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Unread 12/22/2009, 09:26 AM   #1
Santoki
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LED build and PAR readings (pic intensive)

Finally completed testing on my LED pendent and finished replacing all MH with pendents.
Majority of readings were conducted out of water for baseline, since it provided for a more controllable test environment. A few readings were then taken in my display for practical purposes.
First, some views of the first prototype:
Top:
[IMG]http://i45.*******.com/sm8v8i.jpg[/IMG]
bottom: notice the absence of exposed wires.
[IMG]http://i49.*******.com/2vahzdl.jpg[/IMG]
side: low profile
[IMG]http://i47.*******.com/110htgp.jpg[/IMG]
close up of optics:
[IMG]http://i45.*******.com/714v7p.jpg[/IMG]
some pictures taken during PAR measurments:
[IMG]http://i50.*******.com/qqwutg.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i45.*******.com/w7nc54.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i47.*******.com/2vbwvw0.jpg[/IMG]
Some in tank measurements: (flash was used to expose the LCD display on the Quantum Meter)
[IMG]http://i48.*******.com/2rbze4g.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i45.*******.com/30upxsz.jpg[/IMG]


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Unread 12/22/2009, 09:28 AM   #2
Santoki
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FTS with array >4 feet from tank bottom
[IMG]http://i49.*******.com/mn22jn.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i49.*******.com/125q1y0.jpg[/IMG]
And finally, the PAR measurements:
[IMG]http://i47.*******.com/m9t092.jpg[/IMG]
In tank measurements are not consistent I believe due to the difficulty in consistent sensor placement. However, it does show that little if any light is lost through water of this depth. One reading read more than when measured outside water.

After the first prototype was built and testing completed, I set out to build a few more for myself and some locals around here.
I realized that the first build was over-engineered in the cooling department and only half of the original heatsink was needed, so I designed the Gen2 with that in mind. The advantage is that the pendent is half the size of the original while putting out identical output.
Here are some pics of the second build... I did not have a free hand, so it was difficult for me to document as well as I wanted.. but it does show how much work is involved with prepping the heatsink (my least favorite part).
Cutting main stock to size:
[IMG]http://i48.*******.com/28mee4m.jpg[/IMG]
completed cut:
[IMG]http://i45.*******.com/9uol6s.jpg[/IMG]
jagged edges to be finished:
[IMG]http://i50.*******.com/55qdyq.jpg[/IMG]
a template was created to facilitate the building of multiple units:
[IMG]http://i48.*******.com/e17vc2.jpg[/IMG]
drilling the 72 holes needed to mount LEDs for each unit.
[IMG]http://i47.*******.com/j9sihl.jpg[/IMG]
Mount holes complete:
[IMG]http://i50.*******.com/29bmuf6.jpg[/IMG]
polishing surface for better LED/heatsink mating:
[IMG]http://i48.*******.com/24od4w5.jpg[/IMG]


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Unread 12/22/2009, 09:28 AM   #3
Santoki
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fan mounts are cut and refinished:
[IMG]http://i48.*******.com/eq7fn.jpg[/IMG]
mounting begins:
[IMG]http://i45.*******.com/2mmzqqg.jpg[/IMG]
mounting complete and soldering begins:
[IMG]http://i48.*******.com/wriexs.jpg[/IMG]
finished and hung on rails over display:
[IMG]http://i50.*******.com/3341c78.jpg[/IMG]
The orginal prototype on the left and the Gen2 on the right:
[IMG]http://i50.*******.com/28lzw3l.jpg[/IMG]
I mounted all pendents on wheels so they can be moved if needed:
[IMG]http://i45.*******.com/ibkvth.jpg[/IMG]
another FTS... All exposures were lowered to prevent washout, hence the seemingly dark surroundings:
[IMG]http://i50.*******.com/14tmsld.jpg[/IMG]
These have been over the display for almost two weeks now.
I have read from most here on RC using Cree emitters that it seems to put out more light than expected. I think my PAR readings reinforce that. As such, I am slowly acclimating the display to these lights with very short cycles. All three pendents overlap no more than ≈3 hours a day, and they are staggered so that there is light on the display for 11.5 hours a day.
So far, all corals seem to be responding favorably with new tips, and in the case of the plating montis, more folds are developing, and surface is becoming more textured.
As far as costs are concerned, I find it a moot point when you consider the costs of MH bulb replacement. In my case, I replace bulbs every six months as I find that output decreases dramatically by then and spectrum changes. I notice because my corals almost stop growing. At 3x250, that's at least $210 per year. Nevermind the shock the corals have to go through each time I change bulbs.
Temperature:
My display used to increase anywhere for 2-4˚F during the day when the halides are on, causing unavoidable temp fluctuations. Now, there is no fluctuation. AT ALL.
Frankly, I don't understand the apprehension with LED technology. It is here and ready now. Costs are not higher than a comparable MH system when considered over 3 years (fixture/ballast and bulb replacement costs).
Environmental impacts:
In addition to using only a fraction of the energy of any other reef lighting available to us, these emitters have a projected lifetime of 11 years running around 12 hours a day before light output decreases to 70% of original output.
They contain no toxic materials, unlike florescents and MH, which contain mercury and other toxic materials.
I encourage anyone with the means to try this. You will be pleasantly surprised. Also, I want to add that these pictures really don't capture the quality of light these LEDs output. It has to be seen in person!
Finally, I want to thank "soundwave" for the inspiration which started it all.



