Picture of 108W LED Grow Light Panel
This is my first instructable, I hope you all enjoy it and hopefully some of you will get some use out of it.

Growing with LED lights

Using LED lights for plant growth is a nice alternative to using HPS and metal halide. While many argue that the results are simply not the same in recent years LED's are slowly gaining respect in the indoor plant growing community.

+Uses up to 80% less energy on your bill making it a green solution.
+Lower heat and easier to control temperature.
+Long life span up to 50,000 hours
+Precise spectrum for photosynthesis

The main disadvantage with LEDS is the cost of certain high end units. This instructable is here to give those that are interested in plant growth with LED's a nice cheap alternative DIY solution.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
+Soldering Iron
+Wire stripper
+A little series/parallel wiring knowledge

+Cooling fans($6-$20 or salvage)
+Thermal glue ($7)
+Nuts + Bolts ($3)
+2 - 3 feet of 18 AWG wire (3$)
+Metal Panel 7"x7" from ($16)
+Led Drivers x 3 (36$)
****use bulk rate because you get a disscount when purchasing 3 or more****
+DC transformer 8-14V (salvage)
+AC power cord/plug (salvage)
Total: $110-120

LED's from Ebay(about 40$):
3W Blue x4  (455nm)
3W Blue x4  (445nm)
3W Deep red x16 (660nm)
3W Red x12 (630nm)
***you dont have to use the same configuration as me, try your own let me know how it works out for you***

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gofasteddie2 months ago

Very nice DIY and easy to follow.

I'd like to build a larger,just more leds,but same basic system.

If one LED fails will the other LEDs powered on that circuit fail to light?

GoonyLex (author)  gofasteddie2 months ago

Unfortunately yes, if one led fails all 12 will stop working. But because the drivers support 9-12 led's simply make a + to - jumper ON THE BURNT OUT LED , and the remaining 11 will work. Do not go below 9 leds. Also leds have long life so shouldn't be an issue.

Is this also the reason for having 3 seperate circuits and drivers instead of one large circuit/driver? Fault tolerance and easier time finding the failed LED?

I was thinking the same thing, you may be right
The Freak5 days ago

Nice build! Maybe you could also use some lenses on these LEDs, which I'm planning to do when I'll build a growlight. These LEDs have a beam angle of about 120 to 140 degrees, so you waste quite some light there. They are sold specificly for these LEDs on ebay for not a lot of money and available starting from 5 degrees.

jjosef8625 days ago

how close can the leds be? i want to put 150 3W leds on a panel. what size panel would be ideal?

astearon3 months ago

Can you please give me an estimate on 2 things about this build ?

I need to know the total power consumption (kw/h or whatever) of this system and also what is the effective surface area it can light ? I mean how many plants can i cram under there ? :)

GoonyLex (author)  astearon2 months ago

Sorry your question is a bit hard to answer as plants come in all shapes and sizes. As to your power question its power consumption would be 0.108 kw/h.

gofasteddie2 months ago

Are you powering 12 leds with each power supply?

GoonyLex (author)  gofasteddie2 months ago

Yes each driver supports 9-12 Leds.

ninjatails1 year ago
How did you get your metal panel for $16? The quote they gave me was $47...
Found it:
GoonyLex (author)  ninjatails1 year ago
i just went to the store and thats the quote the guy gave me. You need about 1/4" thickl plate or more

Thank you for clarifying how thick the aluminum needs to be. I'm excited to try this.

I did find better pricing for the aluminum. The 1/4" is half the price, and even 1/2 inch is less than what you've shown

shipping is additional, but that's true from either source for me

thegodswan4 months ago

Hi Lex. Very nice instructable, truly motivating. I am ready to go but safety is very important to me, so I was just wondering if you could help me on how to add the famous fuse to the circuit to make it more safe. Thanks again.

x1c05 months ago

Firstly, thanks for the instructable! I was looking into pre-fab units and my diy spirit was tugging me to refrain and further my research. you helped pull together info i had not yet gotten to with led lighting. I will be adding into the system a set of 600 nms too as it seems this could be useful for carotenoid development.

I have been looking for salvaged aluminum to mount the lighting but may have to go with purchasing a new plate. You mention a thermal fuse that could be added to the system. How is that done? do I wire it in to the wires of the driver before going to the wall cable or to the latter? or do i attach these prior to the driver?

Since these are for seed starts for my roof top garden, I was thinking about pushing more 440-455 nms. Any success with that?

GoonyLex (author)  x1c05 months ago

Hi , your welcome and I'm glad it is of use to you.
Il take a picture this week to demonstrate how to add a thermal fuse. Typically it is added into the circuit , I like to add mine in-between the LED's themselves. The fuses I added have to be in contact with the plate but not directly because the case of the fuse is a terminal (so you have to be careful not to create a short).

lfilek6 months ago

Hello there GoonyLex, So I found all the pieces I think:


730-740 nm ( DC forward voltage :1.7-2.4Vdc : Forward current: 700MA) x 2

620-630 nm (voltage 2.3-2.8 current 700MA) x 8

440-445 nm (voltage 3.0-3.4 current 700MA) x 5

465-470 nm (voltage 3.0-3.4 current 700MA) x 5

520-530 nm (voltage 3.5-3.8 current 700MA) x 2

650-660 nm (voltage 2.2-2.4 current 700MA) x 14

total of 36 LED all separated into 3 rows of 12

LED Driver 36w (constant current 700MA, output voltage DC 36-41V Input voltage 220Vac/230Vac/240Vac.)

