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Pimp My Cabinet, plus DIY Light Screen! (Project DIWhy)

Epiphyte

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its a very safe idea to predrill any manufactured wood products such as ply or MDF. If its higher quality ply the glues and the opposite stranding and wood hardness add resistance, were you hand or using an impact? if its lower quality and youre near an edge it can de-laminate and split.. Cabinet fasteners can vary in grade quite widely. That looks like really high quality ply and cheapish screws..

Most of the time I would pre-drill but currently my smallest drill bit is 3mm and I was too lazy to drive to Screwfix to get some smaller bits. Normally I use half decent quality wood screws and find they drive well into manufactured board (as you say, if not too close to the edge), but these are quite small and made of cheese or some other poor quality metal substitute.

I did expect them to round out a little (despite using good quality Wera screwdrivers), but sheering a head clean off is a first for me.

Thanks @ScapingScotsman! As mentioned above I'm all self taught, so it's definitely doable if you wanted to give it a try yourself.
 

Epiphyte

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Not much done the last few days. But it is now painted.

I'm lucky enough to have a really great local decorators centre. I can just walk in with a problem, the chap who runs the place gives me a few cans of stuff and I return the favour with money.

I've got to paint the inside of the cabinet white to match the new addition. Stupidly (not at the time mind you) it's all been varnished so I need to sand that back. Hopefully the primer I've bought will work on a keyed surface so it doesn't need to be entirely sanded off.

20220204_131014.jpg

Here's the final painted finish. I hate painting, the finish isn't perfect, there are a few drips and I did it with a paintbrush, not a roller, so there are paint brush strokes, but it'll be hidden in a cabinet.

20220205_193818.jpg

Also, here's something I won't have mentioned yet, an anti-vandal push switch for the light screen. Not sure if I'll use this to switch it on and off or to change scenes, but it'll have a function of some sort.
20220205_194914.jpg
 

Epiphyte

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Small update...

One thing that's been bothering me is I'll have to have the ugly cabinet LED light control box showing, due to the fact it has the motion sensor in it. With this in mind it was time to warm up the soldering iron, get the solder wick out and do some more modding to the control box.

First thing was to remove the actual motion IR sensor I then found some wire to extend this away from the PCB so I can mount it remotely, keeping the actual box hidden from sight.

20220206_231338.jpg 20220206_232701.jpg 20220207_010246.jpg

Then it was really down to a final test. I needed to ensure the voltage regulator was giving me a voltage that roughly emulated the original 18650 battery. The battery measured 4.1v, so I set the converter to 4.1v. I have a sneaky suspicion that I could probably just feed 5v in to it as it'll have it's own voltage regulator, but I'm not experienced enough in "reading" a circuit board to confirm this, so safer to just replicate what it's expecting. I just plumbed the input into a breadboard with a regulated 5v line on it, just like the real thing will have. Makes life easier to test it before it's all properly plugged in.

A few turns of the screwdriver and we have light!!!

20220207_012643.jpg 20220207_013502.jpg

Last but not least for tonight was to quickly throw together a plug for the IR sensor to sit in and look neat on the surface of the front panel. I have plenty of drill bits from 1.5mm-10mm, which are too small, or a 16mm auger bit, which is too large. I needed to make a sleeve to reduce the 16mm hole to fit the IR sensor snugly. Thankfully this takes just a few minutes in Fusion 360

Thingy.jpg

Then precisely 11m 52s on the 3d Printer I had the printed part. I forgot to take a photograph of the final one I settled for, but here's a previous version which I made minor changes to (increased the flange size)
20220207_010330.jpg

Then a drop of superglue, pop the wires through and add the lens and ta-da! All you aquascapers will be very glad that the lens position between the top edge and the switch adheres to the rule of thirds ;)
20220207_020401.jpg 20220207_020500.jpg

Underneath I have attached the 5v LED power supply and the LED box, all hidden nicely out of the way.
20220207_020538.jpg

The plan tomorrow (given that it's 02:19 I am typing this, I should probably say today) is to wire the LED's for the rest of the cabinet, wire the extension plug and then try and work out the wiring for the LED backlight, which will also be well hidden from view.
 
