New custom LEDs in the making - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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New custom LEDs in the making

Before I talk about LEDs I would first like to introduce myself briefly because I am new here. I have always been into aquariums and reptile/frog keeping. I have a 90 gallon reef tank and a tropical greenhouse. I also keep dart frogs and love building vivariums. Building vivariums is actually what brought me here. I have always taken a lot of inspiration for my vivarium builds from pictures of beautiful planted aquascapes.
here is one of my vivariums-


Vivariums and planted aquariums actually have a lot in common besides the fact that you guys flood your tanks. I plan on getting into the planted tank hobby eventually but will probably lurk around on the forum for some time to gain more knowledge.
One similarity between vivariums and planted tanks is lighting. I actually use LEDs meant for planted tanks for a lot of my vivariums. This brings me to the subject of this thread.
For the past few months I have been communicating with some LED manufacturers in order to design some bulbs and fixtures for use in vivariums. I had some 60w par38s made in order to see what they were like. I have had them set up over a couple vivariums for a few months and the plants are already growing really well and coloring up. These first samples just included some red, blue, warm and cool white diodes. This is what they look like.




I am able to customize the bulbs with whatever color combination of LEDs I choose, wattage, beam angle etc. So my question is what LED combination do you guys think is the best to both optimize growth and coloration of plants as well as to make the plants look good in the tank? My second question is if anyone would be interested in using these bulbs in their aquariums? I feel like these bulbs could work great as a pendant light source either hanging or with a gooseneck. If I did start making these for other people they would probably cost 70-$75 for a 60w for example. I am also not limited to bulbs but would like to first get a really nice spectrum dialed in so I can try something similar on other style fixtures. Here is what I was thinking for LED combination.




So what do you guys think? What should I change as far as the combination of LEDs? And is there any interest in these or other style fixtures with a spectrum like this for use in planted tanks?
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 03:11 AM
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Did you mis-type the green 580-650 w/ peak at 520????
anyway "if" that is a green, personally skip it. Whites have plenty..
And greens are inefficient.. though they are working on it..

Besides the ends 475-525 is the "hole" in the whites.
Personal opinion.. Substitute for a different nm cyan
Many rave about the look of "lime" LED's but I've never used them.
You never stated if you were limited by a brand or not..


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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 03:41 AM
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What have you found for mounting these bulbs in a fixture? I imagine a bulb that large wouldn't work in any standard gooseneck fixture.

I'm planning on putting a few riparium plants (Aquarium with emersed growth) in my new tank. If I could find a way to mount something like this above, that would work very well.
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Did you mis-type the green 580-650 w/ peak at 520????
anyway "if" that is a green, personally skip it. Whites have plenty..
And greens are inefficient.. though they are working on it..

Besides the ends 475-525 is the "hole" in the whites.
Personal opinion.. Substitute for a different nm cyan
Many rave about the look of "lime" LED's but I've never used them.
You never stated if you were limited by a brand or not..

Yes whoops I mistyped that nm range. It was supposed to be the range for lime green. I thought that lime green is made with a blue led with a phosphor so its more efficient. I had lime in the mix because I thought it would help balance the blues and reds while also adding some pop for the green plants. What two nm ranges of cyan would you use then? These bulbs are made with Osram chips but I may also be able to ask for Cree chips.

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Originally Posted by Boreas View Post
What have you found for mounting these bulbs in a fixture? I imagine a bulb that large wouldn't work in any standard gooseneck fixture.

I'm planning on putting a few riparium plants (Aquarium with emersed growth) in my new tank. If I could find a way to mount something like this above, that would work very well.
These bulbs are surprisingly light weight so I'm sure a standard gooseneck would support them. They are fan cooled so aren't all heatsink. Something like this would be good
http://www.no ebay links allowedca/i...MAAOSwO~hXHy89
The ones I have right now are just hung from the ceiling.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 11-21-2016 at 10:46 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 05:44 AM
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@jturner have you thought to use any full-spectrum LED's?

I use them in all my LED pucks now.
To not have such a pink light I combine 1:1 full spectrum with 10K white.
One green in every puck only to enhance viewing the plants.

