108W LED Grow Light Panel




Introduction: 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.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

+Soldering Iron
+Wire stripper
+A little series/parallel wiring knowledge

+Cooling fans($6-$20 or salvage)
+Thermal glue ($7) http://dx.com/p/fujik-silicone-thermal-glue-50ml-grease-like-4579?item=1
+Nuts + Bolts ($3)
+2 - 3 feet of 18 AWG wire (3$)
+Metal Panel 7"x7" from http://www.metalsupermarkets.com/ ($16)
+Led Drivers x 3 (36$) http://dx.com/p/waterproof-670ma-36w-power-constant-current-source-led-driver-85-265v-42906?item=2
****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***

Step 2: Drill Holes

The first step is to drill 6 holes for the led drivers and 1 hole for the wire to go through.

+Use a ruler to find the approximate centre of the led drivers when they are next to each other.
+Take a marker and ma

rked the six holes where to drill for the led drivers.
+Then mark one hole for the wires to go though (look at pic which will show you where to place it).
+Time to drill the holes
+First drill the six driver holes using a drill bit that is about the same size as the bolt
+Then use a bigger drill bit and drill the hole for the wires
+When finished you should have a metal plate similar to the one in the picture below

Step 3: Glue the LED's to the Panel

In this step you will mark the placement of where each LED will go

+This is easy, measure one side of your panel, take that measurement and divide it by 6
+Now for me this came to about 1.16"
+Now use a ruler and place a dot every 1.16" on both that side and its opposite, once you are done this connect the dots and you should get 6 rectangles on the panel.
+Next you do the same thing to the other 2 sides of the panel and you are left with 36 even squares and should have a pannel that looks something like the picture bellow.
+After that we will mark where each LED will go (or you can use my picture as a reference, or you can make your own configuration)

Step 4: Glue on the LED's

In this step we will attach the LED's to the panel

+Simply take the thermal glue apply a little to each led and stick it on the panel
+Add moderate pressure and twist slighty to spread the thermal glue and get a good surface contact
+MAKE SURE THAT LED's TERMINALS ALL FACE THE SAME WAY (+) and (-) unless you are doing your own configuration
its not a big deal if you mess up but prepare for some messy wiring

+wait a couple of hour or overnight for the glue to harden and cure

Step 5: Soldering

+Once all LED's are in place and the glue has cured it is time to solder the LED's
+ I did this in rectangle shapes but you can solder it any way you want as long as you solder only up to 12 LED's in series.
+If you are unsure what series wiring is just simply google it, but in the simplest way to describe it to you is simply always solder the + terminal onto the - terminal of each individual LED so that every LED will have only two connections and will look like the picture below.

+Cut a piece of wire the length of one terminal to the next, and use the wire stripper to strip away a small portion of the end of the wire
+For easy soldering add a little solder to the terminal before adding the wire
+then simply re-heat the solder and solder the wire onto the terminal and your final product should look something like mine

+Once your have finished that, you then solder the + and - terminals of each driver to each of the 12 LED's in the series circuits and should have something that looks like the last picture of this step

Step 6: Bolt on the Drivers

In this step you will bolt on the drivers on to your LED panel

+first take each bolt and use the nut to secure it to the panel
+after this add another nut close to the top of the bolt
+do this for all 6 bolts and it will resemble the picture below
+then add the driver on top of the bolt and tighten the last bolt to hold the driver in place
+do this for all 3 drivers

****the main reason behind raising the drivers of the panel is to add air circulation to the panel and drivers for heat manegment***

Step 7: Power to the Drivers

In this step you are simply adding a 120V or 220V plug to your drivers

+take a power plug salvaged of anything thrown out
+Solder the matching 3 AC blue wires from the drivers together and to one of the plugs wires
+after this do the same for the other 3 blue wires
+I used electrical nuts or whetever you call them to simply screw the 3 blue wires + plug wire together for both AC wires
+also if you wish to add any switches I recommend that you add it to the AC line and not the DC ( for example you can add 3 switches to power on and off each individual series of 12 LED's)

