Reefbrite XHO Blue VS Orphek OR3 Blue Plus - Pics and Par Results

gws3

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Since BRS hasn’t covered this yet I did a quick output comparison between a Reefbrite XHO Blue (30”) and an Orphek OR3 Blue Plus (24”). Figured I’d share my results with the community.

I’ve always been extremely happy with XHO output and spread, in fact I have them over every single reef tank as supplemental actinic lighting.

A lot of the optics on my older Reefbrites have started to deform and melt, and the output has noticeably dropped as a result. I recently saw the new Orphek OR3 Blue Plus is available and wanted to see how they stack up against the XHOs.

The OR3s have amazing build quality and a competitive price. Unfortunately, I found the spread to be very poor for my application. They advertise 120 degree optics, but they are much closer to 60 degrees. They make a very intense hot spot, if you wanted coverage with these optics you’d have to cover the tank like some folks do with the Atlantiks, or put them really high up.

Anyway, onward to the results. This is a very crude test setup, I’m sure BRS will do something much more professional in the future.

For a visual evaluation against a blank background I set them up 6” off the ground. OR3 on the left, XHO on the right:
1604089002967.png


Next I measured out from the centerline every inch and took par measurements:
1604089016373.png


1604089024512.png


Here’s a plot that I think really highlights the difference in the spread:
1604089032751.png


Finally, for a more qualitative evaluation I put them over a 3’ x 3’ frag tank. Exposure is fixed for these shots.

OR3:
1604089037602.png


XHO:
1604089041859.png


My conclusion (opinion) is that the XHO crushes the OR3 performance in my application. It has amazing spread and with very little wasted light. I’ll definitely be sticking with XHOs.

I’ve also reached out to Reefbrite about options to repair/replace the old fixtures with the optics that are going bad. Tullio himself called me back and is going to give me options to either refurbish or replace them. I don’t have any prices yet, but so far he’s been awesome to work with and has promised to help me out with these fixtures even though they are outside of warranty.
 
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Reefer5640

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Oh man thank you for doing this. I just bought two 60” XHO’s from a fellow Reefer and was kind of kicking myself for not exploring the Orphek option. Glad I went with my gut. Do you mind me asking how long you ran the XHO’s before they started having issues? Also we’re you running dimmers or full intensity? I wonder if running cooling fans would buy more life...
 

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Since BRS hasn’t covered this yet I did a quick output comparison between a Reefbrite XHO Blue (30”) and an Orphek OR3 Blue Plus (24”). Figured I’d share my results with the community.

I’ve always been extremely happy with XHO output and spread, in fact I have them over every single reef tank as supplemental actinic lighting.

A lot of the optics on my older Reefbrites have started to deform and melt, and the output has noticeably dropped as a result. I recently saw the new Orphek OR3 Blue Plus is available and wanted to see how they stack up against the XHOs.

The OR3s have amazing build quality and a competitive price. Unfortunately, I found the spread to be very poor for my application. They advertise 120 degree optics, but they are much closer to 60 degrees. They make a very intense hot spot, if you wanted coverage with these optics you’d have to cover the tank like some folks do with the Atlantiks, or put them really high up.

Anyway, onward to the results. This is a very crude test setup, I’m sure BRS will do something much more professional in the future.

For a visual evaluation against a blank background I set them up 6” off the ground. OR3 on the left, XHO on the right:
1604089002967.png


Next I measured out from the centerline every inch and took par measurements:
1604089016373.png


1604089024512.png


Here’s a plot that I think really highlights the difference in the spread:
1604089032751.png


Finally, for a more qualitative evaluation I put them over a 3’ x 3’ frag tank. Exposure is fixed for these shots.

OR3:
1604089037602.png


XHO:
1604089041859.png


My conclusion (opinion) is that the XHO crushes the OR3 performance in my application. It has amazing spread and with very little wasted light. I’ll definitely be sticking with XHOs.

I’ve also reached out to Reefbrite about options to repair/replace the old fixtures with the optics that are going bad. Tullio himself called me back and is going to give me options to either refurbish or replace them. I don’t have any prices yet, but so far he’s been awesome to work with and has promised to help me out with these fixtures even though they are outside of warranty.


If you talked to Tullio directly he probably talked to you about reflectors in the XHO vs optics. The spread is much better with the reflectors and the intensity of a bar with optics may be higher in a narrow area but that's from a magnifying glass effect and not really an increase in par........this can be more of a detriment and easier to burn corals.

I wouldn't waste my money replacing the old strips with optics.................just save up for new XHO.
 
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gws3

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Oh man thank you for doing this. I just bought two 60” XHO’s from a fellow Reefer and was kind of kicking myself for not exploring the Orphek option. Glad I went with my gut. Do you mind me asking how long you ran the XHO’s before they started having issues? Also we’re you running dimmers or full intensity? I wonder if running cooling fans would buy more life...

Sure thing. I've got some really old reefbrites that don't show any issues, and then some newer ones that are closer to 3 years old that do have the issue. Honestly, I've got enough of them all over the place I can't tell for sure how old some are, just ones that are a specific size that I found payments for. All of them are running 12 hours a day at full intensity.

They're basically all installed in open frames, so they're not stuffed in a canopy getting baked in hot, stagnant air or anything like that.

I'd suspect it's a combination of heat and the UV from the LEDs that's causing the optics to deform. I've got an old BML led strip with mixed blue LEDs, and the diffuser is burnt looking and starting to crumble right at every since LED that is closer to the UV spectrum. So those lower wavelength LEDs definitely seem to be putting out a bit of UV that will degrade plastics.

