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The LED Thread.

The forum to discuss the various types of equipment that is utilised to maintain a marine aquarium e.g. pumps, lights, tanks, protein skimmers etc. Also, it is for discussions on how you can do-it-yourself.

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The LED Thread.

Postby xcracer » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 9:30 am

Hey all,

There have been a few questions about LED's coming up, so if you like you can ask all questions here, post pictures, links and learn more about LED's and what they are about. Lets see if we can get a small database of info about them.

Here are a few links to LED's and there accessories. (there will be more)

http://cutter.com.au/categories.php
http://www.ledsupply.com/
http://www.etgtech.com/
http://www.dealextreme.com/
http://www.heatsinkusa.com/
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/StoreFront

The 3 Main components to a led setup are.
LED's
Heatsink (cooling)
Driver (powering LED's)


Now you really don't want to stray too far away from Cree 3W LED's, there are alternatives, but if your not too good with figures and light output, then stick to what has been tried an tested.

A few F.A.Q's

1. You cannot wire LEDs strait to a DC (or AC) power supply without having troubles.

2. 3mm, 5mm, 8mm, 10mm, LED's are NOT worth the hassle to try and save money, they are NOWHERE near as powerful as "high power" LED's. you can try them , a lot of people have but once you go high power LED's you'll laugh at yourself.

3. I dont have a PAR Meter (light measurer) so i cant tell you how LED's compare to MH.

4. There is no way to CUT CORNERS so to speak, there is only ways to reduce costs slightly by shopping around bulk buying unfortunately, which is an option in the future.

As you may have realized, this is more for the DIY side of things, only because it is much cheaper than buying one "off-the-shelf", but you can still discuss the pre-made units before you jump in and buy.

Now I have left A LOT out but I can't think of it off the top of my head, so ask any questions and I'll slowly build my first post up with more info and links.


DIY LED ON THE FORUM
Dan & Cathy's 3x2x2

Dean's Build

David's Build

pm me if you want your thread in here.. im sure ive missed some..
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Postby hazey36 » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 10:43 am

common drivers are buckpucks and meanwells.

buckpucks require a seperate powersupply, meanwells have the driver and psu in one.

cree XP series leds are small, XR series leds are large.

at the moment, the XP series are the brightest with the XPG white putting out (apparently) 444lumens of light at 1amp.

LED's (I believe) are a better light source because they; transfer(almost) no heat to your tank, have little to no green in their output (much less nuisance algae and nicer colour), are more customisable in their positioning for awesome lighting effects.

When compared with PAR meters, many LED units outperform upto 250watt MH fixtures at deeper depths(again this has to do with the spectrum of light involved).

With the use of Lenses, you can design your build to minimise algae growth on the glass(as if there's no light directly on it, algae wont take up there as readily).

Hope that helps some.
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Postby hazey36 » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 10:45 am

maybe add http://www.rapidled.com to the first post as they have some very cheap kits available which take alot of the hassle out for people who don't want to delve to deeply.
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Postby xcracer » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 10:56 am

thanks hazey,

also in that link you'll see "optics/lenses" they are for making a more NARROW beam, but far more intense,

some people get confused and think that optics will make a wider angle of light, which will proably decrease light output..

i think the general rule of thumb for optics is
12" deep tank = no optics
15-17" deep tank = 80* (optional)
18-24" deep tank = 60*
24"+ deep tank = 40*

but all this can vary with the height of your lighting fixture, i have seen people using 20* optics and hanging the fixture 1.5-2' off the water level.. and these recommendations are for higher lighting, if its only for a softy tank you could get away with much wider optics then stated..
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Postby hazey36 » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 2:03 pm

Could the moderators please sticky this thread, at least for the moment, it will help alot of reefers looking at this new technology.
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Postby tmd77 » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 2:14 pm

a great little read from nano-reef.com

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.p ... pic=186982
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Postby xcracer » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 2:27 pm

that it is, hopefully we can get some personal experiences from on this forum, i have recently received aaaaaaallll of my LED's and will be doing some soldering so i will try my best to steer everyone in the right direction for soldering and some other basics that i just picked up myself..
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Postby Steve Campbell » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 2:49 pm

hazey36 wrote:Could the moderators please sticky this thread, at least for the moment, it will help alot of reefers looking at this new technology.


I can't see any harm in that, at least for a while and it is a bit of a hot topic at the moment. :thumbsup:


I have a few questions or areas that could be expanded.

