube minimum screen, that usually is because a small screen is just harder to manage. So your 4x7 screen is about right. Could go a bit smaller.

    The basic rule for LEDs that I follow is one 3W Deep Red on each side of every 4-8 sq in, I think that 12 sq in would be a bit low personally. For your 4x7 screen, I would probably recommend 4 LEDs per side, just because 2 would give you low coverage and 3 is hard to arrange so that you get even coverage.

    As for the blues, running 2 in parallel next to 3 reds on each side is a bit much. I would either leave them off, or use 1W blues and wire them into the series with the reds (simpler)

    620nm reds will likely not give you very good growth, but I don't know if you can return them - depends on where you got them I suppose.

    The most important factors are screen roughness, slot pipe straightness/evenness, and getting the right light coverage. You're on the right track!

  3. Thanks for the advice and help. I ordered the 660nM led's and got authorization to return the others when they arrive. Sure glad I asked before I soldered and installed them.
    IYO if my feed is 1/2" line, is it better to have the slot pipe jump up a size to 3/4. Or should I just continue with the 1/2 sch 40.

    Thanks again,
    Tom G

    Sent from my GT-P5113 using Tapatalk
  4. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    The smaller the inner diameter of the line, the more resistance you get. So if you are pump-feeding the scrubber, I would recommend jumping up to the larger diameter and using a 3/4" slot pipe. This principle applies to all plumbing. For instance, on a tank setup I was working on, it had a 3/4" return line on a Mag 12. I was getting something like 400 GPH at full blast. I upped that line to about 1.25" hose and got 700+ GPH out of the same pump, and that was going through an existing 3/4" bulkhead. So hose diameter really does make a big difference, and flow is very important for a scrubber. Head loss on a smaller line will mean you will have a maximum flow that will be difficult to 'break through" without having a ridiculously oversized pump just to get pass the loss curve. The same goes for a drain, the smaller the drain line the less flow you can get through it.
  5. Kerry

    Kerry Member Trusted Member Customer

    I second the 3/4 pipe, I have used 1/2 and think the 3/4 flows better and is quieter when growth starts.
  6. Then it is settled, 3/4" the entire way.

    Thanks Guys,
    Tom G
  7. Kerry

    Kerry Member Trusted Member Customer

    Show us some pics if you get a chance to take some.
  8. Ok, my replacement 66nM led's came in yesterday. So now I am ready to put the string together. Before I do that, I thought I would check one more time to make sure I am 100% sure and ready to go.
    My final screen size is going 4" tall by 8" wide. In the planning stages, I was going to use a 4x7screen (as seen in prior post). Then as suggested I adjusted the plan and sized it down to a 4x6, to make it 24sq/in, but in an effort to make the scrubber a custom fit and still be large enough to be used on my next tank, I went with a screen size of 4"x8".
    So the first question is - What is the downside to having this big of a screen in a system as small as mine? If this would be a big issue I could taper the edges in an inch.
    But if I were to use the 4"x8" screen and use the 4-8 sq/in per led calculation (I went in the middle and used 6sq/in per led). That would calculate out to be just a little more than 5 leds per side. Which would allow me to place them in an X pattern, which I think would give a fairly even spread. I also figured out a way of using a on/off/on switch to reduce the number of leds lit during the beginning growth stage. Very similar to using the jumper wire method. I just have to remember to never flip the switch without unplugging the driver first. So in the beginning stages of growth only a diagonal line of 3 leds to a side would be lit and the pattern would be opposite (not mirror image) of the other side.
    But before I make the final product. The second question is? Since all of the leds are going to be driven off the same driver. That would give me the possibility to wire 2 blues in parallel but only use one blue per side and in the center of each pattern (the center of the X). Would the ability of having the blue be of any benefit? If it would be of a benefit. Should I replace the center red for the blue or just run it next to it? That would end up giving me in the end, 5 reds and one blue per side.
    Lastly, if using one blue per side is a possibility. Can you explain how to wire them in parallel? Or, I seen it posted somewhere, could you point me to the link that shows how it is done?

    Sorry for the book.

    Tom G
  9. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    Here is how you wire in parallel


    You could also get 1W RBs instead and wire them in series.