****I used a retractable AC power cord this is totally unnecessary, it is simply the cord that I had available at the time and will most likely change to a regular cord****

Step 8: Cooling and Mounting

This last step is really up to each individual user to determine how they want to approach

+because most people have spare PC fans it is perfectly fine to use those or any other fans available to you
+I personaly used a fan I bough from a second hand electronic store for $6 and it works quite good
+ as you see in the picture this type of fan nicely pushes air along the surface of the plate cooling down the whole plate

+you can add any type of cooling you like just remember that you will need a external power sourse to power your fan/fans
+I used a salvaged transformer to power my fan simply connect the + and - terminals of the DC transormers to the mattching terminals of the fan/fans(require parallel wiring) and there you have it

****cooling is extremely important it is never a bad idea to add a thermal switch to the main LED circuit in case your fan circuit fails****this panel can reach dangerous temperatures without cooling and can become a fire hazard use at own risk*****

 remember that this panel will produce a fair amount of heat, keep this in mind along with the fact that some plants require up to 12 hours of constant light

How you mount your panel depends on where you will mount it, I personaly am going to use the bolts of the drivers to mount my panel onto a cabinet shelf, this will be included in my next instructable as I tend this to be part 1 of MAKE an automated arduino garden

Step 9: Finished

Thank you
I hope you have enjoyed this instructable
If you have any question feel free to ask me I will answer them when I can
If you made one enjoy your panel

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    John L
    John L

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I have a question that I have not seen asked yet. Per your instructions you used two types of Red and two types of Blue LEDs. Why is this imperative? Why can't I use the Warm White(2700k-3400k), and Cool Daylight White(5600K-7000K)? It seems to me that this would be a better overall way to go, since its really combined frequencies in order to produce the white light.


    Reply 1 year ago

    6 yrs ago, you're trying to do what diy'ers, and pretty much every single Quantum board, fluence(bar style).. The response from ideamaster is.. Well im pretty sure I learned in grade school that plant photosynthesis occurs "best" under the sun.. I.E Sun's Spectrum give it a Google. But I hope all whom commented found that warm, cool color temperature mixed with far, and/or deep red plus UV-IR.


    Reply 7 years ago

    Because the red and blue light are the main frequencies that plants crave. If you use white lights. You are losing energy to the rainbow. ROYGBIV. You can use white but you are pumping out energy to 5/7ths of the colors that don't provide a lot of value.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Okay so... how big of an area are we talking as I only see one plant, and should the room be covered in foil or other reflective material to make a few lights seem like more to the plants? I am such a newbeeee at this but I am moving onto some land and want to do aquaponics inside.


    6 years ago

    actually,i'm going to this thing for my final year project..I would ask some question regarding this project..Firstly,can i know the power sources that u are using? because i'm using AC power sources 240v.Then, do you have circuits for this project?

    Then, for my final year project i may need to design something rather than just buy and use it.So,i'm planning to design the LED driver or the transormer..For your opinion which one is easier to design?
    Thanks Sir.


    Reply 2 years ago

    While this is 4 years old, I cannot help but question why a "student" who's needing to design an electrical component for their grade would need to ask which component would be easier to design (the transformer), and would not know how to use this with a different voltage. Given your need to design something for yourself, I'd assume you were an EE student or similar. From your questions, though, I gather you were not in an electronics related field. (So your need to design a circuit baffles me.)

    KhaiR1, it you're still around, please relax my mind and explain the situation you were in!

    (Side note: You don't have to use the excuse of being in school to get into on lights for growing your weed, dude!)


    Question 2 years ago on Step 9

    Great instructions, does anyone know the specs of this?


    Question 3 years ago on Step 1

    What is the difference in the leds you chose vs ones with PCB attached?


