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Old 07/21/2014, 08:39 PM   #1
Gtownguy487
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Difference between LED Brand Name and DIY LED Fixture

Just curious what the difference besides the controllers on most the LED fixtures.


Im trying to decide if the money is worth buying from Ecotech or AquaIllumination rather then having someone build it myself.

Most "builders" say they use the same LED's as these major names in the business...

Anyone who could describe it to me would be so greatly appreciated!

Thanks


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Old 07/22/2014, 11:40 AM   #2
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Anyone?


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Old 07/22/2014, 12:15 PM   #3
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That is really it,

The housing is generally better on a brand name, but DIY are very customizable. You can do some cool stuff with those controllers.


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Old 07/22/2014, 12:30 PM   #4
mypepper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gtownguy487 View Post
Just curious what the difference besides the controllers on most the LED fixtures.


Im trying to decide if the money is worth buying from Ecotech or AquaIllumination rather then having someone build it myself.

Most "builders" say they use the same LED's as these major names in the business...

Anyone who could describe it to me would be so greatly appreciated!

Thanks
Back when LED's made there way to the aquarium market, I too was deciding to build my own LED fixtures, but after careful consideration, I purchased two Vega
Color fixtures.

My main reasoning to purchase a fixture from AI, the quality behind product and there reviews of excellent customer service. Just to let you know, Ecotech Marine also has excellent LED fixtures and superior customer service as well.

As for my self, I'm extremely handy, but I don't have the time to tinker, plus I want a polished finished product with all the bells and whistles, which both the AI and Ecotech Marine have.

Since I had such great success with my to AI Vega Color units, I recently upgraded to the Hydra 52. Let me tell you, these Hydra 52's are amazing and my corals have changed positively to the upgrade. As for the Ecotech Generation 3 Pro series, I'm very sure they are equally as good or a tad better then the AI Hydra 52's.

In closing, the choice is yours to make, but for myself, I'd rather buy a proven LED fixture off the shelf.

If your thinking of building your own LED light fixture, look up CNC Reef, which they have some amazing heatsinks for sale for the DYI builds.

Good luck on your decision,
Randy


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Old 07/22/2014, 05:05 PM   #5
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Thanks York and Rankdy.

I appreciate your write up of the differences. I cant seem to wrap my head around buying 5 Radion g3's... Thats $3750 just in lights alone.. Ive found some ebay fixtures for coral that i would only need about 4 for $400 bucks!!..

I just cant understand the difference and very confused..


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Old 07/22/2014, 05:12 PM   #6
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There are plenty of good reviews on
Ocean Revive Arctic S026/T247 as well as reefbreeders LED fixtures..

Just like anything in life.. A company can choose to price their products at whatever they wish.. You don't really think your $700 Apple Iphone costs anywhere near that to produce do you..

Now some companies will have more $$$ in Research/Development that they have to recoup, marketing dollars, support staff, etc... But in general the high dollar aquarium LED companies charge that much because suckers keep buying them at that price.

Personally I'm a Walmart philosophy type of guy.. "Sell em cheap and sell em by the truck load"

Nothing brings costs down like volume..
A $50 enclosure that you buy 25 at a time drops to $10 when you are buying them 500 at a time


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Old 07/22/2014, 08:33 PM   #7
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My LFS says that lights are lights... and all I need to know is that these led lights grow coral therefore any lights that grow coral will work....

I want massive growth that im able to have massive colony's but i just dont know too much about leds and pars etc...


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Old 07/23/2014, 12:23 AM   #8
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There is no major difference between the brand names and DIY. Actually, all our products were developed from DIY prototypes. The difference is the COST, building your own LED probably cost you more than buying a fine finished product. that is not considering the time you research and testing your design. Well, if you enjoy the process and creativity from the DIY like me, that is different story. LoL

thanks for choosing our lights, mcgyvr!

"Nothing brings costs down like volume.. " I love that! it is my strategy as well, the more the lights sold, the lower price I can give back to reefers! Why? because, my material/labor/shipping all costs are linked to the volume.

