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LED Lighting WPG estimate?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by shoggoth43, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I tore apart my 8 gallon biocube the other day. I pulled out the 18W PC bulb and replaced it with 4 of the 3W cool white LEDs. It doesn't seem quite as bright overall but it's hard to tell without a real side by side or any sort of photometer. The spectrum seems a bit warmer and I get caustic lighting effects now as well which is just too cool. I'll need to slow the fan down a bit as there's just no real warm air coming out of it that I can tell so there's no point in hearing the whine of it if I don't have to.

    I think part of the problem I was having with the tank was just too much light so it grew algae like mad no matter what I seemed to do. I could also get some lenses on the LEDs to try and tame the insane "blast light everywhere" effect that they're doing and aim more of the light down, but I'm also trying to avoid the "beams of light" into the tank if I can.

    Any ideas on what my "effective" WPG might be on this? Does anyone know of any published specs for PAR on LEDs that I might be able to compare these to? Any suggestions on how to improve the current setup? I can try and get some photos later if that might help.

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    S
     
  2. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    Forget the WPG rule. They are less WPG (mathematically) than fluoro. Forget Lumens they are less lumens than equivalen wattage of fluoro (actual stated on datasheets.)

    Marine people will tell you they are nowhere near MH whereas I have heard that they are wrong and instead of being not enough light it is actually too much and it is bleaching the corals rather than them not getting enough.

    Why?

    Apparently the PAR is higher.

    On larger tanks this seems to be the case IME. My 125tall had 48W fluoro 6" above the water. It now has 37W (15 x 3W underpowered) and I have had to raise them 15" above the water to stop the plants from growing so mad and the CO2 being hard to keep pace with!!!

    This is because the lower wattage is much higher in PAR.

    On my 10Litre I have 3 x 3W underpower the same 7.35W 1" above the water and am seeing the reverse in that glosso is growing upward. I am currently testing HC.

    Now you ask why?

    15 LEDs means a lot of overlapping. This means the tall tank is getting a much better spread and the colour is 5500K white as advertised.

    3LEDs are not much overlapping. the spread is not so good and the colour appears yellower.

    These both use '5500K' white.

    Assumptions (not definitive by any means)

    A larger amount of LEDs is far superior to the equivalent wattage of fluoro or MH and the overlapping gives the colouration.

    A smaller amount of LEDs is not as good as fluoro and with less overlapping the colour doesn't show accurate.

    p.s. You definately need proper heatsinking at the very least. I have proper heatsinking on the small Nano and the luminaire has no top to it. The heatsinks are open to the air.

    The larger one has small PC memory heatsinks and 4 fans at one end and 4 at the other end.

    I saw a picture where a chap used 7 x 1W LEDS (don't run as hot) and used thermal tape straight onto an aluminium bar. The bar was used as the heatsink. Within a short time of them turning on they were warping the aluminium bar. DO NOT underestimate how hot these get or oyu will be buying replacements pretty quickly!!!!

    So in conclusion:

    You may see posts of mine all over the forum belittleing the 'high light' theories and pushing the phrase 'good light'

    It is fine having the bestest brightest T5HOs over a tank but if not positioned in the best way to gain spread then you still won't be beating Mr T8 who has his setup perfectly positioned for a good spread!!!!

    These LEDS are great when used in a decent number even rated lower than the equivalent fluoro/MH but fall down when used in small numbers. ;)

    AC



    AC
     
  3. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I tweaked it a little bit. I moved the LEDs closer together side to side and spaced them roughly the same amount apart front to back on the tank. This works out to ~3.5 inches which seems about right based on what you were saying with yours. I might move the "back" LEDs a touch more to the front but there's a couple of the blue LEDs in the way so it might just end up a touch brighter in the back. The front ones are as far forward as I can make them without removing the splash guard.

    Overall this seems a bit brighter in the tank as there's more overlap in the center and less seems to spill out the side. I'll need to deal with the airflow and fan noise. I'm just using the reflector as my heat sink since there's airflow across it and I'll put in some baffles to force the air to flow across it. Once I deal with the fan I'll put it on a timer and see if I can get glosso to grow emmersed. If so, I'm guessing I'm good to go.

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  4. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    From looking at 'plant performance' using my mini setup and my full setup as a guide it is the overlapping/spacing/spread that is key.

    i.e. If you were to take 15 LEDS and place them side by side much like a single T5HO in a linear line, then the T5HO wins.

    If you take the same 15 LEDs and space them better i.e. mine are 5 rear, 5 centre, 5 front then the LEDs knock the pants off the T5HO.

