Fans, fan speeds and cooling T5 bulbs for max efficiency? | BRStv Investigates

Discussion in 'Aquarium Lighting By Dana Riddle' started by randyBRS, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. randyBRS

    randyBRS BRStv Apprentice :-P R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Happy Friday Reefers!

    Today on BRStv Investigates we are breaking away from the PAR charts and spectrum data to dive deeper into the question of how to increase T5 bulb performance!

    Take a look at what we found and let us know how/if you think other cooling methods may work.

    Don't forget to ask your questions here for a chance to have them answered on next week's Reef2Reef FAQ about this topic! ;)


     
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  2. crabs_mcjones

    crabs_mcjones I'm shiny! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Great video!
     
  3. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I've never really even considered the heat of my T-5 bulbs.
     
  4. powdertang05

    powdertang05 Well-Known Member

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    Flipping the bulb and running at high speed. I would have never thought about that. Seriously awesome video!
     
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  5. lactose

    lactose Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018

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    Again, great video. I would love to see how the new Aquatic Life Hybrid performs in these tests as it doesn't have a fan for active cooling as I understand it.

    Thank you for everything you contribute to our hobby!
     
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  6. Greaps

    Greaps Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Sun Blaze with LET Reflectors retro fitted inside. Remove its existing reflector plate (comes out in one piece), and put LET's individual reflectors on each bulb.(assuming they are not to wide, perhaps another brand of individual parabolic reflectors. That would demonstrate the passive cooling combo very well.
     
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  7. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Well-Known Member

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    Good info, I think this helps corroborate the findings of the community at large.

    The one thing I don't understand is why the fan speeds must be static. ATI deserves credit for giving users control of the fan speed at all. I don't think many (if any) other manufacturers even allow you to control the cooling fans in this way, nor do they channel the cool air over the ballasts to preheat it. But choosing a static always-on fan speed just doesn't seem ideal to me. In this kind of configuration, the "ideal" fan speed is determined by the air temperature in the room, which can change based on time of day or season. If the surrounding air gets hotter or colder, your preset fan voltage may no longer be "ideal."

    The best way to run the fans would be based on the actual temperature next to the cold spots of the bulbs. A simple temperature control circuit costs around $5. This little chip could turn the fans on when the cold spots go above 107*F and turn them off when they go below 107*F. To take it a step further, it would be trivial for a manufacturer like ATI to make a variable speed controller. This could potentially ramp the fan speed up and down so that the cold spots were always kept at the perfect temperature, no matter how hot or cold the surrounding room is.

    At the end of the day, the simple voltage-based control currently available is likely more than adequate. As the results show, a bulb basically just produces less PAR or may experience slightly increased wear if it goes outside of the ideal range. Not really the end of the world in either case. It would just be nice to take it a step further and totally automate the temperature control to the point of perfection. Especially since the technology is readily available and is so cheap.
     
  8. A. grandis

    A. grandis Well-Known Member

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    I've used the bulbs with the label far from those vents for so many years by "mistake"... that was because I thought I saw somewhere in another forum long ago that the bulbs should be placed like that (labels far tom the venting holes).

    Last year I contacted ATI and was talking about the fans and asking other things, and they told me that the actual recommendation was using the labels where the holes are in the fixture for the cooling/efficiency. So I changed and now I'm running the labels with the vents. I aways use my fans on high, like 9 + because of the ballasts...

    I never had a problem with bulbs all those years placing them with the labels far from the hole and I assume it's totally fine to do that in terms of having the bulbs running for a year. I think I'll go back to the way I used to place them next time I change bulbs for more efficiency (PAR). I don't have a PAR meter because I have only zoanthids and don't give much importance measuring PAR and because I've never had to once my T5s are basically running without problems. And yes, the best PAR meter is expensive...

    Now... would that be ok in the long run to have the bulbs with the labels far from the vents in regards to the PAR efficiency?
    How long would the PAR hold when the bulbs are placed like that?
    Would be great to have someone to answer these questions.
    Another thing is: why would ATI recommend the label to be close to the holes if that is actually decreasing PAR? Would they consider PAR = efficiency?

