an open ended discussion in Full Spectrum LED concepts

Discussion in 'DIY' started by HiFidelity, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Bleh, I definitely do not like the sound of lime, much less an entire channel of it. But I'm still willing to give it a chance ... at least as a single emitter ... and maybe on someone else's tank :D
  2. Nano sapiens

    Nano sapiens Guest

    I agree that it does sound rather odd :)
  3. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

  4. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Just thought I'd throw an update in this thread...

    After months of messing around with colors and such I think I finally finished playing with the first fixture (I planned to build a couple) and the conclusion was based on 70% growth factor & 30% visual appeal, anyway here's what it ended up being

    56 LEDS 170W max

    28 Royal Blues on their own string
    14 UV & Violet mix, from 400nm up to 420 range on one string
    14 White - 2 pink, 4 warm white & 8 cool white all on one string
    3 moonlights

    36" long heatsink w 2 massive fans hanging over a 19"x35"x18" deep tank.

    I wish I had the energy to take pics but it took me a total of maybe 12 hours (started yesterday) to rewire all the LEDs and build a whole new driver box with all new drivers & pots, etc. Long story short by the time I lit the last string & tested dimming I was painfully hungry but smiling because I was done & I could finally go to dinner :D

    Next build is still in the air, going to use MakersLED heatsinks and I don't know, maybe make 2 clusters for the DT & 1 for a frag tank! don't know quite sure yet but I do know it's going to be clusters in 6" MakersLED heatsinks powered by LDDs with sunrise/sunset via Typhon controller.
  5. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    One thing to note with a Typhon controller, as it's set up programmed out of the box, you can only do 1 on/off for each channel. Which could be fine if that's what you want, however what I wanted was to have the UVs on only mornings and nights, since they get washed out for the most part when all the other LEDs are fired up and use them more for "twilight" tank hours.

    But sounds like you're happy with what you did :) What did you end up powering the LEDs with? Meanwell ELN or LDD drivers?
  6. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    The Typhon will in fact be used for a single on/off cycle per 24 hours, I'm running the UV string at about 30% and I agree about the life of UV LEDs outside of CREE they're pretty much only good for about a year of use which is fine with me since I'm always looking for excuses to play with the lights or change up the configuration :)

    I used 1 ELN driver to power the 28 LED string and 2 inventronics, one for each string of 14 UV & White. I had to sort of throw it together to keep the lights functioning since I had a problem with my previous configuration and was down to 28 working LEDS. I don't have all the drivers ready for the Typhon which is why I ended up with what I have now. The next fixture will be completely digital for more dimming (sunrise/sunset) fun and at some point I will probably ditch the Typhon for either Storm or RA as controller.
  7. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Hmm, a rather interesting mix. Pink-White?
    I would think 4 warm + 8 cool would end up looking a lot like 12 neutral-white.
    (I am a big fan of the newer neutral whites)
  8. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I like neutral white but not as much as I first thought I did.

    The pink LEDs are interesting, they are in fact white LEDs with a violet coating. I found myself really liking the visual effect UV & violet LEDs had on corals but naturally it can only be seen well when the UV channel is cranked all the way up which is not so good for the corals. Solution? I came upon this by accident while shopping for different UV variations, the pink/violet coated LEDs give you a similar look to some extent without the harsh UV so that's why there is only 2, believe it or not they alter the look of the white channel quite a lot almost like the way a single red LED would change the overall color of your lighting.

    The 4 warm whites are only there for aesthetic reasons, I found them to have the highest lux which makes the tank look nice crisp & bright while the corals are actually being blasted primarily by the more useful UV-Blue range of the spectrum.
    The all neutral white look seemed a bit bland to me, alternatively all cool white is horrible and everything just looks like many shades of blue but neutral white on the other hand sort of had a washed out white look, not crisp and sharp so blending warm white & cool white gave me that stark white you get from a metal halide, it's kind of odd actually how 14 whites can be so bright, to the eye it's about 3-4 times brighter than anything else in fact with the white channel at 100% the blue is almost no longer visible so I felt I didn't need so many whites of the same color.

    Again a lot of the choices were dictated by how I wanted the colors to "look" after first covering all bases when it came to what the corals actually benefit from; the white doesn't seem to matter as much yet a lot of blue & some UV seems to be what the corals reacted to the most, I saw best color and growth increase when I started adding more & more UV.

    I really need to get pics of this haha, but I'm putting it off because I want to get my SLR & white balance card out so I can try to get a somewhat accurate representation of what the tank looks like in real life.

    The next fixture will probably have no cool whites, eventually when I have PWM & enough separate channels I plan to run several white strings so I can dim the neutral whites separately and run 2 or 3 5w warm whites for high noon and maybe a very long sloping ramp throughout the day for neutral white. I would really love to walk by the tank and see different variations of colors at different times of the day :cool:
  9. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I finally got a few minutes to take pics, good news & bad news;

    I couldn't find my backup white balance card and didn't want to stick my only other one in saltwater so I decided to eye ball match it, camera was already set-up and I figured I'll just do this again when a new card arrives.

