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mrhasan
12-12-2012, 05:42 PM
So there seems to be never-ending debate between Cree and Bridgelux in DIY leds in reefcentral and nano-reef. I was thinking what you people think and if you are doing or have DIY leds, which LED emitter do you use?

Keeping Cree at 50-70% while running Bridgelux at 100% (with fan) seems to be of the same thing. But people still say running cree at lower rating expands its life. But I am not pleased with the justification since I am pretty sure a DIY running for 5 years and another for 10years doesn't make a difference; since you will obviously change it at some point well before 10 years.

Opinions please :)

msjboy
12-12-2012, 06:02 PM
Cree is owned by General Electric.... Toshiba just bought Bridgelux....and throw in Philips Rebels too. Cree is the more expensive ones with newer technology coming out every few months it seems ( see latest XM-L2) with a large capital to fund its R&D. Some people say the rebels ( see Stevesleds (on sale right now) , & nano-box-reef lights) are actually better in terms of the spectra though... I would go with a mix as some companies are doing it ( eg. Crees & Philips by www.marinedepot.com/Maxspect_Mazarra_P_Series_MZ_P01_LED_Module_20_Inc h_LED_Light_Fixtures-Maxspect-0M1111-FILTFILDTN-vi.html ). Nowadays on the DIY front, people are doing the full spectrum layouts as opposed to blue and white offerings though.

Also, Epistar, a taiwan based company, shares some of the same patents as Cree and is the cheapest of the 4.

regs
msjboy

sphelps
12-12-2012, 06:05 PM
I've run both and I prefer the Crees, IME SPS respond better under them, no idea why but they just do. Lower output also means higher efficiency as in you're using less power. Not too many LED fixtures out there using bridgelux either, from a manufacturing point of view I would conclude the Crees are the favorite by far. Crees are also pretty cheap now, not much point using budget LEDs these days unless you have a fairly large build. I also like the Luxeon's in terms of spectrum for the cool blues and royal blues.

mrhasan
12-12-2012, 06:08 PM
I've run both and I prefer the Crees, IME SPS respond better under them, no idea why but they just do. Lower output also means higher efficiency as in you're using less power. Not too many LED fixtures out there using bridgelux either, from a manufacturing point of view I would conclude the Crees are the favorite by far. Crees are also pretty cheap now, not much point using budget LEDs these days unless you have a fairly large build. I also like the Luxeon's in terms of spectrum for the cool blues and royal blues.

That's where my catch lies. My tank will not be able to sustain fancy SPS and hence I was wondering whether the Cree will be worthwhile.

mrhasan
12-12-2012, 06:11 PM
Cree is owned by General Electric.... Toshiba just bought Bridgelux....and throw in Philips Rebels too. Cree is the more expensive ones with newer technology coming out every few months it seems ( see latest XM-L2) with a large capital to fund its R&D. Some people say the rebels ( see Stevesleds (on sale right now) , & nano-box-reef lights) are actually better in terms of the spectra though... I would go with a mix as some companies are doing it ( eg. Crees & Philips by www.marinedepot.com/Maxspect_Mazarra_P_Series_MZ_P01_LED_Module_20_Inc h_LED_Light_Fixtures-Maxspect-0M1111-FILTFILDTN-vi.html ). Nowadays on the DIY front, people are doing the full spectrum layouts as opposed to blue and white offerings though.

Also, Epistar, a taiwan based company, shares some of the same patents as Cree and is the cheapest of the 4.

regs
msjboy

Never heard about nanobox but they are expensive :O Who would spend $400 for a fixture from there when they can easily get a AI SOL for that money. LED industry is so confusing!

sphelps
12-12-2012, 06:11 PM
That's where my catch lies. My tank will not be able to sustain fancy SPS and hence I was wondering whether the Cree will be worthwhile.

I guess you have to consider worth while in terms of what exactly? A 20 gallon tank won't require very many LEDs and you can use less crees for the same amount of light given by more bridgelux. I don't think you'll have much potential for any money savings. So why limit yourself to bridgelux?

mrhasan
12-12-2012, 06:14 PM
I guess you have to consider worth while in terms of what exactly? A 20 gallon tank won't require very many LEDs and you can use less crees for the same amount of light given by more bridgelux. I don't think you'll have much potential for any money savings. So why limit yourself to bridgelux?