Last edited by Santoki; 12/22/2009 at 09:33 AM.
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Unread 12/22/2009, 09:40 AM   #4
onecoder
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This is awesome. I am going to convert to LED on my Nano in the next few months. I will start a thread when I do to show as well. Thanks for the inspiration.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 09:47 AM   #5
L98-Z
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Good post. I can't see your pictures right now due to being blocked at work, but everything sounds good.

I just ordered 6 meanwell drivers and started my LED ordering process. Is there a better/cheaper solution to heatsinks over heatsink USA?


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Unread 12/22/2009, 09:54 AM   #6
g8gxp
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wow! I am amazed how much light is lost without the use of optics at a depth of only 1 ft. Did you do any type of testing in regards to using a mixture of 40 and 60 degree optics? That would be interesting to see as I'm guessing not ever part of the tank needs the same kind of lighting.

Also, how high are you running the lights and what type of driver are you using?

Great job!!


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Unread 12/22/2009, 10:14 AM   #7
Santoki
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L98-Z, I used heatsinkusa. If anyone knows of a cheaper place, please share.
I did not take any specific measurements of 40/60 mix, but I did note that overall color can be changed with different lens combinations. For example, 40˚white 60˚ blue yields output which looks more white, since the blues are more diffused...
I am using meanwell non-dimmable drivers to drive my pendents. I think changing color output by dimming is not an efficient method, since you will always be turning down one or the other to achieve the desired color. I will probably switch to dimmable drivers once I can build a controller box to simulate sunrise/sunset.
-Robert


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Unread 12/22/2009, 10:16 AM   #8
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Nice! There is hope You do really nice work and this thread proves it.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 10:20 AM   #9
der_wille_zur_macht
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Awesome build. I like the combination of high mounting and optics to get light in the tank without obscuring the open-top effect.

I'm curious about drivers and dimming control, if you're dimming them.

Looks like we have the same drill press.

24 LEDs per panel, three panels. I didn't see what size tank you have? What lighting did you have before the LEDs? What drive current?


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Unread 12/22/2009, 10:21 AM   #10
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Very impressive build! Looks like you put a lot of thought into that. Thanks for sharing! Are those the white Q4 LED's?


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Unread 12/22/2009, 10:36 AM   #11
phobos2deimos
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What is your total cost either for all three pendants or per pendant?
How big is your tank?

Really excellent work.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 10:42 AM   #12
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Awesome! How did you conceal the wires so well?

I love the clean look and installation.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 10:44 AM   #13
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So when are you selling them?


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Unread 12/22/2009, 11:25 AM   #14
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How many watt is each led blue and white.Awesome build.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 11:29 AM   #15
Santoki
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zur-macht,
I am not dimming them, as I don't yet have the know-how to build auto dimming controllers. I did not think manual dimming for color manipulation was necessary or efficient, as it involves dimming one or the other to achieve desired color. Modification of total white/blue ratio would be a better approach where end color is concerned. The power supplies are separate, so once I have more time and figure out how to build and program a dimming controller, I can just swap out the current PS for dimmable drivers and controller.
The current display is a standard 4' 75 gallon. I replaced 3 250w MH on electronic ballasts with these pendents.
I am driving all LEDs at 700mA using Meanwell LPC-35s.
I used all Q4 whites for these pendents. I did run some tests with Q5s. While they were slightly brighter (not perceptible to my eye), the Q4s output more than enough PAR as indicated above.
Phobos, my costs per pendent was a bit more than $300. After I did a calculation of how much I had spent on MH bulb replacements alone for the past 4 years, I felt that the cost of the LED system was peanuts in comparison.
Jefft72, the wires are routed on the backside of the heatsink and are obscured by the fan and frame (where fan and connectors are located). I had to cut a channel in the back for wires to cross the fins cleanly. The frame covers that channel.
Marinelife, I am selling these to locals who prefer not to build themselves or do not have the time. I do have a full time job, but I enjoy building these. If you are interested, you can PM me. I would like to keep this thread purely informational.
-Robert