    Strange really but its a learning curve for us all.

    I do prefer the colouration from these 5500K LEDs though. much more realistic than 5500K fluoros :) Its a nice natural white :)

    Its good to test. I never like to take any of the 'gospels' or 'research' as truth until I've seen it work for myself.

    So we now know to use more but lower wattage LEDs for Nanos from a simple experiment. i.e. instead of 3 x 3W over a 10 Ltr then 9 x 1W would've been better for the spread :)

    AC

    AC
     
  5. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have a lot more overlap at this point. I think the 2x2 arrangement I've got should allow give me some decent overlap. One LED straight down and at leaset some overlap from two other LEDs next to it. Anything in the middle of the tank should get direct intensity/overlap from all 4.

    Before the change I really only had one LED and maybe the overlap from the one next to it and the other LEDs were almost 8 inches away which really had a pretty big impact on the brightness as most of the light would have been off to the sides vs. more centered. I wish I'd taken some photos of it, but my camera has all automatic adjustments/settings so I don't think the photos would have shown much for comparison purposes.

    Overall I'd have to say just going by eyeball what I see matches what you've already seen with plant growth. It would probably also explain why the reefers had issues with LED lighting. The Solaris LED arrays are tightly stacked so there would be a large number of LEDS directly radiating any given spot under them. If the PAR numbers are as high as is suggested then photoinhibition is almost guaranteed at full power unless the array is hung much higher than normal to spread out the intensity.

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  6. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    The original Solaris if I remember rightly was using hundreds of normal LEDs!!!

    Things have moved on since then. The ones they recently were selling until the court case were I think underpowered high wattage ones like we are using and yes they were close together but there were many more. Reefers need much more light than we planters do and therefore it becomes more of an issue when they think there isn't enough. They were close together so they would've had loads of overlaps and from what I am seeing been in severe trouble from PAR issues bleaching their corals. And they thought they didn't have enough!!!

    As a guide to my spacing and brightness here are a few pictures of my main setup:

    Firstly here is the plain board so the spacing can be clearly seen. This board is the same 'footprint' as the tank 80cm by 35cm. You can see the black lines denoting the board divided into 15 equal rectangles and the LED 'unit' centred in each rectangle:
    [​IMG]

    This is how bright it is but remember the camera will adjust the brightness:
    [​IMG]

    And here you can see it over my tank. See how high it is!!! 15 inches from water to the LED here and this scape is only 1 month old. Good growth. Remember this is 1.12WPG!!! forget the WPG rule or Lumens:
    [​IMG]

    This is quite an accurate depiction of the colouration I see with my eyes:
    [​IMG]

    I would do the same with yours. divide the inside of the 'luminiare' into 4 equal rectangles/squares and put 2 at the rear and 2 at the front. centred of course. then you will have all 4 equally spaced and you should as you can see from my pics have equal light over the tank with some light spilling outside of the tank area.

    AC

    AC
     
  7. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm somewhat limited in what I can do for spacing on the smaller biocube.

    Oceanic Systems | Products | BioCube

    As you can see from the site, there's an access door at the front. Once you get past that there's a clear splash guard/box that extends all the way back over the filtration part. I've basically got a small strip of ~6 inches or so that actually goes over the tank with another 3 inches or so for the filter at the back.

    I basically just cut the area out into thirds inside the splash box so my spacing ended up roughly 3.5" apart side to side and then went with that for front to back as well since that was pretty much the max I could do without major mods to the reflector. I figure this method gets a bit more light centered in the tank and a little less spilling out the sides. Anything needing a lot of light sits in the middle with the "normal" plants going wherever. Sort of a poorly implemented "Japanese" method since the glass is getting hit with plenty of light anyway.

    Your spacing method would give more even lighting overall and I may try it later on the larger biocube since there's a lot more room in that one and the access door is not quite so big on it percentage wise. I'm kind of stuck with my height restrictions, but I could cut/mount a new aluminum plate and move it down a touch, but probably not more than an inch at best. I can look into collimating lenses on this to kind of aim more of it down since some light does bounce out sideways onto the reflector and down. I'm not sure that'd get me much in either of the cubes other than a definite "beam" of light into the tank like I see with the blue moon LEDs at night. For one or two LEDs in the bigger tank it might be an option for more of a focal point or to really cast some shadows down from an overhanging piece of driftwood or similar.