I can get 24bridgelux from aquastyle (along with heatsink, hanging kit, glue, etc.) for $75 (I already got 2 meanwell 48D drivers :D) while for Cree, I will have to spend like $120 for 24 emitters. No heatsink included since I cannot find Cree kit (everyone sells bridgelux kits). That's where my thoughts are stuck :sad:

sphelps
12-12-2012, 06:24 PM
Pretty hard to buy a kit without drivers but Cree LEDs can be purchased for around $3.50 which would be $84 for 24 plus if you only need 70% or less to achieve the same output you only need 16 LEDs which would be around $56. Rapid LED also sells pretty nice anodized heat sinks that accept splash cards and hanging kits for around $30. Realistically you're talking about $20 max in savings.

mrhasan
12-12-2012, 06:30 PM
Pretty hard to buy a kit without drivers but Cree LEDs can be purchased for around $3.50 which would be $84 for 24 plus if you only need 70% or less to achieve the same output you only need 16 LEDs which would be around $56. Rapid LED also sells pretty nice anodized heat sinks that accept splash cards and hanging kits for around $30. Realistically you're talking about $20 max in savings.

Well you busted me. Yah the savings will not be significant :P

I really like their heatsinks. They are the cheapest that I found and look so sleek !

Some of the LEDs that I am planning to use (3up and true violet for full spectrum) are building up the cost actually.

I am just thinking whether the whole thing will worth it. I am not into SPS so colors of coral is not the best strength in my tank...but I just need the current corals to pop up.

I know, I am one confused lad :P

Stones
12-12-2012, 06:55 PM
+1 for Crees.

I've used both Crees as well as built a fixture soley from aquastyle LEDs and parts. I had to use almost twice as many bridgelux LEDs run at 700 mA to get approximately the same coverage/intensity as Crees ran at ~1000 mA so in the end, the cost works out to be about the same when you take into consideration the LEDs, optics and drivers. Plus shipping from aquastyle is MUCH more expensive than shipping from Rapidled or LEDgroupbuy.

I figured less LEDs on the heatsink spread a bit further apart is better for heat dissipation as well so you can get away with running a smaller fan or in some cases, no fan at all on your heatsinks. Less LEDS also means less power consumption but the savings here would be miniscule as well.

sphelps
12-12-2012, 07:01 PM
Well if was me and I was going DIY (which I probably would never bother with again) I'd go with the LEDgroupbuy heat sink
http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/makersled-designer-heatsink-kit-professional-grade/
Maybe I'm missing something but the aquastyle heat sinks are pretty standard, nothing sleek about them really. By the time you strap on a fan and splash shield it'll look pretty ghetto.

For LEDs I'd probably attempt the 3-ups, ideally ones with 1 RB, 1B & 1NW, all Cree's or Luxeon's (around the same price). For a 20 gallon I'd just wire all them together and do a simple on-off with a single ballast, keep it simple. I wouldn't bother with any other colors except maybe violets. On a small tank it's pretty hard to get good color blending, especially with DIY, don't think it would be worth while.

msjboy
12-12-2012, 07:13 PM
As a foot note, I think some brands are actually cheaper than your DIY builds:

see clearance underway at http://www.eshinesystems.com/purchase.html older models...
bridgelux, though...

and taotronics ones ( can get from ebay, newegg.com). If you add all the parts from a DIY kit, and theseseem cheaper than what you can build it for. I think LED lights will progressively get better and cheaper so question is, are you getting into the game with a cheap build whether it be DIY or elcheapo, and sit on the side lines until a decent company brings one out with all the features ( auto dimming, full spectrum , looks nice ) you can actually afford and enjoy for a decade. I think those who spent $4000 on a Vertex LED probably would want a full spectrum now and probably want all those special dimming features.

With all the holiday promo's going on, I think now is the opportune time to jump on the LED bandwagon whether it be DIY or a not too expensive model like Ecoxotic panaroma pro's, taotronics, etc.

msjboy

ScubaSteve
12-12-2012, 07:34 PM
That's where my catch lies. My tank will not be able to sustain fancy SPS and hence I was wondering whether the Cree will be worthwhile.

