DIY LED Strip Build

DIY LED Strip Build Designs for SSK-1560

and Bridgelux EB Gen 2

In this article, we will be reviewing the most efficient DIY LED strips available, and list the part numbers for each colour temperature. Then, we’ve put together a design using each of these strip types for saveral common grow spaces including 2’x2′, 2’x4′, 3’x3′, 4’x4′, and 5’x5′.  We will a provide a complete shopping list for each design to make it as simple as possible. Ok Lets get started.

STRIP OVERVIEW & PART NUMBERS

There are 3 different series of strips that we recommend using for your builds:

  • SSK-1560 – Cree

  • SSK-1560 – Nichia

  • Bridgelux EB Gen 2


Each Strip has its strengths and weaknesses, so we will run the numbers on all of these designs and we’ll summarise at the bottom of the article the pros and cons.

First, its worth looking at the heart of the strip, the led’s and some key data to consider

  • All strips here run 112 leds on 560mm(2ft) length boards
  • SSK Boards run on Aluminium
  • EB are FR4 Fibreglass PCB’s
  • SSK run 16/7 Configurations (16 leds in series and those are in 7 parallel strings) 16 x 3V =48V Required to run the boards
  • EB run 7/16 Configurations (7 leds in series and those are in 16 parallel strings) 7 x 3V = 21V Required to run the boards

Bridgelux EB Gen 2 run the newer Gen 2 3030 Leds rated to 180 lumens per watt, have a low vf but dont spec out quite as nicely at temperature

DATASHEET FOR EB GEN2

Cree J Series 3030 Leds are a relative newcomer and while not a lead efficacy, the new ULTIMATE series due for release this year will no doubt lift their performance. The current version however is not to be dismissed as it stands up very well next to the Bridgelux GEN 2 Leds, with a marginally higher vf, but very good performance at temperature.

DATASHEET FOR CREE J SERIES 3030

From two excellent Led’s we move to arguably the best led in the market right now. The NF2W757GT-V2F1 has excellent characteristics, base low forward voltage, maintained over current and temperature. It is the only led I’m aware off that holds sub 2.8 forward voltage at 200 LPW, even the LM301B from Samsung requires a AZ voltage bin to slightly head this chip. It is likely the V3 in early prerelease will further lift is performance.

DATASHEET FOR NICHIA NF2W


DESIGN EXAMPLES

So how do we utilise these bad boys into a useful grow light. Below, we’ve mocked designs using each strip type for a variety of different grow spaces. In these designs, we’ve tried to strike a balance between simplicity, ease of construction, price points, all while delivering big photons

Lets start with basic constants/parameters:

  • Target: around 30-40 watts per square foot
  • Drive: Approx 80% of Driver capacity
  • Although lumens aren’t a great measure for grow lights, they still provide a good metric for comparing output of lights of the same color temperature. We will use lumen output as a rough guideline to balance the number of strips required for each light when driven at ~75%.
  • We’ll use constant current drivers for builds that end up with a reasonably low circuit voltage when wired in series (below 200V), and we’ll use parallel wiring with constant voltage drivers for those builds that would have too high of a circuit voltage if wired in series.
  • We’ll try to avoid having to use multiple drivers. We’ll only need multiple drivers for 5’x5′ spaces.
  • Each system will be designed so that the driver cannot overpower the group of strips. However, note that current hogging can still occur within individual strips in the group in a parallel/CV build and this can cause strips to overheat and fail. There are measures that can be taken to prevent this from happening (current mirrors, resistors, thermal switches, fuses, etc.), but this is beyond the scope of this article and is up to the reader to incorporate if they choose. Devices like this are not included in the designs.
  • On the constant voltage/parallel systems, all strips must be connected at once to prevent the chance of strips being overpowered. If the design calls for 10 strips, do not only hook up 5.
  • System current for “B” type drivers will be based on the driver data sheet’s rated current, and system current for “A” type drivers will be based on reported current, since you can get more power out of them.
  • All diodes will be top bin for flux. Specs will be based on a temperature of 45 degrees Celsius.
  • I personally use 18 gauge to connect wagos to strips (the strip connectors likely won’t take wire any bigger than 18 gauge) and I use a minimum of 14 gauge wire for the wago-to-wago connections in parallel systems – the cable needs to be at least this thick since these wago-to-wago runs carry more current. I am not an electrician – these are suggestions only and I recommend checking with a licensed electrician to ensure you’ve selected the proper wire for your system and installed it properly.

