LED, T5, or combo

reefstricken

New member
I'm kind of dizzy having read so much on diy leds.

I'm planning lighting for a 130x18x20t tank. I will keep a mix coral tank.

Lighting I have available:

3 x 250w (2 HQI, 1 SE) MH
2 x 110w VHO actinic
4 x 54w T5

what I would like: low heat, decent par, efficiency (I live in texas, and this has a serious effect on a/c in the summer (at least with halides)).

I'm thinking:
1. all t5 (8 x 48" & 4 x 24")
2. t5 and LED (180 aquastyleonline - bridgelux) w/ 4 x 48" t5
3. 48 - 60 x CREE LED & t5 4 x 48"

I figure I can do cluster on rock islands with LEDs, and maybe put some higher so there aren't completely obvious spotlights/dark areas.

I'd like to spend $500 - so this is the biggest constraint.

maybe it's not possible on this budget, thoughts?
 

nemosworld

New member
I like number 2, but i would go with just 2 t-5 diy , one in the front and one in the back, this will help reduce if not illiminate the crazy shimmer you may get.

you can fit 18 leds on each heatsink for a total of 10 fixtures or you can reduce the amount of heatsinks and use meanwell or inventronics drivers to control the leds, but you will have to watch how you do this as the bridgelux cannot be driven past 700ma, balancing the load may become tricky, keep in mind this is only a issue if you don't use the maxwellen driver. only other downfall is you will have to change the bulbs on the t-5's or risk algae growth when the bulbs start to get old and color shifts.
 
If "efficiency" is among your criteria, you should be considering best-of-breed LEDs IMHO, not LEDs that are 3 - 4 generations behind (Bridgelux).

For that matter, if "efficiency" (meaning, amount of light that hits a coral per dollar spent) is in your criteria, T5 shouldn't be in your list of choices, either...
 

reefstricken

New member
Fair enough. If efficiency dictates all (and you're right looking at longevity and par to my tank, that it will) my question becomes; how can I maximize my budget with Cree leds and get adequate coverage / less banding and sufficient par to the tank 16.25sq ft or 130x18".

It seems the only answer is modularly, and sell off my other lighting to pay for the rest of the tank.

although:

I've seen many cree builds running at 50% power, so I'm assuming I can put them 4' from water with 40-60˚ optics similar to: Santoki's build or use a wider spread although this will depreciate par, I plan to keep sps at the top/middle of the tank.

30 Cool White Cree XP-G R5 LEDs
30 Royal Blue Cree XP-E LEDs

the second question to answer is; are the 1st generation bridgelux so inefficient that 3 times the leds wouldn't put out the same amount of light closer to the water, with better coverage. Additionally at what point do the two builds become equally priced (180 3w old tech inefficient power consumption vs. cost of buying 150 Cree (130x18/ 16))

cheers

:reading:
 

tomservo

New member
I'd suggest getting Fedy LEDs; they're a bit more efficient than the aquastyle bridgelux, they use 2 of the same chips as the AS leds; this results in ~10% better efficiency, which gets the output pretty close to the cree. You have to buy in lots of 100, but at $2.19 ea for the blues and 1.27 for the 18-20k white that is not so bad. Obviously you would have many extra.

The led calc spreadsheet I found (which seems to come up with appropriate PAR numbers) says you need 156 cree emitters for your tank if you want SPS corals. The Fedy LEDs are rated to 1200ma current, by the way, so are close enough to crees when driven hard.

For reference, it said 120 LEDs for LPS and 96 for softies.

Best place for meanwell drivers is powergatellc in california.

I don't have any idea of PAR values for the numbers I quoted, which is unfortunate.
 
Fair enough. If efficiency dictates all (and you're right looking at longevity and par to my tank, that it will)

To be clear, again, when I say "efficiency" I mean "how much light hits a coral per watt." It's important to be very clear because sometimes words like "efficiency" get thrown around with very different meanings.

