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EcoPico retrofit questions


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#1
VtheMaestro

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I'm planning a pico build and have been researching numerous lighting options. I came upon a youtube video which features retrofitted led's on an Ecopico arm. The guys at Saltcritters said it's one of your 6 led kits. Assuming that this is the correct kit, I have a few questions...
  • Do I have to use a heatsink or can I attach the lights directly to the Ecopico arm as it appears Saltcritters has?
  • What type of lenses will give me the best penetration and spread over a 12" deep tank?
  • Will this kit with the proper optics give me better reef-ready lighting than the stock Ecopico lighting I've already purchased? (2x Ecopico arms spaced apart for better coverage, 1 extra 453nm strip)


#2
Enyo

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You kind of screwed the pooch by buying two of the ecoxotic arms. For the price of the extra one you could have DIY CREE'd the original's face off.

#3
VtheMaestro

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You kind of screwed the pooch by buying two of the ecoxotic arms. For the price of the extra one you could have DIY CREE'd the original's face off.

The pooch isn't all the way screwed. I haven't opened anything so I can return all the extras. I definitely plan to keep at least one arm (most likely discarding the stock strip in favor of a retrofit), it's the most attractive and low profile fixture I've seen on a pico.

btw: Awesome nem tank, Enyo. The layout is minimalistic and attractive. A+

Edited by VtheMaestro, 27 October 2011 - 12:27 PM.


#4
Enyo

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Yeah return the ecoxotic arm and just buy 6x cree's and attach them to the single arm like in the video. You wont need a heatsink unless you are running them at full power (I dont think you would need to for that small of a tank). Optics would be tough to say, I would try a mix of 80's and 60's to see what you like best. they are cheap enough to buy a few sets. DIY LED's run circles around ecoxotic stuff any day. I dont understand why people buy their low power crap in the first place.

thanks for the compliment :)

Edited by Enyo, 27 October 2011 - 12:31 PM.


#5
VtheMaestro

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Yeah return the ecoxotic arm and just buy 6x cree's and attach them to the single arm like in the video. You wont need a heatsink unless you are running them at full power (I dont think you would need to for that small of a tank). Optics would be tough to say, I would try a mix of 80's and 60's to see what you like best. they are cheap enough to buy a few sets. DIY LED's run circles around ecoxotic stuff any day. I dont understand why people buy their low power crap in the first place.

thanks for the compliment :)


Is the kit I have selected on Rapid LED good enough?

When you say "run at full power" is there a way to change the intensity of the lights using the driver, or do I need some sort of dimmer?

I realize DIY stuff can be much better and cheaper. I spent a pretty penny on Ecoxotic stuff for my Illuminata build. I was in a rush to get the tank up as soon as my son was born, so spending high dollar on the prettiest thing in the store seemed smart at the time. My philosophy is the save money in areas where I'm knowledgeable, and spend on other areas until I learn more. It's a trade off.

Edited by VtheMaestro, 27 October 2011 - 12:52 PM.


#6
rapid LED

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Is the kit I have selected on Rapid LED good enough?

When you say "run at full power" is there a way to change the intensity of the lights using the driver, or do I need some sort of dimmer?

I realize DIY stuff can be much better and cheaper. I spent a pretty penny on Ecoxotic stuff for my Illuminata build. I was in a rush to get the tank up as soon as my son was born, so spending high dollar on the prettiest thing in the store seemed smart at the time. My philosophy is the save money in areas where I'm knowledgeable, and spend on other areas until I learn more. It's a trade off.


The kit you picked out is 7 LEDs and should be plenty of light. You could always not use the 7th LED and plug it with a terminal plug instead. To be honest I haven't seen this tank in person but from the video it looks like they just put 6 LEDs onto the original arm so I'm guessing that's going to be okay. Monitor the heat after a few hours of use and make sure it's not scalding hot, if you have a temperature gun you'll want it under 110 or so.

As enyo mentioned, not running at full power is going to keep them cooler. The kit comes with a driver that will run the LEDs at 700mA, which is about 70% of max (1A max). For lenses, there doesn't seem to be too much space between the lights and the water so go with the 80 degree lenses.

