The EZ Bright - Cost / $$-$$$ Difficulty / **

In this guide, we will go over what we will dub the EZ Bright. This is an easy to build, easy to understand LED System that can range from Bright to Absurdly bright!

In this example, we will build a simple light for a 24x24x48 cage, and offer 2 layout options.


The EZ Bright - Cost / $$ Difficulty / **

The Parts (for Layout One).


For this build we will need (for Layout one, for Layout 2 read at the end of Parts),

2x COB Leds
For this example we will use Vero 29s as they are my personal favorite. The CoBs we will use, are 5600k and 97 CRI.
We have 2 options, here. BXRC-56H10K0-D-74-SE Are the newer package, they are the same Chips in both however. They do not require soldering, they have push in connectors.

If you cannot find them, BXRC-56G10K1-D-74 is the same, just requires soldering or a molex plug. (These claim 90 CRI min, as when released it was hit or miss, most were 97, some were not so they had to label as 90+, those issues have since been resolved, both all current SE and non SE are 97.)

We will run them at 37vs, 1400mas, 50ws Each (50 Real watts, after Driver efficiency we will be closer to 54-55ws Each so 110ws total) and they will give us around 8000 Lumens Each for a total of 16k lumens (thats 8 T5HOs (200ws), or 4.57 Jungle Dawn Spots (182ws).
$25.00 Each (Averaged)

1x LED Driver
For Layout option one (the most common) we will use a Meanwell HLG-185-C1400B (this is a dimmable driver, but thats okay. We will cover that.) $56.00 each. Layout option 2 will be covered below.

2x Pin Heatinks
These are not the most attractive heat sinks, however they are passive, easy to wire with, easy to use, and decently priced. You can sub other options if you would like
140mm pin Heatsink. $19.00 each


Miscellaneous
2x thermal pads for the CoBs $ .80 each
4ft 18g wire $ .25 per ft (this is some extra)
1x 22" Canopy Rail (with 4 Pin Heat sink Brackets) $30.00 (can be DIYed for cheaper, will cover later, DIY $10 dollars)
1x 3 Prong US power Cord $3.00 (you may have one of these laying around, an old surge protector, or computer power cord, if you do you can use that)

Optional
1x 2' X 2' Coverage Canopy Substrate This is a frame that will hold your canopy rail and act as feet if you dont want to hang it. You can also add more rails, put your driver on to this and even attach your UVB light to it. Its an optional add, that can make things more organized. Depending how you configure it. $35.00-$125.00

2x Ledil Silicon Lens These restrict the beam angle slightly, increasing the light output down into the cage, and reducing light from the front of the lights. They also however cause a 8% overall loss of Lumens, so kind of cancel themselves out. They also however protect the LED from water splashing, or the misters spraying it.
$13.00 Each


Wago Connectors These simplify putting wires together where needed, I would suggest 1 for the power cord to the driver and 1 from your LED wires to your Driver wires (the link is a triple, here is the Double for LED to Driver, you can also grab an extra double to cap off the dimming leads if you are not going to use them. .50 cents each

Other options, would be soldering the connections, which will require heat shrink, or using wire nuts and electrical tape. Wagos are the easiest, since your already buying stuff from Rapid, lets just grab them :).

Pico EZMate These are for if you cannot get the Vero SEs, they provide a solderless connection path, you will want 2 more Wagos for these if you want to stay solder free. You will want 2x 18in models, to give you long leads that you can use instead of the earlier listed wire.

Manual Dimmer If you want to be able to manually Dim the LEDs up and down. We will cover more advanced control methods in a later article, in the scope of this one, we will only cover Manual dimming. The Meanwell HLG, uses 0-10v dimming, so in the controller article look for 0-10v dimming. If you dont mind to solder connections, there is a cheaper dimmer Here, you can also look for cheaper options, you need a 100k Potentiometer that is a Linear Taper Pot, not a Audio taper.


Total cost (of Option One) $157 - $190 + Shipping/Taxes
$180-$225, Expected real cost. (not including any optionals).

