rapidled also has a solderless kit. No real DIY just assemble, they give you instructions and everything you would need. I wouldnt wait on the marineland one, it will most likley be worthless like their other LED lights. Check out ecoxotics lights or aquaray/grobeam, that is what I have currently on my tank.
For those who fear soldering... Please, have someone teach you.
Just having someone teach and letting you solder a few joints will give you the skill. $20.00 for a reasonable soldering kit and a few minutes with someone else to guide you and you'll have a life time skill and tools.
As to worth, I invested about $150 in parts. $100.00 of that is now lighting my 70g tank quite nicely. Not purchasing one set of four power compact lamps and the energy savings covers what I spent on the LED stuff in nine months.
Every day after that I'm saving energy and cash.
everything for my 55 will cost me about 150$ and I will have high light if I want it and will be dimmable down from there. It will take about 25 minutes of soldering/labor. It is really simple. If you have a clean iron and have it tinned it right it will be super easy. It is a good skill to have, no more need for wire nuts etc. You will have secure lasting electrical connections.
Im with you on the moonlight I just have 2 white leds driven way low in my current tank that I really like. Rapidled has a 350ma moonlight driver. Have you looked at stevesleds, he has some cheaper drivers that I think are dimmable.
That seems like a more reasonable amount of leds, plus that will leave you lots left over for a real nice controller. However actually that only gives you 14 LEDs. You can get more on that meanwell driver so I would throw a couple more in. I think 20 or 2 rows of 10 LEDs spaced 3 inches apart with 5 inches between the rows would give you a good even spread.
Maybe this kit instead of the 6 led one, that would give you 20. since the drivers will run them you might as well, I believe in a little overkill, plus they are dimmable so you can pull them back. Just not 50 LEDs thats just crazy talk. http://www.rapidled.com/12-ultra-pre...mable-drivers/
You will get high light level if you use 1.5W LED per gallon of water so, if you have a 46G the most you should do is 60W-90W of LEDs assuming some LEDs you will run very low intensity for effect purpose.
"wish i could find a low wattage cheap dimmable driver because all i want out of the second kit is moonlighting."
How many watts you need for this? The Dimm4 and my Light Brain Ardunio based controller can drive very low powered moonlight by itself-no need for additional driver saving you a bunch.
the xm-ls should be putting out 700+ lumens per(with the driver maxxed out) so thats quite a bit of light right there.
the real limmiting factor is that i want lunar phase simulation, and since the meanwells dropout at 5 or 10 percent with 12 emmitters on one driver that may be too much light for moonlight. I looked at steves leds and i dont think thier drivers will work besides at the prices i might as well get another meanwell.Also i do not want too many blues since i hear they cause algae. This is going to be a super high tech tank so i might add a uv sterilzer. Ive always battled algae probally because i insist on long light cycles(i like the aquarium to be on when i come home from work)ive remidied(mostly) this with afternoon storms. this will be my first pr. CO2 tank and i sooo want a carpet of glosso in the front. This whole setup is not going to be built till August since i am in Iraq. If this comes together like im planning the only thing that will have to be done to the system is trim plants in a year!
Sounds like you are learning and on the right track. Stay away from any tricky WPG rules as you have pointed out a cree xml 3 watt is not the same as a cheap inefficient 3 watt LED. Just keep looking Im sure there is something out there that will suite you needs.
This one is dimmable http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/inventron...-driver-700ma/