#7
VtheMaestro

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The kit you picked out is 7 LEDs and should be plenty of light. You could always not use the 7th LED and plug it with a terminal plug instead. To be honest I haven't seen this tank in person but from the video it looks like they just put 6 LEDs onto the original arm so I'm guessing that's going to be okay. Monitor the heat after a few hours of use and make sure it's not scalding hot, if you have a temperature gun you'll want it under 110 or so.

As enyo mentioned, not running at full power is going to keep them cooler. The kit comes with a driver that will run the LEDs at 700mA, which is about 70% of max (1A max). For lenses, there doesn't seem to be too much space between the lights and the water so go with the 80 degree lenses.


Thanks. I'm definitely going to make a purchase tonight! I have a few questions before I pull the trigger...
Would this kit be a better choice? It seems a lot cleaner without the terminal. (granted, I've never soldered before)

I apologize for asking so many questions, I just don't want to make a costly mistake on pre-fab products, nor do I want to blunder on my first diy attempt

Edited by VtheMaestro, 27 October 2011 - 04:41 PM.


#8
Enyo

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You might have trouble fitting the terminal on the arm along with the LEDs but I cant be certain.

I did my DIY LEDs without any prior soldering skills. If you are willing to pay a little extra for a soldering iron it's definitely worth the learning experience.

Another thing that might be an issue is that those LEDs without a dimmer while using optics have a chance of being too bright. Optics increase PAR a ton because it focuses the spilled light into a narrow beam. What I would do is either get a dimmable ballast kit OR simply dont use the optics IF you are burning corals.Who knows it could be fine as it is!

Other than those potential things to look out for, the second kit you linked is a good one for your needs. Make sure you get the 80 optics and thermal ADHESIVE if you do not plan on drillin and tapping (a pain).

Send me a pm if you have unanswered questions!

#9
VtheMaestro

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You might have trouble fitting the terminal on the arm along with the LEDs but I cant be certain.

I did my DIY LEDs without any prior soldering skills. If you are willing to pay a little extra for a soldering iron it's definitely worth the learning experience.

Another thing that might be an issue is that those LEDs without a dimmer while using optics have a chance of being too bright. Optics increase PAR a ton because it focuses the spilled light into a narrow beam. What I would do is either get a dimmable ballast kit OR simply dont use the optics IF you are burning corals.Who knows it could be fine as it is!

Other than those potential things to look out for, the second kit you linked is a good one for your needs. Make sure you get the 80 optics and thermal ADHESIVE if you do not plan on drillin and tapping (a pain).

Send me a pm if you have unanswered questions!

Thanks. pm sent

While this diy option does look attractive, further inspection of the video does show a significant amount of shading on both sides of the tank. Considering that my Mr. Aqua tank is a bit wider, having two of the stock arms which I can vary the spacing between still seems like an attractive alternative.

#10
Enyo

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he might have 60 deg optics, if you go with 80's or without optics you wont have the shade and can always add them later, also your tank wont get melted.

sending pm

#11
rtparty

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I dont understand why people buy their low power crap in the first place.



I am curious, have you ever used Ecoxotic's stuff or are you just going off heresay?

I didn't know that 3w CREE's being run at almost 2w a piece was considered "low power". Funny how you tell the OP to get the CREE's and then turn them down. Kind of a contradiction there if you ask me.

I used the EcoPico LED arm over my 7.5g Mr Aqua tank for almost 4 months and had great results. My corals grew and colored up very nicely. I wasn't keeping any SPS in the tank so I didn't need a ton of light in the first place. I would never try SPS in that small of a tank anyways. It was already a big enough nightmare maintaining on a daily basis.

I now run Ecoxotic Panorama PRO modules and stunners over my 24g Nano Cube and everything is doing great. I will start adding SPS here pretty soon when the tank is ready.

The retro idea is pretty cool but not necessary unless you want the high light SPS and then water quality will be the much bigger issue at that point. The EcoPico LEDs run at 1w a piece and are like 3-4" off the water. Using 5 strips on one arm is more than enough for just about anything. I used 3 strips on mine and really liked it.

To the OP,

I thought about using the Panorama PRO modules over my 7.5g Mr Aqua tank but had no way to mount them to the tank. Well sometime in the near future, that problem will be resolved.

http://reefbuilders....rama-pro-led-3/

I put my current Panorama over the 7.5g for a little bit to play with it and it was plenty bright for anything!