    I think the "X" pattern is fine, if you wanted to throw a blue in there you might widen the pattern a bit and then for the center red, offset it to one side and put the blue next to it, offset from center the same distance the other way. Then make the other fixture the same so that when they are facing each other, the blues are not across from each other.
  10. Woo Hoo! The lights work!
    Thank you for all your help.
  11. Ok, I finally figured out how to reduce the pic size for posting.
    Anyway, here are a few pics of my dt with about 2 weeks of growth since I scrubbed everything with a toothbrush and vacuumed away what came off.

    Attached Files:

  12. Here are a few of my heat sink and leds. I went with 5 - 660 nM deep reds run in series and 2 Royal blues run in parallel on both sides. I have them all divided into 2 strings to reduce the amount of light during the beginning growth stages. I was able to do this by using a on/off/on switch.
    Position 1 - 3 deep reds per side
    Position 2 - 5 deep reds and 2 royal blues per side
    The leds sit about 3.5" from the screen and so I also bought and cut a light diffuser just incase the light is just to much.


    Attached Files:

  13. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    I'm trying to figure out how you wired things. It looks like you wired the reds+blues strings in series on each side, then paralleled them together, right? So all the LEDs would be running at half-current in this case. Should work fine I would think.

    PS I don't think those other pics you posted were really that bad of quality. Do you want me to restore the post?
  14. Here's a few of my ATS. The size of the box is 8"x10.5" (minus plumbing) and when the heat sinks are attached it is 11.5"x10.5". I made it this size as there is no room in my stand to house the ATS except for in the sump. So it will sit about 7" in the sump and about 1.5" above the high water mark if the power goes out. I will also have it hooked into my controller and programed in conjunction with my ATO float switches. This will be my failsafe that will cut the power to the leds if the water height triggers the upper float switch, which will be set to 1" below the bottom of the ATS.
    The screen size is 4.25"x8.5", I initially wanted it to be smaller, to size it for my current tank but decided to go with this size so if I ever upgrade to a larger tank I can use it there also.
    The only things left to do to the ATS is cut the overflow hole and install it. But prior to installing, I have to reconfigure the plumbing going to my sump (move my secondary overflow drain line and the emergency drain line) and move my probe holder so the ATS will fit inside the sump. I hope to find the time to do that soon and will keep my progress posted.

    Thanks for Looking,
    Tom G

    Attached Files:

  15. The first string is what is wired using the red wire. That string is a total of 6 red leds run in series (3per side). The second string run in green wire is an additional 4 reds which run in series with the first 6 reds and then at the very end of the second string I have 2 royal blues running in parallel to each other. It is kinda hard to see because of all the shielding. But what I did to have only 1 blue on each side is run jumpers from one side to the other to make the switch idea and parallel wiring thing work. In the end I have a total of 5 wires running in-between the sinks connected together by the Molex connector.
    I have a pdf sketch of how I did it and will try and get that posted as well.
    If you don't think that the pics were to bad then I if you want to put them back up that would be kool. I tried to get new pics, but the morning blues came on before I could get a shot and my cell is horrible with the blues on.

    Tom G
  16. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    This is the part that I don't see. The way you have the left heat sink wired, the green wires go from the wire bundle and into the first red, then to the next red, then to the blue, then back to the wire bundle. So there's no way that left blue is in parallel by itself with anything from what I can tell, so yeah I was going to ask you if you had a wiring diagram!! Can't see that is happening on the right side. I get the idea you are shooting for but the wiring doesn't jive because to parallel 2 blues, both wires into the blue have to be connected. So the + terminals tied together and the - terminals tied together. This cannot be the case with the left blue, because it connects to one of the reds...
  17. Let me know what you think. Things can always be changed if you think that it is not set in parallel.

    Thanks for the help,
    Tom G

    Attached Files:

  18. I think I see what you are talking about and where the confusion may be. How the wires seem to run is deceiving. The led on the HS on the right has a Green wire coming from the + (left side of the led) and going into the shielding. It actually only goes to the bottom pin of the switch (feed from 1st string) but it was a bit too long and instead of cutting and making it shorter I just had the excess run in and out of the shrink tube to get rid of the excess.

    The direction of current is RED to GREEN to BLACK
    Tom G
  19. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    Oh - I couldn't see the black wire in the photo, I've got it now. Looks good! Nice job!
  20. Thank you, for taking a look an a million more for all the help.

    Tom G

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