[REVIEW] - A-Series Chihiros LED (Affordable) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 04:48 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow [REVIEW] - A-Series Chihiros LED (Affordable)

Intro
Having recently started two smaller 13G shrimp tanks I was looking for some simple LED lighting. Thought to myself that the LED technology is moving forwards rapidly so finding something less advanced for a good price would be no problem. I was wrong.
Having built a larger DIY-LED fixture I have gotten some knowledge on the costs for leds, heatsinks etc. and quite frankly looking at some of the bigger manufacturers of LED lights I am starting to wonder how they set their prices, I am guessing some sort of freaky friday spin the wheel thing.
Paying 200$ (Eheim) for a 24W LED fixture and not even getting a friggin power adapter included is an insult to the consumer, a common practice it seems. Think back five to ten years on buying a T5 fixture, as far as I can remember the ballasts and the power cord was included generally.
And in some cases fixtures for the tank also has to be bought separately.
Well now haven gotten all that out of my system lets get back to the Chihiros A-Series LED. After looking through the plethora of both known and lesser known aquarium LED systems I gave up and headed over to Ebay and on a whim typed "aquarium LED", sifted through some junk and finally something caught my eye. A LED light what claimed to have good power outputs, looked good and priced at 35$ (power adapter included!!!) and free shipping to Sweden where I live. I instantly thought, this has to be complete garbage but after reading through the description written in somewhat sketchy english I decided to take a leap of faith and ordered two home for some reason. It is now 14 days later and they arrived two days ago. So decided after some short usage that this unit deserves a review and so here we are.


So knowingly I did go into this with the expectation that this unit probably was going to be garbage do believe me when I say that if the unit was somehow ugly and not doing what is was supposed to I would not be using it no matter the price.
On to the unit itself.

Specs
Chihiros A-Series 39W (60 cm)
117 x 0.3W LEDs
Rated at 5800 lumen
Rated color temp - 8000K (cold white)
AC 100-240V

There are also 20cm - 120cm versions available.



Onto the unboxing (click the images for larger versions).



Not much to say about the box, white with an image of the LED unit. Nothing fancy.



Opening the box and unpacking the contents.
Included are the LED unit itself, nicely packed in bubblewrap. There is also a zip bag containing the mounting parts and also the dimmer unit. There is also a power adapter and a cord to plug it into the socket (different socket types are available)



Close up on the power unit, rated at 12V and 5A should net around 60W so should be more than capable of running the unit (correct me if I am wrong here)



The dimmer unit, connects between the power unit and the LED unit. The LED can be run without this if one would like to.
Three buttons, plus and minus to increase or decrease the strenght, this is done in 7 - steps. The mode button is on/off button as far as I have figured out.
The dimmer has so far remembered the last strength setting when the unit has been disconnected from the main grid.



Button mashing (don't do that)



Mounting kit, included are two plastic sides, some rubbery/plastic things that slips onto the plastic sides and then rests on the aquarium glass. 5 small screws (4 needed) to attach them to the unit itself, screwdriver also included.



Unit itself facing down, a silver anodized aluminum surface. No scratches or marks and looks really tidy. The unit is not bent, its the surface its resting on that has been mistreated some.



Unit facing up, led rows protected by a plastic splash guard.



Closeup on the leds, three rows with 39 LEDs each totaling in 117 Leds. Got no details on the LED specifics unfortunately. Soldering looks good.



Unit with plastic mounts installed. The plastic sides are bent inwards some, not sure if this is intentional to clamp onto the tank? It is angled equally at both sides of the unit anyways.



Close up on the plastic mount and the rubber thing attached to it. The plastic was molded good enough, not perfect as some uneveness can be seen in the plastics surface when lit on with a light. Nothing noticeable unless detailing the unit. Actually looks quite "classy".



Other side of the unit, cable is of good quality and a good amount of stiffness, connection to the unit feels rigid.



Unit facing up lit, everything working alright !



Step into the light.



Here you can see the rather cold light the unit emits, I would probably prefer a bit warmer light but it is not to cold and did not bother me.



Unit mounted on one of my new breeding tanks with the lowest setting.



Another one with the light at the fourth power setting.



A closer upper on the mount.



And finally a black pinto shrimp that hopefully will breed me some goodies in the future. And yes he/she approves !

