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DIY 480W LED build


The Grass Baas
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Watsup everyone.

Finally I have managed to finish my 480w LED light which I have been busy with for the last 6 months, or rather delayed for the last 6 months. Work has been abit hectic and haven't been home to work on any projects. I managed to make some time and if it wasn't for a good friend that put the flames under my ass, I probably never would have finished it. @John Stonedwell

I had a thread open about the wiring of a 480w light but as I kept the wiring the same as in the diagrams I used from LEDgardener, I thought I would just start a new thread rather.

At no time would I say that this build is cheaper than buying from Alibaba but it was an adventure I wanted to take and I have learnt alot about it. Plus I have a brand new 480 watt LED Grow light. 

The build is an example on the LEDgardener website which I was introduced to by @Cannabist

Here goes.

These are the following items I used:

  • 12x bridgelux 3500k led strips (bought off of digi-key)
  • 480w meanwell driver 480H-42A (bought off of digi-key)
  • 6m of aluminium bar (6mm thick and 76mm wide)(bought at aluminium trading)
  • 6m of aluminium angle (side are 12mm wide and 1.6mm thick)
  • 6m of 3core flexi black cable (soft like extension cord cable)
  • 10m of 2core twinflex (harder mouldable cable)
  • Plastic coated steel ferrels 
  • Couple of meters of heatshrink
  • Chocolate blocks (through and through connectors)
  • 8x wago connectors (can be found at hardware shops)
  • Waterproof 3 core connector
  • 3 point plug
  • 12mm plastic squares for corners
  • Wondafix glue
  • Plenty of little screws

So to begin I had to get alot of the dirty work out  of the way. I decided to group my strips into 4x groups of 3x strips. So basically it would be 4 bars with 3 strips on each. I measured the width and length and figured the aluminium bars I had were wide enough to take 3 strips each. Making wiring abit easier and I used less wires than expected. Note that all bars were cut to 1.2m to fit the led strips and to fit into a 1.2m tent. I think I cut them even shorter just to make sure they fit in the tent as the tent isn't exactly 1.2m . Anyway. Not going to be doing the exact measurements as I can't really remember. So all the bars were cut to size and I decided to drill holes throught the bars to mount the strips. I aimed for 5 screws per strip. Way too many I would say but anyway. I also threaded all the holes so I didn't have to use little nuts to tighten the screws, even though that is not a bad idea because the threading took kak long. I had to thread the bars twice as a friend and I made several mistakes (under the influence of beer and weed). I also used a heatpaste to transfer the heat from the strips through the bars, and what a serious waste of time. The strips, even though 3 on one bar, doesn't get anywhere near hot enough to be concerned. I honestly think its like 21 degrees or something. Don't waste your time and money on that crap. Also it doesn't dry out like normal silicone and rather stays "wet" forever. It can become a very messy storey.

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I used 2 screws on each side of the bars when mounting to the angled pieces just to make sure I won't have any sort of swaying on pivot points. This was just to stabilize the build. I also did not shorten the angled aluminium simply so that it could keep its position nice and centered in the tent and not lean to one side. I made sure to use plastic squares to plug the corners so they don't tear into the tent.

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As you can see their sizes weren't perfect but I squeezed them on and they stayed there. No glue and shit.

Once I had all 12 of the led strips mounted onto the bars and all the bars mounted onto the angled aluminium, it was time to start the wiring.

So, as some of you may know that followed the wiring thread, there was alot of questions about the driver and why it had the two outputs etc. I am not going to discuss why they have two outputs on but I can assure it is for a good reason and probably for safety (some electricians said I could use just one of the outputs as it wouldn't matter, which I understand buuuuuuut it was designed like that for a reason, so I used both. Less of a fire hazard).