The driver. I guess this is more than just a power supply and without getting too technical is there a plain english way to describe what it does?

How many LED's should I use? If we use one 250W per two feet or 600mm for a display tank how many 3watt LED's should I use? On the other end of the scale if I am using a 24Watt PLU flouro on my refugium how many LED's should I use?
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Postby Tom the Reefer » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 2:51 pm

congrats nice work with your LEDs good research :clap: :clap:
Cheers
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Have a great day

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Postby xcracer » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 3:14 pm

Steve Campbell wrote:The driver. I guess this is more than just a power supply and without getting too technical is there a plain english way to describe what it does?


They are called "Constant current driver" and i think thats just it.. keeps the current at a set amount..

Steve Campbell wrote:How many LED's should I use?


all depends on tank size, anywhere from 4 - 200 and tank depth comes into play aswell, because if you have a really deep tank then you need tight lenses to penetrate the depth and therefore need more led's to cover as they put out less directional beam.

Steve Campbell wrote:If we use one 250W per two feet or 600mm for a display tank how many 3watt LED's should I use?


its not so much HOW MANY but what optic you should use.. if you have a 12" deep tank and use NO LENSES then thats enough par to grow just about anything... but maybe a basic rule of thumb for a 2' deep tank

1.5' wide = maybe 50 leds to exceed 250W levels
2' wide = add another 2 rows of 10 so 70

that would be max i'd say, you could probably skimp on those numbers a little.. BUT THATS JUST ME

and a mix of 50/50 white and royal blue


Steve Campbell wrote: On the other end of the scale if I am using a 24Watt PLU flouro on my refugium how many LED's should I use?



once again depends on the dimensions.. 6 with say 60* optics would be overkill.. bor a smaller fuge..




but before someone asks questions like the previous, please add your tank dimensions as it really is difficult to guess, also what you would like to keep, (high light, softies)
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Postby Dr DBW » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 3:19 pm

BTW, would be best (longer term) if you started working on page(s) for this in the RTAW Reefpedia">RTAW Reefpedia.
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Postby xcracer » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 3:23 pm

thanks for the tip DR so do i just make some sub-headings in word then just email one of you's the .doc and you set it up or :S??
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Postby Dr DBW » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 3:48 pm

You can do that, or you can just put the text into the wiki yourself and I will clean up the formatting if you like. Honestly, it is probably easier than doing a word document.

:)
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Postby Lukey » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 3:57 pm

It may be worth mentioning at this point about Green Loans

These Green Loans supposedly can apply for LED lighting, and are interested free loans for four years. Needless to say, a compelling way to buy lighting and slowly pay it off, so the initial cost of LED purchases aren't so huge. I am not 100% sure if aquarium lighting would be accepted, but it by all means should be.

Just figured worth keeping an eye on it, I know I will be should I need another LED light (heaps easier to throw a few dollars aside each week, rather than a few hundred in one big whack).
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Postby hazey36 » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 4:58 pm

in terms of the number of LEDS for different tanks,

probably the best rule for EVEN coverage would be based on led spacing.

personally i wouldn't spread the led's more than 100mm centres side-to-side and 200mm centres front-to-back.

as for depth, that would be based on lenses and the intensity of the leds.

a Q4 or Q5 XRE led won't penetrate anywhere near as deep as a R5 XPG.

so for this reason, it's probably better to start building a spreadsheet as the more powerful leds will need less focused lenses to penetrate to the bottom.

to start, a 2ft deep tank with Q4's will probably want 25deg optics where as the XPG r5 would probably get away with 40 or even 60deg optics.
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Postby NiCd » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 7:08 pm

Lukey wrote:It may be worth mentioning at this point about Green Loans

These Green Loans supposedly can apply for LED lighting, and are interested free loans for four years. Needless to say, a compelling way to buy lighting and slowly pay it off, so the initial cost of LED purchases aren't so huge. I am not 100% sure if aquarium lighting would be accepted, but it by all means should be.

Just figured worth keeping an eye on it, I know I will be should I need another LED light (heaps easier to throw a few dollars aside each week, rather than a few hundred in one big whack).


I am in this process of this at the moment, I have been told by the assessor that came out that they will be covered as part of the green loan, but i still dont have that 10k interest free credit card in my hands yet (apparently another 3 weeks away)

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Postby hazey36 » Tue 22 Dec, 2009 11:35 pm

NiCd wrote:
Lukey wrote:It may be worth mentioning at this point about Green Loans

These Green Loans supposedly can apply for LED lighting, and are interested free loans for four years. Needless to say, a compelling way to buy lighting and slowly pay it off, so the initial cost of LED purchases aren't so huge. I am not 100% sure if aquarium lighting would be accepted, but it by all means should be.