Conclusion
So my thought on the unit you ask. Well I am very pleasantly surprised, the finish of the unit is really not what I expected (in a good way). The parts fit together well and apart for some minor issues with the plastic side mounts quality wise the unit feels much more pricey than it is. Sure it does lack the final touch that the 200$+ units have, but seriously at this price one cannot start nitpicking.
The color of the light is on the cold side and this will end up being a personal taste issue. I myself do normally use light in the 5000-6000K range and the color temp of this unit did not bother me personally. The dimming unit included is a nice little feature and I have not noticed and flickering etc on any of the power settings.
After some usage I did notice the heat-sink getting really hot, do not have any proper measuring equipment but would guess it is around 50 degrees celcius. You will not get skin-burn instantly but will start hurting after a little while.
I cannot say much for the longevity of the unit since I only had it for some I guess time will have to tell.
There is also an optional mounting unit using four holes in the led unit where one press in some steel pins and this get an adjustable mount. Looks sleek enough though the plastic mounts sitting on the rim of the tank are not the best looking, not bad not good. The mount is also a bit on the flimsy side until one has positioned it correctly and tightened it up.


PAR
Took out the seneye and did some measurements in my 13G and also in my 29G
Just took a couple of points at the substrate in the 29G since it is heavily planted, but at substrate in the middle around 110-120 PAR and in the front around 50-70PAR. Light was on an adjustable mount and rather close to the surface to avoid to much light spreading in the room.

For the 13G (30cm / 12 inches from substrate middle line of the tank), dimming levels 1-7 on the included dimmer.
Level 1 - 8.5 Par
Level 2 - 30 Par
Level 3 - 49 Par
Level 4 - 70 Par
Level 5 - 90 Par
Level 6 - 105 Par
Level 7 - 130 Par


Pros
+Price is amazing
+Good light levels
+Dimming included
+Ready to run
+Good build quality

Cons
-Included mount not adjustable (can be ordered as an extra. +~5$)
-Gets rather hot on the highest intensity setting
-Some smaller plastic mold quality issues

So there we have it, really satisfied and feeling rather good not spending money on overpriced LED units. They need to get their [censored][censored][censored][censored] together...

Thanks for reading !


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Last edited by Fissure; 12-28-2016 at 04:55 PM. Reason: edit
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 06:38 AM
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nice to see a review on these, I considered getting one until I realized the finnex for a 90cm tank was cheaper.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 08:21 AM
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Great LED for the price, I reviewed a small one back in June that I put on my spec. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10...ml#post9787338 Still happy with the light - no complaints yet. It does run real hot on max setting, but I never run it that high. I'd like to see more people's opinions on these cheap little beasts. Thanks for the par ratings. Any chance on posting par ratings at different standard heights and on different settings? I would be curious at the par at 16" 18" 20" 24".

Great review btw.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 09:30 AM
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Good write up, tho Im confused with your PAR readings. Is each level a different brightness using the dimmer?
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big Buddha View Post
Great LED for the price, I reviewed a small one back in June that I put on my spec. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10...ml#post9787338 Still happy with the light - no complaints yet. It does run real hot on max setting, but I never run it that high. I'd like to see more people's opinions on these cheap little beasts. Thanks for the par ratings. Any chance on posting par ratings at different standard heights and on different settings? I would be curious at the par at 16" 18" 20" 24".

Great review btw.

.
I would love to add some more PAR rating. Guess I could do a test on the 110G when my anti algae treatment has been finished. Can lower the water levels to get the missing water depths will update with PAR readings as soon as I can. Will have to wait 14 days though, got BGA for the first time so trying out an algaecide from easy-life.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean W. View Post
Good write up, tho Im confused with your PAR readings. Is each level a different brightness using the dimmer?
Sorry for being unclear, but you guess correctly those are the PAR readings for the 7 different intensity settings on the included dimmer.




As a side note, currently running the led at level 4 for a low-mid light level and the unit is just above room temperature.


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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 11:48 AM
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Great review!!!.
I have a couple of these units ( 45cm), and share the same experience as
I like the dimming feature and the optional adjustable legs, highly recommended.
Here is picture of the 2 units on a Cad light 15 gallon, 50cm wide tank ( over kill) , both units are set at level 4, they are timed to come on & off 2 hrs apart.
Foreground carpet is Eltaine Hydropiper, Background is Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini'


Econde and Econde like this.

