LED lighting showdown

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by butcherman, 27 Feb 2012.

  1. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Recently at our JHB club reef meeting we managed to get 3 LED units, available to all reefers, together in one spot.
    We also managed to get a PAR meter.
    We did this experiment just as a reference point as to what each unit is capable of.

    We did not measure PUR which is what the Guru's recommend we measure LED lighting in.

    The Experiment was conducted in one tank 550mm deep with no overflow or sump. We placed the PAR meter sensor on the substrate and turned off the flow pumps.
    All three units where placed at the same hight above the water.

    The LED Units tested.

    2 x Vertex Lumilux power (60W/unit)
    [​IMG]

    1 x AQUAIllumination SOL (72w)
    [​IMG]
    1 x DIY Cree LED's (74W)
    [​IMG]


    The Results.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Our readings were as follows:

    The Vertex Illumilux - 71
    [​IMG]

    The AI SOL - 221
    [​IMG]

    The DIY Cree - 388
    [​IMG]

    Please note the tank has been running succesfully on the vertex lights for 4 months.
    Also as a side note, the vertex units are non lensed, the AI Sol uses a mix of 40/70 degree optic lenses and the DIY unit is using 60 degree optic lenses.
     
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  3. Quintin

    Quintin

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    AI Sol is way over priced at $499 in the US plus an extra $199 for the controller.
    Lucky if you get it here in SA for 4 times the price.
    Like their modular approach but you gonna need plenty over a tank for good lighting.

    Vertex Lumilux is what I have over my small frag tank but only because I got them for a good price...

    DIY builds still kick @ss
     
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  4. mytank

    mytank

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    So sad to see the Vertex so under powered compared to the others @Submariner
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  5. Submariner

    Submariner

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    Hi mytank

    The vertex are not underpowered at all, they do exactly what they are supposed to do and thats offer a quality affordable modular LED option for guys thinking about going LED.

    The Ai lights shown shouldn't even be compared to the illumilux has the vertex equivalent to the Ai lights is the Illumina range not the illumilux.

    The other main reason they shouldn't be directly compared is the illumilux is designed to give maximum light spread over a shallower reef system while the Ai unit is designed to give maximum light penetration over deeper reef systems.

    both units are perfectly designed and engineered to perform a certain role in a reef system.

    Tank is looking stunning Irma keep it up.
     
    Last edited: 27 Feb 2012
  6. mytank

    mytank

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    See my post woke you up to respond ;)
     
  7. Pri$m

    Pri$m

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    Need to compare apples with apples to make the comparison between different units useful. The Illumina is the unit to compare the Ai lights to.

    I have seen both the Illumina and the Illumilux unit in the flesh and the Illumina is way way brighter
     
  8. Mewik

    Mewik

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    I'm not sure about apples and apples, the tests here show that the diy is the best route and by far the cheapest. Thus proving that buying led units at the current prices is just daft. I don't get how they justify their pricing, don't forget these guys are buying in bulk direct from the suppliers and getting massive discounts on leds etc so how they come to the prices they do who knows.

    I don't doubt the potential of leds, I just cannot accept them being viewed as some kind of Star Trek tech and having a premium price tag attached because of the benefits they offer. Leds were expensive due to them being priced against what they were replacing and outlasting ie: incandescent, T5 etc, as opposed to there manufacturing value. Lately the price has began to drop as companies are selling leds based on what the cost to produce +profit etc which is good news for everyone. As soon as someone knocks off Cree leds and churns them out for peanuts the market will be flooded with good units.
     
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  9. Irma

    Irma

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    I am very happy with my units. If you look at the first pic, the tank is bright and you can see the colours of the corals beautifully. The corals are also very happy and healthy and the tank is full of goggas. Also, what you don't see in the pics is that the colour of the fish is nice and saturated (deep) under these lights.
    The other 2 pics show that the lights are very bright and (in my humble opinion) are too bright for my tank. I think they are more suited to deeper tanks although they were very nice and worth looking into.
    The only thing I would like is a controller to allow the lights to gradually go brighter in the morning and then to go gradually dimmer in the evenings. I hear that it will be coming.

    "Tank is looking stunning Irma keep it up." - Thanks @Submariner
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  10. Quintin

    Quintin

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    Hi there guys.
    Cheap Cree and Bridgelux chips are already available direct from the factories in China.
    Here is a link for you from the place I purchased by LEDs from for my DIY build.
    They are selling 10x 3W Bridgelux High power LEDs for USD12.74 plus shipping so these DIY builds are already available for those interested...
    Buy 3W High power LED with 700mA Forward Current and 3.0V-3.6V 6000K-7000K 160-180lm nature white, 3W high power led, high power led 3W, high power led 3w with 700mA Forward Current and 3.0V-3.6V;10000-20000k;white,for the aquarium light,Buy now and save up to 20% at Aliexpress.com

    Here is also a link for 3W High powered Cree LEDs for USD20.11 plus shipping.
    Buy cree 3w led lamp, 3w led, led 3w, white color 3W Cree led R3 XPE with PCB 20MM at Aliexpress.com

    When it comes to buying pre made units you are paying for the Name / Brand / finishes to show off to your friends and buddies on this forum but nothing comes close on cost and PAR value if you do a DIY unit.
    It may not look the dogs bollocks but it will most likely out perform any manufactured unit as the manufactures basically use as little LEDs as possible to just meet the specifications in order to save costs.