Just figured worth keeping an eye on it, I know I will be should I need another LED light (heaps easier to throw a few dollars aside each week, rather than a few hundred in one big whack).


I am in this process of this at the moment, I have been told by the assessor that came out that they will be covered as part of the green loan, but i still dont have that 10k interest free credit card in my hands yet (apparently another 3 weeks away)

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that's awesome news for us LEDers... lol and anyone else interested in changing to the "dark" side
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Postby Onsan » Wed 23 Dec, 2009 2:21 am

what is growth like under the lights compared to MH? Too early to tell? Any long term users?
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Postby hazey36 » Wed 23 Dec, 2009 6:40 am

it could be said that this guy started it all

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1587273

as you'll see, that topic has been auto split twice now... thats alot of avid LEDers
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Postby xcracer » Wed 23 Dec, 2009 10:28 am

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Postby Flipper » Thu 24 Dec, 2009 1:22 pm

With the new LED technology becoming more common and everyone comparing PAR readings, is it becoming time to relate coral light requirements to approx PAR readings ie (figures for example only) Acropora will do well under PAR readings 300- 400 etc etc whether it is MH, T5 or LED?
Or am I right off track on this?
Its just made me think because coral x might do well at a depth of 20in under 150wmh with a PAR of 150 but that will change with say LED where 20in has a PAR of 350 which is too much light for the same coral (again, figures are examples only)
Hope this makes sense to someone
Maybe this should be posted on the "right amount of light" thread
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Postby Lukey » Fri 25 Dec, 2009 8:45 pm

Exactly Flipper, but just as MH you set them according to tank requirements. Set them higher/lower for different PAR readings, etc etc.

I guess the thing is, we'll find it all out in the next year or so really, and just to how well they perform for us guys/gals on the forum who use them.
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Postby Flipper » Mon 28 Dec, 2009 12:08 pm

I think this thread is a great idea but it looks like there will be many others talking about specific brands (as we are getting now) which will mean alot of unnecessary reading. Can this be avoided? As more come onto the market will we be having one thread after another after another filling up the equipment forum with questions about the good, the bad and the real bad. Did this happen when MH or T5s became more popular? Will it be a matter of you get what you pay for as with globes. Maybe the members who have a reasonable knowledge of LEDs should develop a bit of a checklist for purchasing lighting ie LED size, amount of LEDs, optics used, PAR readings etc. Then maybe another one for those who purchase ie positioning, schedules.
Sorry about all the questions but I am just throwing it out there to maybe get a bit of a general idea like we do with MH.
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Postby anthony mazzeri » Mon 28 Dec, 2009 4:58 pm

Steve Campbell wrote:How many LED's should I use? If we use one 250W per two feet or 600mm for a display tank how many 3watt LED's should I use? On the other end of the scale if I am using a 24Watt PLU flouro on my refugium how many LED's should I use?


The old magic 'rule of thumb' measurement everyone is always looking for as a starting point. Here it is:

0.7 watts per litre.

This works out to about 2 and a bit of those Baisheng 120W units on a 4x2x2 (400 litre) tank. So two would give you excellent light for LPS, while three would give you excellent light for SPS. If not for those darn cross-braces...

Dr DBW wrote:BTW, would be best (longer term) if you started working on page(s) for this in the RTAW Reefpedia">RTAW Reefpedia.


That would be good. There's lots of misinformation abounding stemming from manufacturers' wild claims (applies to pretty much every aquarium product really) which users' experiences haven't had enough time yet to sort out fact from fiction. Plus the misinformation also applies to MHs too so comparisons are difficult. I'm still flabbergasted by seeing more published PAR tests done on LEDs in the last 10 weeks than I could find done on MHs in the last 10 years.

