Since a lot of people have been looking for help on their strip builds, I figured it’d probably be helpful to have a calculator just for this. Now that we’re seeing more and more of these systems being built, it has become apparent that running all strips in parallel is the way to go – it’s expandable, the math is easier for large numbers of strips, and wiring is less confusing, so I’m only doing this for parallel builds. Check out the parallel strip build tool below!
This videos goes over an aluminum frame build for 4x Citizen CLU048-1212 COBs going in a 2’x2′ tent. It ain’t beautiful, but it sure as hell is functional!
This video covers the basics of digital multimeter use for DIY LED systems, including measuring voltage, current, and determining power.
When I got my first LED driver, I was surprised to see that it didn’t come with a power plug on it – this makes total sense though, as there are all sorts of different connectors you can terminate this wire with, depending on where you live or how you want to plug it in. Attaching a plug may seem intimidating, but it’s really quite simple. As long as you get the colors right and makes sure everything’s clean and tight, you’re in good shape.
When going hydro, my favorite medium to start seeds in is definitely rock wool. Rock wool (also known as mineral wool) is produced by blowing a stream of air through molten rock. Rock wool is excellent at holding moisture and delivering it to your plants while simultaneously allowing their roots to breath.You can get rock wool cubes or slabs in many sizes, from little 1″x1″x1″ starters to the 8″x8″x8″ “Big Mama” block. Below is the process I follow to start seeds in rock wool.
One of the go-to lighting metrics of greenhouses is DLI, or Daily Light Integral, and you may see this acronym when you’re trying to figure out how much light a specific type of plant needs. Put simply, DLI is a measurement of how much usable light hits a certain area (one square meter, to be exact) per day.
I’ve had a number of requests to put up a constant voltage version of my COB LED Driver Selection Tool so I drafted one up today. Please see the notes at the bottom of this post for some important additional info. Also, if you’d like to see any COBs added, let me know which ones and I’ll see if I can include them.
Matching your COB to a heat sink is one of the most difficult parts of designing your own COB grow light. Unless the manufacturer of the heat sink actually specifies the wattage you can get away with running, you’re left to do the calculations yourself. Luckily, there are tons of heat sinks available now that come pre-drilled for your COB or board, and are rated, in plain English, for their power handling ability. You might see smaller pin-fins (120mm or so) that are rated for 50 watts of power, larger pin fins at 140-150mm rated for 75 watts, or even bigger sinks that are 160mm+ and rated for 100W.
That being said, you might be a glutton for punishment and have a burning desire to source your own heat sink, or figure out if the one you’ve got kicking around will work. Fortunately, like most things in the DIY LED world, we can figure this out with a little research and perseverence. Fair warning though, this is pretty dry stuff.
Constant voltage drivers are becoming more popular lately. They’re safer, flexible, and often cheaper than their constant current counterparts, but it can be a little more difficult to pick the right CV driver for your system than it would be for a CC build. Don’t sweat though, it’s really not very hard. All you need is an understanding of how parallel wiring works and to know how to manipulate forward voltage and current numbers using data sheets or product simulators.
Below are the steps to take to find a suitable constant voltage driver. Continue reading