Just want to throw my two cents in real quick.
I found that buying a cheap DIY LED kit from China and actually building my first fixture filled in a lot of the blanks for me. I spent like maybe $150, got all the crazy colors that I wanted to see what they looked like, threw them on a heatsink... Practiced wiring, soldering, drilling, tapping, gluing, etc... And now I've got a pretty sweet, seriously overpowered fuge light that I don't regret at all.
Part of the learning process for me is doing that hands-on stuff. Maybe you should consider making a cheap fixture that's destined to grow chaeto, then continue researching to put yourself a little ahead before you make a big badass fixture for your display.
Kinda what I did. Bought an Aquastyle kit, I like them, I'd just rather have something that's more efficient and will look better (mostly from higher CRI)!
difference in meanwells and Inventronics? You need an additional power supply to dim the meanwells, inventronics has them built in. Inventronics are also IP67 and IP66 rated so water resistant and dust prove. You dont need to tune the inventronics. Failure rate is higher on the meanwells (this comes from someone that has sold hundreds/thousands of both), list goes on.
FYI guys, Im working on a analysis write up to compare the Rebel/CREE for everyone, trying to be as unbiased as possible but its a bit hard. I should have it up this weekend.
I've never heard of an Inventronics driver failing, but I've seen plenty of Meanwells. The Inventronics are much more expensive, though, this does deter a lot of people looking to get the best value.
I'm interested to see your view of the Rebel ES, Milad. I didn't expect you to be 100% unbiased (not to offend, of course, sir), but I know that you will do your best. I've got several charts I've made doing comparisons myself, I'd love to see what you come up with.
The Rebel ES and Crees current chips seem close...
I'm on the fence, the price difference doesn't make much of a difference. Perhaps using Rebel ES exotics would be a good idea,
3 ups are tempting since you simple stick them up there and they are ready to go. Yet again the better CRI sounds cool and there are a few LED gurus that swear by them. My only thought is not being able to drive 3 ups at 1 amp, is thermal dissipation an issue with putting 3 Crees on a single star?
I never knew the Inventronics are rated for water and dust resistance. I could order it all from you instead of a seperate order from rapid leds, and here shipping is terrible, $40 for a $80 heatsink(I'm assuming ti won't fit into a flatrate box?) lol! But I'm looking for a $16 meanwell replacement which i don't see you guys stock.
The whites are close, but the royal blues are not.
CREE XP-G NW
700ma (~2.1w) - ~230lm
1000ma (~3.1w) - ~300lm
1500ma (~4.9w) - ~400lm
Rebel ES NW
700ma (~2.1w) - ~240lm
1000ma (~3.1w) - ~325lm
CREE XT-E RB
700ma (~2.1w) - ~930mW
1000ma (~3.2w) - ~1310mW
1500ma (~5w) - ~1740mW
Rebel ES RB
700ma (~2.1w) - ~1300mW
1000ma (~3.1w) - ~1600mW
1500ma (~4.8w) - ~2400mW
In the LED Spectral Analysis thread, the older Rebel (not ES) beat the XP-E royals in luminous output, and the Rebel ES seems to continue that trend with the XT-E royal.
When it comes to your base colors, the "big guys" in LEDs will say go for the highest CRI white you can. blasterman's "evil" cluster that he made used a, what, 85-90 CRI Bridgelux emitter and it looked amazing, purportedly (still no pics blaster!
From the datasheet, CREE emitters have a Tj max temperature of 85C. I'd imagine that being on the 3up star they would be getting close to that being so close together physically, but Milad should chime in on this, I'm sure he has data to back it up.