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zozo

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Very nice project, looks really great!

To share an experience you might find useful... :)
Obviously you don't want individual LED's to show through the light screen, so you need a diffusion layer.
I'm afraid that by placing the LED strips horizontally in several rows with the diodes facing the glass panel the individual LED's will show as bright spots on the back panel.

I've played a while with backlighting with LED strips and controller... I experience the most beautiful and natural effect will be only 2 LED strips. 1 strip at the top above the water level, placed horizontally with the LED's facing/beaming down and 1 strip at the bottom, placed horizontally with the LED's facing/beaming up. This way the LED's will beam towards each other and the light will spread out over the frosted panel.

What makes this a more natural effect is that natural light in water also comes from above and gradually will fade out in intensity while penetrating into the deep. And this is what the light will do over the backlight panel as well, it will be brighter at the top and fade out downwards to the bottom.

Now if you work with RGB then you could take a top light in the white light range mimicking the sunshine from above. And a bottom light in another natural colour for example greenish or reddish or yellowish light that beams up mimicking watercolour. Both colours from the top and bottom will fade out towards the middle where they meet and fade into each other. Depending on the set intensity you can make it overlap at different depths that looks best. It creates a depth perspective over the back panel.

Cheaper to make, with fewer LED's, less power consumption, more options and a more natural effect compared to how light penetrates water in nature. :)

As you can see in the picture below I never made it into a project build by making a back lightbox. It was simply experimental to see what the effect is from the viewing perspective with a LED strip from the top and bottom facing each other.
DSCF7385 (Kopie).JPG


Must add, in real life, it looks different and actually better than it ever will show in a picture, at least in my case using a simple pocket camera. The pictures don't show what the eyes see...

But the front view effect will be similar to this. With white light from above and coloured light from below spread out over a frosted panel.

DSCF4518 (Kopie).JPG


DSCF4525 (Kopie).JPG


DSCF4533 (Kopie).JPG


Meanwhile the tank was growing in it looked like this with a lot less back panel left in view.
dscf7481-jpg.jpg
 

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Epiphyte

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Very nice project, looks really great!

To share an experience you might find useful... :)

I'm afraid that by placing the LED strips horizontally in several rows with the diodes facing the glass panel the individual LED's will show as bright spots on the back panel.

I've played a while with backlighting with LED strips and controller... I experience the most beautiful and natural effect will be only 2 LED strips. 1 strip at the top above the water level, placed horizontally with the LED's facing/beaming down and 1 strip at the bottom, placed horizontally with the LED's facing/beaming up. This way the LED's will beam towards each other and the light will spread out over the frosted panel.

What makes this a more natural effect is that natural light in water also comes from above and gradually will fade out in intensity while penetrating into the deep. And this is what the light will do over the backlight panel as well, it will be brighter at the top and fade out downwards to the bottom.

Now if you work with RGB then you could take a top light in the white light range mimicking the sunshine from above. And a bottom light in another natural colour for example greenish or reddish or yellowish light that beams up mimicking watercolour. Both colours from the top and bottom will fade out towards the middle where they meet and fade into each other. Depending on the set intensity you can make it overlap at different depths that looks best. It creates a depth perspective over the back panel.

Cheaper to make, with fewer LED's, less power consumption, more options and a more natural effect compared to how light penetrates water in nature. :)

As you can see in the picture below I never made it into a project build by making a back lightbox. It was simply experimental to see what the effect is from the viewing perspective with a LED strip from the top and bottom facing each other.
View attachment 181868

Must add, in real life, it looks different and actually better than it ever will show in a picture, at least in my case using a simple pocket camera. The pictures don't show what the eyes see...