Why not? So long as you keep on top of water quality and have sufficient lighting, you can keep most SPS in damn near any tank.

I grew SPS very well (grew a cantaloupe sized birdsnest from a 1" frag in just under 8 months) in a 20 gallon tank for about two years... and I didn't even own a skimmer at the time! Just regulated my feeding and did weekly water changes.

I recommend Rebels over the Bridgelux, and put Crees and Rebels at the same quality level.

mrhasan
12-12-2012, 07:40 PM
Spot on! That's my sole intention. I want a DIY led till I graduate and can afford a "real" led fixture.

I am really inexperienced in this and have not heard of most of the brands you have talked about (other than taotronics). So would really appreciate it if you can post the names of these sort of lights :)

The shipping is a killer :( I found a 24 emitter cree fixture (with everything like sunrise sunset lunar cycle, even remote) for $220 BUT the shipping is another $50 so gets me over my budget. I really liked that fixture.

As a foot note, I think some brands are actually cheaper than your DIY builds:

see clearance underway at http://www.eshinesystems.com/purchase.html older models...
bridgelux, though...

and taotronics ones ( can get from ebay, newegg.com). If you add all the parts from a DIY kit, and theseseem cheaper than what you can build it for. I think LED lights will progressively get better and cheaper so question is, are you getting into the game with a cheap build whether it be DIY or elcheapo, and sit on the side lines until a decent company brings one out with all the features ( auto dimming, full spectrum , looks nice ) you can actually afford and enjoy for a decade. I think those who spent $4000 on a Vertex LED probably would want a full spectrum now and probably want all those special dimming features.

With all the holiday promo's going on, I think now is the opportune time to jump on the LED bandwagon whether it be DIY or a not too expensive model like Ecoxotic panaroma pro's, taotronics, etc.

msjboy

mrhasan
12-12-2012, 07:41 PM
Well if was me and I was going DIY (which I probably would never bother with again) I'd go with the LEDgroupbuy heat sink
http://www.ledgroupbuy.com/makersled-designer-heatsink-kit-professional-grade/
Maybe I'm missing something but the aquastyle heat sinks are pretty standard, nothing sleek about them really. By the time you strap on a fan and splash shield it'll look pretty ghetto.

For LEDs I'd probably attempt the 3-ups, ideally ones with 1 RB, 1B & 1NW, all Cree's or Luxeon's (around the same price). For a 20 gallon I'd just wire all them together and do a simple on-off with a single ballast, keep it simple. I wouldn't bother with any other colors except maybe violets. On a small tank it's pretty hard to get good color blending, especially with DIY, don't think it would be worth while.

Yah LGB's heatsinks are awesome.

If I do go Cree, I will get 3-ups since they are somewhat cheaper than getting three separate crees. The soldering is a challenge though.

mrhasan
12-12-2012, 07:43 PM
Why not? So long as you keep on top of water quality and have sufficient lighting, you can keep most SPS in damn near any tank.

I grew SPS very well (grew a cantaloupe sized birdsnest from a 1" frag in just under 8 months) in a 20 gallon tank for about two years... and I didn't even own a skimmer at the time! Just regulated my feeding and did weekly water changes.

I recommend Rebels over the Bridgelux, and put Crees and Rebels at the same quality level.

I don't have a sump and I heavily feed my tank (although the nitrate is undetectable). I have already killed 4 acros (bleached or dead; weird!) while three survivors are brown but encrusting. So I am kind of hopeless for SPS (had a big thread going few weeks back on this :P ). So maybe I can keep low end acros but high end are not the thing for my tank I guess.

mrhasan
12-12-2012, 07:46 PM
Why not? So long as you keep on top of water quality and have sufficient lighting, you can keep most SPS in damn near any tank.

I grew SPS very well (grew a cantaloupe sized birdsnest from a 1" frag in just under 8 months) in a 20 gallon tank for about two years... and I didn't even own a skimmer at the time! Just regulated my feeding and did weekly water changes.

I recommend Rebels over the Bridgelux, and put Crees and Rebels at the same quality level.

