ReefBrite Pendant Vs. DIY Metal halide + LED

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by finalphaze987, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. So i've been eyeing the ReefBrite pendant for quite some time now and was ready to go down to aquatic collection and make the jump, until i started having second thoughts of DIY a fixture myself. Ive always been a fan of lumenarcs and feel a LM mini would fit my 50 cube perfectly, but it lacked supplemental lighting i could use to tweak the color or simulate sunrise/sunset with.

    I know my corals could really give less of a crap about sunrise/sunset so that part really boils down to aesthetics.

    The reefbrite pendant i was looking at is listed here:

    The DIY fixture would basically be a LM mini surrounded by 24 (3w) cree leds w/ 80 deg. optics. all housed in a custom made enclosure from tap plastics.

    The plus side to the reefbrite is that its all plug and play. buy it, hook it up, and be done with it. Its also way cheaper as i can hook it up to my existing timers and not have to rush to purchase a controller.

    The plus side to the DIY fixture is the reflector used (may offer a better spread), more light (72w in leds vs 18w), a gradual sunrise/sunset via dimmable LED ballast.

    The DIY does cost more and would require a controller w/ 0-10v capability (apex or reefkeeper). All together WITH a controller i figure it would come out to about $700 give or take depending on the controller. So about twice as much as the pendant would run me.

    Does the superior reflector, amount of light, and the ability to control the LEDs justify the cost in your opinion?
  2. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Patrick: Before you compare costs, you should compare what differences there are.

    First the MH reflector, I think going with a lumenarc mini would be orders better than the one in the reefbrite pendant hell if the picture is any indication the reflector isn't much larger than the bulb.

    Then the led aspect, you want a controller to get that dusk dawn thing, well there's a majority of that cost right there! Also are you sure that the RB module actually dims the LEDs? If not you could get a $10 timer to replicate the on/off. If you do go with a controller to do it, you'll also add a controller to your system that can do much more.

    If it were me, I'd go with a simple on/off with the LEDs, that'll knock the cost of your system down by what? $400? $500? The halide is going to be what's doing most of the lighting, so make sure that's done right first. How much are you willing to pay for aesthetics? :D
  3. This was my exact impression of it. The last thing i want is a 250W well lit area surrounded by darker edges again. I already get that with the DE bulb im running now.

    The RB leds are non dimmable, and with their lack of warranty info i dont think id want to try it. Having a controller would be nice considering i could rid myself of a couple dj power strips, ph cont, ph monitor, and light timers. But as you said, it does make up the majority of the cost...

    Paying for the asthetics part doesnt bother me too much since the controller can have multiple uses, but is the better reflector (lumenarc mini) worth the diy and upfront investment of all the eqipment associated with it? I know some might say, a reflector is a reflector, but im sure the square shape and multiple facets have to have some sort of functionality vs. the rectangle RB pendant.
  4. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Follow your gut, you know what you want!
  5. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Don't ditch the power strips, your skimmer, pumps, etc should all be plugged in here. There really is no sense in putting them on a controller outlet strip, that is expensive real-estate to be using.
  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    The LA-mini will serve a couple purposes, the multi-facet and large design is going to act like a quasi-spot light (the lumenmax brand ones add a few more facets, adding more a spotlighted look) either way it's going to reflect your almost directly down, with some minor fringing effects of the light. Second and probably most importantly its going to spread that light over a larger distance, and this is where those types of pendants really shine (no pun). You'll get a hot spot, it's the nature of the game with lighting regardless of the reflector, however a great deal of light will be spread out over the whole area under the reflector giving you excellent coverage. I'd get the reflector just for that aspect alone.

    You want some pre/post halide lighting? you could get some of the RB strips or something and angle them to get in the tank (assuming the LA-mini doesn't cover the entire top of the tank).
  7. The LA mini measures in @ 14x14 IIRC. I figure it i raise it about 10'' from the waters surface it should spread it out a bit and give me more than enough room to work in the tank if need be. The light im currently using it roughly 5-6'' from the waters surface, so getting in the tank can be a pain.i think ill look more into the different reflectors and get some comparisons. Ive seen the lumenbrights and believe theres a lumenmax (or am i just making this name up?) and report back with what i decide on.
  8. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Yes lumenbright and lumenmax... coralvue and sls iirc

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