High CRI DIY build - Page 5 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #61 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Anything new with your light? Was hoping for an update.
Ah, sorry for the silence, I've been pretty busy lately, with my 10gal, 5.5gal molly fry tank, a good deal on 5 adult discus which required a quick 75gal setup, and the like. I currently have the light disassembled in preparation for lopping the heatsink in half and putting the halves 2ft apart in the hood of my new 75 stand. I have a few pictures I've snapped over the last few months which I'll add here.

Main conclusions about the light though:
  • Transitioning between 6500k to 5000k to 3000k throughout the day makes the tank blend nicely into the house while still being a centerpiece
  • 2 Violet LEDs per grouping might add a bit too much PAR, I usually ran them at 70%
  • 3 cyan LEDs per group was too much; could've gone with 1
  • 1 Lime LED doesn't change much when you already have so much white
  • 1 Deep red LED really enhances the colors of orange discus, will need more DR to make the red plants pop more
  • High CRI LEDs are excellent on their own, but auxillary LEDs are necessary for true "pop"

My new build will more closely follow @Xiaozhuang 's lighting mix (4 Red, 1 Royal Blue, 4 3000k, 4 5000k, 2 6500k) by using 10 deep red LEDs and 2 royal blue LEDs, 1 6500k FF, and 1 3000k xnova for each half. I'll post updates once I get things growing again, as I had pretty bad algae issues following a leaky CO2 regulator and subsequent removal of CO2. Until then, have some pictures.








New stand for 75g Deep Blue, 40gal sump. Basic 2x4 frame skinned with 3/4" maple ply and maple trim. I'll make a thread for it eventually. Disregard the dodgers hat, that's my roommate's.
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post #62 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 02:10 PM
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New stand for 75g Deep Blue, 40gal sump. Basic 2x4 frame skinned with 3/4" maple ply and maple trim. I'll make a thread for it eventually. Disregard the dodgers hat, that's my roommate's.
Lookin good! Your maple stand is similar to the one I built for my 75g. I'm still waiting for a warm day to spray the clearcoat.

My new light is based around high CRI 5000K lights and adjustable Blue, Deep Red, and Cyan channels, with RBlue and Violet supplementing the whites.

Based on what I know, its possible to raise the color temperature by adding cyan / blue to a 5000k (while also increasing CRI), so I've taken a chance and skipped the 6500K channel and based everything on 5000k.

Getting yellow is more difficult. I'm going to experiment with red/green mixing to get warmer tones, but suspect I will end up adding a 2700K channel for dusk/dawn.


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post #63 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Lookin good! Your maple stand is similar to the one I built for my 75g. I'm still waiting for a warm day to spray the clearcoat.

My new light is based around high CRI 5000K lights and adjustable Blue, Deep Red, and Cyan channels, with RBlue and Violet supplementing the whites.

Based on what I know, its possible to raise the color temperature by adding cyan / blue to a 5000k (while also increasing CRI), so I've taken a chance and skipped the 6500K channel and based everything on 5000k.

Getting yellow is more difficult. I'm going to experiment with red/green mixing to get warmer tones, but suspect I will end up adding a 2700K channel for dusk/dawn.
Thanks! I've just been sponge-brushing on waterborne polyurethane, and spray painted the inside flat white. The plywood is pre-finished so I only really need to worry about the trim.

You can get yellow with Deep Red and Lime, I've attached spectra csvs for those along with the deeper royal blue bins that stevesleds has. The big problem with individual colored leds is that they're only 3W, so it takes 10 of em to equal one of the bigger COBs I use. With your smaller 10W 1304s it should be easier to match intensities.

I ended up pulling the trigger on 4 5000k and 3000k 1304s and tossed them on 48" of linear "HD" heatsink from Steve's for the bare bottomed 75 discus tank. I'm pretty sure I need to add a couple deep reds to the mix, as the melon discus doesn't pop as much as with the other light. About $100 all-in so far. I also 3d printed some dual 1304 COB holders (for the 5000k and 3000k chips) that turned out pretty nice and made installation a breeze.
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post #64 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 03:07 PM
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Thanks! I've just been sponge-brushing on waterborne polyurethane, and spray painted the inside flat white. The plywood is pre-finished so I only really need to worry about the trim.