But the front view effect will be similar to this. With white light from above and coloured light from below spread out over a frosted panel.

View attachment 181865

View attachment 181866

View attachment 181867

Meanwhile the tank was growing in it looked like this with a lot less back panel left in view.
dscf7481-jpg.jpg
Very interesting Zozo, thank you for your insight. It did occur to me to make the panel "edge lit" like, for example, a cheap PC monitor or TV, but I went down the route of putting more LEDs to try and diffuse it the best I can. The other reason for strips of LEDs was also because I'd like to play with effects like "stars" when the lights go off at night and other fun things which will only be possible with a backlit panel.

It's just an experiment to see how I like it, I can always make V2 (and V3, V4, V5....) with edge lighting or even a combination.

Still, very cool to hear about your experiences and I love the emersed growth of your tank!
 

Epiphyte

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Todays update should be titled "I hate painting"...

I believe some people enjoy this, find it therapeutic, maybe even do this for a living. How? Why? I love DIY, but christ painting is the worst 🥲

As mentioned above the tank had been varnished on the inside so I had to try and get a good key to it. I'm using really high quality primer so I got out a bit of 40-grit and a sanding block and went to town. I think I did an okay job, not amazing, after 1 coat you could easily see the areas which were better keyed than other parts. The second coat covered really well and I've been waiting a good few hours for it to dry before I crack the gloss out. I'm going to try and get one layer of gloss done tonight before I go to sleep, so I can wake up, do another one and hopefully get things in place by the afternoon.

Before:
20220207_115628.jpg

In progress:
20220207_123644.jpg 20220207_123647.jpg

Whilst that's been drying I've been doing a little more wiring. First things first I printed out a small enclosure I found on Thingiverse and mounted it in the frame using 3M VHB tape. For those who don't know, VHB is a foamy double sided tape which is, for all intents and purposes, permanent. To remove things normally you'd have to get some thin wire to dental floss to cut through the foam and then roll the sticky part off. It's perfect for tasks like this where you need a strong mount but don't have access to screws.
20220207_194700.jpg

The pins on the ESP32 board are Dupont connectors, so I grabbed a few female connectors are wired up the Vin, GND and both Pin 4 and 2 of the board. Pin 4 is our data pin for the LEDs and pin 2 is being used as a remote switch, going to the switch on the front of the cabinet, which then returns to GND. The wire I am using is 22 gauge silicone wire which is too thick for the dupont connector bodies, which makes it a right pain in the backside to crimp and insert, but I got there eventually.
20220207_201938.jpg

I think clipped it all together into the housing and started to cable manage. For some perverted reason this is always my favourite thing of any electronics project. It can take a functional job into an aesthetically pleasing piece of work, in addition it often makes troubleshooting down the line so much easier, so the extra half hour effort is completely worth it in my opinion.
20220207_202113.jpg 20220207_214419.jpg

Here you can see the red and black being the obvious positive and negative power lines, for both the ESP32 and the cabinet lighting. These are wired to the rear of the case and into the Meanwell PSU. To the top there are two blues and a white wire. The blues go to the front power switch which I mentioned above. The white is the LED data lead. There are also two free red/black wires which will be the LED wires, which will be wired direct to the PSU. This means the LED's do not need to pull current through the ESP32, rather they take it directly from the 5v power supply.

I wasn't sure how I wanted to get the wires through the base of the cabinet into the main body to then sent to the backlight panel. To make life easy I decided to use some 3 pin JST-XH connectors. These are both very secure, compact and polarised and therefore, in theory, will prevent me letting the magic smoke out.
20220207_215011.jpg

To make the passthrough nice and neat it of course meant a trip to Fusion 360 again to design a plug. Again, this is just a 16mm rod with a flange on one end, but this time with a 10.25mm x 7mm rectangle through the centre to let the JST-XH connector sit in, which in turn will be held in with a blob of hot glue.
jstxh.jpg