Flipper wrote:Its just made me think because coral x might do well at a depth of 20in under 150wmh with a PAR of 150 but that will change with say LED where 20in has a PAR of 350 which is too much light for the same coral (again, figures are examples only)
Hope this makes sense to someone
Maybe this should be posted on the "right amount of light" thread
:cheers:


It makes sense to me. Basically as a rough guide, currently the retail 90W 120W and 150W LED units would equate to 150W 250W and 400W MH lighting so you'd buy either your light fixtures or your livestock accordingly (whichever comes first), and also place your corals at various depths accordingly, just like you would have done with whatever MHs you went with before. You wouldn't need to put a 400W MH over a LPS or softie tank, and vice-versa a 150W MH over SPS, so likewise with LEDs.
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Postby anthony mazzeri » Mon 28 Dec, 2009 5:10 pm

Flipper wrote:Maybe the members who have a reasonable knowledge of LEDs should develop a bit of a checklist for purchasing lighting ie LED size, amount of LEDs, optics used, PAR readings etc.


From a non-technical standpoint, the biggest drawback of LEDs compared to bulb-type lighting to put on any checklist is that you can't change them.

This applies to online purchases mostly. You buy one that's too blue, tough. Buy one that's too white, tough. This comes down to the white:blue LED ratio. You can't change the bulbs out like with T5s or MHs so you're stuck with whatever you've got unless you go buy a whole new unit.

So my advice for top of any checklist for new buyers is to see it actually turned on and over a tank in person before you buy it. Top of my own checklist is to wait for units to be released with LEDs you can just pop in and out as you please to adjust the visual appearance to your own personal taste. (This actually applies to my decision to wait before putting LEDs over my planted FW tanks, as there's no way I'm going to put these hard and cold blue or white 20K 14K or 10K equivalent LEDs over my green plants. I need an LED unit equivalent to 8,800K, a nice warm and soft on the eyes Amazon River type light.)
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Postby Flipper » Mon 28 Dec, 2009 5:15 pm

from a manufacturers point of view I could see the sense of making them fixed because of the point you just said. If too blue then you will just have to buy another unit. Or, as with anything that is for the aquarium, they will make them interchangeable but at a high cost, a bit like car spares
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Postby anthony mazzeri » Mon 28 Dec, 2009 6:17 pm

Onsan wrote:what is growth like under the lights compared to MH? Too early to tell? Any long term users?


Purchased 29/11/09, showing where it's been sheered during collection and also a bit worn around the other natural edge as well. Sorry for the poor photo as I just took a quick snap with the wrong lens when it went in.

Image

Exactly 24 days later (23/12/09) under LED. Basically just three and half weeks almost. Lookit the sheered edge.

Image

It's liking the elleedee, I'd say. It's actually just in a temporary position until I build the other bommie, but it already started encrusting onto the rock it's sitting on as well.

PS. The dark Millepora in the background has gone brown from a lighter orange/tan in my tank because I have high nutrients, nothing to do with the light I don't think..
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Postby Flipper » Mon 28 Dec, 2009 6:29 pm

Here come the questions :roflmao:
So what lights are you using Anthony ?
What depth tank and how far are lights above water level?
At what height would the monti be from the LEDs? I am still struggling to work out what goes where especially with the zoas and acans. The 2 WA clams I have are at about mid height in tank and seem to be loving it.
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Postby anthony mazzeri » Mon 28 Dec, 2009 6:49 pm

Baisheng 120W (40x3W LEDs, w:b ratio=3:1) approx 3" from the surface directly above it , 2' deep tank, the placement is roughly half way up, so 30cm under the surface.

My Acans up the other end of the tank under the LumenAqua Ocean LED are growing well even right down at 55cm on the substrate (that's where the new bommie is going in) so they seem to be liking that much less intense light (about the same as 4 x T5s) just as much as the Baisheng's more intense light. You've got a bit of play as photosynthetic organism can adjust within reason. You'd probably have much less play with the much stronger KR92 when it comes to low/medium light corals.
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Postby Steve Campbell » Sun 10 Jan, 2010 12:46 am

Thanks for your comments everyone. Can someone clarify the differences in optics? If I were to do a DIY job could I use a combination of optics with the ones that penatrate the deapest at the front and the wider angle ones toward the back?

Would there be any benifit in tilting the forward ones back towards the reef structure?

LED K values. Are there LED equivelent of 10, 14, and 20,000K or are the K values adjusted by adding blue LED's?

I think it was mentiond above about a 3 to1 white to blue ratio. How does this work in a relative K value sense. ie. What are my starting options in turms of relative K values for the white LED's and then how does this progress as I add blue LED's starting from no blue, to maybe 5 to 1, then four to one and finally three to one.

Would it be really nessarsary to add the blue LEDs if I still in tend to run four T5's withe a blue and KZ (purple I guess) bulb?
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