View Full Version : cool write up on two different LED's

10-17-2010, 11:56 AM
I just completed upgrades of my AI SOl White (W/W/B) pucks to the SOL Blue (W/B/RB). Please excuse the current condition of the tank - It's been more of a test tank than display tank for the past year with lot's of LED and carbon dosing testing (including the 2 significant over PAR/photo-inhibition events detailed earlier in this thread...

*Note - the 24" and 30" measurements are slightly occluded by aquascape and offset about 6" toward the front of the tank. Perhaps the most interesting find was the SOl Blues delivered slightly more PAR at depth. I can only guess this is due to better penetration of the blue spectrum.

SOL White = 0% white, 100% blue vs. SOL Blue = 0% Blue, 100% white.

SOL White = 100% white, 0% blue vs. SOL Blue = 100% Blue, 0% white.

All AIs at 100% compared to Maxspect G2-160 at 100%

SOL White = 0% white, 100% blue vs. SOL Blue = 0% Blue, 100% white with G2 for comparison.

SOL White = 100% white, 0% blue vs. SOL Blue = 100% Blue, 0% white with G2 for comparison.

100% blue output of 2X SOL Blue units - It's nearly impossible to show the "pop" of these, the color is far more intense than shown in the photo. You can also tell how purple in appearance the Semi-LED Royal Blues are in the G2.

I took photos and PAR measurements at other power settings, but it's difficult to distinguish much difference in the photos. The PAR falloff at lesser power settings was mostly linear (50% power yielded about 50% of the reported PAR.) Measurements taken using an Apogee MQ-200 with the electric light settings. Due to variations in measurement accuracy (i.e. hand shake , slight rotation of sensor, rough water surface...) I'd estimate the margin of error at plus/minus ~5%

10-17-2010, 11:56 AM
(sorry for the poor quality photo, I've not yet recovered my DSL.)

I just purchased a Maxspect G2-160W and an Apogee MQ-200 PAR meter. It will take some time to get the tanks mapped and accurate measurements done (my son "borrowed" my SLR ) and to develop a standardized method of placing the sensor as it's very sensitive - any motion skews the results. But so far....WOW

I knew the AIs were PAR MONSTERS, but even so, I'm really impressed at the initial measurements. At 100%W / 100%B...

6" - 1650
12" - 1370 (water surface)
16" - 915 (4" water depth)
19" - 690 (7" water depth)
24" - 560 (12" water depth)

Strangely, I seem to measure about a 10% difference between the 2 AI units. I'll define further as my technique improves.

The MaxSpect G2-160W is hung 12" above the tank (same as the AIs for testing only - without optics, it has to be lowered.)

In the above photo, the two AI units (70W ea.) are running 100% Blue and 75% white. The Maxspect (G2-160W) is at 100% on all LEDS resulting in the following measurements...

At 12" (water surface)
AI - 1105
MXS - 350

Placing the sensor 6" directly below each light with both units at max output resulted in the following...

AI - 1650
MXS - 840

For a direct comparison to MH/T5, the Maxspect replaced a 150W Phoenix 14K running with 2 GM Actinic+ T5s, which generated about 650 PAR at the waterline with the lights about 3 1/2" above

Although the Maxspect "looks" much brighter, the AIs (even with the white LEDS reduced to 75%) are putting out far more PAR and the impact of the 40 degree optics are apparent.

What this means to anyone new to LEDS, especially AquaIllumination is be don't be fooled by appearances. You cannot compare "by looks" the output of T5 or MH to LED as they are far from PAR equivalent. If you try, you will surely cook your livestock. (been there, done that.)

I'll take more measurements and photos as soon as I get my camera back.

**These measurements are probably +-10% as I haven't yet perfected a standardized way to hold the sensor. All lights are hung 12" above water surface. AI measurements taken directly under one AI 70W. Maxspect measurements taken directly under center of fixture with the MQ-200 set to Sun setting. The below-water AI measurements are likely skewed high from light from the adjacent (5" apart) AI unit. I left both on as this likely represents actual usage (multiple units.) Those with more than 2 units would have higher readings with light from 2nd adjacent unit.