If you're considering efficiency by that definition, the problem becomes very easy to solve. Identify the spectrum you want, choose LEDs that help you get something close to that, then buy the ones that produce the highest amount of usable light per watt used. Manufacturers make this data readily available so it's pretty straightforward. I'm not here to be a brand-fanboy, but in the spectra typically used on fish tanks, Cree products pretty much always win this comparison.

To give you an idea, I pulled data off a LED vendor's website. This vendor sells Brudgelux and Cree products. They list a neutral white Brudgelux LED that produces about 80 lm/w at 700mA. A neutral white Cree XM-L produces about 127 lm/w at 700mA. That's a 58% improvement in output in terms of lumens/watt. Of course the XM-L costs a lot more, which leads us to the next question...

If you bring in upfront build cost, the only real complication is, "what's the expected ROI?" If you spend 20% more upfront, will it pay itself off in a year, or ten years? This is a little harder because it depends on more variables (what you're paying for the LEDs and drivers, what your electricity cost is, and so on).

I've seen many cree builds running at 50% power, so I'm assuming I can put them 4' from water with 40-60˚ optics similar to: Santoki's build or use a wider spread although this will depreciate par, I plan to keep sps at the top/middle of the tank.

I would only caution you to be very careful when looking at existing builds - be sure you understand all the factors. Drive current, optics, height, coverage, bins of LEDs used, and so on.

the second question to answer is; are the 1st generation bridgelux so inefficient that 3 times the leds wouldn't put out the same amount of light closer to the water, with better coverage.

Don't tie height above the water and coverage too tightly. With any common brand of LED, you're going to have a range of optics to choose from, basically allowing you to pick height and coverage independently of the fixture's overall output. Design for a specific output, then adjust height and optic choice to get a balance between coverage and intensity.

Additionally at what point do the two builds become equally priced (180 3w old tech inefficient power consumption vs. cost of buying 150 Cree (130x18/ 16))

Again, it depends on where you shop. There are a few respected vendors selling "real" Cree LEDs at prices so close to what Bridgelux LEDs typically sell for that, to me at least, it makes no sense to go with the cheaper LEDs - unless you're only planning on keeping the fixture for 2 or 3 years, which probably isn't the case given the size of your tank.
 

reefstricken

New member
Again, it depends on where you shop. There are a few respected vendors selling "real" Cree LEDs at prices so close to what Bridgelux LEDs typically sell for that, to me at least, it makes no sense to go with the cheaper LEDs - unless you're only planning on keeping the fixture for 2 or 3 years, which probably isn't the case given the size of your tank.

can you help point me towards these dealers?
 

reefstricken

New member
starting to plan.

thoughts?

200g_aquascape.png
 
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What drive currents are you thinking of?

At first glance, assuming typical drive currents for those LEDs, I'd say you need way more blue spectrum. Keep in mind that many of the existing "rules of thumb" for color ratios are based on LEDs no longer commonly used...

Also, if you're biting the bullet for XM-L, you might as well use that for all the white LEDs unless you have a compelling reason to use XP-G for some (i.e. you've got them leftover from another build).
 

reefstricken

New member
ideal plan:

48 xp-g nw
96 xt-e rb
6 Deep Red 120 optics
6 Cyan 120 optics

can you help advise dimming drivers?

I 'm thinking 3 way dimming between NW, RB, and exotics.

I would also eventually like this to be controllable.

no plan for layout except to cluster 2 to 1 xp/xt for best color blending.

60 degree optics for those and 120/no optics for exotics.

too much, too little, just right?
 
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reefstricken

New member
cheaper plans:

32 xp-g
64 xt-e

4" spacing on clusters, 60 optics, at 12" ?

or

48 xp-g
90 -120 bridgelux rb / dr/ cyan
 
I'd think about dimming the reds and cyans separately from each other since they'll alter the look of the tank in different ways. There are a few good cheap smaller drivers out there, just not commonly used - look for inventronics or some of the non-ELN meanwells.

