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Old 11-21-2013, 08:08 AM   #1
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Taotronics and other Chinese LED panel reliability question

The "best bang for your buck" thread is a massive archive of what LEDs to use, how many, etc. In the end, it boiled down to (SPOILER ALERT) the Taotronics panels.

But, it seems that over the course of the past few months, people have started experiencing problems with their panels shorting out, drivers dying, rust, or catching fire(!), all within the first year of use. Others have reported no such issues after 2-3+ years.

That makes me wonder if the initial batches of the Taotronics-branded panels were of higher quality/reliability than the current knock-off/no-name panels that are available.

If you are a current or former owner of these panels, and wish to contribute to a highly unscientific survey, please answer the following:

1. Panel manufacturer (ie, Taotronics, Evergrow, 'no-name', etc)
2. How long you've had them in use
3. If you have experienced any failures
4. If you have had failures, how long was the panel in use before it failed?
5. If you have had failures, what was the failure (single LEDs dropping out, entire panel dies, rust, etc)?
6. Were you able to get it repaired, and has it been working ok since then?

20 gallon nano-reef torn down to make way for the 40B Reef. I also have two 5 gallon fresh
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Old 11-21-2013, 12:40 PM   #2
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I have come across a few concerns also,
but most can be avoided if you do proper maintenance

the biggest issue I found was the 3 fans , they draw in lots of airborne particles such as dust
and over time it builds up inside the unit , dust and electronics is a big concern with fire .
as long as this is done before you turn on lights use a can of compressed air to blow out any dust build up just be sure you cover the top of your tank so all the crud don't fall in ,
I do this once a week I also live on a dirt road so I get a lot of dust .

salt buildup is not a issue as I wipe my fixture down daily my light also sits 22inches above the water , the closer to water the build up gets worse , radio shack sells a spray that you can spray all the internal electronics that will help keep all connections from corroding , but like everything it's up to you to keep it clean ,

I found the dimmer switches to fail from always switching on and off so to avoid that don't switch light on from that switch just use that as the dimmer , there is a second on/off switch that can be used there is one for whites and one for blue , these switches seem to be more reliable IMO anyway ,

as for rust I don't have that issue as I dismantled my light when I got it , and sprayed a clear appliance epoxy over the entire metal casing inside and out .

other than those small flaws I love my Chinese leds

my leds are the no name s
almost a year old
proper maintenance can help avoid some of the issues
for the cheap price nothings going to be perfect (switches can be replaced)

Fish are like lifesavers
They come in different colors

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Old 11-22-2013, 10:45 AM   #3
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I think that a lot of these reliability issues stem from the fact that a lot of hobbyists don't maintain their equipment. sure the Radions, maxspects, and AI units use higher-quality products which mean they can prob withstand a lil more torture before failing. but what can we expect when we are placing 110v equipment mere inches from a corrosive liquid? I watch sw videos on youtube all the time that show peoples tanks that have equipment caked in salt creep/dust/ etc. I don't know about everyone else but routine equipment cleaning is done almost on a daily basis for me. heck since ive owned this setup ive taken apart the light fixture 2 times to clean out the ballasts and fans. keep your equipment clean and free of debris and it will reward you with reliable service
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ever see someone cut a 125g in half??
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:56 AM   #4
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LED drivers for about 18 leds are $15 shipped. Any handy person can replace these if need be. There are no preventative measures to stop drivers from going but cleaning these fixtures is all on you.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:05 PM   #5
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I imagine that the initial batches weren't any better and it really stems from misleading reviews. Too many buy things on the basis of they are cheap. The only reason. Then they give glowing reviews based on absolutely nothing but the fact they bought something because it was cheap.

The other issue is who is giving the review one should consider that most reviewers having no experience with the product in general and therefore have nothing to compare it to so you get the "it looks bright to me, after one day my fish look good, etc..) no basis of comparison to other units.

It really pays to do the research on multiple forums and find guys/gals that actually are in the know. Not individuals that are regurgitating a moderator, an individual that has a good tank, etc... There are very knowledgeable individuals that have put the time in on researching, have the background to identify and understand short comings of products, etc.. and will be able to quickly point out true best bang for the buck products. Most that have frequented various forums will see who is best to follow advice from.

While name brand isn't always best overall they have tighter quality controls, use better components in manufacturing, etc... Many have actually done product testing, design work, innovation, etc... Most of the bargain stuff people purchase is nothing more than cheap knock off to look like the better product. Corners are cut at every aspect. To compare the two is comical at best and usually ends in a conclusion sort of like determining something is equivalent or near equivalent because they both function similar at a very rudimentary level.... hey a leaf is better than toilet paper.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:30 PM   #6
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I have 4 of the 1st generation non-dimmable taotronics straight blue and white models over my display, all working flawlessly for 2 years now.
I have a year old reef breeders unit with dimmers and multicolors also working fine. This unit i even accidentally submerged in salt water and after running a hair dryer on it for about an hour, it's still running like a timex watch.

I also have a dimmable blue and white model with white casing and no name on it, except it's says "model G120W".
This unit is also working flawlessly.

Electronic parts will fail, especially in close proximity to water and extremely humid conditions.
I have seen expensive products like Vortechs fail prematurely.
I also remember the very first "all the bells and whistles" LED fixtures that came out Years ago. I believe it was an American company called "Solaris" that made them. These units were like 4 grand a piece and they did everything and anything. They used to break on a regular basis. My point is, no matter what you spend things are going to happen.
It's just like plane crashes....You only hear about the planes that crashed, not the thousand and thousands that landed safely.
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:09 AM   #7
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What about the hanging kit. Is it pretty sturdy and reliable. Dose it come with the curved bar that attaches to the back ok of the tank? If not where can people purchase them
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:39 PM   #8
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It's just a ring with 4 wires attached, that hooks to the light via clips. Reliable, yes. Ideal....eh.
No other curved bars or anything else come with it. You will have to use your imagination when hanging them.

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