    I'm eventually hoping to duplicate this on a rimless 60 gallon cube or larger 120 gallon rectangular. For that I'll be looking at the collimating lenses to focus things a bit more down with the hope of hanging the lights a couple feet above the tank, or even mounted up at the ceiling height depending on how focused the lighting is. I've seen several shots of reef tanks with this type of spot lighting and the effect is very striking with nothing hitting the sides of the tank. It really anchors the eye to the coral which just seems to "float" in the darkness. I'm not sure how this will work for planted tanks visually. I'm hoping it would have a kind of shadow box effect where your eye is drawn through a section of relatively darker plants at the edges into the brighter center sections. I can always drop the fixture down a bit to help visually "cap" the tank if needed.

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  8. el_tubaron

    el_tubaron Junior Poster

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    Hi

    Just one quetion, how hot does the leds go? I am thinking make one for my 370 Liters (1500x500x500 mm). actualy with 3x 70w HQI .

    Cumps
     
  9. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    I see what you mean now. Thats one problem with these 'complete' sets. The plain simple tanks have the advange here with adaptability of everything else.

    I would try and steer clear of using metal plates to mount the LEDs. You are then basically making the whole thing 1 conductive unit. Thats why I went for the acrylic. It seperates each 'unit'.

    I would also steer clear of the collimators lenses unless you want to see beams of light through the water.

    Thats one reason I used lambertians. The die is like a dome and therefore the light goes equally 120º and gives a good spread.

    I tried lenses collimators on the mini one and after a while tooke the lenses out and mounted them on the lense holders. They are now siliconed to te bottom of the inside of the luminaire with no lense holders or collimators.

    You shouldn't worry about reflectors with these high power LEDs. They have a reflector behind the die.

    Also with fluoros and standard bulbs the light comes out 360º around the diameter of the bulb. The reflector 'recaptures' the 270º that is mitted away from the tank.

    With LEDs the max you will get is 180º (sideways and downward) so there is no light being sent back toward a reflector in th hood.

    You should have more manoevrability in the rimless as you have more control over the lighting you put on it.

    If you do choose lense/collimators then look for something around the 90-120º. You don't want too much focus or you will get beams in the water and bright spots on the substrate. This isn't a problem with the retail marine version as they are using loads of LEDs pretty close together and the overlapping means that the bright spots are completely covering the bottom.

    However that amount of light would be like having a 10WPG setup on planted tanks ;) IMO

    Good luck and keep us updated on progress.

    I think you have discoverd that in the future it is best to stick to simple tanks so that you can set them up the way you want and if change is needed then it easy to do so :)

    AC
     
  10. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    They get too hot to touch without proper heatsinking. Even with proper heatsinking they are still very hot which is why I have fans as well.

    With simple heatsinking and having them close to the water (
     
  11. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    The heat on these isn't all that bad. With the aluminum plate it's warm to the touch. Not "geez that's warm I hope I'm not burning it up" or burn your fingers warm, but probably a touch more than running a high fever warm. That's with JUST a thin plate of aluminum probably not much more than cardstock thickness. There is airflow from a fan on this though so if you don't have a fan moving the air on this the heat is likely to be much greater. Once I make some baffles and tweak the fan a bit I think I'll be good. Running these without a heatsink at all for even a second or two warms them up quite a bit and you'll easily see that they'll burn without a heatsink. This is for the star mounted ones, without the star on the back you're probably looking at a quick burnout after a few seconds. I'm not sure how this will affect my tank temperatures. My guess would be probably not all that much on my cube as I'm sure the 18W PC put out far more heat. Most LEDs don't really emit much infrared so as long as you don't heat up the airspace around the tank from the heatsinks you probably won't transfer much, if any, heat to the tank water.

    I don't mind using a single plate for these as the stars they are mounted to are electrically isolated. You have the 3 plus and 3 minus pads connected to themselves but isolated from their opposites and the actual mounting plate. As long as you don't bridge the pads with your mounting screws you should be set. I used some nylon washers to eliminate that possibility. I'm using the lambertian stars. The way they're mounted to the reflector does bounce some light that radiates out the sides of the LED back down into the tank. I may put some white plastic in a few locations to see about bouncing any stray bounces back down as well. Probably more theoretical than practical though.

    I see what you mean about the plain tank method. Unfortunately I didn't have the space/time/cash for my preferred wet/dry sump method. 75$ all inclusive after rebate on this for a decent filter and light wasn't all that bad. Most of the other comparable starter kits were in the 50$ range at the time and had your usual incandescent or poor flourescent light in it. So after all the upgrades needed it worked out to be a pretty good deal even if I did have to spring for a separate heater.