    Here we go;

    UV at 100%

    RB at 100%

    White at 100%

    How I have it running


    extra shot

    When I took these shots I didn't turn off the other strands during each shot of every strand at 100%, the others were just dimmed all the way down and since this isn't PWM they were still on at their lowest setting. Currently I have UV at about 30%, RB at 50%, White at 40% and again without PWM these figures aren't accurate but rather a guess based on where the pot knobs are.
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Look at you with the professional looking fixture :)
    So the UV 100% is just the UV at 100% and the other colors as negligible? If so it kind of shows how weak violet colors are to our eyes because when I have only my "UV" lights on, it's very obviously that actinic purple look, yours looks quite well balanced in that picture, in fact it almost looks like the UV and RB pictures are swapped.
  11. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    haha well I must admit the fixture was a maxspect G2 that I gutted, I ditched the boards inside, reconfigured the wiring, removed the din socket from the original power supply & mounted it in my own.

    UV & white channels are powered by a inventronics drivers which don't turn off when dimmed all the way like ELN drivers do which is what's running my RB channel, this means when I had the UV or White at 100% the RB was off, so the photos of RB & White strands are pretty accurate. The RB photo, well the white & UV were still on but all the way down so the RB photo isn't actually pure RB.

    The UV string is a blend of colors as mentioned earlier and it is very blue heavy if I recall correctly, I believe there are 6 420nm LEDs on that string which in many cases is called "actinic" that's why it looks so blue I think.

    The RB string is 440-450nm and give the most "pop" and all the reds, greens, purple colors in the corals will turn fluorescent, the UVs don't quite do that much.

    What you describe in your fixture sounds like true UV closer to the 390-400 range of the spectrum... did I guess it right? :)
    By the way I plan to replace some of my UVs with some of a lower spectrum because I am missing some purple in the lighting that I would like more of.
  12. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I have to see if I have any past receipts from RapidLED, and I see they have a few different violets, but I believe mine are actually the 420nm violets, which is fairly close to an "true actinic" bulb. It actually has the purple look to it, not the pink hue that some tend to have, but yeah when they're on the tank is quite dark even at 100% because eyes don't pick up that color too well.
  13. I appreciate the info you provided here. I have a reefbreeders photon16 and I am getting ready to start swapping diodes. You answered some of my questions. Thanks! I think I am going to add a few more UV (420nm), a green, and some cool whites in place of the natural whites because I don't care for all the yellow in the natural whites. As you noted, my white channel looks a little washed out
  14. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Awesome, I'm glad some of this info helped out.
    You're not getting rid of all the neutral whites are you?
  15. No. My plan to start was to reduce it from 14 to 4. Swapping 8 of the neutral for 4 10k & and 4 14k, and swapping the last 2 for green diodes. Thoughts? Feedback?
  16. This is the current layout of my board
    This is my proposed new layout
  17. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I have learned through trial & error that too many colors without having them on separately dimmable strings can give you very unpredictable results. When I first started with my fixture, it was a really oddly wired oddly blended mix of 3 channels (2 blue & 1 white) that was not flexible at all since it was wired to a circuit board. I now have 4 channels but I've ditched the circuit board & rewired them to my own liking.

    How many LEDs are on each chanel? also I'm a bit confused as to how many CW, NW & WW LEDs are going to be in the proposed layout? what are the "M" leds? lastly, what are the tank dimensions is this fixture sitting over?

    I'm asking all these questions because sometimes less is more, in my opinion I believe you should throw out the 2 red LEDs, they are not useful as long as you have WW or NW LEDs and I think they turn any color blend nasty lol, I had 2 on my fixture originally and when I removed them the look of the tank improved 2x.

    I personally found it best to stay away from modding these bargain fixtures unless they allowed the ability to ditch all the electronics and rebuilding them in a fashion that would allow flexibility and of course total control. As mentioned earlier in this thread I started out with a Maxspect G2 fixture which fits my tank dimensions perfectly and after it was all said and done the only things I kept original were the heatsink, fan & optics, everything else I tossed in the trash & replaced with my own. This sometimes sucks because even though it's a bargain fixture it was not cheap by any means at all and throwing out half of what you essentially paid for to replace with more things to pay for is discouraging. This is just an option by the way, you may not be the control freak that I am haha so a rebuild this drastic may not be your cup of tea yet we can still come up with an improved color blend over the original and keep the fixture electronics as is :)
  18. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

  19. My tank is a 30g jbj, dimensions are 24x20. The fixture has 3 channels. 26 blue, 26 white, and 3 blue moon (the m) dimmable separately from 10-100. In my proposed layout I was planning to swap 4 20k, and 4 14k diodes for 8 of the natural white diodes. The color is hard to decipher in my picture but the two different cool whites are staggered evenly and are both a shade of grey on the drawing. My plan was to swap 2 of the remaining natural white for green but I may consider ditching the red for green and leaving the extra 2 natural white instead. I'm not going to swap electronics or get more into this fixture than swapping diodes. I'll use this one as I can and replace it with a whole new fixture if/when I decide this has reached it's max benefit but so far, even despite the changes I'm planning, I've been very pleased with the growth from this fixture. The color isn't bad but if I can improve on it, I'd like to.
  20. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

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