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Old 04-15-2014, 10:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default LED fixture hack - need advice

Hey all,

I'm trying to customize the colour of the LED lights in the Marineland Double bright aquarium fixture. Specifically I'd like to add some red to the existing blue and white configuration. Has anyone done this previously or can they recommend a cheap and easy way to accomplish this?

I've attached some pics of the interior of the fixture - any advice you can provide would be very helpful!
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED fixture hack - need advice

Thanks to your pictures I will say it can be done very easily. If you go to a site like Rapid LED's they sell the LED's you will need on the same Star mounts that are used in this fixture.

I have built over a dozen LED fixtures and can say that the LED's are very easy to work with. To remove them there is a screw on each side of the STAR mounting. Then you need to unsolder the LED's you want to pull out. From there you want to carefully pop the Star off the circuit board. There should be some heat paste holding it down slightly.

Knowing most Commercial LED fixtures usually use Royal Blue (455nm) and Cool white (6,000K)LED's you want to be cautions on how much red you add. My personal choice would be to add some Warm White LED's rather than just reds. These LED's are in the 3,700K range and have a lot more red and less blue than your present Cool Whites. I would replace roughly 50% of your Blue LED's with the Warm Whites.

Most quality LED's today are rated at 3 Watts or above. Usually commercial fixtures are set to run them in the range of 350ma to 700ma which means they are using 1 or 2 watts each roughly. Using the CREE XP-G LED's they can run anywhere from 200ma for 1/2Watt to 1,500ma for 5 Watts. So you will be safe using them regardless what the light fixture is using to drive the LED's.

On an additional note for fresh water plants if you pull more than 50% of your Blue LED's then you may want to consider using Neutral White (5,000K) LED's instead of the Warm Whites. This will prevent an excess of red light for your tank but still increase the Red considerably from where you were you were at.

If you were to add RED LED's they do produce a lot of red light and you want to do so very sparingly use and the ones around 620nm. The 660nm Deep Reds are known to stimulate some specific algae growth. The reds also have a max current of 700ma and if the fixture design is powering them at 1,000ma for 3 Watts each they could have a very short life span from being over driven by almost 50%.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED fixture hack - need advice

Trop Tea - thanks for the awesome reply! I had been using this fixture for about 6 months with mediocre results. So I purchased the Current USA Satellite Plus to replace it and my plant growth has exploded in only a couple of weeks, so as I'm sure you can imagine I'm pretty happy with this new fixture. I'm about to start a new tank and - I'd love to use something close to the same colour combination with it, but much cheaper- hence my initial post above.

On the Satellite Plus I am using a setting with 4/6 white, 1/6 blue, 1/6 red - the red and blue are both in the same RGB LED but the green is turned off. I've attached pics - but they are pretty hard to see. Is it possible to replace the blue LEDs (I've attached a pic of these below) in the Marineland fixture and replace it with an RGB with the green turned off (or just an RB - does this exist?).

Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-16-2014, 07:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED fixture hack - need advice

Here is the picture of the colour setting I'd like to replicate on the Marineland fixture. This is the Current USA Satellite Plus.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED fixture hack - need advice

Hey again here is another shot and I've outlined the blue LED's that I'd like to replace with an RGB (but with no green). Not sure if this is possible - let me know if you need any more info!
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED fixture hack - need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusalka View Post
Hey again here is another shot and I've outlined the blue LED's that I'd like to replace with an RGB (but with no green). Not sure if this is possible - let me know if you need any more info!
If it were mine to be used on fresh water plants I would replace those with Cree XML neutral White LED's. This will brighten up the tank as well as boast your red end of the spectrum.

The touchy part is acheiving the right balance foir your plants. not knowing exactly what the existing LED's are we can only try to guess. Most commercial fixtures use Cool Whites which are strong on the blue end and weak on the Red end. To much blue light boosts algea growth, yet to little blue will hurt plant growth. So getting the red blue balance is the hard part. Using Red LED's will overpower the RED end end quickly so I recommend using a LED that is full spectrum but a little stronger on the red end of the spectrum. You could go with warm whites but the fear here is you loose too much blue.
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:17 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED fixture hack - need advice

I am using 10 Cree xpe with 4 bridgelux 3W red (620-630nm) leds. Quite great results.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED fixture hack - need advice

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Originally Posted by Tanan View Post
I am using 10 Cree xpe with 4 bridgelux 3W red (620-630nm) leds. Quite great results.
My suspicion is that your running the Cree Cool whites rather than neutral whites, then supplementing the red end of the spectrum since more than 50% of the cool white light in in the blue spectrum? What current are you driving these at and over how big of tank?

I have also hear of people doing the opposite by running either neutral or warm whites that produce more red light and supplementing it with blue or royal blue LED's. I'm playing with getting a balance between Neutral Whites and Cool Whites using Cree X-PG2 which run up to 1,500ma for 5 watts each.
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED fixture hack - need advice

Actually I am using two led panels with different configurations on a 48" long.
One has 6 Cool white XPEs, 3 x 3W bridgelux Cool white with 1 Blue XPE (all at 900mA) and 4 x 3W bridgelux 620nm-630nm (at 350mA).
The other is 10 cool white XPEs (900mA) with 4 x 3W bridgelux (350mA) leds.
I was going with equal XPE cool white and warm white and then balancing out the spectrum with blues and royal blues but they shipped me all leds in cool white.
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: LED fixture hack - need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanan View Post
Actually I am using two led panels with different configurations on a 48" long.
One has 6 Cool white XPEs, 3 x 3W bridgelux Cool white with 1 Blue XPE (all at 900mA) and 4 x 3W bridgelux 620nm-630nm (at 350mA).
The other is 10 cool white XPEs (900mA) with 4 x 3W bridgelux (350mA) leds.
I was going with equal XPE cool white and warm white and then balancing out the spectrum with blues and royal blues but they shipped me all leds in cool white.
So you have roughly 26 watts of cool whites and 6 watts of red on one string
On the other 23.5 watts of cool whites, 2.6 watts of blue and 4.5 watts of red. I would imagine the later would give slightly better plant growth but they should be fairly close dependent on your plant choices.

Years ago when I experimented with plants and light I found that plants like crypts with a lot of red in them did better with a stronger blue spectrum, while some of the other plants with a more cyan green pigment seemed to utilize the red light better. However then we were not using LED's but working more with different color temperature "white" light sources.
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