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Detritus

Anyone use Blue Acro LED pucks or strips?

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Hello all!

 

I have recently learned of the LED pucks and strips made by Blue Acro, and I would love to know more about how to wire up and use LED's like these. I am wondering is anyone here has used the Blue Acro products before, and how did they work? Also, would someone here be able to help me learn what I need to run these LED's? I am fairly clueless with electronics, though I can solder, and I can learn. I know I need the LED puck, a driver, heatsink, power supply, and ideally some kind of controller. Is that the basic setup? How can I learn more about these kinds of LED's and electronics? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

https://blueacro.com/

 

Thanks in advance!

 

-Detritus

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No, I am fairly clueless to these DIY LED pucks, but I am trying to learn. I looked at the NanoBox website, and found the V3.1 array. What makes this superior to the Blue Acros? Do you know if they are wired similarly? I would want an LED that could be controlled by PWN provided by a DIY home-brew control project called ReefPi. ReefPi runs on the Raspberry Pi single board project computers. I'm very new to all this, but that's what I'm trying to learn to do; DIY ReefPi controlled, dimmable LED lighting. I'm interested in this for both saltwater and freshwater planted tanks, and I see Blue Acro makes a freshwater version. Do you know if NanoBox does, or could, provide a freshwater planted oriented array?

 

Thank you very much for your help!

 

-D

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I use BlueAcro halfmega 20k blues on my 20L, and they are fantastic, highly recommended.

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Hi! I am so sorry I missed your reply! Thank you very much for your feedback. They look really promising, but, honestly, I sent them an email on 7/11/18 simply asking when their AcroIQ LED Driver was expected to be back in stock, and if they could help me choose a driver/puck combo. Unfortunately, despite having received a confirmation email, I never heard a reply from a rep 😞 Would you still suggest I look into their LED's? Is there another brand or supplier you might suggest?

 

Thank you very much for your help!

 

-D

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I'm not sure what the guy (Theatrus is his username, here, and elsewhere) has going on right now, as he's a one-man operation. If you haven't heard back in a while you might want to look into other options. Steve'sLEDs has some customisable strips available, and NanoBox has very nice little boards a well. 

 

For drivers, if you have the room, these boards work well, and you can swap drivers as needed for higher or lower current. still solderless connection too-

 

https://www.stevesleds.com/LDD-Driver-Array--2X-Drivers_p_307.html

 

Also, to save a few bucks order your drivers here, free shipping in the US on small orders, and a couple bucks cheaper-

 

https://www.ledsupply.com/led-drivers/mean-well-ldd-h-series-cc-step-down-mode

 

 

If anything shoot Theatrus a PM either here, or on reefcentral, if you don't mind waiting. I really like my pucks from him. He has a day job in IT and is a busy guy.

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Hey, thank you so much! In my searching I have found builds and posts by Theatrus, but didn't realize that's the guy from Blue Acro. I am in absolutely no hurry. In fact, I still think I have a lot to learn about these DIY LED systems, but my thought was if I just commit to a puck or strip, then I can research and figure out the other electronics I need. I will send him a PM and see if he responds as I'd really like to try these LED's. 

 

Thank you again for your help!

 

-D

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Well, I shot a PM to Theatrus the other day, and didn't receive a reply yet, so I'm sure he's just busy with his regular life. Everything I've read about his LED pucks says they are great, so I'm still really tempted to try one or two. For me, I don't know enough about the other individual 3 and 5 watt LED's on the market to try to choose between brands and then combination of colors, so I thought these Blue Acro pucks would be a great fit. Does that make sense?

 

Is there anything else on the market like the Blue Acro pucks? I did look at the Nanobox V3.1 Array as HarryPotter suggested, but I don't know enough about LED technology to compare it to the Blue Acros. I'm not even sure I saw the physical dimensions or total max wattage listed either, does anyone know that offhand? Of course, I've never heard a bad thing about NanoBox lights at all, so I'm sure it's a quality LED array. I will say I do like that Blue Acro has a freshwater puck available, which I did not see from NanoBox. Ideally, I'm looking for both. 