    The AI Sol unit it nothing more than a set of 3W high powered GUI 10 LED units.
    Here you can buy already assembled GUI 10 units that can be colour matched (Blue / White) to give you the same effect as the AI Sol unit for a fraction of the price.
    50 pre made GUI LED lights for USD300.00 as opposed to 6 GUI 10 units from AI Sol in a nice little box for USD499.00.
    Buy led GU10 9w, GU10 9w, led bulb, Felix su FREE SHIPPING 9W Dimmable LED Light (MR16,E26,E27,B22,GU10) at Aliexpress.com
     
  11. Submariner

    Submariner

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    Hi Mewik

    While DIY is a good route it is not always the best.

    Firstly most people want to have a light that is

    A proven
    B comes with a guarantee
    C looks good over the tank

    Lastly to build a DIY unit to the same standard and with the controllability of the Vertex illumina's
    Just isn't possible.
     
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  12. Mewik

    Mewik

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    You can pay someone to build you a better light for less if that's the case. If you are determined enough and know how to use the yellow pages you should do ok
     
  13. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Import duties on globes is crazy. @Nemos Janitor can confirm. If the wholesalers or importers can get around that, you could easily see about 30% drop in retail price. Single person bringing in globes can get away with it. But a company importing a number of units, sorry, SARS want their piece of the cake.

    DIY is cheaper. But let us put that into perspective. Take your monthly salary, divide by 160 and multiply by the hours spend in building that unit. OK, everybody got a different paycheck, but you need to calculate that into the cost to make your own unit. Somebody must be paid to put the thing together. And if its you, its your time and at your money rate. A salary of R30 grand and you spend 2 hours a day for a week, then you must factor back in R1875 in the cost of the unit.

    DIY is nice, but is it always "cheaper". OK, agreed, to DIY is fun.

    At the end, what is the price of the 3 units compared?
    2 x Vertex Lumilux power (60W/unit) = ??? at 120W

    2 x AQUAIllumination SOL (72w) - (need another to cover that tank) = ??? at 144W

    2 x DIY Cree LED's (74W) (again, judging by the pictures need another one, I did not see it, so could be wrong) = ??? at 148W

    Can somebody give the prices.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  14. Mewik

    Mewik

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    Well there's no duties on importing electrical components to encourage local guys to produce & assemble units locally rather than importing. So i cant say I disagree with the high import duties on assembled electrical goods. Just need someone local to start assembling units then we will see the price become more affordable...plus its all Proudly South African lol :thumbup:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  15. butcherman

    butcherman Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Guys please note we are not saying ANY of the units are Good or Bad.

    Each unit has distinct advantage and disadvantage. They all use different lenses, configurations and controllers.
    We are only demonstrating what each unit is capable of.
    We were not able to measure the PUR which is the important component of lighting.

    Remember the DIY unit although powerful is very focused, but it was designed to fit a custom requirement.

    As stated previously Irma's tank is doing great under the Vertex which suites her needs to the letter.

    The AI Sol also is very impressive and is also modular in design. So it can fit many different applications.

    All 3 units are great, rather than looking at their vast differences we need to look at how LED's differ from tradition lighting.

    Let's face it it appears LED lighting is here to stay no matter which from you choose.
     
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  16. mytank

    mytank

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    The lights are awesome, I have the Lumina and decided to turn the sun rise and sun set off right now while my tank is settling I just noticed the fish are way more aggressive during those times of the "day" I might turn them on later.

    @Submariner - you know I was yanking your chain right...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  17. Submariner

    Submariner

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    Leds are here to stay guys and they are only going to get better and more affordable.

    Yes a large problem when importing complete LED lighting fixtures is customs duty is 20% which makes a huge difference to the retail price.

    TSR is currently looking into manufacturing LED lighting units in South Africa has we already have LED lights manufactured for a sister company of ours which deals with truck components.

    Will keep everyone posted with the progress.

    The main thing is do your homework when buying LED's has each light will give you very different results.

    A easy comparison would be the AI and the Illumilux

    While the Ai has some serious punch behind it, it also has limited spread so due to this it is much better suited to deeper reef tanks, the Illumina has less punch but better light spread thus making it ideal for shallower reef tanks.
     
    Last edited: 28 Feb 2012
  18. Bluemotion

    Bluemotion

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    Tagging allong
     
  19. Jeann1

    Jeann1

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    Ok, then build one and start selling it! Clearly you dont have any idea as to what the development of the unit will cost - Do you think some back yard oke can compete with a company that is spending millions in developing this?

    Yes, some LEDs are expensive.. but some not. TSR had a special now and those lights were more than affordable.

    Questions I have :

    1 - Was the PAR meter placed in exactly the same spot every test ? with, length all included?

    2 - Was the lens contributions calculated?

    3 - Was this is straight forward on/off as is?

    Reason for these questions -
    All of this contributes to figures

    I believe a match for match should be done this way.
     
  20. Quintin

    Quintin

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    Development and building cost per unit is R2900 per unit consisting of:
    30x 3W High power LEDs (16 Royal Blue and 16 Pure White 10000k - 20000k) plus 60 deg lenses....
    2x MeanWell ELN-60-48-P drivers.
    1x Heat sink (18inch X 10inch)
    1xArduino controller

    Here is the link to my build in progress plus other goodies. New Tank Build plus electronics - Marine Aquariums of South Africa

    Follow the links as I give you my source for the hardware plus pricing on each item....
     
  21. Submariner

    Submariner

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    Quintin i think Jeanne is refering to development of a LED lighting unit to the same standard has the market leaders eg Vertex ,Ai,Maxspect etc
     
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