I really like the grouping concept you posted earlier in the thread. IMHO one of the big advantages to LEDs on a larger tank is that you can group them more tightly where you want the intensity, and less tightly where you don't want it. I tried to do this carefully on my big tank and I managed to "get away" with vastly fewer LEDs than the tank size would suggest, yet I still have areas that are appropriate for different types of corals according to my stocking plans.
 

reefstricken

New member
cheers! admire your tank and skills. Did you specify your led layout/ #? I saw the one big heatsink... i'll have to go back and check.

I'm for sure sold on the xp-g/xt-e combo.

Heres is my current 2 x 250w MH setup, iphone4s, no post edit - but it looked fairly accurate when compared to phone screen. I like this look, although it doesn't pop like my t5 vho w/ actinic setup. Feel like it's 12-14k, highnoon'ish

100_gallon_small.jpg


I'm thinking the 32 xp-g nw / 64 xt-e which will give me 4 clusters per heatsink to start.

I'll only start to add sps in the future. I'll do another layout mockup reply based on stocking intention.
 
I'm using a warm bin and a cool bin of XM-L along with RB XP-E (if XT-E had been out at the time I would have used that instead). The XM-L are at around 2A and the XP-E at around 800mA. I have a 1:1:6 ratio. 40 degree optics and 24" above the water. There are a few other odd LEDs thrown in to accent certain areas and create specific effects, but the bulk of the light is from the XM-L and XP-E. Even including the random "accent" LEDs, I only have 76 LEDs on the whole tank, and it has a 72" x 48" footprint.

With this big of a build I'd consider leaving yourself with a degree of flexibility/expand-ability. You might decide down the road that you want to mix in a few LEDs of a different color, or swap some of the RBs for a different bin of RB, for instance. So don't build yourself into a corner. Working with multiple smaller modules is a great way to facilitate that, but think of it in terms of having room to add a driver or two, etc. as well.
 

reefstricken

New member
Here is my base plan running same as you mentioned above (2a/800ma), not including any accent (DR/CYAN)?

I would like to shoot for 14k'ish.

Does the warm and cool help widen out the spectrum more than a neutral alone wouldn't accomplish?

Rough corals thrown in as well to help with par/xml ratio.

I'm planning on bigger heatsinks would you recommend much smaller? something around 6x9, which would allow room for another next to it.

200g_aquascape_revised.png
 
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I'd think your ratios are about right.

How much front/back coverage do you need? With small-ish heatsinks and the whites essentially being in a single line down the middle of the tank your intensity is going to drop off pretty hard near the front/back of the tank with 40's. I'd consider going up to 60's if you want good coverage. Or maybe going up a few inches higher.

Cool vs neutral vs warm white is kind of personal preference. If you look at the spectral plots Cree provides, it almost looks like neutral white is simply an average of warm white and cool white. I don't know if I'd ever do an entire build with just one bin of white, but if I were, I'd choose neutral.
 

reefstricken

New member
60's sound good, I do want full coverage front to back considering how my current setup is laid out.

initial driver thoughts:
XML's on 2 x Mean Well ELN-60-27P
XTE's on 3 x Mean Well ELN-60-48P

suggestions for heatsink, as big as I can go?

6x9 heatsinks or 7x14

i'll do some more research and consider CW NW WW ratios.
 
What sort of hood or enclosure will this be going in? As long as it's not going in a tight box with poor airflow, you will likely be fine with channel aluminum instead of massive heatsinks. You get a bit more freedom that way, too - if you want wider or narrower coverage you can move individual bars, etc.
 

reefstricken

New member
Channel sounds good to me! Should I plan on something like 4 x 120mm fans pulling up through the top of the hood? The old rendering below shows an enclosed hood, but at 24" off the water this will be suspended, with enought trim to hide the channel. I'll have to update this.

I'm actually planning on in window a/c in anticipation of the texas heat and the added humidity of the tank - i'm curious how much heat this is going to give off.

200g_2.png
 
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