Been in the hobby more than 10 years, and experienced the transition from MH, T5 to LED, there is no LED company willing to provide the affordable solution to the hobbyist. Every time, I upgraded my lighting, my pocket bled! As I have an engineering background, it was not difficult to have a design which doesn't cost a arm and leg to build.
I would say all companies on the market do their research on pricing their product, but different company has different costs and marketing strategy. IMO, it is fair that a company that spends a lot of money on research and customer services. They are helping this industry moving forward. I am putting all profit back to the R&D as well, that is the only way keep growing on this competitive market.

However, meanwhile, my marketing strategy is set differently as other LED companies, we are startup by hobbyist in my local reef club, the prototypes were built in the garage and tested on our own tanks (i burned all my sps in my display tank twice!) , we know exactly what features hobbyist cares which not. we cut those useless or once-a-life features and keep the critical ones for the corals. We don't want to be fancy or upscale, we want most reefers put our lights on their tank and still have plenty money to buy frags!

Bo @ OceanRevive



Last edited by OceanRevive; 07/23/2014 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 07/23/2014, 03:25 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your help....

Whats peoples opinion about these lights?

Seems to have amazing reviews
These LED fixtures


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Old 07/24/2014, 08:59 AM   #10
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Any thoughts?


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Old 07/24/2014, 09:43 AM   #11
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Personally, I wouldn't buy those lights. They are cheap but must be so for a reason. Likely low quality drivers and power supplies. Also, there are only two channels of control so you can't control individual colours. And I would prefer more royal blue than blue emitters.

I built my own LED fixture about 5 or 6 years ago using high quality Meanwell drivers and Cree LEDs and am still using it today. I recently bought a Bluefish LED controller and can now control six individual colour channels from my iPhone. If you are at all handy then building your own isn't hard. Just wiring and soldering etc. If you want to buy a fixture at least spend a bit more money for something with more control, probably better quality components and some support if help is needed.

That's my 2 cents


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Old 07/24/2014, 09:48 AM   #12
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Also, with 60 degree lenses you won't get good colour blending and mixing, especially with the green, red and violet LEDs. I used 90 degree lenses on my blue and white and no secondary optics on the additional colours that are there for visual effect, not PAR.


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Old 07/24/2014, 12:19 PM   #13
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Let me preface this by saying that I'm the President and Director of Manufacturing of EcoTech Marine, so naturally I'm going to be a bit biased. I also don't believe there is anything wrong with DIY LED's, as a technical/mechanical kind of guy myself, the desire to build your own lighting is something I truly respect!

There are big differences between DIY LED solutions and commercially available products, but naturally these differences will depend on how you make your DIY solution and which commercially available LED product you buy from the market place. I can only speak for our Radion line of LED lights and here are only some of the differences:

1) Made in America from Globally Sourced Components
Made in America has almost become a point of contention for a lot of people these days, given that the nature of a global marketplace has essentially made made in America nearly impossible to achieve. Made in America from Globally Sourced Components does not mean that we buy something from another country and slap our label on it. Far from it. We've invested millions of dollars into vertically integrating our manufacturing processes which means we do things in-house. Our circuit boards are actually assembled right here in Allentown and quality controlled by yours truly, along with the support of our company, now at 40+ people strong.

What this means to you as a consumer is that we know exactly what's inside your product and you get higher quality as a result. That's because we came up with the ideas, we engineered the solutions, designed the parts, the boards and the circuits, and we make it ourselves. In this industry, that's unique. EcoTech Marine and AquaIllumination are some of the only companies in the US who take it to this level of in-house manufacturing.

2) Control
EcoSmart Live was designed from the ground up to be simple, powerful, and reliable. Over the last 18 months this control platform has flourished and become more feature filled and useful than ever before. Sure, you may not need a thunder storm in the middle of the day, but some people like features like that. There are loads of features that are truly useful, such as error monitoring of your lights, easier customer support since we can log into your account and help you out, as well as view vitals for your hardware, and remote web cam monitoring through a Dropcam. This level of control comes out of the box with the Radion lighting but will cost a fortune through third party controllers on a DIY route, if it's even possible. And try getting phone support for open-source controller or DIY LED projects. Ain't gonna happen.