You can get yellow with Deep Red and Lime, I've attached spectra csvs for those along with the deeper royal blue bins that stevesleds has. The big problem with individual colored leds is that they're only 3W, so it takes 10 of em to equal one of the bigger COBs I use. With your smaller 10W 1304s it should be easier to match intensities.

I ended up pulling the trigger on 4 5000k and 3000k 1304s and tossed them on 48" of linear "HD" heatsink from Steve's for the bare bottomed 75 discus tank. I'm pretty sure I need to add a couple deep reds to the mix, as the melon discus doesn't pop as much as with the other light. About $100 all-in so far. I also 3d printed some dual 1304 COB holders (for the 5000k and 3000k chips) that turned out pretty nice and made installation a breeze.
I am basing my light around the Twinstar S. It appears that with the right ratios of red,blue, and cyan they have created a higher K look with plenty of pop. Dennis' tanks are amazing. His BML with 45* optics and higher mounting, creates more contrast/shadows because the light is coming from a single "point". I think it will be difficult to recreate his look without the optics and a very high mounting location.

To me, the bigger COBs only make sense on DEEP tanks that require reflectors. Its difficult/expensive to put reflectors on many small COBs. You can get many cheap reflectors for the 3W epis on the bay, but there aren't any truly high-CRI 3W leds, afaik. Most of them are 70-80 cri. At least the FF is a wide viewing angle so spreading them on top of your 75 should work ok, but yeah, mixing with smaller ones is more difficult.

Good idea on 3d printing mounting rings for the C1304s. I've debated buying mounting rings, but with the modular design of my heat sinks, its unlikely I will ever need to move them.


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post #65 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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I am basing my light around the Twinstar S. It appears that with the right ratios of red,blue, and cyan they have created a higher K look with plenty of pop. Dennis' tanks are amazing. His BML with 45* optics and higher mounting, creates more contrast/shadows because the light is coming from a single "point". I think it will be difficult to recreate his look without the optics and a very high mounting location.

To me, the bigger COBs only make sense on DEEP tanks that require reflectors. Its difficult/expensive to put reflectors on many small COBs. You can get many cheap reflectors for the 3W epis on the bay, but there aren't any truly high-CRI 3W leds, afaik. Most of them are 70-80 cri. At least the FF is a wide viewing angle so spreading them on top of your 75 should work ok, but yeah, mixing with smaller ones is more difficult.

Good idea on 3d printing mounting rings for the C1304s. I've debated buying mounting rings, but with the modular design of my heat sinks, its unlikely I will ever need to move them.
Well as you can see, my canopy is roughly 20" tall, so that should give plenty of spread along with softer illumination from diffuse reflections on the sides, while also giving decent shadows due to only having 2 kessil-esque point sources of light. I may look into 3d printing some reflector dishes if I don't like the look, and with $0.10 and a couple hours for each revision, I should be able to get something passable. They don't need to be highly efficient since it's 120W of LEDs, so I have plenty of room for error.
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post #66 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 03:50 PM
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I ended up pulling the trigger on 4 5000k and 3000k 1304s and tossed them on 48" of linear "HD" heatsink from Steve's for the bare bottomed 75 discus tank.
Which bins did you get? There are a large range of parts in that series. Do you have any pics with them on the tank?


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post #67 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 03:51 PM
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Thanks! I've just been sponge-brushing on waterborne polyurethane, and spray painted the inside flat white. .
Want to get real anal. find some barium sulfate laced paint for the inside..
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post #68 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-19-2018, 09:58 AM
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Hi I just wanted to chime in with a couple of points.
If anyone wants to follow my tank's LED selection I recommend switching out one of the 6500k or 5000K leds for a blue instead. As it is, I think the tank's color rendition is a bit warm for most folks. It fits warm interiors but if your room has very cool lighting, it may stand out as being too red/yellowish.