The spaces we’ll consider are:

  • 2’x2′
  • 2’x4′
  • 3’x3′
  • 4’x4′
  • 5’x5′

We will also provide some consideration for kits to use to supplement existing lights but this will not be the main topic as such

Grow Area's

2x2 Cree

SSK-1560 – Cree LED Strip Build – 2’x2′. Based on 3000k 80 CRI

The  SSK-1560 – Cree strip uses 112 pcs of the Cree J Series, this is relatively dense but will provide a great spread of light in this grow space.

Parts List:

4x SSK-1560-30CR A$49.80 (USD36.36)

1x Mean Well HLG-120H-C1400B Driver A$62.50

1x 100K Ohm Potentiometer for Dimming A$$5.10

1x Resistor for Potentiometer A$0.50 

Note- This 10k resistor is only required if your potentiometer measures less than its rated resistance, this is often the case with low cost potentiometer. Use this resistor in series to bring the pot up to its rated resistance.

Metal Mate 20 x 10 x 2mm x 3m Aluminium Rectangular Tube 3 Metre Lengths(A$17/3metres) 

Note – Will need to be cut to length

Metal Mate 20 x 20 x 1.5mm 3m Aluminium Equal Angle A$16.79(3metres) This is for the framing construction to mount you lights once assembled   

Note – 3 metre length is likely more than required so would draw out your design to ensure material requirements before purchasing.

1x Roll of Thermal Tape, 15mm x 25m A$13.99

1x L16 Waterproof Power Connector for Driver AC Connection A$6

18 gauge hookup wire cut to whatever length you need A$4

4x 5-Conductor Wagos A$4

1x 6-Pack of Ratcheting Hangers A$24

Total Price Estimate (USD) = A$186 + Shipping

Specifications:

Drive : Constant Current

Topology: 2 boards in Series, 2 Strings in Parallel

Diode Count: 448

System Voltage: 96V

System Current: 1,400mA/2 =700ma per 2 boards

System Power: 134.4W

Lumen Estimate (3000K): 20,000

Efficacy: 169 lm/w

Wiring Diagram:

2x2 Nichia

SSK-1560 – Nichia LED Strip Build – 2’x2′. Based on 3000k 80 CRI

The  SSK-1560 – Nichia strip uses 112 pcs of the Nichia NF2W757GT-V2F1, this is relatively dense but will provide a great spread of light in this grow space.

Parts List:

4x SSK-1560-30CR A$49.80 (USD36.36)

1x Mean Well HLG-120H-C1400B Driver A$62.50

1x 100K Ohm Potentiometer for Dimming A$$5.10

1x Resistor for Potentiometer A$0.50 

Note- This 10k resistor is only required if your potentiometer measures less than its rated resistance, this is often the case with low cost potentiometer. Use this resistor in series to bring the pot up to its rated resistance.

Metal Mate 20 x 10 x 2mm x 3m Aluminium Rectangular Tube 3 Metre Lengths(A$17/3metres) 

Note – Will need to be cut to length

Metal Mate 20 x 20 x 1.5mm 3m Aluminium Equal Angle A$16.79(3metres) This is for the framing construction to mount you lights once assembled   

Note – 3 metre length is likely more than required so would draw out your design to ensure material requirements before purchasing.

1x Roll of Thermal Tape, 15mm x 25m A$13.99

1x L16 Waterproof Power Connector for Driver AC Connection A$6

18 gauge hookup wire cut to whatever length you need A$4

4x 5-Conductor Wagos A$4

1x 6-Pack of Ratcheting Hangers A$24

Total Price Estimate (USD) = A$186 + Shipping

Specifications:

Drive : Constant Current

Topology: 2 boards in Series, 2 Strings in Parallel

Diode Count: 448

System Voltage: 96V

System Current: 1,400mA/2 =700ma per 2 boards

System Power: 134.4W

Lumen Estimate (3000K): 20,000

Efficacy: 169 lm/w

Wiring Diagram:

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