10-17-2010, 11:57 AM
At higher power settings the AI's are far less blue than the G2. As a result of the color, and the fact the AI's put out much more PAR than I need - I set the AI controller so it gradually ramps up to the higher white setting (max 75%) during mid day (11:00-13:00) when for the most part, the tank is not being viewed and is back in the 20K+ range in the morning/evening peak viewing hours. Even at the lower white settings - the AIs still put out significantly more PAR than the G2s even at 100% (At 6", the AI blues LEDS alone put out 710 PAR.)

Here's perhaps a better color comparison...


This photo shows the MXS at 100% on all LEDS and the AIs at 44% white / 100% blue. At these settings, measuring 7" below each light - The AI puts out about 1425 PAR and the MXS about 700 PAR.

IMO, the light on both tanks is stunning and a vast improvement over the MH/T5s they replaced.

10-17-2010, 11:58 AM
Choosing between these two platforms is tough as they represent very different approaches to LED lighting. Here are my observations on the pluses/minus directly comparing the AIs and G2...


+ Cree Powered - MASSIVE PAR availability with 10+ year bulb life.
+ Very good ramping controller - Sunrise/sunsets, mid-day PAR increases, vary blue and white output individually in 1% increments, full Lunar cycles with intensity.
+ Blue instead of Royal Blue - Provides "crisp" blue rather than the purple/violet appearance of the SemiLED Royal blues (subjective.)
+ 40 Degree Optics - Allows you to adjust coverage, appearance and PAR by changing the height with little or no light spillage.
+ US Made with phenomenal support.
+ Controller Interface - Profilux (and about to be released Neptune Apex) controller interface provides controller integration enabling advanced options such as clouds, thunderstorms...

- Initial acquisition costs.
- Tight optics limit coverage if placed in a hood or mounted just above a tank.
- At higher output levels (>80% whites) the color is less blue than some prefer.
- At the time this was written, there is a waiting list for purchase.


+ Inexpensive (especially in relation to the AIs')
+ No optics provide a greater coverage area if surface mounted
+ User replaceable SimiLEDS allow you to interchange individual white/blue/ violet LEDS to create custom color combinations.
+ Royal blues provide more "pop" when on by themselves (subjective.)
+ Built-in timer provides 3 channels of on/off scheduling for blue/violets, 3w whites and 30w whites.
+ Built in moonlight LEDS (on/off only - turn on when main LEDS turn off.)

- Lack of optics limits elevation options (much light spillage.)
- Less PAR than Crees powered lights (but still much more than MH/T5.)
- Color of SemiLED Royal blues has an overt purple/violet cast. This is especially noticeable when only the blues are on (subjective.)
- Rail kit blocks light from being evenly distributed
- 30W whites are much less blue than purported by the Mfg.
- No controller integration currently available or reported to be forthcoming
- Chinese made, no US based support at present. Any warranty or repair requires return shipping to China.
- Some initial quality concerns - There have been reports of some manufacturing concerns including issues such as DOAs, loose electrical connections in the timer box, LEDS mounted with little/poor thermal protection, bent rails or cooling fins. Although so far, it seems Maxspect has done a very good job of handling support and warranty repair (again subjective and based on RC posts as I have had no warranty issues.)

Notes- There was discussion about a Cree upgrade being available for the G2. I've seen contradicting comments regarding this, and have not seen any posts from a Cree based G2 owner. If available (and depending on the upgrade costs) this might be an viable option. Please remember, these are my personal observations based on owning the AIs and G2 and having them installed on side-by-side tanks. Much of this is subjective (especially comments pertaining to color output.) You're mileage will obviously vary :)

10-17-2010, 09:42 PM
Well done!

10-17-2010, 09:57 PM
I am sorry if you posted this already and I missed it but how much were those fixtures? I am interested in going LED or at least doing LED Actinic's on my main display....I would love to be all LED, but I am running an experiment on a 14g that has LED fixture and so far all is ok. But they don't seem strong enough. I am interested in getting better one's.

10-19-2010, 08:10 AM
AI's are around 5-600 per unit like the ones shown ans another chunk for the controllers..
and for the maxpect you can shop around..
Just google them and look more and more places are carrying these..

Keep in mind , this is not MY write up.. I found this and had to share it. for people interested in LED's

10-19-2010, 11:55 AM
Keep in mind , this is not MY write up.. I found this and had to share it. for people interested in LED's

Ahhh now I'm no longer confused....lol.