 

If I don't go with a puck or array like those above, and instead chose to wire up individual LED's, could someone suggest what kinds of LED's to use, please? I have always read about Cree and Philips (which I believe is now Lumitech, maybe?). I know there are sites like MakersLED that offer "recipes" that imitate commercially available lights. Would I be good if I followed one of their suggestions?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks very much!

 

-Detritus

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Just an update, if anyone is listening. Unfortunately, I have still not received a reply from Blue Acro, which might be alright, but I would just feel more comfortable if I could reach someone there. It was suggested I take a look at the DIY array offered by NanoBox, and my only initial objection to that was that I would ideally like to light both a freshwater and a saltwater tank, and I didn't think that NanoBox offered anything for freshwater systems. I reached out NanoBox late last night, and in the morning I got a prompt reply from Dave informing me that he does indeed have the V3.0 array in a freshwater spectrum. I am now leaning this way, but would like to ask how many of these arrays I would need on an IM Fusion Nano 10 gallon. Would one NanoBox V3.1 array be enough on an IM 10 to grow basically anything? I am far from the most advanced reefer, but I don't want my lighting to be the limiting factor on my system.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

-D

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Could I add, the reason I'm so interested in these kinds of "all-in-one" chipsets is because for me as a know nothing beginner, it eliminates the guesswork out of which individual LED's to use. I figure this way someone much smarted than I am has already done that part, and these arrays are more or less ready to go. Does that make sense? 

 

And in addition to the array itself, I know that I would need to add a driver, a heatsink and almost certainy a fan, right? I do plan on cobbling together my own PWM controller using the free ReefPi project software for the Raspberry Pi microcomputer. Is this the basic setup? @Lingwendil Would the drivers you mentioned above also be a good choice for the NanoBox array as well? My idea is to commit to the LED's first, then I can research and figure out the other components.

 

Thanks again!

 

-D

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I use half mega pro 20ks on my 20in cube and my 15 gallon fluval flex in makersled slim heatsinks, work great.  good color.  I do wish his full megas had more discreet channels like the nanobox cobs.  

 

I built a very simple on/off light for my fluval flex. basically a 5in makerslim heatsink + 2x700mah (could of gone with one, but wanted to leave option open to a light controller down the road. drivers from ledsupply then the cob from blueacro (wish he had his drivers in stock or I would of gone that route)  used an old laptop powersupply I had laying arround to power it.  I had less than 60 bucks all in for a very nice light.

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^^Yes! That's exactly what I'm hoping to do, thank you! I do like the slim Maker's heat sink, as well as the HD heatsink at Steve's LEDs, which claims to not need a fan. Could I please ask, how do you know you need a 700mah driver specifically? That's a part of this puzzle I don't under stand yet. Would that driver also work with the NanoBox array if I go that route? And did you need a fan on your heatsink with that chip set? Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it!

 

-D

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On 7/30/2018 at 6:40 PM, Detritus said:

^^Yes! That's exactly what I'm hoping to do, thank you! I do like the slim Maker's heat sink, as well as the HD heatsink at Steve's LEDs, which claims to not need a fan. Could I please ask, how do you know you need a 700mah driver specifically? That's a part of this puzzle I don't under stand yet. Would that driver also work with the NanoBox array if I go that route? And did you need a fan on your heatsink with that chip set? Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it!