    Question 4 years ago

    Hello people, i have never made led light before. i bought 3w led chips from ebay. 3 colors. red, deep red and royal blue. also bought led drivers 100w. out(27-28V) 3000mah i wired led-s by google)) and twhen connected this driver they dont turn on . i tried 1 led and of course it burned on this driver but when trying more leds it doesnt light up at all. what is the problem? can anybody help me? thank you


    Answer 4 years ago

    This is not really a driver for these leds, this driver is meant for a single high power 100w led. I would change the driver to a multi led driver. Drivers can be a bit confusing so the easiest thing to do for someone who is not familiar with electronics and electricity is to buy a driver that labels the intended use. You can see on the drivers I used it is labeled (9 x - 12) x 3W,meaning you can use from 9 - 12 pieces of 3w leds. If you are familiar with electricity/electronics and understand the principles the most cost effective way to power leds is a linear power supply, just make sure you have sufficing cooling for both, and make sure you regulate that current somehow. : )


    Answer 4 years ago

    How many LEDs are they, and what are their forward voltage, and amperage? (Each color has different specs)


    5 years ago

    I'am not sure why a bunch of you are getting flashing LED's. I have so far build a bunch of these panels (most are retired now) and none had flashing led issues. I have not revisited this in a while but off the top of my head to me it seems you guys might have a component mismatch. The drivers are constant current so they are more stable than a simple linear supply. Because they are constant current they do need to have specifically 9-12 leds that are 3W.

    Here is what might be happening:
    1. You are not meeting the correct Voltage and Current draw requirement.

    2.This will cause drivers protection circuit to activate.

    3.The driver will turn off

    4.Moments later the driver will restart and try to power the LED's again.


    Check your components


    Reply 5 years ago

    Were your blue leds 3.2-3.4 FV and your reds 2.0=2.2 FV???


    6 years ago

    The guide helps build only 30% or less. Since the data presented in the instructions are very incomplete, the measures are incorrect.

    I recommend a lot of research before buying goods or start building this lamp.


    6 years ago

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    I'd like to caveat everyone on a condition that may be
    overlooked. Even though the each LED is supposed to be electrically
    isolated from the bottom of it's PCB, don't count on it! Leakage of
    any magnitude can lead to a wide range of results, most are not good
    if multiple LEDs happen to be leaking to others on the same heat
    sink. If this happens you may or may not see any symptoms or failures
    right away. Be warned. DO NOT ALLOW the bottoms of the 20mm PCBs to
    leak electrically to other LEDs nor to the power bus.

    So if you are
    experiencing LED failures, that's the FIRST thing to check for. I no
    longer use adhesive for holding the LEDs to their sinks. I apply an
    additional insulating layer (electrical tape if you have to) and
    firmly hold the LEDs on their heat sinks using mechanical means.
    Once an LED has been subjected to overheating, it will have permanent
    damage and can't be expected to last it's normal lifespan with the
    expected optical output levels.

    Anyone else have an issue with that driver flashing? It seems like it takes anywhere from 5 secs to 3 mins to stop flashing and stay on.


    Reply 6 years ago

    hey, I just got the same issue, but my light already works about an hour and 2 of 5 drivers are flashing... how did you solve the problem?


    Reply 6 years ago

    Sounds like a resistance issue... LEDs require resistors to prevent strobe like effects. Just don't ask me what resistance is required for this particular setup cuz I'm not an expert either. I'm sure google would point you in the right direction though. And resistors are cheap, so it's not an expensive fix.

    Quoting someone else who actually is a pro (Jason Poel): "With the resistors, you have to keep in mind the wattage rating. Most resistors are either rated for 1/8 watt or 1/4 watt. This refers to how much power is dissipated in the resistor itself. To choose a resistor you use: R = (Vsource - Vled) / Current(led). To find the wattage dissipated in the resistor: W = (Vsource - Vled) x Current(led)."

    Hope this helps.


    Reply 6 years ago

    For my LED grow light project i used seperate constant current drivers behind a step down mains power supply. I had a problem with my lights flashing because the rush-in current was too high (Charging constant current driver capacitors is effectively a temporary short), overloading the mains power supply max current and made the overload protection kick in. Which resulted in continued flashing.