3) Aesthetic, Reliability, Service
Being a commercially produced product, we understand that it must be reliable. We've spent millions of dollars on the above mentioned equipment to provide you just that. And when something does go wrong, whether it's your fault or ours, we are here to take care of it. Our customer support staff is industry renowned and having them here does make a difference.

Also, because we're a commercially produced product we take the overall aesthetic of our light seriously. It's hard to argue the Radion is not a beautiful piece of equipment that you wouldn't be proud to have over your tank.

4) Innovation
Innovation is built into our company philosophy, along with Customer Driven Quality and Continuous Improvement. You can see innovation everywhere in our products but some good examples are our ESL cloud based control system. This cloud-based trend is now even being duplicated by controller companies in the market. Also, our TIR lenses are so desirable that DIY companies literally sell OUR lenses to use over their DIY solutions.

In closing, I'd like to just post this picture taken just a few feet away from where I type this message. I think this speaks volumes of what a commercially produced LED light made in America means:




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Old 07/24/2014, 01:16 PM   #14
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but naturally these differences will depend on how you make your DIY solution and which commercially available LED product you buy from the market place.
That is the answer right there..

There are those of us that can DIY "properly" and way more that cannot as they simply don't have the knowledge/tools/skills/budget to do it right.
But the potential is there for a DIY solution to be of the same quality/performance/capability,etc... as a "commercial" solution..


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Old 07/26/2014, 05:56 PM   #15
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DIY are more customizable, usually less pretty, usually cheaper, but often the same if not better quality if built correctly.
IMO for a premade fixture, Nano-box reef is the best, hand made,Luxeon LED's, good controllers. Ecotech has some nice lights as well. Reefbreeders are my favorite of the cheaper options.


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Old 07/29/2014, 01:48 PM   #16
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Lots of good stuff in this thread!

Appreciate everyone's write ups... I wish i only needed 1 Radion so i could justify spending 750 on a light.. But when your trying to light up a huge tank or many tanks... and need 10 Radions to do it... The expense is just too much!!!

I hate Ecotech hasnt come out with a bigger models


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Old 07/29/2014, 02:11 PM   #17
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The Zetlights Qmaven LT6600seem to be a very nice led.
Likely only need 4 of these for a large tank




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Old 09/07/2014, 11:05 AM   #18
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Cant wait for ecotech to adjust their prices so everyone may have a taste of their lights.
Having long and deep tanks you just cant rummage $7,500 for lights these days


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Old 09/07/2014, 11:13 AM   #19
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[I]

Nice SMT machine.

Although I hope that's not carpet in an ESD sensitive environment



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Old 09/08/2014, 08:31 AM   #20
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Nice SMT machine.

Although I hope that's not carpet in an ESD sensitive environment
Thank you! It sure is carpet: ESD carpet designed for SMT environments. Grounding strips at every seam. Works pretty well and is very easy to keep dust free.


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Old 09/08/2014, 08:35 AM   #21
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ESD carpet? Sounds like an oxymoron!

Seriously though, that's pretty cool. I'm familiar with ESD wax for tiled floors but I've never heard of ESD carpet.


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Old 09/08/2014, 10:37 AM   #22
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In terms of hardware? The controller and sexy housing.

Easy CS and Warranty service are the real difference, along with time savings. Up to you personally how much that's worth.


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Old 10/13/2014, 09:02 PM   #23
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Only could wish for a Value from Exotech in the future


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Old 10/13/2014, 10:42 PM   #24
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I have been in the hobby for 25yrs. Started with t8,mh t5,Chinese led,diy led.In February I put 6 radion g3 pros on my tank 72x30x40w and I'm Very happy with the growth and colouration of corals. Im constantly having ,to frag my corals. I have recently added 2 g2 and 1 xr15 pro on my frag tank.The reasons for my choice of Radions - quality,upgradable, fully controllable ,American made, and everything Tim wrote earlier. I love them.


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Old 10/14/2014, 03:29 AM   #25
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My experience has been the same as Dayne. They are quality lights with great service.


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