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Building LED mini clusters


fredfish01

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I keep coming back to a cluster size of 4 to 7 LEDs as the ideal size to get better light spread over the entire tank.

 

How I got there was looking at my tank size 36 x 36 x 18/20 deep and thinking I needed 4 Lumia chips for proper light levels, spread issues aside. From there I looked at 12 LED clusters and decided that still would not spread light out adequately. 16 mini clusters on 9" centers seems like a good place to be.

 

The trouble is, looking at typical ratios of different colours, in this cluster size, not every colour can be in every cluster. Here are the ratios as I've seen for commonly used colours:

 

4 RB (450nm)

2 Blue (470nm)

2 White/Lime (50/50?)

1 Turquoise (495nm)

2-4 Violet (the more the better??)

 

I also have it in my mind that I want some extra red in the 625 region, so I would add 1 red to that. That gives me a cluster size of 12+, too big.

 

My ideal cluster would have a base of:

 

2 RB

1 B

1 W/L

1/2 V

 

Now for the questions.

 

Will it work to put a red and turquoise LED into every second cluster? I was thinking of a 3 up that held the blue, turquoise and red.

 

Similarly I'm thinking of alternating white and lime on a 3 up with the two RB.

 

So, if I have one cluster that is a 2 RB + W and a single blue, and a second cluster that is 2 RB + L and the blue + turquoise + red 3 up alternating on 9" centers, will it blend??

 

I'm further thinking of some sort of diffuser material over the larger cluster to further blend and distribute the light from it.

 

from a previous thread I gather that I can use 3 or 4 up violets and spread them out evenly without having to worry about blending.

 

I would really like to hear from those of you that have already done some builds. Thanks.

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Paleoreef103

4 Lumias is a good bet for that tank. If you're looking for smaller clusters I'd recommend something like 1 2700K Warm White: 1 Lime: 1 CB: 2-3 RB: 1-2 Violets and keeping each color on its own channel. A build like that eliminates the need for deep reds and mostly covers the benefits of cyan/turquoise as well. It's honestly a bit better if you go with a bit bigger tightly grouped arrays than more smaller arrays with different compositions.

When it comes to limes, they only kind of work in the same way as whites. They do an incredible job of upping perceived brightness and removing the purple tint that can result from using lower kelvin whites.

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jedimasterben

In a nutshell, if you don't have the same LEDs in each cluster, you will probably be able to notice where they are missing when viewing the light. I know it may seem overkill, but I would design your clusters to be 100% identical and just dim down the colored LEDs to the intensity you require.

 

And a tank that size is just begging for evil clusters ;)

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And a tank that size is just begging for evil clusters ;)

Good idea. I'll build 16 evil clusters for good light spread and, um, just turn them down a tad so its not so bright. :eek:

 

Honestly, I think evil clusters are a bit overkill for shallower tanks. I think they would work amazinly well over 24"+ deep tanks.

 

Dang. I really want to go with small clusters. I may just experiment anyway, as I can just put the two different cluseters together to form one larger cluster if it doesn't work.

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jedimasterben

Good idea. I'll build 16 evil clusters for good light spread and, um, just turn them down a tad so its not so bright. :eek:

 

Honestly, I think evil clusters are a bit overkill for shallower tanks. I think they would work amazinly well over 24"+ deep tanks.

 

Dang. I really want to go with small clusters. I may just experiment anyway, as I can just put the two different cluseters together to form one larger cluster if it doesn't work.

My tank is only 16" tall and it works out great. Even my last cluster that was WAY overkill (700+ PAR at 28" without wavelength correction) tuned down was great. Learned a ton from that build, and the one after it, and so my current array is pretty much perfect. :)

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Overkill is fun, but I'm on a tight budget. I also don't want to put T5s on the tank for better light distribution, so I need to go with more smaller clusters. I think 16 mini clusters would be ideal, but if I need all colours in all clusters, that drives up the cost too much.

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Check out the mini clusters in my thread.

 

Yup, already posted a comment on your thread. I'm really interested in how your light turns out. Again, its kinda overkill. I suspect each of your clusters will put out more light and par than a Lumia multichip.

 

You know, if I won the lottery, I would buy a 600 gallon tank just so I could run evil clusters on 9" centers. :P

 

I wasn't planning on clustering the violets, but if I end up with 8 mini clusters and 6 violet 3 ups, I might just as well add two more and run one per cluster just because.

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Mini clustering shouldn't be too hard. I did some theory work on it while designing the clusters i finally settled on.

 

I'll have to look for my work buy i did design some clusters that basically combines the qualities of the evil cluster and a borealis array.

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OK, I did some cluster re-jigging and came up with an alternative that does not add that much to the cost and gets me better spread

 

Each cluster would contain:

 

3 Royal Blue

2 Blue

1 Turquois

1 White

1 Lime

1 Red

 

9 LEDs per cluster, 12 clusters for the tank. Its not quite the magical 16 I wanted, :tears: but I think I could live with this. :)

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I am using 12-LED clusters from reefll.com. They have the lens and diffuser as well. The colors are the same throughout and there is minimal disco effect. My tank is 36x18. The only thing I do not like is that the clusters are in a row on my makers heatsink and I do not have even spread of light front to back. I am thinking of how to re-design that fixture now. To get even spread for your tank you could probably go with 9 of their clusters.

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I've looked at the reefll clusters. I'd be interested in either of the top two, but they are a little out of my price range.

 

For those that like pictures, here is what the 9 up cluster would look like.