A forum user's post count is like watts/gallon. It doesn't tell you anything about the quality of what they're giving.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie 1 View Post
Great review!!!.
I have a couple of these units ( 45cm), and share the same experience as
I like the dimming feature and the optional adjustable legs, highly recommended.
Here is picture of the 2 units on a Cad light 15 gallon, 50cm wide tank ( over kill) , both units are set at level 4, they are timed to come on & off 2 hrs apart.
Foreground carpet is Eltaine Hydropiper, Background is Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini'


Looks really nice. Makes it really hard to justify the almost five fold price gap to some of the more common led fixtures. And they generally only have half the strength as these units as well. Though I did notice that the fixtures from the maker above 60cm wide are not as available as those at or under 60 cm. The price jumps quite a bit as well to around 120$ for the 120cm version (depending on where you buy it). For example the closest eheim is around 200$ and plus the 100w power supply ends up at 250$, not the same big price gap as for the smaller 35$ version (60cm) but still half the price... Though the chihiro 120cm is at 65W where the eheim is just at 40W.


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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Closeup on the leds, three rows with 39 LEDs each totaling in 114W
39x .3 =11.7W x3 = 35.1
Quote:
Specs
Chihiros A-Series 39W (60 cm)
117 x 0.3W LEDs
Rated at 5800 lumen
Doesn't add up..
Next:
Quote:
For the 13G (30cm / 12 inches from substrate middle line of the tank),
so PAR measurements were 12" from substrate to light at the center of the tank?

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure"
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
39x .3 =11.7W x3 = 35.1


Doesn't add up..
Next:


so PAR measurements were 12" from substrate to light at the center of the tank?

Correct, was not supposed to be a "W" there. Meant that the total number of leds are 114, but there are 117 leds to be exact.
According to their page it should be using 0.3W leds and that should just like you say generate 35W, though they state 39W output. Either a misscalculation or they are driving the leds a bit harder.

Yes the Par measurements were taken in the center line depth wise of the tank at the substrate. The unit being 12 inches from the substrate.


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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 05:35 PM
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There is a difference between diode watts and system watts...

either way they claim to be getting over 140Lumens/Watt..That is a hefty claim..
In their defense.. PAR is really all that matters..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure"
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
There is a difference between diode watts and system watts...

either way they claim to be getting over 140Lumens/Watt..That is a hefty claim..
In their defense.. PAR is really all that matters..
My concern is that the PAR readings from 12" in the 13 gallon and the measurements taken from the 29 gallon ( which is 50% taller ) are almost the same.

So either this thing can penetrate like all heck, or somethings is amiss.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
There is a difference between diode watts and system watts...

either way they claim to be getting over 140Lumens/Watt..That is a hefty claim..
In their defense.. PAR is really all that matters..
Yeah that is a hefty claim indeed and most likely not very accurate, guess it all depends on how and where you measure? But yeah the par is what matters and it would be sufficient for most users I would say.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean W. View Post
My concern is that the PAR readings from 12" in the 13 gallon and the measurements taken from the 29 gallon ( which is 50% taller ) are almost the same.

So either this thing can penetrate like all heck, or somethings is amiss.
Like I mentioned the light on the 29G was on an adjustable mount and thus closer to the surface. Just double measured and the distance from the fixture to the substrate on the 13G is 12 inches and on the 29G it is 15 inches so not really a huge difference there. Hope that explains the almost similar results there.


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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Fissure View Post
Yeah that is a hefty claim indeed and most likely not very accurate, guess it all depends on how and where you measure? But yeah the par is what matters and it would be sufficient for most users I would say.




Like I mentioned the light on the 29G was on an adjustable mount and thus closer to the surface. Just double measured and the distance from the fixture to the substrate on the 13G is 12 inches and on the 29G it is 15 inches so not really a huge difference there. Hope that explains the almost similar results there.
I would be interested in seeing how the largest fixture does on a deeper tank, like 20+ inches
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-01-2017, 10:52 PM
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re-read this review, really thinking about getting a 80cm unit for a 20 long I'm going to be starting up.

My only concern is the rated color temp of 8,000k... thats a bit cool for my liking.

Is it really 8000k?
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-01-2017, 11:41 PM
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Bump: no PAR info

Found Catalog http://chihiros.pl/images/CHIHIROS-NEW-CATALOGUE.pdf

Last edited by DXQ; 02-01-2017 at 11:49 PM. Reason: update
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