#12
VtheMaestro

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I am curious, have you ever used Ecoxotic's stuff or are you just going off heresay?

I didn't know that 3w CREE's being run at almost 2w a piece was considered "low power". Funny how you tell the OP to get the CREE's and then turn them down. Kind of a contradiction there if you ask me.

I used the EcoPico LED arm over my 7.5g Mr Aqua tank for almost 4 months and had great results. My corals grew and colored up very nicely. I wasn't keeping any SPS in the tank so I didn't need a ton of light in the first place. I would never try SPS in that small of a tank anyways. It was already a big enough nightmare maintaining on a daily basis.

I now run Ecoxotic Panorama PRO modules and stunners over my 24g Nano Cube and everything is doing great. I will start adding SPS here pretty soon when the tank is ready.

The retro idea is pretty cool but not necessary unless you want the high light SPS and then water quality will be the much bigger issue at that point. The EcoPico LEDs run at 1w a piece and are like 3-4" off the water. Using 5 strips on one arm is more than enough for just about anything. I used 3 strips on mine and really liked it.

To the OP,

I thought about using the Panorama PRO modules over my 7.5g Mr Aqua tank but had no way to mount them to the tank. Well sometime in the near future, that problem will be resolved.

http://reefbuilders....rama-pro-led-3/

I put my current Panorama over the 7.5g for a little bit to play with it and it was plenty bright for anything!

Wow. Thank you very much for your reply. While the stock Pico arm is quite stylish, a pro module with the arms seems like exactly what I'm looking for! The tunable module is the icing on the cake. I may hold off on unboxing my purchase and wait for this to hit the shelf. I appreciate you chiming in.

#13
rtparty

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Wow. Thank you very much for your reply. While the stock Pico arm is quite stylish, a pro module with the arms seems like exactly what I'm looking for! The tunable module is the icing on the cake. I may hold off on unboxing my purchase and wait for this to hit the shelf. I appreciate you chiming in.



I would look into using one PRO module and a couple stunners. You will have to DIY a mounting system for the stunners but that shouldn't be too hard to do.

I believe in the near future Ecoxotic might have some controllers out so you can really customize our output. The new RGB controller is going to sweet!

#14
VtheMaestro

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I would look into using one PRO module and a couple stunners. You will have to DIY a mounting system for the stunners but that shouldn't be too hard to do.

I believe in the near future Ecoxotic might have some controllers out so you can really customize our output. The new RGB controller is going to sweet!

Are you sure a pro won't be too much light for zoos, mushrooms, and softies over such a shallow tank?

#15
rtparty

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Are you sure a pro won't be too much light for zoos, mushrooms, and softies over such a shallow tank?



Not if you dim them down... ;)

Edited by rtparty, 31 October 2011 - 05:02 PM.


#16
VtheMaestro

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Not if you dim them down... ;)

lol when will that be an option?

#17
rtparty

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lol when will that be an option?


The RGB module is already dimmable. I have heard that the new fixtures come with inline dimmers or you can use any other controller to dim them. Don't quote me on that though.

I suspect that if the new fixtures are dimmable, then all modules are dimmable and will just need the right controller to do so.

#18
Enyo

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I am curious, have you ever used Ecoxotic's stuff or are you just going off heresay?

I didn't know that 3w CREE's being run at almost 2w a piece was considered "low power". Funny how you tell the OP to get the CREE's and then turn them down. Kind of a contradiction there if you ask me.

I used the EcoPico LED arm over my 7.5g Mr Aqua tank for almost 4 months and had great results. My corals grew and colored up very nicely. I wasn't keeping any SPS in the tank so I didn't need a ton of light in the first place. I would never try SPS in that small of a tank anyways. It was already a big enough nightmare maintaining on a daily basis.

I now run Ecoxotic Panorama PRO modules and stunners over my 24g Nano Cube and everything is doing great. I will start adding SPS here pretty soon when the tank is ready.

The retro idea is pretty cool but not necessary unless you want the high light SPS and then water quality will be the much bigger issue at that point. The EcoPico LEDs run at 1w a piece and are like 3-4" off the water. Using 5 strips on one arm is more than enough for just about anything. I used 3 strips on mine and really liked it.