 

12LEDCluster_zpsd5c97cfe.jpg

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I am using 12-LED clusters from reefll.com. They have the lens and diffuser as well. The colors are the same throughout and there is minimal disco effect. My tank is 36x18. The only thing I do not like is that the clusters are in a row on my makers heatsink and I do not have even spread of light front to back. I am thinking of how to re-design that fixture now. To get even spread for your tank you could probably go with 9 of their clusters.

Are they lacking in blue?

 

I like the 4 violets, but I think I would rather instead have 4 RBs and 2 violets on the puck.

 

Can you post pics of your tank, how you have yours set up? Please.

 

 

Suggest removing the lenses for spread or increase height. Remember Inverse Square Law though, twice the distance, quarter the light.

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OK, I did some cluster re-jigging and came up with an alternative that does not add that much to the cost and gets me better spread

 

Each cluster would contain:

 

3 Royal Blue

2 Blue

1 Turquois

1 White

1 Lime

1 Red

 

9 LEDs per cluster, 12 clusters for the tank. Its not quite the magical 16 I wanted, :tears: but I think I could live with this. :)

 

 

That'd be very blue. Maybe would tone down the cool blue in favor of either limes, PC amber, or more whites.

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jedimasterben

Eh, it wouldn't really be all that blue looking. It would be more blue than my arrays,which are damned white at full power.

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That'd be very blue. Maybe would tone down the cool blue in favor of either limes, PC amber, or more whites.

I have a couple of thoughts on that.

 

The first is that the 3-up with the red in it is really an LEDgroupbuy OCW (except I'd use 620.630nm reds) so that combination blends to a white of sorts.

 

Second, I suspect that I'll be running the blues low relative to the white and lime to get the colour temp I want (probably somewhere around 12K)

 

Last, I'm wondering if I can use whites as fill lighting if I need more light. If the clusters I build blend reasonably well, the will generate a blueish white colour. That should blend reasonably well with white.

 

Jedi. You've mentioned a couple of times that you have done some work on small clusters to eliminate the need for T5. What cluster size and combinations have you tried?

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jedimasterben

Jedi. You've mentioned a couple of times that you have done some work on small clusters to eliminate the need for T5. What cluster size and combinations have you tried?

That plan was scrapped due to the cost involved, unfortunately. The plan was using 8up Luxeon Z boards using 2-3x of them per foot of T5 that you are replicating. By the time you add up costs on the drivers and LEDs and boards and such, it got astronomical pretty quickly. And integrating it into my build was even more costly lol.

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That plan was scrapped due to the cost involved, unfortunately. The plan was using 8up Luxeon Z boards using 2-3x of them per foot of T5 that you are replicating. By the time you add up costs on the drivers and LEDs and boards and such, it got astronomical pretty quickly. And integrating it into my build was even more costly lol.

That makes sense. There does not seem to be a good way to get to a reasonable sized mini-cluster.

 

My 9-up is really an 11-up when you add in the violets I will be running.

 

I think for starters I'm going to get 4 of each type of 3-up plus a couple of extra Blues I can use these to try both the 4 + 6 cluster mixed combo and the 4 9 LED clusters and compare the results. At most I've bought a couple of blue single star LEDs I can't use.

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That makes sense. There does not seem to be a good way to get to a reasonable sized mini-cluster.

 

My 9-up is really an 11-up when you add in the violets I will be running.

 

I think for starters I'm going to get 4 of each type of 3-up plus a couple of extra Blues I can use these to try both the 4 + 6 cluster mixed combo and the 4 9 LED clusters and compare the results. At most I've bought a couple of blue single star LEDs I can't use.

You dont need to cluster violets, you wont see them when they are on, when the other lights are on. Little chance to strip club.

 

You can put them anywhere. Reds you really want to cluster with other LEDs, or on a 3 up with complementary color.

 

Another strategy that works as well as cluster is long parallel, or one, line. One long alternating cluster helps eliminate strip clubbing effect well. For example, the Vertex lights have an almost T5 tube look to them, reduced shimmer and very diffused tube like look, no strip clubbing effect at all.

 

Im pretty sure Ben's idea with K 8ups would work well, maybe not as many, for a 3 foot tank. The heatsink cost for a straight 36" is pretty expensive, though. I have a 36 inch that I need a light for, and have even toyed with the idea of carbon fiber(Dmitrys idea) to hold small Nuventix heatsinks in place.

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2-3 8 ups per foot?

This is what I was thinking of:

TankLayout_zpsc6f73d46.jpg

 

A custom 8 up board would be cool, but I don't know how to do that and, from what Jedimasterben says, it would be expensive.

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http://s1078.photobucket.com/user/RichardSperry/media/carbon-fiber-led-light1.jpeg.html]carbon-fiber-led-light1.jpeg[/url]

 

This is what I was thinking of:TankLayout_zpsc6f73d46.jpg A custom 8 up board would be cool, but I don't know how to do that and, from what Jedimasterben says, it would be expensive.

No, not custom. Thats way too expensive.Use the Luxeon Z 8 ups or 16 ups as the base, then alternate my other colors between them. To emulate the $1200 Vertex Illumina 36 inch fixture. Thats the onsale price without the multicolor pads, $130 on sake and I need 5 of them for a 36 inch fixture.

 

I hate when the forum merges my posts. I didnt write my post thhis way.

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OK, I get your meaning now. I have not seen any commercially available Z multichips.

 

So far the 9 led clusters above is as close to ideal as I can get.

 

Heat sinks may end up being expensive for this layout. I have a bunch of solid copper 2.5" x 2.5" heatsinks I've pulled out of industrial computer we scrapped at work, but I don't know if one will provide enough heat dissipation for 3 3-ups.

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