Compare to needing 8x 22inch T5HOs at 24ws each to make a comparable level of light (16,000 Lumens) 1 22inch quad fixture will run you about 200 dollars, plus bulb replacements. This build is half the wattage, and half the upfront cost, with less recurring cost for the same light output. You could also compare it to 4 or 5 JD spots, JD spots are 3500 Lumens, so this 2 cob is a little better than 4. 4 JD spots at 70 dollars each for a total of 280 dollars, and 120 watts, more wattage required, more money (you still have to add fixtures as well) and no dimming, with less CRI.


For Layout 2, we need to double everything above, except the power cord and driver. The driver for Layout Option 2, is found here for $99.00 dollars, Layout Option 2, offers double the lumens at double the wattage. You can achieve higher lumens with Option 1, with a different driver however I do not suggest that, as it puts more strain on the system and reduces efficiency, so if more lumens are wanted, go with option 2. Option one, is generally enough for most people, I would advise against option 2 without the ability to Dim. With the ability to Dim, we can use Option 2, to improve efficiency even more, as well as get a more even spread of light across the cage (not that the 2 spread is bad)

Layout 2.B is for 48inch wide cages, where Layout 2 is suggested.



The Build!
Okay, Building this thing is very simple. I will walk you through every step of the process. Lets start with getting our tools together.

Tools We will need.
A Phillips Screwdriver

Wire Strippers (Scissors will work, little harder though, Wire strippers can be obtained for a couple dollars at harbor freight)

A Soldering Iron (If you didn't get the solder free COBs or the 2 Pin Molexs) (this can also be had at harbor freight for a couple of dollars, along with some solder, we are doing so little soldering you dont need anything special.)

Optional, some electrical tape to help hold wires down and wrap connectors.

The Assembly:

Step 1
- We will start with assembling the cobs to the heat sinks. Remove one of the plastic covers from the pad (its like double sided tape) Place the thermal pad on the square aluminium on the back of the cob, then remove the other plastic film. Align the cob with the screw holes in the COB to the matching holes on the sink, press it down onto the sink. Use the included screws to screw the cob down. Do one screw till loose but almost snug then the other to almost snug. Tighten each down, lightly, until it is firm in a criss cross pattern. Be careful not to over tighten as you can crack the cob, we just need it held, and snug against the pad.

Step 2 - (If you are going to DIY the Canopy holder, skip to Step 3) Next we are going to setup the 22" Canopy Rail, install the pin holders on each sink. Slide them into the Canopy, and close the canopy. If you purchased the Driver holders, or the Canopy substrate, be sure to put that all together before proceeding.

Step 3 - We will now wire the Driver to the AC outlet. If you purchased the Power Cord from Rapid, the wire colors should match up, if you did not, you need to find a pin out for AC, of what color your wires are. You should have Live, Neutral and Ground, the Driver has the same dictated by L, N and the Gnd Symbol. With color coding on the driver itself.

If you purchased the Wagos, get your 3 pin Wago connector open the clasps, twist the appropriate wires together, (Live to Live, Neutral to Neutral and Ground to Ground.) Stick one wire in each slot, and close the clasps. (you dont have to twist them, just get them together in the clasp and close it) For extra safety, wrap the wago in electrical tape. If you are soldering the wires, solder each together, and heatshrink them (remember slip the heat shrink on first!, 1 big piece for the entire group of wire, and 1 for each wire)

Step 4 - (if you purchased the Dimmer, skip this step) Take the Dimming wire from the Driver, and cap off the 2 wires. You can cut them flush and wrap the end with electrical tape, or cap them in a Wago if you bought one.

Step 5 Now we are going to Wire the LEDs. In this build, we are going to wire the LEDs in Serial, this means that our Amperage will stay the same, and our Voltage will be added on a Per LED basis. I have attached a wiring schematic below, use your preferred wiring method (the one you bought) to wire in this way.

Basically, the Positive from the driver goes to the positive of the first led. The first LEDs negative, goes the second LEDs Positive, the Second LEDs negative completes the loop back to the drivers negative.