Swimming is not that difficult.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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What do you mean by "full spectrum"? Maybe you could give a link to what you are talking about? There are no real full spectrum LEDs. Thats why I am using cool/warm white and filling in the gaps with other colors.
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 05:57 AM
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Yes whoops I mistyped that nm range. It was supposed to be the range for lime green. I thought that lime green is made with a blue led with a phosphor so its more efficient. I had lime in the mix because I thought it would help balance the blues and reds while also adding some pop for the green plants. What two nm ranges of cyan would you use then? These bulbs are made with Osram chips but I may also be able to ask for Cree chips.
Lime and PC amber are Luxeon chips..

LXML-PX02-0000 Lime (567.5nm) Rebel LED - 313 lumens

Not sure what is currently available by Osram, but it was fairly restrictive by color.
LED ColorCalculator by OSRAM SYLVANIA | LED news, LED knowledge, technologies, events

CREE doesn't do any cyan AFAICT.

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What do you mean by "full spectrum"? Maybe you could give a link to what you are talking about? There are no real full spectrum LEDs. Thats why I am using cool/warm white and filling in the gaps with other colors.
Closest full spectrum are Yuji that uses a violet pump in some.
Largest emitters are 1/2W

Sorra uses a violet pump as well and is fairly full spectrum.
Large emitters (COB) but can't buy loose chips. Need to deconstruct them.


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Last edited by jeffkrol; 11-21-2016 at 06:09 AM. Reason: EDIT
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 06:12 AM
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What do you mean by "full spectrum"? Maybe you could give a link to what you are talking about? There are no real full spectrum LEDs. Thats why I am using cool/warm white and filling in the gaps with other colors.
Weed growers use them exclusively, surprised not using some already in the vivariums?

https://www.bing.com/search?q=full+s...l+spectrum+led

I have noticed improved plant growth associated with using them on two aquariums.

Swimming is not that difficult.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 06:19 AM
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What do you mean by "full spectrum"? Maybe you could give a link to what you are talking about?
Bridgelux full spectrum:
Royal blue pump w/ a dual red phosphor..


For an idea of some companies "palette"..

SPECTRA

go to items and pick a company..

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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jturner View Post
What do you mean by "full spectrum"? Maybe you could give a link to what you are talking about? There are no real full spectrum LEDs. Thats why I am using cool/warm white and filling in the gaps with other colors.
Plenty of full spectrum LED's being offered, and plenty of folk's growing plant's with them.
Near any bulb advertised as full spectrum will grow the plants just fine.
Only to our eye's/preference does it really matter.
Plant's,,not so much.
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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Ok I think I worded that badly. Full spectrum is sort of a loosely used term. All it really means is that the light source covers the electromagnetic spectrum at least in the wavelengths that are visible to humans. I wasn't aware of any single white LED diode that effectively covers the entire spectrum similar to sunlight without having major gaps such as in the cyan area. I guess I was wrong in that yuji and soraa get really close. Has anyone used these in a fixture in their planted tank?

Anyway I will be using cool/warm white LEDs which will no doubt grow most plants on their own. However these emitters do have some gaps in the spectrum. My goal is to fill in these gaps in order to both hit chlorophyl a and b, some of the accessory pigments which are often overlooked but are very important in photosynthesis, as well as to make the plants look good to the viewer. Most of the plants grown in vivariums and planted tanks will grow fine under solely white LEDs. But I have no doubt that making a fuller spectrum by adding in some missing colors would be even better. For example I have some more delicate orchids and other plants that only seem to grow with natural sunlight in my greenhouse. Whenever I put them under typical all white LED aquarium lights they just go downhill. Obviously there are other variables at play here but I feel as if all white LEDs are lacking areas of the spectrum that can very easily be added back to optimize plant health.

The manufacturer that I am working with doesn't have many restrictions as far as what LEDs they have access to. What do you mean that Osram is restricted by color? The Osram color calculator software you linked only includes the generic LEDs by default but you can add in any custom emitter that you want and calculate a spectrum. I have actually been playing around with this software this past week and it has been very useful to get an idea of what combining these different emitters looks like in a spectrum.