The other technical point I wanted to point out is that CRI ratings by themselves doesn't directly translate into better contrast colors in a planted tank - especially when using LEDs. Lighting marketing would tell you that higher CRI = better color rendition, but its not the case especially with LEDs. The reason is that the way CRI is calculated. CRI's calculation is based on comparing color accuracy of an artificial light source to that of a black body generator light source of the same kelvin rating. Because of the way K rating and CRI is calculated for commercial light sources, you can end up with a low CRI light that gives brilliant color rendition in a tank. And consequently a high CRI light can just look mediocre or plain ugly. Take for example an incandescent light bulb (old school type). By definition its a black body generator light source, so it has 100 CRI - despite this, incandescent bulb render tanks in too warm tones that don't show off blues and lighter tones well. Few folks will actually like the color rendition despite the 100 CRI rating. While my light below has only a CRI of 70+... but renders color well...
Don't make the mistake of thinking that higher CRI = actual/better color of things ; the number is not calculated that way so simply.

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post #69 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-19-2018, 03:33 PM
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you can end up with a low CRI light that gives brilliant color rendition in a tank.
but not exactly "natural"....
"candy colored" t5's prove that point I would say..


Quote:
And consequently a high CRI light can just look mediocre or plain ugly.
Depends on which standard you are using..
Using standard "a" (2856K) yes high CRI will probably be considered ugly.
D50 (5000k-ish) is different as well

Very few high CRI based on d65 (6500k-ish) will look ugly (probably could be more definitive here) and mediocre is a matter of opinion....
Having the full range of color wavelengths at decent quantities almost precludes mediocre or ugly.
Sad part is few diodes of this caliber are available to most and the 6500k diodes put in most commercial fixtures pale in comparison to that quality (conjecture a bit )
ADA is apparently an exception IF that is what they use. Even if lower k bet CRI is high.
Start w/ high color fidelity it is easy to "punch up" any color you want..

Doesn't mean it's perfect nor individually desirable..

Lots of subjectivity ...

Yes overall tone is personal.........................and a personal opinion.
Should one shoot for high d65CRI??.. Personal opinion..
My take on it is you won't make a mistake if you just want a good looking natural tank and pick cyan enhanced, red enhanced high CRI high K whites..

If one had to pick one diode for a tank..I'd pick that one.

Not to argue but to put some personal perspective on it.
Freely admit to not chasing red, just want all colors in fish and plants represented..

That's how I see it, others may differ.. and that is a good thing..

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post #70 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-19-2018, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Which bins did you get? There are a large range of parts in that series. Do you have any pics with them on the tank?
The tank is bare bottom at the moment so it won't really give you a good idea of anything imo.

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Hi I just wanted to chime in with a couple of points.
If anyone wants to follow my tank's LED selection I recommend switching out one of the 6500k or 5000K leds for a blue instead. As it is, I think the tank's color rendition is a bit warm for most folks. It fits warm interiors but if your room has very cool lighting, it may stand out as being too red/yellowish.

The other technical point I wanted to point out is that CRI ratings by themselves doesn't directly translate into better contrast colors in a planted tank - especially when using LEDs. Lighting marketing would tell you that higher CRI = better color rendition, but its not the case especially with LEDs. The reason is that the way CRI is calculated. CRI's calculation is based on comparing color accuracy of an artificial light source to that of a black body generator light source of the same kelvin rating. Because of the way K rating and CRI is calculated for commercial light sources, you can end up with a low CRI light that gives brilliant color rendition in a tank. And consequently a high CRI light can just look mediocre or plain ugly. Take for example an incandescent light bulb (old school type). By definition its a black body generator light source, so it has 100 CRI - despite this, incandescent bulb render tanks in too warm tones that don't show off blues and lighter tones well. Few folks will actually like the color rendition despite the 100 CRI rating. While my light below has only a CRI of 70+... but renders color well...
Don't make the mistake of thinking that higher CRI = actual/better color of things ; the number is not calculated that way so simply.
Hey Dennis, thanks for chiming in! Your new website has been a great resource for me planning my new 75g build, and the latest light build is also based on your principles. It might be a good idea for everyone here to differentiate the terms "rendition" and "rendering" in the context of lights, or maybe come up with a different term for "visual appeal." Rendering, as you mention, is the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source (eg. sunlight in D65 and D50 color spaces, and a 2650k blackbody in the A space). Whereas I feel an accurate definition of rendition (visual appeal) is a visual representation or reproduction of color, often in a dramatic manner.