BTW I don't consider birdnest and montis as SPS :lol: They put a shame on SPS since they are so forgiving! My birdnests and montis are growing crazy!

mike31154
12-12-2012, 09:18 PM
Well I can't vote either option since my DIY LED fixture consists of generic Chinese 10 watt LED multichips. They work fine, have since April. I don't have much in the way of SPS either, but the ones I do have, monti & some other thing that was sold to me as a chalice but grows more like a monti, are doing very well.

The LED game is still evolving at a breakneck pace & IMO in the end, it makes little sense to debate over brand names in hopes of getting a slightly better buy one way or another. One's more efficient, the other has a more suitable spectrum for our requirements, development continues. It's a pretty high stakes game at the moment with consumers everywhere switching from cfls to LEDs in their homes. The unique niche our hobby occupies doesn't get near the same attention from the large manufacturers as more conventional lighting needs for business & general household lighting. And simply because a North American or European company owns a brand name, does not mean that the LEDs they use or ones manufactured under their name do not come from Asia somewhere. I saw a thread on RC yesterday that had a link to Bridgelux who apparently have a new, more efficient LED array ready to go. When you're talking about switching from Halides or T5HO to LEDs, a percentage point of efficiency between one LED & another is a drop in the bucket compared to the power savings over a Halide. Yet some folks still prefer the MHs, for good reason, they are tried & tested, known to do the job.

As far as SPS (or any other coral for that matter), I just don't get the mentality that downplays the value of one species vs another simply because it's easier to keep? It's like the wine conoisseurs (or snobs as I like to call them), man, if it tastes good & is reasonably priced, whatever. I don't care about how complex they get with the descriptions & nose, bouquet etc. I look at coral similarly, if it's pleasing to the eye I'll consider it, regardless of whether it's easy or difficult to keep. I'm somewhat restricted in that regard anyhow since I have some sizeable BTAs in my tank & they are already stinging the dickens out of the green monti thing. So I'm certainly not going to run out & get a cranky, difficult, costly SPS colony even if it does look awesome. Tank looks pretty good to me with the LPS, softies etc. that I have.

daplatapus
12-13-2012, 05:16 AM
Well, I've only ever used Cree and Exotic LED's. It does seem like cree's can be used at much lower intensities for the same effect.
Here's is my experience over my 20 gal cube. I built on an 18" makersled heatsink. Pricey, but I have to admit, very well thought out and if you're not sure of LED placement, this heatsink makes everything very easily moveable.
I built 2 clusters, each with 3- Exotic true violet's, 3 - Cree 3-up stars, 1 Exotic ocean coral white, and 2 cree RB. And because I had them, I added 2 more single RB's in between the 2 clusters.
I run 1 RB in each cluster and 1 of the center RB's (3 total) as moonlights only.
I love my fixture! The OCW's and TV's give a full spectrum that I think many of the LED naysayers are missing.

I really need to clean up some of the wiring... A couple pics:

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x353/daplatapus/IMAG0173.jpg

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x353/daplatapus/IMAG0167.jpg

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x353/daplatapus/IMAG0168.jpg

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x353/daplatapus/IMAG0169.jpg

mrhasan
12-13-2012, 05:21 AM
That's a really sweet DIY you got there :D

Well, I've only ever used Cree and Exotic LED's. It does seem like cree's can be used at much lower intensities for the same effect.
Here's is my experience over my 20 gal cube. I built on an 18" makersled heatsink. Pricey, but I have to admit, very well thought out and if you're not sure of LED placement, this heatsink makes everything very easily moveable.
I built 2 clusters, each with 3- Exotic true violet's, 3 - Cree 3-up stars, 1 Exotic ocean coral white, and 2 cree RB. And because I had them, I added 2 more single RB's in between the 2 clusters.
I run 1 RB in each cluster and 1 of the center RB's (3 total) as moonlights only.
I love my fixture! The OCW's and TV's give a full spectrum that I think many of the LED naysayers are missing.