 

-D

the mah of a driver is how strong it is, the higher the number the more power that it will drive the leds in the chain.  700mah is .7 amps.  the leds on the blue acro pucs are raited between 700-1000 depending on the model (it shows on the website the recommended drive current)  they have some good diagrams on how to wire up the leds on the website.   that said do some research and really understand the wiring of the leds.  the margin to save money diy is pretty thin, if you buy the wrong thing, or wire something wrong and sacrafice it to the 

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^ Hello again! Thank you very much for your help! In my reading yesterday I did finally figure out how to match the drivers to the LEDs. I didn't realize the LEDs I'm interested in had those specs right there on the product page. I do see what you're saying about the money, but in this case it's not just to try to save, it's about getting the finished product I want as well. I should add that this isn't for a "main" display tank, and I do have other "real" lights already, but this is largely because I am really interested in learning how to do these kinds of electronics projects. I'm very much interested in the Reef-Pi project specifically, as well as a few other things involving the Raspberry Pi SBC. So this is more of a fun project at this point. That said, I am going to try to be careful that I don't short out a $50 array right off the bat!

 

Here's where I am currently. I am now leaning towards using the LED arrays from NanoBox vs. Blue Acro because: A) Dave from NanoBox has been fantastic about answering my questions, and I haven't even purchased anything yet. And B) NanoBox does indeed offer a freshwater spectrum array that I previously thought they didn't. Additionally, Dave can supply me the appropriate Mean Well LDD-H drivers, as well as what looks to be a great deal on a driver board, and I'd be willing to pay extra for him to solder the drivers to the board if that's possible for him to do. So *tentatively*, using the reef spectrum NB V3.1 array as an example, I'm thinking I need the array itself ($50), five drivers from Dave @ $6.00 each ($30), the driver board from Dave for $25 for a total so far of $105. To this I obviously have to add a heatsink, and here I'm still trying to decide, but let's say $30, maybe? And a power supply I probably already have, but let's just say $20 for that, and now were are up to $155 for nearly everything. I realize there's still a few little things, but that would be the bulk of my unit, with the exception of a controller. Again, I really want to try to use Reef-Pi as my lighting and full tank controller, and that's based on maybe $50 worth of parts that I do in fact already have. Let's just call it $200, and I'd have a fairly capable light for a nano tank. If I then do another one for a freshwater tank as I'm planning, that second light would be that much less expensive as I don't think it needs more than 2 or 3 channels. 

 

Am I crazy? Am I missing something huge?

 

Thanks again for your help, I very much appreciate it!

 

-D

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Sounds like your on the right track. 

 

For fresh water there is no need to get one of these arrays.  Fresh is really easy.  The best led out there for your base spectrum is by luxeon it's called the fresh focus "fresh fish" it's a cob designed for the fish counter at a super market but it's a perfect 6500k full spectrum light with high cricket (color rendering)  Comes in 2 sizes I run the big one over my 20im cube at 50 percent with co2 blasting and still struggle with a bit of algea because of the high light.  If your want sunset/sunrise just add a vero10 3000k deco cob for a few bucks.  That will give you warm light for sunrises and some deep red for mid day so it's useful for more than just effect.

 

 

I totally hey what you are saying about wanting to learn.  Your in the ball park for about what you would be investing.  What size tank would you be lighting?

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For this project, it's just two IM Fusion 10 gallons, one freshwater planted, one reef. That's the plan. I will look into your suggested LED COB for sure, that's good to know. I did just notice tonight that NanoBox offers a pretty decent looking kit, for $125 it includes one array, a heatsink, power supply, driver board, and some various hardware like screws. That seems like a decent deal. To that I think I'd have to add extra for the individual drivers to control each channel, but still I'd be at about $150 for nearly everything, minus the controller, which I'm hoping will be Reef-Pi for nearly nothing. Unless I fall into a used Kessil A160we in the $150 range ( a tall, but possible, order), this is looking like a good deal. I say Kessil because I have and like my A360we, and because I KNOW Reef-Pi works well with Kessil, the project developer himself uses Kessil lights. I know there's lots of great lights out there, but if I don't DIY, my second choice for this project would be two Kessil A160's, one sun and one blue. 

 

I'm continuing to read and learn, and I appreciate your help!

 

-D

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sounds like your big interest is the controller.  I feel its a lot of money to go down the route your going for a small nano.  a A080 would be a controllable light with more than enough punch for a im10.  another option is maybe get with Dave,  see if he will sell you a Tide without a bluefish in it, I think you will be very close to the cost of that, all the bluefish does is output a PWM signal to his light should be VERY simple to attache a Reefpi to his driverboard.