14 minutes, 26 seconds later and...
20220207_221003.jpg

This was then installed in a 16mm hole I drilled, and the wires cable managed. The paint was slightly chipped but it's going to be out of sight so I'm not worried.
20220207_222735.jpg 20220207_221642.jpg

Next to tackle was the LED cabinet lighting. I've decided to make my life easy and, rather than daisy chain all of the LED strip segments in series, I will just wire them in parallel. They are actually all in parallel on the strip itself, so it's just a different way of wiring to achieve the same thing. This makes it really easy to just pop some Wago-style terminal blocks somewhere convenient (I choose the bottom of the ferts tube) and stick them down with more VHB tape. I can then run the LED driver power cable, this time just a simple +5v/GND, into each terminal block, and send out the LED strips from there.
20220207_193657.jpg

To make life easy too, I've also decided to combine both the LED power supply 230v input and the extension plug (which will only be used for water changes) on to the same plug that goes up to the extension lead. For this I will just use more terminal blocks, as these are rated to 32A/250v they're perfect for simplifying things. I should probably cover all this up as it's mains voltage, but I can't see any water getting to that part of the cabinet and I don't intend to stick my hands in there for no reason with it live.

20220207_231448.jpg

Unfortunately I'm an idiot and the backbox for the plug extension is jammed in the hole, I think it's just the paint that's decided to moonlight as an adhesive. Not sure how I'm going to get it out but I might need to go to Screwfix and get a new one if this needs cut out.
 
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Epiphyte

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Lots of progress today, almost finished the cabinet! Inside of the original cabinet now has two layers of gloss on it and it's come out really well, couldn't be happier.

First thing I managed to do today was to properly fit the extension plug. Simple task. I decided to fit the plug inverted, just because it will make life a lot easier as I think my water change pump cable will hit the floor of the cabinet. If it doesn't I'll reverse it as it'll look a little more conventional.
20220208_131123.jpg

Then the small job of aligning the magnetic latches. I swapped the fetta based screws out for some 6x1/2" pan head screws, which are both stronger and look neater. I am really happy with how this has all turned out, it's simple and easy to use.
20220208_133322.jpg 20220208_133406.jpg

Small task whilst the paint was drying was to transfer my TNC Complete from the original storage tanks to the new bottles. My missus did question why there was a bottle on the dining room table in this afternoon with a suspiciously yellow liquid in it.
20220208_174323.jpg

Last but of wiring to do, LED strips. Not much to report here, just soldering and cable tidying. The wire leading up out of the gap between the ferts bottle and the wood goes to another JST-XH connector to connect to cabinet lightning when I install that tomorrow. I also spliced another wire in to head off to the dosing pump lights. Again, all wired into the Wago connectors on the base of the ferts holder.
20220208_234610.jpg 20220208_234631.jpg 20220208_234525.jpg

And finally, the on button gets pressed......

20220209_002015.jpg 20220209_001111.jpg 20220209_001914.jpg


Here's a little close up of the dosing pump hoses. Not great routing wise but it'll work, if not aesthetically pleasing.
20220209_001857.jpg 20220209_001850.jpg

And a little bonus project, now I've painted the door of the cabinet so I re-fitted the 3D printed tool mounts I use. I was quite proud of these until @Courtneybst showed me how he just uses a magnetic knife block to do the same job far easier.
20220208_131355.jpg 20220208_131833.jpg

Tomorrow I plan to get it fitted into the cabinet itself. Being the grade A doughnut that I am I completely forgot that paint adds some fair thickness to my DIY. So whilst it might have fit perfect before I painted, it now doesn't fit. Nothing a bit of sanding wont fix though. Then I'll wire the cabinet lighting and that's job done. Then on to the light panel...
 

Epiphyte

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This project is really impressive, but I should stop watching this thread. Otherwise I will soon end up with a 3D printer amongst my list of ever growing (expensive) gadgets...