Firstly I connected the main power cable which was 3 core, and extended the input cable of the driver with the 3 core flexi cable I got, and also connected a 3 point plug onto the end so I can plug it into a wall socket. Lol. I used the waterproof connector to connect the cables and created a nice long extension of the drivers' input cable. This helps alot as I don't have to struggle with extension cables. I then used some of the 3 core flexi cable to extend my outputs from the driver. I connected them with the coated ferrels and then used the heatshrink to cover it nicely. Heatshrink is the shit. I love it. Note that the two output cables from the driver have 2x cables in each. So that's two red(+) and two black(-) wires and no earth. The earth cable was then just cut short. At the end of the two outlet cables I just left them open and soldered over the copper to make it a little neater and more solid as those 4x points would go straight into the chocolate block which is mounted on the frame. I did it this way so that if I needed to move and pack up the light, I could just disconnect it from the chocolate block and I would have just 2 pieces to carry around (1x driver and cables, 1x light).

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As you can see I just used electric fence wire to make the frames hanging cable which I just connected between the bars on the angled aluminium to make sure the whole light does not bend from being too heavy etc. If you connect it to the outer edges you start getting a bend and warp, which then doesn't help with the direction of the lights.

I used wondafix to stick all the wago connectors to the back of the bars.

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When I had to wire the red (+) ends of the bars (3x strips), I just ran 2 red wires from the choclate block to the wago connectors and then spread the power between all the positive ends of the led strips. I also just ran the two black (-) wires across the back of the bars (strips) to the opposite end where all the black (-) connections were and fed them via the wagos. Also I just glued the wires to the back of the bars so they would not move around too much.

 

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I also just used cable ties to keep everything neat on the frame.

I used twinflex cables for my red and black wires. This wire is semi flexible and keeps the shape you bend it into which is great if you want a permanent built frame with lights etc and no wires dangling everywhere. In order to get it out of the hard white plastic which houses both of them, I would pull the earth and it would strip the red and black from one another. Making it alot easier to work with.

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I can't tell people not to build their own lights because there are way cheaper options available online which are already built but damn it was an exciting and interesting journey. This is something I have always wanted to do and now I feel like I have the confidence and abit extra knowledge on how to tackle something like this. I really hope this helps someone else deciding if they want to go on a similar journey or not. Hopefully someone could learn from the ideas mentioned and probably better them or personalize them their own way.

One positive I found is this thing saves a shitload of space vertically in my tent.

Thanks for watching.

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Note: this is not my design but one of the many on LEDgardener.com

 

 

Edited by The Grass Baas
Shitty spelling
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@SkunkPharm Whats up man.

I tried working it out and I would estimate between R6000 and R10000 depending on quality and small extras (tools, screws,  etc.). Driver was R2000. LED strips were R1500. Import fees were R700. Aluminium was R700. Cables and wagos R600. All the other shit can cost between a few hundred to a few thousand depending on if you have things lying aorund, at your disposal, or not.

 

 

 

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Looks very sexy, nice build, thumbs up 👍

Just, if you make the next one, check to include 660nm -730nm Infra Red diodes. Good lamp for veg thou.

Any idea how many micromole PAR you get at what distance?

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@HooperHey dude.

Mine is designed for a 4x4(1.2m) tent. The strips are 1120mm long so fit nicely. You only need 12 strips which give you roughly 650w but you use them at 75%, which gives you 480w, and then just the meanwell 480w driver. Both bought from digikey.

To be honest... I think it would be alot cheaper, easier and probably quicker to order it online off Alibaba already built. But if you enjoy the journey and think you could do it for cheaper, then definitely do it. If you have most of the other smaller goodies, the skills and tools, then you could probably get away with a total between R5k-R5.5k

 

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2 hours ago, The Grass Baas said:

@HooperHey dude.

Mine is designed for a 4x4(1.2m) tent. The strips are 1120mm long so fit nicely. You only need 12 strips which give you roughly 650w but you use them at 75%, which gives you 480w, and then just the meanwell 480w driver. Both bought from digikey.

