Buy or DIY full spectrum LED fixture?
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Old 08-10-2014, 03:07 AM   #1
gabriel.mi
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Buy or DIY full spectrum LED fixture?


Exactly the title question: should I buy full spectrum LED, build a composite full spectrum or maintain my 6500k CFL's, supposedly being "full spectrum"?
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:12 AM   #2
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How big is the tank?

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Old 08-10-2014, 11:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabriel.mi View Post
Exactly the title question: should I buy full spectrum LED, build a composite full spectrum or maintain my 6500k CFL's, supposedly being "full spectrum"?


There are 'limitations" to full spectrum CFL's due to it's "nature" w/out a spectrum of "THE BULB" you are using it is hard to make a judgement..
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:13 AM   #4
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20g and 36g - two tanks. The 36g is medium to high planted, I have 4x27W 6500k "full spectrum" cfl's on it. I believe at the moment I will stay with the cfl's on it, and use maybe a cfl on a pendant on the 20g. I don't see a reason to do otherwise at this point. I could build a custom led array to simulate full spectrum, but that does not justify the costs at this moment.
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:52 PM   #5
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The answer isnt much to do with the cost persay but the appetite of tuning on behalf of the hobbyist. Off the shelf products produce results for mass markets while custom built fixtures offer exactly what the hobbyist wants.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
The answer isnt much to do with the cost persay but the appetite of tuning on behalf of the hobbyist. Off the shelf products produce results for mass markets while custom built fixtures offer exactly what the hobbyist wants.
+1.

If you find what you're looking for (spectrum, control, power, form, price) in a preconstructed fixture, then go for that. If you don't, spend a bit more to get exactly what you want out of a custom build. You never want to sink money into a choice you'll regret, so just do your research on which option appeals the most to your personal taste.

That said, from personal experience, DIY lights can have many of the features seen in premium priced fixtures (ecotech, maxspect, etc) at a lower price. Only thing you're sacrificing is the sleek polish these companies put on the fixture itself.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:57 PM   #7
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You guys are right.

Well I have an Arduino as a controller now for the 36g tank, I believe putting a DIY LED light on it will be an interesting project. I'm just going to have to wait to have a little bit of time on my hands and maybe get all the components in the meantime.

Any suggestions on the build? I see lots of DIY tries, even a lamp design here, with all the calculations related to light spectrum. This actually seems a really nice purchase, I wish it had a way to drive separate channels - I guess that's where DIY comes in, right?:
http://store-9i1v1.mybigcommerce.com/custom-led-strip/
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:22 PM   #8
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DIY can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. One can go with quality emitters from Cree, Bridgelux, Phillips, etc. or you can go with ebay special 50 for $10. You can do fancy controller or just basic pot dimming. The casing can be as pretty as a Radion or as cheap as a bare heatsink on a hanger.

When it comes to large scale DIY is the way to go as you get more bang for your buck. For smaller tanks the cost of DIY fixture with quality stuff is more break even when you compare it to Ecoxotic and Radeons. I guess BML can also be added to that but their base lights are too basic for what they charge. $179 for a 2ft light that can't even dim is kind of absurd when the equivalent Ecoxotic is $190 for dimming, ramp up/down, timer, moonlight, etc.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:53 PM   #9
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Well, I'll keep it simple on the 20g for now, I haven't decided how to rescape it yet. All I know is that I want something low tech, low maintenance on this one.

On the 36g I might consider a cheap LED DIY project in the future, just to play with it, 1W led's, white (6500)/red/green/blue combination.
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