3D printers are odd things. For 95% of it's life it's sat dormant in the corner of my office. Every now and then though I get an idea or need to fix something and it's proven to be invaluable. It's a fun hobby and an incredibly steep learning curve, but not nearly as expensive as you'd imagine with the current crop of beginner machines from China, such as the Creality Ender 3. If you've got a tinkerer's mind or like to design and build things it's just a really great tool to have at your disposal.
 

LondonDragon

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3D printers are odd things. For 95% of it's life it's sat dormant in the corner of my office.
I have a £10k 3D printer in the house (from my missus work due to pandemic) and like you say hardly gets used lol Comes in handy when you want to customise something to your needs that you can't just buy off Amazon/eBay!
Loving the DIY project, looking forward to when its done.
 

Epiphyte

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I have a £10k 3D printer in the house (from my missus work due to pandemic) and like you say hardly gets used lol Comes in handy when you want to customise something to your needs that you can't just buy off Amazon/eBay!
Loving the DIY project, looking forward to when its done.

Mine isn't quite as fancy as a £10k one, but it's fast and accurate so I'm really happy with it. It's one of these if you're interested, though you have to build and program it from scratch. It's solved so many little issues for me around the house and with various hobbies, just like this project for example.

Yesterday was a frustrating day, some good things, for example I finally fit the cabinet LED's and sanded away some paint for the frame to fit. Then when some things work well, others break...

Following on from an earlier post here is a pic of the little cable mount I made for the cabinet overhead lighting.
20220209_152057.jpg

I then installed the overhead LEDs, just two strips of the same ones I used for other parts.
20220209_154215.jpg

Then, a neater way to mount the extension lead than just throwing it in. Just two wood screws, simple enough.
20220209_155158.jpg

Then finally, with a bit of sanding......
20220209_144925.jpg

Looks exactly what I had planned! Next to test the LEDs
20220209_155444.jpg 20220209_155514.jpg

Now I couldn't really be happier with how it's turned out, apart from one thing....... the motion sensor doesn't work. The whole point of the lights was that when door opens the lights come on, but for some reason it wasn't playing ball. I checked my wiring, it was all fine, so I pulled the PIR sensor off the control board and tried testing it to see if I cooked it when soldering.
20220209_175730.jpg

I set it up to illuminate the LED when the signal line from the PIR sensor detected movement, which it did. So the sensor works, but on further investigation the LED board wasn't providing the sensor with the required 3.3v supply. I'm not good enough with electronics beyond what I've done so there isn't much choice but to replace the board as I can't repair it. That's currently due to be delivered in the next few hours from Amazon, but it put the finishing touches on this cabinet on hold. Highly frustrating.

So this morning whilst I wait for Amazon I thought I'd put the finishing touches on the light screen.

I have the cables exiting the rear of the screen and I wanted a nice exit for the wires. I decided the best bet was to use another JST-XH connector with another 3D printed part to go along with it. A small amount of space to solder the wires but I think the end effect is worth it.
20220210_120351.jpg Screenshot 2022-02-09 165700.jpg

I decided to make a cable to go between the two female connectors on the cabinet and light screen. To make the wires look a little nicer than three wires, I had some wire sleeve laying around, so I heatshrinked the wires together and fed them through the sleeve.
20220210_121344.jpg 20220210_121049.jpg

And here's how it ended up, though once it's finalised I'll glue the connectors in place to hide the wires.
20220210_135406.jpg

And this is the reason for the 8 lines of LEDs on the back screen. My phone's camera has gone full Samsung and saturated the lights like crazy, it's far more subtle in real life and the banding isn't nearly as noticeable. I've yet to try it on the tank, but with the WLED software I can do fun things like

"Daytime"
20220210_132503.jpg

"Sunset"
20220210_135033.jpg

and finally, night time with an "Aurora" which gently fades in and out near the top.
20220210_133134.jpg

Can't wait to try this properly on the tank.
 