To be honest... I think it would be alot cheaper, easier and probably quicker to order it online off Alibaba already built. But if you enjoy the journey and think you could do it for cheaper, then definitely do it. If you have most of the other smaller goodies, the skills and tools, then you could probably get away with a total between R5k-R5.5k

 

Ja i saw a local supplier for the 2ft ones R90 a strip. How was the customs charges?

Have you got a link for the Alibaba one?

Edited by Hooper
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12 hours ago, Hooper said:

Ja i saw a local supplier for the 2ft ones R90 a strip. How was the customs charges?

Have you got a link for the Alibaba one?

Cool man. Which local supplier can you get it from? 

R3500 for 12 strips and driver, R700 for import. 

When I say Alibaba its not the same exact strips. Theres a company called kingbrite on alibaba that sells mostly samsung 301b or 301h diode lights. And they have many options of extra diodes like reds, uv, infrared etc. They have Quantum boards and Quantum bars ranging from 120w, 240w, 480w and 600w.

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@Light It Up has reasonably priced QB's. Takes the away stress of importing, for me personally anyway.
Then @growopz is also very helpful. I was looking at a diy but found it easier for Daniel to build me a light at a slight premium.

Sent from my LM-X210(G) using Tapatalk

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14 minutes ago, DamDave said:

@Light It Up has reasonably priced QB's. Takes the away stress of importing, for me personally anyway.
Then @growopz is also very helpful. I was looking at a diy but found it easier for Daniel to build me a light at a slight premium.

Sent from my LM-X210(G) using Tapatalk
 

Hey dude.

Totally understand to support local guys. I however haven't had any issues with importing from the company I mentioned. Just to give you an idea: I ordered a 480w quantum board for a friend on the 4th of August. Yesterday (16 August) it arrived at his door. I cleared customs before it even landed in SA which helped alot to smoothen out the delivery. I rather mentioned this option as I have seen way too many cases, and even experienced it myself that some companies (not the ones you mentioned) will say they have local stock only for you to wait a month or two while they get as many orders as possible to reduce their delivery costs and increase their profit.

I also don't see how asking someone else to build you a DIY project is any fun. Sure, if you do not have the know how or time, then it would make sense for someone to build you a custom light. But if you want to do a project or learn a new skill, it doesn't help paying someone else to do it. 

Note: The quantum board I ordered for a friend cost us just under R7000 (this is inclusive of shipping and import fees) I have seen the exact same board for almost R12000 in SA. You can find it with a quick google. 

I once bought a light from a local guy, waiting a whole month for it only to find out (on this forum) that I could've ordered it myself for half the price and half the wait. I hope no one else would have to go through the same shit I had to, and rather do it themselves. Importing is very easy once you know how to. 

None the less. If you don't like importing or DIY then there are plenty of people that can supply you with the light you want, at a small premium.

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Hey dude.
Totally understand to support local guys. I however haven't had any issues with importing from the company I mentioned. Just to give you an idea: I ordered a 480w quantum board for a friend on the 4th of August. Yesterday (16 August) it arrived at his door. I cleared customs before it even landed in SA which helped alot to smoothen out the delivery. I rather mentioned this option as I have seen way too many cases, and even experienced it myself that some companies (not the ones you mentioned) will say they have local stock only for you to wait a month or two while they get as many orders as possible to reduce their delivery costs and increase their profit.
I also don't see how asking someone else to build you a DIY project is any fun. Sure, if you do not have the know how or time, then it would make sense for someone to build you a custom light. But if you want to do a project or learn a new skill, it doesn't help paying someone else to do it. 
Note: The quantum board I ordered for a friend cost us just under R7000 (this is inclusive of shipping and import fees) I have seen the exact same board for almost R12000 in SA. You can find it with a quick google. 
I once bought a light from a local guy, waiting a whole month for it only to find out (on this forum) that I could've ordered it myself for half the price and half the wait. I hope no one else would have to go through the same shit I had to, and rather do it themselves. Importing is very easy once you know how to. 
None the less. If you don't like importing or DIY then there are plenty of people that can supply you with the light you want, at a small premium.
Totally agree. I think some of my plants have more balls than I do.