To the OP,

I thought about using the Panorama PRO modules over my 7.5g Mr Aqua tank but had no way to mount them to the tank. Well sometime in the near future, that problem will be resolved.

http://reefbuilders....rama-pro-led-3/

I put my current Panorama over the 7.5g for a little bit to play with it and it was plenty bright for anything!


Funny how ecoxotic's pico light uses LEDs that are driven at LESS THAN ONE WATT EACH (retailers have them listed at 0.25 - 0.75w). Pretty low power if you ask me. All their stupid stunner strips are the same way as well.

I bought some stunners for my tank and couldn't even tell they were on. All hype and such a waste of money.

What ecoxotic product uses cree LEDs other than maybe the PAR lamp? Why wouldnt you advocate DIY opposed to overpriced rebranded crap?

#19
VtheMaestro

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The RGB module is already dimmable. I have heard that the new fixtures come with inline dimmers or you can use any other controller to dim them. Don't quote me on that though.

I suspect that if the new fixtures are dimmable, then all modules are dimmable and will just need the right controller to do so.

I called ecoxotic to confirm. The inline dimmer is only for the cannon lights. The rgb is dimmable, but it doesn't emit the same light as the 12k white/blue pro module. I'll try my luck with it using the mounting brackets once they're released. Hopefully it doesn't burn anything in my little tank.

#20
rtparty

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Funny how ecoxotic's pico light uses LEDs that are driven at LESS THAN ONE WATT EACH (retailers have them listed at 0.25 - 0.75w). Pretty low power if you ask me. All their stupid stunner strips are the same way as well.

I bought some stunners for my tank and couldn't even tell they were on. All hype and such a waste of money.

What ecoxotic product uses cree LEDs other than maybe the PAR lamp? Why wouldnt you advocate DIY opposed to overpriced rebranded crap?



Funny, I actually ran the EcoPico LEDs for about 4 months. I even took PAR readings for them when I had them. They run at 1w each. They will grow coral just fine. Look at Ecoxotic's website and it says each strip runs at THREE watts. 3/3 = 1, not .75 or even .25. Heck, if they were running even lower than one watt each and I was getting over 50 PAR I am happy. LPS will do just fine in 50 PAR, all of mine always has. Let's not forget that Apogee PAR meters are under reading blue LEDs by up to 40% as well. Look into that.

Wattage has nothing to do with PAR. You seem to get the two confused.

Almost all of their stuff uses CREE. My RGB module from them runs CREE. I don't think any of Ecoxotic's stuff is overpriced crap. DIY has to be hidden in a canopy because it looks like crap. You have a heatsink and wires running all over the place. You are also limited in what LED colors you can choose. Most places only carry 4-5 colors of LEDs. You have blue, royal blue, cool white, neutral white and warm white. What if I want magenta, red, cyan, UV, green or others? They have to be special ordered most the time.

Why DIY some LEDs on to the EcoPico arm unless you plan to run a bunch of SPS in a small tank? The EcoPico LEDs have proven to grow corals just fine. Just don't throw a clam and high light SPS in a 6 gallon tank!

We all have our own opinions and there is more than one way to skin a cat. But if you haven't actually used the product for an extended period of time or done enough research, that opinion can be flawed. I have plenty of flawed opinions in this hobby.

Why don't you ask Maestro how his tank is doing with his Ecoxotic lights over it? See what he thinks of Ecoxotic stuff. His corals and tank seem to like it. :)

Edited by rtparty, 02 November 2011 - 06:39 AM.


#21
rtparty

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I called ecoxotic to confirm. The inline dimmer is only for the cannon lights. The rgb is dimmable, but it doesn't emit the same light as the 12k white/blue pro module. I'll try my luck with it using the mounting brackets once they're released. Hopefully it doesn't burn anything in my little tank.



The all white setting on the RGB module is a nice white with blue hint to it. Things fluoresce pretty well under it. Add in a couple stunners and things can pop quite nicely.

My guess is that Enyo added the Stunners to a full blown halide or T5 setup. Of course you won't see them on that! Many people have tried that and Ecoxotic has even said the stunners are for accenting. They have some usable PAR but they aren't meant to out do a good T5 setup. It is ridiculous to think they would.