Epiphyte

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Thanks both @Zhekus and @Tim Harrison

The frustration with over-complicating the cabinet lights today continues. My new motion sensor arrived today, promptly took it apart and spent a few hours removing barrel connectors and making the PIR sensor remote rather than on the board as I did with the last one. Once again..... nope, no luck.

I'm not sure if it's something I'm doing in the process of re-soldering the PIR sensor but I'm pretty confident with my soldering skills, but either way something's not right. I've tested it and the signal voltage from the PIR is all over the place. The sensor from yesterday works, but it's a 4 legged PIR rather than this one's 3 legs, so not much I can do about that.

20220210_153125.jpg 20220210_153642.jpg 20220210_155721.jpg 20220210_162752.jpg 20220210_163756.jpg

So with all that time wasted for a second time I've decided to scrap the motion sensing lights. It turns out I've got a few more anti-vandal switches kicking around which will match the one already in the cabinet. The downside as they're all momentary switches, not latching switches. This means when I press the switch it doesn't latch on or off, it just sends a burst through whilst the button is pressed.

The solution of course is not to use a switch on the extension lead, but an Arduino Pro Mini
20220210_212900.jpg

A short while later using some very basic electronics and some simple code I found online I've turned an illuminated latching switch into a on/off switch for the LEDs.
20220210_233056.jpg

On the breadboard I just tested it with a single LED, but it's powered through an NPN transistor so it'll scale fine up to the LED strips. I'm actually going to order a MOSFET for it as I feel it'll be a little more robust. Tomorrow I've got some "prototype" PCB boards arriving so I'll be able to solder this into a proper circuit, 3D print a small enclosure for it then finish this project.

I've decided this project will be now be named "Project DIWhy"
 
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Wookii

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Thanks both @Zhekus and @Tim Harrison

The frustration with over-complicating the cabinet lights today continues. My new motion sensor arrived today, promptly took it apart and spent a few hours removing barrel connectors and making the PIR sensor remote rather than on the board as I did with the last one. Once again..... nope, no luck.

I'm not sure if it's something I'm doing in the process of re-soldering the PIR sensor but I'm pretty confident with my soldering skills, but either way something's not right. I've tested it and the signal voltage from the PIR is all over the place. The sensor from yesterday works, but it's a 4 legged PIR rather than this one's 3 legs, so not much I can do about that.

View attachment 182516 View attachment 182522 View attachment 182521 View attachment 182520 View attachment 182519

So with all that time wasted for a second time I've decided to scrap the motion sensing lights. It turns out I've got a few more anti-vandal switches kicking around which will match the one already in the cabinet. The downside as they're all momentary switches, not latching switches. This means when I press the switch it doesn't latch on or off, it just sends a burst through whilst the button is pressed.

The solution of course is not to use a switch on the extension lead, but an Arduino Pro Mini
View attachment 182518

A short while later using some very basic electronics and some simple code I found online I've turned an illuminated latching switch into a on/off switch for the LEDs.
View attachment 182517

On the breadboard I just tested it with a single LED, but it's powered through an NPN transistor so it'll scale fine up to the LED strips. I'm actually going to order a MOSFET for it as I feel it'll be a little more robust. Tomorrow I've got some "prototype" PCB boards arriving so I'll be able to solder this into a proper circuit, 3D print a small enclosure for it then finish this project.

I've decided this project will be now be named "Project DIWhy"

For your cabinet lights, any reason why you can use a standard magnetic reed/contact switch to turn the light on when opening the door, and off when closing it?

Amazon product
 

LondonDragon

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I use one of these:

Amazon product

Has a motion sensor so when you open the door it comes on, also attaches magnetically to the holder, so you can take it out any time you want if you want to have a closer look at something in the cabinet and then just put it back, charges via USB also and the battery lasts a long time between charges (you can always leave it connected to USB inside cab if you want also).
 
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