LED wiring 1.png


I would suggest to build a square from the CoBs for Layout 2. and add your Basking light in the center of them. The Wiring reflects that, 2.B, would be the same wiring method, as 1 and 2, just not squared, as you have a 4ft length to spread the cobs.
LED wiring 2.png

If you purchased the Dimmer, you will wire it like this.

LED wiring Dimming.png


If you want the dimming to go the other way, then you can flip the left lead to the right side, just be sure to use the center pin. the color of wire on each pin does not matter. When the leads are shorted out (directly connected) they are at max dim, (10% of power) the dimming pot, simply increases Resistance between them, to prevent the short, the more Resistance the brighter the lights.

Making your own canopy is simple. You will need a few tools however. You will need a Drill, a Hacksaw or Tin snips, and optionally a rivet gun.

To make a canopy, all you have to do is buy 3/4 x 3/4 aluminium angle. And some nuts and bolts, sheet metal screws, or rivets (a 5 dollar rivet gun from Harbor freight has these)

You will then want to cut out of the aluminium angle, 2 pieces 24in wide, 2 pieces 5.6 inches wide, and optional 2 more pieces 5.6 inches wide.

Then you will simply use these to build a rectangle, with all the rails facing one way, This will allow the heatsinks to sit inside of this box, and slide around as needed. If you cut the extra 2, you can place them on the outsides that are facing up, and lower them a bit, to lift the lights off the enclosure like feet. I will take photos of a finished canopy later.


I hope you enjoyed this guide and your new light. If you have any questions, or comments how this could be improved let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for more Advanced Lighting Builds!

One of the best things about DIY LEDs, is they can grow with you, so start with this today, and a lot of the parts can carry into further builds! It can adapt as your needs do. Start simple, and get some lights up, then later you can add a controller to cycle the day, or add colored cobs to your mix, with your controller, that allow you to have scorching red sunrises/sets and cool blue afternoons. With LEDs especially DIY, the possibilities are endless, and we will explore them together throughout this series.
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How many hours do you think you will get out of these? 20,000-30,000?
About 50-60k TBH. The driver and the cobs are rated based on loads. A under driven COB has a rating around 50k+ and a cool running Meanwell HLG is rated at 60k+ hours.

So if you notice, in the parts list, we are over sizing the power supply to keep it living long, and running cool. I have ran 4 COBs off the 185 listed for 2 COBs, it will run that, at their full wattage (yes higher than the Driver is listed). However in doing so, the driver gets extremely hot, and we don't want that. So we oversize, this increases effiency (bumps it to about 94-95% from my tests) and reduces heat.

Same with the COBs, these Pin Heatsinks are rated to cool about 120ws, and we are only cooling 50 with them. This means better cooling, with better effiency from being cooler, and from under driving. And increases the life.


Contrast to the likes of Chinese LEDs, where they instead overdrive a COB, when you over Drive a COB, its life is shortened, the COB takes the brunt of the heat, and the system as a whole is hotter and more prone to early death. That's why we see like the Jungle Dawn spot, being so horrid with L/W, that Cree is made to run at 35-40ws max, and that's what it's being ran at. In doing so, it becomes much less efficient and the life gets cut dramatically.
 
Great write up. Any pictures of a completed build? How would this compare to the chilled logic 2x2 kit from Rapid LED?
 
Great write up. Any pictures of a completed build? How would this compare to the chilled logic 2x2 kit from Rapid LED?
I'll see if I can drum some up. I ran this for a short time, and quickly changed to a different setup with more color options and control. I will make a write up on them as well soon, but it's much more work, wiring and soldering and money.

I'm going to repurpose my pin sinks and driver on a grow rack, soon TM though.
 
Have you checked out the chilled logic 2x2 kit?

Yes sorry forgot about that part lol. So that's good for what it's made for. Which is pot plants, where they want some but modest veg and a lot of flower. It's very red light, you would hate looking at Chams under it, and it won't Veg your plants that well.

It's a good light, just not intended for our purposes. You want to stay more in the 5600-6500k range.
 

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