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Old 10-09-2010, 02:34 AM   #1
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Cheap LED's are on the way!!!

As you can probably tell by my last several posts, I am obsessed with LED fixtures. I seem to be one of the few that are interested in this but here it goes. I talked to the guys at Reefledlights.com and they said to expect the cost of LED's to be about 1/2 of what they are now in 6 months. If you are interested at all in LED's you need to check out this sight.

Reef Led Lights

They have a DIY retrofit kit that will cover a 36" tank for about $400.00. (a 72" tank would take 2) That is under $800.00 for a full dimmable LED system!!!

If you want to know how bight the LED's are in MH terms, each bulb is a little better than 12 watts on a good MH light. ( spacing and layout matters) 3/4-1 inch is a good rule of thumb.

It turns out though if you constantly dim and brighten you lights it could reduce their life by up to 90%.

Cree just released a true actinic 3w LED

It turns out there are some LED's made overseas that blow Cree out of the water.

Guys, this is the wave of the future. I REALLY wished we could get a decent discussion going on this one.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:30 AM   #2
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No doubt they are the next best thing in reef lighting, just like plasma lighting will be in a few years. Like everything else that's new the prices are, IMO, too high to justify changing over your lighting system if you already have something setup.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:41 AM   #3
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IMO-I still have my doubts about LED- I know they look sweet but I have yet to see any long term affects- Manufacturers have done testing nothing has proven to me that these will last years in a single tank. I would not mind trying these out as well- but I agree with ccCapt they are a little pricey.
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Old 10-09-2010, 01:01 PM   #4
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I want to take a closer look at the led lights in the underground Walmart's parking in my location. It is a hanging system containing about 20 led bulbs each lamp, I guess, and they have a bluish color to it and are extremely bright. If I could get hold on any information on those I'll post it.
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Old 10-09-2010, 05:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ccCapt View Post
No doubt they are the next best thing in reef lighting, just like plasma lighting will be in a few years. Like everything else that's new the prices are, IMO, too high to justify changing over your lighting system if you already have something setup.
I tend to agree with you if you already have a system set up but if you are starting a new tank, The DIY led systems are definately worth a look. This is where I am at. I was looking at spending around $800 on MH's (with a good reflector), T-5's and moonlights for my 120. At the price point for the DIY systems it is about the same and VERY easy to change intensity, color etc. You also have MUCH more control over your lighting. If I was(I am) setting up a new tank or upgrading to a larger and was going to buy lights anyway this system would be hard to stay away from.
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Old 10-09-2010, 05:56 PM   #6
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Are you talking $800 for a DIY MH lighting system? If so you should look around a little more for parts. My lighting is all DIY and it cost me $25 for each MH ballast on Ebay, $16 for 95% reflective hammertone sheeting for each reflector and $55 for each bulb. Total cost for a 3 bulb 250w MH lighting system: $288. VHO actinic lighting cost $60 for 2 72" bulbs, $24 for 4 endcaps and $45 for a VHO ballast. Total cost of my DIY VHO lighting: $129.
Total cost for a 1070w DIY lighting system : $417.
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:08 AM   #7
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Are you talking $800 for a DIY MH lighting system? If so you should look around a little more for parts. My lighting is all DIY and it cost me $25 for each MH ballast on Ebay, $16 for 95% reflective hammertone sheeting for each reflector and $55 for each bulb. Total cost for a 3 bulb 250w MH lighting system: $288. VHO actinic lighting cost $60 for 2 72" bulbs, $24 for 4 endcaps and $45 for a VHO ballast. Total cost of my DIY VHO lighting: $129.
Total cost for a 1070w DIY lighting system : $417.
do you replace bulbs every 6 months - 1 year? that is 225 every year in just bulbs. I am not going to talk about electricity because I don't care about that cost. but even if the LED's last half as long as it should you are looking your system costing $1500.00. even if you only replace your bulbs every 2 years you are still looking at just under 1000.00. not to mention if you want radium bulbs or electronic balasts.
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Old 10-10-2010, 03:49 AM   #8
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LEDS will not burn out like tradtional lights because unlike other lights LEDS are Diodes and they have a much longer life to them in fact most LEDS will slowly start to fail over a few thousand hours. Fluorescent tubes on the other hand can just die.

LED's are rated for 35,000 - 50,000 hours of life compared to Fluorescent tubes at something like 10,000-15,000 hours.

Cost is to run them is lower, the size is great, they are shock resistance since they are solid, nothing to break in them.

Yes they cost a lot more to start with but once installed the cost will be much cheaper over the years since they will last easily 3 times as long as other bulbs will.

Problems with LEDs are that instead of something like a compact fluorescent is that instead of just a ballast, connection and blubs they need drivers, resisters, heat sinks bulbs... They need to have a little bit more going on behind the scenes to get them going which ups the cost.

Only reason I know about them is I work with signs, used to be most people used standard bulbs to light there signs, then neon and most recently LEDs. We installed a sign about 8 years ago now for a cafe here in the city and we havent been back to service the LED's once they still give off the same light. Some Neon signs we put up last year have been serviced 4 or 5 times already for fading, failure, and indoor signs using fluorescents well those seem to get serviced every 2-3months.

Then again tho this is all my experience from Sign installation and repair not from aquarium lighting. Personally if I could I would get LED's in a heart beat.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:19 AM   #9
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do you replace bulbs every 6 months - 1 year? that is 225 every year in just bulbs. I am not going to talk about electricity because I don't care about that cost. but even if the LED's last half as long as it should you are looking your system costing $1500.00. even if you only replace your bulbs every 2 years you are still looking at just under 1000.00. not to mention if you want radium bulbs or electronic balasts.
Hmmmm....55x3=165 not 225. I'm not sure where the changing MH bulbs every 6 months comes from. Sanjay did a ton of tests on MH bulbs and after 18 months you only lose aprox 20% of the bulbs output. I'm talking name brand bulbs, not cheapo Ebay bulbs. The biggest change in the bulbs after that amount of time is the color starts to shift more towards the red spectrum.

How did you come up with my system costing $1,500 when the start up cost, including bulbs, is $288? The reflectors and ballasts last forever and even if I changed bulbs every 12 months it's only $165/yr in bulbs. In 6 yrs I still wouldn't have spent $1,500.

I did say LED's will be the way to go for lighting when the prices drop more. I also said if you currently have a lighting system, like I do, it's hard to justify their cost.
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:11 PM   #10
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6 months is usually based on the higher output or overdriven ballasts. I think in a year or two LED's will really be changing the game. There will be lots of people who have owned them for several years not to mention the giant price drop.

For smaller tanks like my 12g, they are unbeatable. Cost is relatively low for smaller tanks, and I don't have to worry about heat or ever replacing bulbs. The selling point for me was being able to control the white/blue balance at anytime and getting a DIY controller to phase in and out the lights how I pleased.
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