The main reason I believe some people stick to CRI is because it's a standardized measure that starts you off at neutral rendering of color, which can then be customized for additional rendition by using LEDs such as red, green, and blue. I happen to have a pretty hefty amount of red, green, and blue LEDs now that I'm going to use to experiment to get better visual appeal in my new tank.

The only thing stopping me now is that I have no algae free plants to grow!
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post #71 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-19-2018, 04:25 PM
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Yes his site is quite excellent.. Make no mistake about it..
To be honest we only have very minor differences of opinion.
Thought that was worth stating..

I guess now that I think about it the biggest difference is considering the tank as an architectural component vs a biotype or natural display..
does change the lighting parameters..

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I happen to have a pretty hefty amount of red, green, and blue LEDs now that I'm going to use to experiment to get better visual appeal in my new tank.
You need cyan diodes..
Green are a compromise..
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post #72 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-19-2018, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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You need cyan diodes..
Green are a compromise..
What color is chlorophyll?
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post #73 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-19-2018, 06:27 PM
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What color is chlorophyll?

What color is "missing" ????



hmm, maybe makes more sense to put it another way:
Ch.A what doesn't it absorb it reflects/transmits for the most part:



On the more positive side.. green diodes "smear" quite a bit, so not as bad as I presented it..

so what color is chlorophyll?.. Between 450-550nm mostly..depending on the color of light



By being low in cyan all greens (blue-green to slightly yellow green) become sort of monotone..

O/T new Nichia 5000k high CRI chart..



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Last edited by jeffkrol; 04-19-2018 at 08:00 PM. Reason: edit
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post #74 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 08:03 PM
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I don't disagree with jeffkrol at all. At least the lighting section here has a decent keeper with him active.

However, I said what I said as it is also based on what I observe from general aquarists views/actions. They may say they want accurate color rendition, but other than biotope enthusiasts and/or botanists, what many aquarists prefer is lighting that give higher and stronger color contrast, overwhelmingly so, (and not necessarily natural or accurate tones in that sense). And I see this across cultures (both east and west) - many folks constantly changing lighting fixtures till they get that look. Human's color perception (and indeed of reality itself) is extremely circumstantial as well as easily manipulated. For example, the first time you see an ADA RGB fixture in real life - you would instantly feel that the green is super/over saturated, and that the reds are exaggerated as well. However, if you spend 5 minutes in the ADA gallery, with all tanks lit similarly, your eyes get used to it and you get the feeling that everything just has a good contrast. Trained photographers probably still retain their objectivity, but most folks will just sink into the "new reality". In our tanks similarly we create fantasies of natural surroundings, try to create an insane amount of depth in a laughably small space etc. To that extent, I feel that for most aquarists, anything that complements/improves the illusion, which humans delight in anyway, should be done.
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post #75 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 06:02 AM
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Just for fun and going through some old history and feeling sad BML no longer serves our market...
BML designed a "Discus" light..
My New LED from Build My LED - review with pics - Page 2



About the same as my old Finnex -R clip light
7000K whites and 660nm red.. no blue as in the new ones..

Helps to define a goal..Now if they they were predominantly blue discus........

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 04-23-2018 at 06:13 AM. Reason: edit
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