Sent from my LM-X210(G) using Tapatalk

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14 minutes ago, The Grass Baas said:

Note: The quantum board I ordered for a friend cost us just under R7000 (this is inclusive of shipping and import fees) I have seen the exact same board for almost R12000 in SA. You can find it with a quick google. 

Pictures or it never happened 

Seriously though, let's see the goods😋

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I myself love a good DIY, and learning while making my own goodies, I do it all the time.

Though, I have to be realistic and consider all things before I go forward. If we didn't we would have many mistakes in our lives.

When I purchase my lights, I knew all about the specs and what to purchase to build my own, perfectly. With the parts imported.

Yes, they can be cheaper imported and built yourself, and yes they will arrive.

Though now, when or if something has to happen to these lights, or they arrive not working or damaged in posting. 

I preferred buying local, and through GrowOpz, which gave me satisfaction and comfort in knowing, that is the light had any issues, he was right here, and willing to help me, at his own will.

Often in the past, imported goods, felt extremely frustrated when the goods aren't as shown, or had not worked or worked for long. Then given a choice, if you can get through the language barrier, that suddenly materializes, and get told, they will give you 25% off your next light as yours arrives broken, or some struggle. 

Yes, you can get extremely lucky and no issues and the best company to deal with, but those are fewer and further between, than I'd like to chance.

Plus, have you seen my nugs from my lights😂

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14 minutes ago, The_StonedTrooper said:

Pictures or it never happened 

Seriously though, let's see the goods😋

You oaks are funny. 

So here's the pics 

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Import fees ^

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Ordered 4 Aug and price ^

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Item ^

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Delivery date ^

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Sorry, don't have better pictures of the setup. This is what he sent me. Wiring was extremely easy.

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2 minutes ago, The_StonedTrooper said:

Bless you, was only looking for a picture of the light to know what it was, but appreciate the invoice and so on too

No worries man. I must add that they had great service after I paid with zero communication barriers. They are one of the few verified and top rated guys on Alibaba. Pretty sure it is a mine field out there with the rest. I am definitely not recommending Alibaba as a whole but just this one Gem.

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3 hours ago, The Grass Baas said:

Cool man. Which local supplier can you get it from? 

R3500 for 12 strips and driver, R700 for import. 

When I say Alibaba its not the same exact strips. Theres a company called kingbrite on alibaba that sells mostly samsung 301b or 301h diode lights. And they have many options of extra diodes like reds, uv, infrared etc. They have Quantum boards and Quantum bars ranging from 120w, 240w, 480w and 600w.

Saw them on hydroworks. But i went and looked now and the site is down. So no idea whats happening there. 

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7 hours ago, Hooper said:

Saw them on hydroworks. But i went and looked now and the site is down. So no idea whats happening 

Check on digikey.co.za. you will find the 1ft, 2ft and 4ft strips there.

I checked and it is R600 delivery for anything under R2000 and free delivery for any orders over R2000. 

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8 hours ago, Hooper said:

Hey dude. 

Looks like a good option. Not too expensive at all. So I usually use Kingbrite as a supplier (you can search for them under suppliers) and haven't had any shit with delivery. Check them on alibaba and look through their product categories. You'll find bars and boards. They are also verified and have been active for years on Alibaba. Just remember to work out your costs properly. I see the delivery is estimated at $40 and your import might be about 20% which is roughly $20 - $30. The customs you will only pay before they release it. Mine was so quick last time. I paid while it was passing through the UAE, and when it landed in SA it was cleared immediately. I am not 100% sure but if you pay the customs within 48 hours they release it quickly, but if you take abit longer it falls onto a pile which could take weeks.

Good luck dude. Let us know what you get.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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