    Very good video!
    Thanks BRS!!!!
    Grandis.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  9. Ferrell

    Ferrell Active Member

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    Awesome and informative video as always. Great info. I'm just getting back in the hobby (last lights I used were t12 twisted bulbs, yes a long time ago) and am getting the last of my build items together and deciding on my lighting options. I have read numerous articles, anecdotal accounts and asked some questions of members and I think with the fish and corals I want to keep t5 is going to be my best option. Lots of good info coming from BRStv and this R2R. Thanks for all the help
     
  10. solitude127

    solitude127 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter SCMAS Member

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    On the video, how come the output temp at 3v is lower than it is at 4.5 or 6 but then drops again at 7.5? You'd think at 3v, the output temp would be the warmest
     
  11. rtparty

    rtparty Well-Known Member

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    The Aquatic Life doesn't run an acrylic shield so the passive cooling should work okay. The one issue is the waterproof end caps. They will hold in more heat.



    The dimmable Sunpower and LED Powermodule control the temps like this.
     
  12. rtparty

    rtparty Well-Known Member

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    For BRS,

    Does the info here change your thoughts on the Giesemann T5 fixtures that use no fans? Or did you guys already shy away from them for this reason?

    Besides the reflectors corroding (which in some older tests showed very little reduction in PAR) I'd be more worried about the non waterproof end caps on the ATI units when not running the acrylic shield.
     
  13. Potatohead

    Potatohead Well-Known Member

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    I have always run mine so the output air temp is about 110°, which just happens to be 9V setting. I guess I can go down to 7.5 without concern - Good video guys.
     
  14. Chris155hp

    Chris155hp Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    test the geisman 2
     
  15. A. grandis

    A. grandis Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, you're right:

    Volts temp in (°F) temp out(°F) PAR
    3 107 139 234
    4.5 103 144 226
    6 96 142 213
    7.5 92 137 201
    9 89 132 192
    12 87 132 180

    Grandis.
     
  16. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    Yeah, this is something we noticed while we were doing it. While the temp in (cold spot) and related par was predictable with each fan speed but the out was a bit wonky. I don't have an obvious explanation but figured we would share the data as collected. Posible there is some type of air current by the time it reaches the exit point?
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  17. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    I have always thought there was a solid chance the Matrixx fixtures would perform poorer than an ideally set up ATI but probably close to the average setup. I will say the existence of legs, sharper visual appeal and optional BT control of each pair of bulbs is a solid trade-off for 10% par in many cases. We will test them someday but it isn't top of the list unless reefers make it so : )
     
  18. A. grandis

    A. grandis Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for confirming that!!
    Please test the Giesemann fixtures as well!!
    Aloha,
    Grandis.
     
  19. rtparty

    rtparty Well-Known Member

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    It would be interesting to see what numbers you get. The few tests I've seen have shown quite a drop. One was over 50% less PAR because everything got so hot. Taking the splash shield off the GMann is a good way to cool them.

    They are prettier than the ATI Sunpower but I'll take performance and better life if going straight T5.
     
  20. A. grandis

    A. grandis Well-Known Member

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    Would be also great to test all the major T5 bulbs in the market in regards to spectrum and PAR, individually.
    Has been too long that we don't have such numbers with good PAR meters.
    PAR isn't everything, but part of the puzzle...
    That would be so great to allow us to compare, specially those that are very similar to our eyes.
    The graphics of spectrum from manufactures are somewhat printed differently and because you'll use the same instrument will give a better comparison. Also with the PAR measurements from the Licor. Most of the reef people doesn't have access to the best meters and the great set ups you guys already have there.
    We desperately need some comparison like that!!!
    Thank you!!

    ATI Aquablue Special
    ATI Blue Plus
    ATI Coral Plus
    ATI True Actinic
    Giesemann Actinic Blue 420 nm
    Giesemann Aquablue Coral 15000K
    Giesemann Aquablue Azure 16500K
    Giesemann Super Actinic
    Giesemann Super Purple
    Giesemann Tropic 6500K
    KZ Fiji Purple
    KZ Coral Light
    KZ Coral Light II Gen.
    KZ Coral Light Super Blue

    Aloha,
    Grandis.
     

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