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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been really enjoying everyone's LED project and the discussions very much. I've been giving some thought to building one of my own. It can't be cheap quality, but it really needs to give me a very good bang for the buck.

I'm going with CREE LEDs as they are the best bang for the buck IMHO.
The Mean Well LED driver also looks pretty good to me.

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I just don't have the budget to get too fancy, but I don't want to paint myself in a design corner either.

That Mean Well will drive a single string of 12 CREE XM-L @1300ma or two parallel 12 XM-G strings @650ma ea. I can always add another MW later as an upgrade for more light if I go high-tech.

I'd like to alternate WW & CW XM-G LEDs or one string of the NW XM-L.

I'd love to go with 2x12 of the XM-Ls, but @$180 that breaks the piggy bank.

I'm planning on 3" o/c spacing & 4"-6" between rows.
I don't plan on any optics as I want to have them almost touching the top glass cover, 1" above the waterline and 22" above the substrate.

I'll use one heat-sink channel per string. Inverted C with the LEDs mounted inside.

Tank is 36"x12"x24"

What kind of PAR levels should I expect with either option?

I'm going medium tech with modest ferts, but no CO2 (yet).

Thanx for looking
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a pretty good ripple going on the surface from my Marineland 350 discharge that will give me some good shimmer too. I have a lot of fish to help generate some good ferts and CO2 LOL. If the light is still too high, the MW is dimmable.

Pity that I've just upgraded to T5HOs this week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I can't comment upon the PAR, but after experimenting with a mixture of cool and warm white LED's, I'd definitely opt for the neutral white.
What was it about the WW/CW combo that made you prefer the NW lights?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's the XM-G spectral power distribution curves as per the data sheet.

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Pity that blue-green gap isn't covered with colored LEDs either.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmmm... 16 XM-L will give me 2.25" o/c spacing.

Looks like there is more red in the spectral curves than what the data sheet indicates.

I wonder what a single row of the NWs would look like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What is the PAR of the NW vs the CW?

Seems the blue spike makes the difference as the WW have a lower blue spike and are lower PAR, but the NW & CW have about the same sized higher blue spike.

Since I've recently invested $95 in two individual T5HO fixtures with quality reflectors, I don't have any spare bux this month to pursue the LED's. However I know where to get 'em when the time is right. Meanwhile I'll head over to the scrap/surplus metal dealer and procure some decent extruded Al stock suitable for the heatsinks.

I'm planning on a single row of 15 CREE XM-L 2.25" on center. No optics so I hope there is good overlap. I'm not sure how well they will cover the 12" wide tank floor. Hopefully the glass refraction will reflect most of the dim wide angle beam back in and offset any dimming of the beam at the front and back tank substrate. I'll just add a second string later if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got my two T5HOs w/reflectors set up and they are pretty bright.

Tank is 36"x12"x24" and lights are 22" from substrate going through glass cover & 21" of water column.

How will the PAR of my proposed 15 CREE XM-L 6500 K string @1300ma w/o optics compare to one of my T5HO 6500 K lamps?

I've shortened the photo period to 11 hours with a 3 hour mid day overlap burst period.
 
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