Arduino aquarium lights

[Kalle Hyvönen] just finished building his own aquarium lights. He used four powerful soft-white LEDs, mounting them on a pair of heat sinks to keep things cool. Now he could have just connected them to the power supply and plugged it into the wall, but instead he included is own controller. An Arduino drives the switch-mode power supply, offering dimming thanks to PWM, and the ability to automatically switch the light on and off using an RTC chip with a battery backup. The sketch includes the ability to alter the lighting schedule and other variables by sending serial commands through a USB connection. This protocol is detailed with comments in his sketch.

We’ve seen a lot of interesting aquarium light projects. This one that uses heat from the LEDs to warm the water is one of our favorites. Others are full of features like this version that includes a moonlight mode. But Arduino enthusiasts don’t have to look far to find offerings like this PAR meter build, or this aquarium light controller library which can be recreated using the ubiquitous controller board.

Comments

  1. Faelenor says:

    That’s funny, it’s almost the same thing as I’m doing right now! Except that I’m using the AVR chip directly, not an Arduino.

  2. Rudager says:

    Someone should use an Arduino to create a shimmering LED effect like you would see underwater in the ocean. That would be cool.

  3. The light does shimmer quite a bit because of the surface of the water moving (because of the filter) and the LEDs being a pretty much a point source of light :)

  4. dude says:

    I have always wondered if other animals (like fish) see PWM powered lighting the same way we do. Our eyes cannot pick up the blinking of the lights. But can animals? That would be incredibly annoying.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Iv created something very similar recently as my little project, iv used 12 * 3w 6500K white led,s and 4 * 3w rgb LEDs, the upshot of which my arduino ( with a pwm shield to drive the led drivers ) can create sunrise / sunset all varying in colors and produce a lovely moonlight. I also use a rtc chip through IC2 to give it the time. As a little extra feature iv created a program that runs on my laptop and allows me to control it manually as well. All this is mounted on a moulded strip of aluminium with channels for the 48 wires neededto connect the leds and to act as a hood/support/heatsink. My next feature is to build a little 2.8″ touch screen (on a second arduino) with an rf link to act as a remote. Iv had a lot of fun with this and will post some photos somewhere soon!

    • Steve says:

      Jonathan – that sounds exactly like what I need! The fluorescent lights on my current tank have blown two ballasts, and I suspect the third is about to blow shortly. I need to replace them with LED lights, and I want to do the same thing with PWM, a timer, remote control, and sunrise/sunset, moonlight etc. What size is your tank and what sort of LED drivers did you use?
      Steve

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