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Unread 12/22/2009, 11:32 AM   #16
L98-Z
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoki View Post
zur-macht,
I am not dimming them, as I don't yet have the know-how to build auto dimming controllers. I did not think manual dimming for color manipulation was necessary or efficient, as it involves dimming one or the other to achieve desired color. Modification of total white/blue ratio would be a better approach where end color is concerned. The power supplies are separate, so once I have more time and figure out how to build and program a dimming controller, I can just swap out the current PS for dimmable drivers and controller.
The current display is a standard 4' 75 gallon. I replaced 3 250w MH on electronic ballasts with these pendents.
I am driving all LEDs at 700mA using Meanwell LPC-35s.
I used all Q4 whites for these pendents. I did run some tests with Q5s. While they were slightly brighter (not perceptible to my eye), the Q4s output more than enough PAR as indicated above.
Phobos, my costs per pendent was a bit more than $300. After I did a calculation of how much I had spent on MH bulb replacements alone for the past 4 years, I felt that the cost of the LED system was peanuts in comparison.
Jefft72, the wires are routed on the backside of the heatsink and are obscured by the fan and frame (where fan and connectors are located). I had to cut a channel in the back for wires to cross the fins cleanly. The frame covers that channel.
Marinelife, I am selling these to locals who prefer not to build themselves or do not have the time. I do have a full time job, but I enjoy building these. If you are interested, you can PM me. I would like to keep this thread purely informational.
-Robert
Where did you purchase your Q4's from and what color bin are they?


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Unread 12/22/2009, 11:43 AM   #17
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First of all, let me say awesome job.

However, as the owner of a Solaris and several other MH systems, I can't say I'm happy with LED color. These LED's are very efficient and have tons of advantages, but I have yet to see any that offer the pop that MH and T5 offer.

As an example, I recently rescaped a 65 SPS tank that is under a Phoenix 14k. I put all my frags on a rack in my 180 under the Solaris, as the project took a few days. Everyone that saw them in the Solaris all screamed "what happened to your SPS?!?" I said nothing why? But of course I knew they all looked browned out under that light. Now they are back under the 14k, and all the reds, greens, and blue coming popping out again.

I very much do enjoy my Solaris, but the color is just not there, no matter how I adjust the blend or intensity.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 12:39 PM   #18
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I don't think the Solaris' ran anything comparable to the Cree XRE's though.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 01:15 PM   #19
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very nice thx for the thread.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 01:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoki View Post
zur-macht,
I am not dimming them, as I don't yet have the know-how to build auto dimming controllers. I did not think manual dimming for color manipulation was necessary or efficient, as it involves dimming one or the other to achieve desired color. Modification of total white/blue ratio would be a better approach where end color is concerned.
Totally agreed - that's why I built a bunch of small fixtures with different counts of each color to get the correct "feel" by changing ratios. Then I can dim to get transitional (dawn/dusk) effects, and NOT as a color-correction measure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tufacody View Post
I have yet to see any that offer the pop that MH and T5 offer.
That's the beauty of doing it DIY. You can adjust each individual LED to get the exact color you want. You can change the total count of LEDs (and drive current) to get the exact intensity you want. It's all just a big math problem, and compared to MH or T5, you have control over FAR more variables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by g8gxp View Post
I don't think the Solaris' ran anything comparable to the Cree XRE's though.
IIRC (someone correct me if I'm wrong) Solaris units used Luxeon Rebels. comparing highest bin to highest bin, they are nearly identical to XR-E in terms of output per watt, FWIW.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 02:32 PM   #21
Santoki
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tufacody View Post
First of all, let me say awesome job.

However, as the owner of a Solaris and several other MH systems, I can't say I'm happy with LED color. These LED's are very efficient and have tons of advantages, but I have yet to see any that offer the pop that MH and T5 offer.

As an example, I recently rescaped a 65 SPS tank that is under a Phoenix 14k. I put all my frags on a rack in my 180 under the Solaris, as the project took a few days. Everyone that saw them in the Solaris all screamed "what happened to your SPS?!?" I said nothing why? But of course I knew they all looked browned out under that light. Now they are back under the 14k, and all the reds, greens, and blue coming popping out again.

I very much do enjoy my Solaris, but the color is just not there, no matter how I adjust the blend or intensity.
I'm not sure what happened there...
To my eyes there is definitely more "pop" with these LEDs. I've been using MH for more than 10 years now, and never was I able to achieve these colors I'm seeing now. Perhaps they will brown in time? It certainly hasn't been the case in my display, as colors are more vibrant than before. I think soundwave's colors are pretty good after a year under his LEDs. I will keep this thread updated regarding growth and color...


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Unread 12/22/2009, 02:46 PM   #22
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GREAT thread - Thank you for sharing!


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Unread 12/22/2009, 03:21 PM   #23
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Great job on this. Can you post some flashed photos of the top of the sink so we can see how you ran your wires. Your wire job is awesome.


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Unread 12/22/2009, 06:20 PM   #24
phobos2deimos
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Thanks. Are you willing to post a complete and condensed parts list?


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Unread 12/22/2009, 08:24 PM   #25
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Really nice project, and I appreciate that you're willing to continually update the thread to keep track of your progress.


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