    The larger one was not nearly so economical. It did have the advantage of being able to set everything up over the weekend with everything in either the tank, or the stand underneath. Since we already had the one, we pretty much knew what to expect from this one and the wife liked the small one. I could definitely have done this cheaper, but the overall appearance and finish vs. the time I had to do this pretty much ended that discussion. There was a REALLY nice 30Gal cube, but I just had no time to drill it, make a stand, buy all the bits, and assemble everything. :(

    The Wife Acceptance Factor was a big part of this as well. The nearly everything in the one box works rather well in that regard even if it isn't optimum for flexibility or capability. The smaller one may be going into work once I'm done tweaking it. It's a lot easier to have a small contained box that looks neat and "cool" at work than to have what might be considered a lab experiment on the desk. Not that you can't make everything nice and neat with a standard tank either. Just that this has a certain "cool" factor to it compared to the usual tanks many people see and it's actually a pretty solid unit for what it is. I may have to dress up the coke bottle CO2 system a bit though. :)

    Thanks for all the suggestions and help. I'll hopefully have some photos of something in the not too distant future. I need to do a LOT of cleanup on things first and finish tearing down the small tank before I feel like showing any of it. It's just too messy at the moment.

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  12. el_tubaron

    el_tubaron Junior Poster

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    Very interesting, very :)

    Send photos ASAP

    Cumps
     
  13. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    Here are 3 pictures (I've linked to them rather than 'stealing' them) from the original thread I was reading on Tropical Fish Centre's site

    This is the guy's setup and he is using the aluminium bar for the heatsinking.
    [​IMG]

    Now look at the aluminium bar warping when they're on!!!!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    HE ended up using fans which sorted the problem out ;)

    I think a picture is worth a thousand words. lol

    AC
     
  14. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I found some hot spots on the hood last night but that was kind of expected with the current airflow patterns in it. I'll be tearing it apart again over the weekend to tweak some stuff in there and neaten it up a bit. I'll try to get some photos then. I might be able to stick the old PC bulbs back in for a comparison as well, but no promises.
     
  15. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Very interesting discussion! I'm in the midst of designing and making a LED light for my 45 gallon tank now - approximately 30" x 15" foot print. I have everything in hand or on order already. This will be 24 Q2 bin Cree LEDs, mounted on a heat sink made of three lengths of 3" wide aluminum channel, with a couple of fans blowing on the back of it. When I get this in operation I will get PAR meter readings - I'm expecting between 50 and 100 micromols of PAR.
     
  16. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    How would 50-100 compare with T5HO? (Watt for watt I mean :p )

    Obviously I mean if we were to say 2WPG of T5HO is highlight (meaning 4WPG of T12) then where does 50-100 stand?

    Be interesting to compare seeing as you have the facility to do so :)

    AC
     
  17. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I will compare the LED light to the AH Supply PC 55 watt light I now have, but I don't have any T5 light fixture to compare to. Based on something I read on TPT, I think we will find that LED watts are about twice as effective as PC watts. A few more weeks and I hope we have a better idea about that, since there is at least one more LED light fixture on TPT being reported on now.
     
  18. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    My earlier post got snacked so....

    I should have some photos in a bit just as soon as I'm sure I've got the hotspot issue fixed.

    VaughnH, when you do your PAR measurements, can you please let us know the distances to your LEDs that you take the measurements from as well as your LED spacing? I think SuperColey1 has a spacing in the 5-6.5 inch range and my current spacing is ~3.5 inches. My distance to substrate from the LEDs will be in the 12-18" range initially. A later build will be the rimless tank with suspended pendant so I'm expecting 36-60" distance on that one. That one will probably get lenses though.

    Also, can anyone recommend the "preferred" Apogee PAR meter? I'm not sure about getting the meter, or just the sensor and a decent multimeter. The PAR meter usage is to just place it in the tank and point the sensor around? Or is the sensor on a separate "wand"? I'm just a little confused on the meter and don't want to be looking at the wrong one.

    Thanks.

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  19. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The Apogee PAR meter has the sensor on the end of a long electic cable. You can hold it by hand underwater, or, as I did, make a wand to attach the sensor to and move it around like that. The meter is not water proof, so it has to stay out of the tank. I don't recall the model number of the meter, since it is our club meter and I only used it a week the last time.

    I will be recording and reporting all of the details as soon as I get the fixture made and installed. Right now my shipment of LEDs seems to be in limbo back in Hong Kong, so I don't know how much longer I will have to wait.
     
  20. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Anything from that area seems to take forever. Something about a package taking a week or two just to get here even if they jump right on packing it up and shipping it same day. :)

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    S
     
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