I know I have to reach the minimum voltage on the driver for it to work, I have a question about mixing the different voltage on the led for example 660 nm has 2.2-2.4 and 440 nm has a voltage of 3.0-3.4 .

I would love to get your opinion before I order anything since I dont have any experiance with electronics

lfilek lfilek6 months ago

the link to the driver didnt post right, but this is the one

and another driver I was looking at is a bit cheaper and I might go with that one

LexLuger lfilek6 months ago


Im happy to hear your working on making this panel :).
Well you said you are using 36 LED's, do you have 3 separate drivers?

LexLuger LexLuger6 months ago

Also I don't think mixing them will be an issue, its not the most refined method but it should not give you any trouble, if it does msg me and well get to the buttom of it.

lfilek LexLuger5 months ago

Thanks, I will need help for sure, Just waiting for the LED's to get here from chinga, that's gonna take a while. Also I have a question. Is the DC transformer In your build just for the fans? Do you connect the drivers just to the power chord? And another thing I was wondering, You mentioned something about a thermal switch for extra safety. How does one do that?

lfilek LexLuger5 months ago

yes I bought a lot of drivers :D I found a even better driver at a lower price, and here locally not from china.

lfilek lfilek6 months ago

Also I got 2 aluminum plates 0.5 thick. I was thinking of making 0.25 cuts in it to make it like a heatsink for better heat distribution

Lyseslukker6 months ago

Hello there GoonyLex, i've followed your guide , importet all of the components and wired and soldered it all together, great guide btw!

Only problem is , i have like no clue about electriciti, so when i took an old nintendo power supply nothing happend, an old Laptop Power Supply, and nothing happend, so im starting to wonder, does the so called " Salvageble Power Supply " have to have a certain amount of something besides 260v ?

Btw i live in Denmark so i cant use 120v :)

Hope you can help me with some specs or some , so i can get some power through out this bad boy! :D

Cheers from DK :) !

btw its the same setup, same LED's , same drivers, just different colors :)

GoonyLex (author)  Lyseslukker6 months ago

Hi Lyseslukker

1. Do you own a multimeter?

2.If you are using the drivers , why are you also using a power supply?

No i dont own a multimeter, some nifty thing i should have ? :)

Oooh i thought that you connected a power supply to your drivers :o
so i can just hook the 6 blue cables , to a longer wire and connect it to a wall socket ? :)

Thought a power supply was needed :o

And thanks for the reply m8 ! :)

Yea there is no additional power supply needed that's the beauty of these drivers. Honestly they are cost effective as well because with all the components and not to mention the time you cant make them cheaper even if you constructed them yourself unless you are building a very big panel. Make sure your wiring is SAFE, you are dealing with 120V or 240V AC.

lfilek6 months ago
Where did you find the LED's with the same mhA most of the ones I can find are so differenet one is 800 the other is 700. Would that be a problem mixing then in?
GoonyLex (author)  lfilek6 months ago

As long as the LED are rated for more or the same amount of current as the driver, you will not have any issues. When your power supply can provide more current than the LED's normally operate on, they will burn out.

forex5x6 months ago

Would it be possible to use a power supply from a recycled computer to drive the LED's?

GoonyLex (author)  forex5x6 months ago

yes it is possible, however you will require an additional circuit to control and maintain a constant current.

lfilek6 months ago
What do you think about using copper plate instead of aluminum since the heat transfer would be evenbetter. I'm going to try building this LED light a bit bigger x2 so 6 drivers 72 LED also Im gonna add some 60 degree lenses. Tell me what do you think
charon9611 months ago
Thanks for this, doing the prepwork to build my own and my collaborator would like to know the part numbers for the LED's you used if you have them, or the manufacturer. Thanks again!
GoonyLex (author)  charon969 months ago
No particular part number I just chose the wavelengths that I liked after a bit of research. You should aim for led with the forward current of about 650mA.
JBFUK11 months ago
I'm looking at making something similar. How do you deal with each colour LED having a different forward voltage? Surely that means you can't mix them and each type of LED needs to be running on it's own driver otherwise they are potentially over/underpowered?
GoonyLex (author)  JBFUK9 months ago
All the led's have approximately the same forward voltage. As they have the same forward current you will be ok.
Does anyone ever tried this LED setup for growing MJ ?
That would be great if someone could share some info about witch led's I can add to this setup to improve vegging and flowering.
Thank you ;)
Hey AwesomeHedgehog, Actually I found a solid looking DIY LED grow light system for growing MJ last month and am looking to build it with CREE LEDs. DIY-LED-grow-light 
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