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Old 03-07-2011, 12:52 AM   #1
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LED lighting

I am considering switching from metal halide to LED lighting. Anybody have LED lights on their tank? What does everyone think of them?
What would you recommend for a 175 gal bow front?
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:38 AM   #2
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I have shown pictures elsewhere on this forum of my 300 gallon L shaped tank. Display part is 250 gallons with 360 watts of mixed blue and white high output LEDs. Only drawback is the fan noise, each panel has 3 fans, so that is 9 fans running. Plus side is the light is wonderful. Corals love it, but it can be too bright for some, even though my tank is 30" deep. The absence of heat transferred to the water has been great, my chiller hardly runs and that saves money. The led array replaced 1200 watts of metal halide logging.

I would never use anything else as the advantages are too long to list.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:21 AM   #3
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I've had the PacificSun BT-EX 120w LEDs for a year. I would never use any other type of lighting again. No fan noise, completely controllable so I have a 2 hour ramp up/down for the dawn/dusk effect and full moon phase lighting.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:53 AM   #4
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I have had marineland LEDs on my tank for about a month now and I like them. My tank runs a lot cooler than with the halides and I am getting better color out of my coral. Wouldn't suggest them for a really deep tank though. I also have power compacts over the tank with them but I had these with the halides also.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:11 PM   #5
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I'm going all LED on my next tank. Doing quite a bit of research. All DIY. Learning a ton about what is necessary and what is not. All in all, it will probably be 1/3 to 1/2 the price of a comparable name-brand fixture and will have all the control features and fully customizable. But if you want plug & play there are really only a few fixtures that I have heard gleaming reviews on, AI being the top one.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #6
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I can't suggest anything for a 175, but I'm setting up a nano-reef with a Par38 led light over it. I've seen par ratings for them, it's outstanding. They've got great coloration, they run cooler, they're more efficient.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:56 PM   #7
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If you build your own panels, be sure to have an efficient way to cool the LED's as these high output diodes really get hot. Minuscule to what a metal halide light throws off, but concentrated at the LED site, there are limits. I think the units with no fans use big heat sinks, so be sure those get some ventilation to keep the fixture nice and cool. You get some pretty cool software with the new units that I wouldn't mind having, but you will pay roughly twice the price for the same amount of light. And as always remember salt water and electricity are really lethal. The tiny connections to the diodes should have some good protection and never see any spray. Good luck.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:50 AM   #8
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I will differ with you on this point Greg. Here's why

Reef Central Online Community - View Single Post - LED lighting on a budget!

If you read through this thread, I bring up this point. I am an EE in the construction/design industry and do quite a bit of lighting design, and I was with you totally until I debated the point with kcress on RC.

To summarize, the maximum operating junction temperature on the CREE curves is 150 Celsius, or 302 Fahrenheit. The threshold for pain is right around 140 F. Most people who do DIY build and put 3W LEDs on stars onto 1" wide aluminum U-channel in free space (no hood/top) with no active cooling say they can put their hands on the aluminum w/o pain.

This operating temperature can be measured directly behind the LED on U-channel designs and as kcress reported, he did this and got 158F, which is half of the maximum junction operating temperature. Now keep in mind that the maximum operating temperature is the basis for the L70 date of the LED. That means that if you run the LED at full power and 150C (302F) for 50,000 hours, it will lose 30% of it's lumen output (L70 = hours to 70% of original output). So you would have to run it at that temperature for 10 hours a day and it would still last 13.7 years. (10 hrs x 365 d/y x 13.7 y = 50,005 hours). It lasts even longer if you design the system to start out using only 60% of the total maximum output, then ramp it up over time as the output drops. But then you'd have an LED system in 15 years that uses 8-10x the power of it's then current day counterparts (and that is not an exaggeration)

The argument kcress makes, which I am now in total agreement with him after debating him, is that if you're all gung-ho on LED right now and want to be on the cutting edge, you're going to want to still be there in 5 years so why waste money on a $300-$500 heat sink (or more, depending on the size) that is completely unnecessary and does nothing to realistically extend the lifetime of your LEDs, because the same can be achieved with U-channel and a few fans if you really are worried. Your driver is going to burn out before the LEDs do, and at that time you'll probably just upgrade to the next gen of LEDs for the same cost as it would to replace your old, outdated driver. And believe me, that is exactly the way it is going to go.

In the commercial lighting industry, they are all well aware of the fact that the MTBF of the driver electronics will be reached long before the LEDs reach their L70 date. This is why manufacturers are designing fixtures with upgradeable LED panels, because they know that when the drivers fail, it's easy to sell the customer on replacing the old panels with new ones that use even less energy and are even brighter, with better optics, etc.

But as far as heat sinks go, those ones that heat sinks usa and rapid LED sell are big time overkill and completely unnecessary.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd R Turbo
I'm going all LED on my next tank. Doing quite a bit of research. All DIY. Learning a ton about what is necessary and what is not. All in all, it will probably be 1/3 to 1/2 the price of a comparable name-brand fixture and will have all the control features and fully customizable. But if you want plug & play there are really only a few fixtures that I have heard gleaming reviews on, AI being the top one.
Please start a thread as you build that out. I want to upgrade down the road and would love to tag along. I did a DIY t5 setup. Yep, I'm cheap too!
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:20 PM   #10
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