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Schroeder
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1,149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I was looking for people to do a group buy from rapidled.com with me and I collected a bunch of info. Since this is my favorite forum, I figured I would share it here as well
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In this post I have
-what to watch out for when getting LED's
-what bulbs to get
-how many bulbs to get
-links to write ups other people have made from everything from the LED's themselves to controllers for the LED's
-Articles written about light fixtures

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I am going to start by saying that there is a lot of people talking about how LED's don't preform. That is because companies can make a bulb that costs $.50 or $3.00 and sell it for the same price since no one knows its value. Cree is one company that is know for their incredible innovations. Their products are top of the line. That being said, just because something is Cree, DOESNT (edited)means it is good. There is old models that they made 4 years ago that produce a fraction of the output of their new models (comparing 2007 XP-E and 2011 XP-E for example). You can buy a Cree bulb that is old for $3 or you can buy a new Cree bulb for $4. The fact of the matter is, the new ones cost more for a reason.
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The builds are not hard at all if you are doing a non dimming kit. With dimming, things get more complicated. I do advise you get dimming if you are doing a fixture that is going to be the sole light for the tank. These bulbs are wicked strong, and it would suck to get too much light. hahaha. With that being said. Rapidled.com has walk throughs and a great customer service crew.
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XP-E Are great actin bulbs.

XP-G are great white bulbs. They are super powerful and relatively new. From what I have heard they run at only 80% the wattage as their predecessor and produce a bit more light.

There is a brand new bulb made by Cree called XM-L that is suppose to be giving out a lot of light but I am not sure how it preforms as far as PUR goes (photosynthetic usable radiation). I have not been able to find anything about its performance for coral growth or anything.

With these things being said, the XP-G is strong and reliable. 1:1 ratio of XP-G and XP-E will give a 14,000K look and 1:2 ratio will give a 20,000K look

As far as how many bulbs you need for keeping SPS, I have heard a rule that you should calculate this by taking length by width and dividing by 15 to 20.

I also heard of a rule saying it should be about 2/3 how many gallons you have. I have heard this is an outdated rule.
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I have a 55g tank and I plan on getting:

-7 function multimeter
-balk wire
-DIY 2 color dimming kit
-36 ultra premium LED DIY kit with dimmable drivers (24 XP-E 12 XP-G, 60 degree lense, and thermal adhesive)
-80mm vantec stealth fan kit
-2x 4.25*16 heat sink


This at $7.25 per gallon, I can make a light setup that can keep SPS corals.

Below are the costs I figured I'd spend in the next decade on a light fixture (fixture+bulbs+electricity=total):
Cost of T5HO (216 watt fixture) setup over a 10 year period: 350 + 950 + 500 = $1800
Cost of LED (108 watt fixture) setup over a 10 year period: 400 + 0 + 230 = $630
Cost of MH (250 watt fixture) setup over a 10 year period: 350 + 1000+ 575 = $1925

FYI, I am a college student who is on break during summer... So I have found more time to think about this than I need.
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The Best build EVER:
http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f76/jerads-diy-led-build-170838.html

Post with before and after pictures:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1718642&highlight=led

Steve's LED Page:
http://stevesleds.com/Photos.html

Probably the most modern and professional looking build I've seen:
http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=205084&st=20

Ricket's Reef video walk through:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1888215

This is a very clean but not dimming build:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1587273

This is a very mathy version of a build that has a secondary set of lights shooting out at an angle:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1678127&page=200

Nano DIY with Par readings:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1761942

DIY actin supplement:
http://www.3reef.com/forums/i-made/...-actinic-supplement-48-light-strip-92290.html

LED with frame build too:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2026851

Clean dimming drilled (to hide wires) build:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1826521

Aluminum Tubed heatsink with great description of how to do dimming:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1952442

Anodized dimming led build:
http://www.3reef.com/forums/i-made/diy-dimmable-rapidled-kit-converting-mhs-96138.html

Clean long heatsink design:
http://reefledlights.com/how-to-diy-led/

Interesting fins design:
http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f76/diy-dimmable-led-fixture-from-scratch-151097.html

Cut heatsink design with black acrylic box:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2007267

Biocube design(I am not sure how the heat played an issue here):
http://www.reef2reef.com/forums/do-yourself-diy/53917-biocube-14-led-project.html

Dimmable design:
http://www.3reef.com/forums/i-made/tattooedsoul87s-dimmable-rapid-led-diy-kit-110198.html

Very clean look cover design:
http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forums/diy/52224-diy-led-fixture-work-progress.html

Self cut heatsink build:
http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forums/diy/54745-diy-led-light-fixture.html