Sorry for the rant-
back to the main point. What would be the best LED combo to maximize plant growth, health, coloration, as well as make them look good to the viewer?
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 07:55 AM
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Sorry for the rant-
back to the main point. What would be the best LED combo to maximize plant growth, health, coloration, as well as make them look good to the viewer?
"make them look good to the viewer" here is the tough one since opinions are involved.
Always adapted to my LED builds. Some a little too pink, a little to green etc...

I have given up on UV emitters(under390nm), 3 brands and they never seem to last over 6 months.
Red for me why bother, after including full spectrum not really needed.
All WW around 2700K or 3000K have been short lived also.
Daylights of 5K or higher seem to achieve decent longevity.

What do you use for drivers?
Stuck on Meanwell LDD's now and group common forward voltages only (sort of leaves reds out).
Tried the separate driver per color thing and it becomes too much effort.

One PWM signal can run many LDD's.
Do you have a PWM controller in mind?

Swimming is not that difficult.
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 01:49 PM
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I can only go off what I can find..
Osram doesn't even carry a deep red (660) or a deeper red (700nm)
http://www.mouser.com/OSRAM-Opto-Sem...c209?P=1z0j7dc


CREE just started carrying "photo red".. i.e deep red..well a few years ago. still no cyan..
New Cree XP-E colors: Photo Red & Far Red - LEDSupply Blog

Part of the point is.. AFAICT no one manuf. makes ALL colors in all affordable packages..

Luxeon really has a complete lineup except affordable violets..

That said.. what "looks good" and what optimizes plant growth/watt are 2 somewhat opposing goals.

And the separate color emitter lights, though great for some things (flexibility in look i.e able to dim ind. colors for "effect". Better at covering large areas in close confinements i.e few inches off the top of anything) it is becoming less necessary.
As COB manuf. tackle the well known inherent drawbacks of white LED's and shifted to high CRI (which will roughly translate to more "full spectrum).

I see more of a future in building around a COB w/ some added accent chips than on overall single emitters.
Case in point would be to add, say violets to a COB center based on chip such as shown below:
These "luxury" COBS sell for about $2/watt, are not "the most" efficient chips (current small emitters and some less tailored COBS are exceeding 100-160 Lumens/watt)
Efficiency comes into play because part of the story is not just spectrum but gross amounts of photons..If one can get more photons out of a lesser 'balanced" light, in general it will be the one best for growth.


At least where look and function need to be considered.

This is just an opinion...
As to your orig. question, you pretty much know the correct thing re: ind. emitters.
As to a commercial product.. using "simple" 3W emitters isn't enough market separation (different than what the Chinese will bang out at 1/10 your cost..) for anything.

In my own dream of a both efficient and balanced light it would involve something like a large array of small violet based emitters in a 3:1(Yuji) ratio of high k and low k values on ind. channels.
at least for terrariums/aquarium type uses where lensing gets to be a problem..
5600K lensed COB of SORRA or Luminous Devices for "spots".

Again, not being negative, just trying to bring info and opinion..

Oh one more point of information. Some manuf are now making "dual" COB's w/ both warm and cool white on separate channels, allowing tailoring of output to ind. preferences..
They, unfortunately, are not the higher CRI (balanced) chips so still have some of the shortcomings of normal white LED's
Can't remember the name/company that manuf. them at this point.
Funny found one..
OSRAM:
http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/...RiLtSzVQ%3d%3d

Alibaba has some manuf w/ "dual output" COBS if I remember correctly.

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 11-22-2016 at 02:10 PM. Reason: edit
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 02:24 PM
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Wonder what will be the verdict when and if a light fixture is developed that encompasses all of color's, of the spectrum and variant's that some deem necessary for optimal growth, and they're planted effort's are dwarfed by those using plain old full spectrum T5's,or T8's as evidenced by photo's.?
At least with old technology,one can mix and match bulb's at will and achieve their goal's.
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 03:03 PM
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Not going to happen unless tube research is resurrected from the dead.
Only thing plants care about are photons. Photo density/output is exceeding tubes on a w/w basis. Led directionality, though both a curse and blessing, is in LEDs favor.
Only possible advantage of tubes over led is the mercury emission line in the UV range.
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