 

your budgeting 30 for the heatsink, which is fair, but prolly need a fan for it and a way to power that fan in a non annoying fashion (noise)  also need a way to mount the heatsink to the tank/stand. sounds simple but I ended up having 30 bucks invested into my method I went with.  so your prolly more realistically looking at 60ish for the heatsink.  so light only without pi your looking at:

 

Nanobox COB 50

Heatsink/Fan Mount 60

Driver board + drivers 60ish

powersupply old laptop 20ishv 50watt power supply should work but could cost up to 20 bucks)

misc wire and other 10-20 bucks

your really really close to my estimated cost of a colorlessness tide (figuring a 100 dollar discount for the bluefish since thats what they cost) and have a much nicer package and setup.

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Hi again! yes, a large part of this for me is the controller, but it's also the lighting system. I have plans to do other, similar projects in the future, and just want to learn more about electronics. I know there's A LOT of great lights out there, but I personally like the Kessil lights, I have an A360we now, and if I don't DIY, I would simply buy Kessil's for this project because, again, I know they work with the controller I want to use. However, I would want the A160's, not the A80's, which will be at least $150-$200 for the lights alone (used, if I can find them). I believe a 10 gallon IM fusion is right about the max limit for the A80's, and I want a little more punch than that. But I have considered those. And to compare Apples to Apples, the NanoBox V3.1 array is more comparable to the Kessil A160's. and not the A80's, at least that's what I believe.

 

If Dave would sell me a Tide without the Bluefish, that might be an option. I do think the Bluefish controller looks cool, and would be my next go to if the Reef-Pi doesn't work for me, and I certainly don't mind the look of the NanoBox lights. I do agree I obviously need to house/hang it, but I am a wood worker, and will be building the stand and had plans to build custom wooden enclosures to house the lights too. The cost of the wood I need to do that will be negligible in my case, since I already have most of it. So a lot of what I want to do here includes other hobbies and interests beyond just keeping the aquariums. 

 

I will definitely look at your suggested freshwater COB. If it's a COB, I could potentially use it, but I want both light sets (fresh and salt) to more or less like like each other, with the exception, of course, for the spectrum. I want to avoid having one array with basically a single light source, and having another led bar. I hope that makes sense. 

 

I agree there's probably quite a few  things I'm not considering, like wire, screws, solder, and my time to do everything, but I don't think the money is out of line to what I'd spend on a comparable light by Kessil or NanoBox or anyone else, and likely a little cheaper in the end. So unless I realize I'm missing something huge, or I'm able to score not one but two Kessil A160we's for close to $150, I'm likely to try this DIY build.

 

But again, I'm still just learning, planning, considering. I appreciate your help for sure!

 

Thanks!

 

-Detritus

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On 7/30/2018 at 2:58 PM, LogistcalReefer said:

I use half mega pro 20ks on my 20in cube and my 15 gallon fluval flex in makersled slim heatsinks, work great.  good color.  I do wish his full megas had more discreet channels like the nanobox cobs.  

 

I built a very simple on/off light for my fluval flex. basically a 5in makerslim heatsink + 2x700mah (could of gone with one, but wanted to leave option open to a light controller down the road. drivers from ledsupply then the cob from blueacro (wish he had his drivers in stock or I would of gone that route)  used an old laptop powersupply I had laying arround to power it.  I had less than 60 bucks all in for a very nice light.

 

 Can you link your builds with the lights you have please. 

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im building 2 tanks now with the 18k half mega and their driver. the single light will be done hopefully by months end. i will post pics. just waiting on acrylic to be cut

 

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HI guys! I'm sorry, I didn't realize there was still activity here. I would certainly be interested in seeing anyone's setup with these lights, so if you have built one, please let us know!

 

Thanks!

 

-D

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