I really need to clean up some of the wiring... A couple pics:

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x353/daplatapus/IMAG0173.jpg

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x353/daplatapus/IMAG0167.jpg

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x353/daplatapus/IMAG0168.jpg

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x353/daplatapus/IMAG0169.jpg

ScubaSteve
12-13-2012, 05:56 AM
As far as SPS (or any other coral for that matter), I just don't get the mentality that downplays the value of one species vs another simply because it's easier to keep? It's like the wine conoisseurs (or snobs as I like to call them), man, if it tastes good & is reasonably priced, whatever. I don't care about how complex they get with the descriptions & nose, bouquet etc. I look at coral similarly, if it's pleasing to the eye I'll consider it, regardless of whether it's easy or difficult to keep. I'm somewhat restricted in that regard anyhow since I have some sizeable BTAs in my tank & they are already stinging the dickens out of the green monti thing. So I'm certainly not going to run out & get a cranky, difficult, costly SPS colony even if it does look awesome. Tank looks pretty good to me with the LPS, softies etc. that I have.

I agree, Mike. I think my birdsnest was always one of my favorite species (though I swear to not have one again), especially neon or ponape BN. Especially when they get big, you're just like "Damn, that's sweet!" and it didn't cost you an arm and a leg to grow it. The new ones that I'm loving in my tank are a purple pocci and a rainbow stylo that are about 5"+ across. Easiest corals but they look awesome! Started them from small frags and I've never once had to worry about them. They even spawn in my tank regularly!

Even without a skimmer and sump I still successfully kept many species that people consider 'hard'. Really, if you give them the right flow and lighting, SPS are actually probably easier and less work than some LPS (in fact very few LPS actually make it in my tank because it's so SPS oriented). Like I said, you just need to stay on top of water quality and you're golden. If that means 1 oe 2 extra water changes a month, so what.

mrhasan
12-13-2012, 06:01 AM
I agree, Mike. I think my birdsnest was always one of my favorite species (though I swear to not have one again), especially neon or ponape BN. Especially when they get big, you're just like "Damn, that's sweet!" and it didn't cost you an arm and a leg to grow it. The new ones that I'm loving in my tank are a purple pocci and a rainbow stylo that are about 5"+ across. Easiest corals but they look awesome! Started them from small frags and I've never once had to worry about them. They even spawn in my tank regularly!

Even without a skimmer and sump I still successfully kept many species that people consider 'hard'. Really, if you give them the right flow and lighting, SPS are actually probably easier and less work than some LPS (in fact very few LPS actually make it in my tank because it's so SPS oriented). Like I said, you just need to stay on top of water quality and you're golden. If that means 1 oe 2 extra water changes a month, so what.

I can carry out more waterchange if SPS can actually survive in my tank. Will worth it. But I am not really confident with acros. Birdnest, montis are growing crazy and coloring up sweetly. But didn't know stylopora is on the easier side. Will be trying pocci but need to get a flat liverock for the tank; I am out of space :lol:

oyf709
12-16-2012, 07:14 PM
just want to point out, if you run CREE on a 20g tank, you probly won't even get to 50-70% intensity, you probly just going to run around 30-40 depends on how deep your tank is. I know many people running CREE fixtures at 80% or less for their 24" to 36" tall tank. I think it is better to go with a bit more spread out DIY build with a larger degree lense, so that you can turn up the intensity a bit more and still be able to cover whole tank.

to be honest, the cree vs bridgelux question is really depend on certain situation.
the both are great LED chips and both deliver good spectrum when give the right combination. People get down to detail about how much energy that someone gonna save by using CREE vs bridgelux in a long run. While that argument stand very true, but what about those people still running 2 or 3x 250W MH? It is the same argument when comes to people why they choose to use MH instead of LED, front end cost? proven technology? I would consider bridgelux to be a stepping stone for someone switching from MH/T5 to LEDs, and CREE would be a advance version of it but not the best. I would always consider Luxeon ES LED the better brand of the two and DYI can be found at http://stevesleds.com/.

Usually for a smaller tank, the cost differences are really small, it is only when you start to DYI a fixture that need to cover a larger area like 48x30 or even larger, the cost differences will stand out.


PS: I also copied a comment from 3reef and I think it is very true as well and should be consider when doing DIY, as DIY should allow you to make mix and match on LEDs and shouldn't only stay with just 1 brand of LED. "Bridgelux diodes have much better spectrums available, like violets, deep reds, cyans, etc. but are less efficient, usually about 30% less efficient. They also have lower current and voltage than Crees, but are much cheaper, making them the more affordable option in most cases. The best type of fixture would be a hybrid, royal blue and cool white crees, and violet, red, green, and cyan bridgelux diode. "