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Post about drilling and tapping a heatsink:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2035890

How to wire up a dimmer:
http://www.reef2reef.com/forums/do-yourself-diy/58170-diy-dimmer-leds.html

DIY LED controller:
http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forums/diy/67937-arduino-led-light-controller.html
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Lighting and coral article:
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2009/1/aafeature1

Aquarium bulb article:
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/Aquarium_Lighting.html
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Optics:
http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/pages/Choosing-the-right-optic.html
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PAR:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1965294
http://www.michiganreefers.com/foru.../112879-par-data-ai-led-different-optics.html

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Cree Bulbs:
http://s919.photobucket.com/albums/ad39/redfishnc/LED TESTING/?start=all
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Thermal Paste Info:
http://arcticsilver.com/pdf/appinstruct/aata/ins_aapxy.pdf
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A post similar to mine:
http://www.thereefuge.com/threads/diy-led-build-all-you-need-to-know-question-answers.94/
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Some of these are more difficult than others but they all add a bit of something new.

Thanks to katchupoy for making a link to a few of these posts.

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Below is a few attachments that were sent to me by Mike from rapidled.com
 

Attachments

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Registered
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35 Posts
Nice write up. I just finished my DIY LED build. I got everything from Rapidled also. I completely agree; their customer service is great and very helpful. I went with the non-dimmable drivers, but may upgrade to dimmable in the near future. I have 30 LEDs, 1:1 XP-E:XP-G, 15 on each heatsink. I used 2 - 5.9" x 9" on a 40 gal tank.

You should also check out this DIY build on youtube. It's called Rickets Reef: DIY LED Light Fixture. It is a 4 part video that highlights every part of the build. It came in handy for me.

Good Luck with the build...
 

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Schroeder
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1,149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
haha Rickets reef is my first link :D I really tried to get every big popular building tutorials out there.

Thank you very much for sharing about your experience. I think a lot of people, that are considering DIY LED, are more afraid than they should be.
 

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Hippie's Coral Commune
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63 Posts
I have the marineland reef capable LEDs and I love them and so does my reef! Wanted to try them before hubby went hog wild building LEDs for my frag tank and quarrantine tank hes chomping at the bit to "rig" them up Im going to add more to the 55 gallon with the marineland lights also pretty soon i think my livingroom will be as bright as the surface of the sun lol Thanks for all the great info on the diy Hubby will love the reading :flowerplus:~Hippie~:flowerplus:
 

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Schroeder
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1,149 Posts

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Just send me a PM ;)
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16,796 Posts
I noticed you said you wished you had named it better... send me a PM with what you want it to be named and I will changed it for you. Very nice composition of information here, job well done... PS, you're getting this thread stickied :)
 

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Schroeder
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1,149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I really want to spend the money on getting 3 sets of optics and show the PAR values at the different heights for each optic. Probably would only cost me like $140 and a few hours but I am poor :p

It is definitely some crucial data that is missing in this hobby.
 

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Another Crazy Reefer
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262 Posts
That was a very helpful thread for the LEDs. I have been researching them like crazy and this really put everything together. I can tell this took a whole lot of time though. I just got LEDs for my nano reef (10 gallons standard size). Could you answer a few questions on it?
I got 24 watts in two PAR 38 bulbs. (12) 1 watt 16 k leds and (12) 1 watt 450 nm leds.
Here is there link:http://cgi.ebay.com/Dimmable-PAR38-...ltDomain_0&hash=item19c30abf74#ht_4950wt_1002
Are the two of these bulbs able to keep any real coral? Right now I have 80 watts pc over some hammer coral, candy cane, zoas, mushrooms, and GSP. Can I use just the LEDs or do I just use them to supplement? Do I need more watts if I want to maybe keep SPS and a clam? What lighting do I have with just the LEDs, Low Moderate or High?
Sorry for all the questions I just have no idea what I am getting into with everybody having different opinions!
 

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Schroeder
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1,149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The 1 watts wont do too much as far as par goes but since you have low depth, they may help a tad. The PAR38 are where most of your photosynthetic radiation will be coming from. I have heard great things about those bulbs and I would assume that it is enough but I just don't know enough to tell you how your lights are considered. I suggest you make a separate post on the forum asking about the PAR38 setups.

I can tell you though that SP in a 10g nano is going to be hard unless you have a sump or a great automation system.
 

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Another Crazy Reefer
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262 Posts
Thanks! I am going to be installing a 20 gallon sump in the next month or so and my levels have not changed in the last 6 months so I thought I would give a clam a try and possibly a piece of digitata or acro. I skim the tank pretty well and do a .5 gallon water change every three days. Have to see how it goes-
 
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