I'm sure some of you guys can identify with me when I say that even when away from our tanks, we're just spinning our brains, never satisfied, wondering how to fix that next thing that could be a little better. Well, if you recall a few posts back, I was trying to get a handle on that rotala macrandra. The prescription was more light, but my green spot algae was too rampant at the time. After I finally figured out that I incompetently miscalculated my phosphate dose, I was granted the pass by my tank to increase the light! The other annoying thing about my existing situation was that that narrow ecoxotic unit just wasn't giving a good enough spread. I was tired of scaping my red plants into that narrow band in the middle. AND, they weren't really getting that red. So with glee, after so many years of spending time in low light purgatory to finally get my algae under control, I was once again in the market for a light!
There's so much fun in searching for high tech toys. But there's also that sobering moment where you realize that you probably shouldn't spend $300 on the next level lighting because...well, priorities. Anyway, seeing that Beamswork units have been getting so much love lately, I decided to jump onto that bandwagon. Super bright, economical, and not built too shabby. Best bang for the buck. What's not to love?
I fleabay a 24" Beamswork F-Spec from the favorite vendor that's selling the most of them and was happy as a kid on Christmas. Christmas 2 months early for meee! With great glee, I unbox, mount, and turn it on. Choir music rings in my ears like a cheesy TV scene. What brightness! It's .. blinding! An already pearling tank starts fizzing like fresh soda as the photosynthesizing take a big spike.
Awesome. Extra light spread and intensity. An order of RED plants please.
Well, that initial glow fades as I start thinking about the situation more. Time to apply this light in a meaningful way. I did not live through an algae war just to trigger another one. As I had spent tons of time on the Beamswork thread
, I had the foresight to order a TC-420 controller with the intention of programming in proper lighting cycles. Clearly, I did not research enough, because my post purchase research confronted me with this:
If you look closely at that picture, there's only two control wires (the white ones) for this light unit. Some more desperate research and consultation with our resident LED expert @jeffkrol
reveals that I'm stumped for what I want to do. There's only two channels of control! Blue moonlight LEDs and everything else! This may be enough for some, but for me, I've been spoiled with the independent RGBW control that I had over my ecoxotic and the slew of colors that I can throw at my tank. The disappointment dawns upon me and I spend the next two days wondering how I can rig this. I desperately study the board and look into cutting the circuits to isolate the different color LEDs and then redrawing them the way I want with a circuit pen. Did you know there's such thing as a circuit pen?! I digress. Common sense hits me and I cut my losses. I realized I was falling a little too deep into this rabbit hole. Another good reason to not continue this route was that it would've exacerbated the ever worsening wiring situation underneath the tank. Sadly, I return the unit. Hopefully, it will bring someone else happiness. Stuck with a TC-420 tho. Maybe another project will come along for it. It IS a pretty nifty controller.