I definitely think pushing cool air over them will help lengthen their life expectancy as opposed to just relying on free convection. I don't think anyone will disagree that heat is the biggest enemy of LEDs. I'm going to look at pushing some air over them once I install the new ones to hopefully get more life out of them.


If you talked to Tullio directly he probably talked to you about reflectors in the XHO vs optics. The spread is much better with the reflectors and the intensity of a bar with optics may be higher in a narrow area but that's from a magnifying glass effect and not really an increase in par........this can be more of a detriment and easier to burn corals.

I wouldn't waste my money replacing the old strips with optics.................just save up for new XHO.

Yes, completely agree, that's what the data I collected show.

I really just wanted to evaluate the Orphek OR3. The XHO design has been around for year and I was curious if the new technology would improve on it.

If you look at a Radion G5 the R&D Ecotech has put into the optics has clearly paid off in terms of spread. But as far as LED strips are concerned it looks like the XHO is still king.
 
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Big E

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If you talked to Tullio directly he probably talked to you about reflectors in the XHO vs optics. The spread is much better with the reflectors and the intensity of a bar with optics may be higher in a narrow area but that's from a magnifying glass effect and not really an increase in par........this can be more of a detriment and easier to burn corals.

I wouldn't waste my money replacing the old strips with optics.................just save up for new XHO.
Sure thing. I've got some really old reefbrites that don't show any issues, and then some newer ones that are closer to 3 years old that do have the issue. Honestly, I've got enough of them all over the place I can't tell for sure how old some are, just ones that are a specific size that I found payments for. All of them are running 12 hours a day at full intensity.

They're basically all installed in open frames, so they're not stuffed in a canopy getting baked in hot, stagnant air or anything like that.

I'd suspect it's a combination of heat and the UV from the LEDs that's causing the optics to deform. I've got an old BML led strip with mixed blue LEDs, and the diffuser is burnt looking and starting to crumble right at every since LED that is closer to the UV spectrum. So those lower wavelength LEDs definitely seem to be putting out a bit of UV that will degrade plastics.

I definitely think pushing cool air over them will help lengthen their life expectancy as opposed to just relying on free convection. I don't think anyone will disagree that heat is the biggest enemy of LEDs. I'm going to look at pushing some air over them once I install the new ones to hopefully get more life out of them.




Yes, completely agree, that's what the data I collected show.

I really just wanted to evaluate the Orphek OR3. The XHO design has been around for year and I was curious if the new technology would improve on it.

If you look at a Radion G5 the R&D Ecotech has put into the optics has clearly paid off in terms of spread. But as far as LED strips are concerned it looks like the XHO is still king.

Yes, you can mess with optics to create different spreads and intensities but it still brings in the problem of burned leds covers/optics as you have found out over time. It's one reason why I never bought LEDs as my main lights.

With the Radions you'll still deal with a point source light that is narrow..........can't fix that, it's factual physics. G5 can offer better spread/mixing but they still lack total coverage without multiple units to overlap and there is still going to be problem with burned optics on 400-420 viloets leds.

They are going to get killed by Strattons and the Phillips fixtures over time due to those limitations especially for large tank applications.

Not to get too far off subject but the Reefi dual extremes are also going to perform as well with equal or better spread/mix without optic burn out issues as the Reefis use reflectors.

Specifically speaking about the OR bar it's trying to be a replacement for a Blue+ bulb whereas the Reebrite actinic is mainly all 450nm spike and is going to probably give a better visual pop as a supplement plus the reflector design does make it unbeatable.
 

oreo5457

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Looks like you just got the wrong lenses on the Orphek. These bars are just built in China.
 

Waynerock

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For me it was a coin flip basically between the or3 and xho. Wanted the or3 figured newer tech should perform better. Tried the or3 for a few and did not like them at all I though the output was very dim. The XHO’s rock compared in my opinion. The little arms the come on the lights fit right into the prime hard mounts like they where meant to be. Very very happy with the spread and color. Crazy how much older these are and how much better they perform for me. I would recommend all day. Such an easy way to add more light and in my situation mount perfectly and look great hanging on my primes. Growing coral like crazy

55A69168-9BEF-4EAD-8E92-C968FFD66323.jpeg 5594DDFF-A44F-426E-9DD6-B7ADFAB6CF97.jpeg 1C3AC108-B3D5-450A-855F-3A6F24FE3CD0.jpeg FFC01CB3-ED45-433F-845F-C12820287D3F.jpeg
 
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gws3

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Yes, you can mess with optics to create different spreads and intensities but it still brings in the problem of burned leds covers/optics as you have found out over time. It's one reason why I never bought LEDs as my main lights.

With the Radions you'll still deal with a point source light that is narrow..........can't fix that, it's factual physics. G5 can offer better spread/mixing but they still lack total coverage without multiple units to overlap and there is still going to be problem with burned optics on 400-420 viloets leds.

They are going to get killed by Strattons and the Phillips fixtures over time due to those limitations especially for large tank applications.

Not to get too far off subject but the Reefi dual extremes are also going to perform as well with equal or better spread/mix without optic burn out issues as the Reefis use reflectors.

Specifically speaking about the OR bar it's trying to be a replacement for a Blue+ bulb whereas the Reebrite actinic is mainly all 450nm spike and is going to probably give a better visual pop as a supplement plus the reflector design does make it unbeatable.

I'm curious, have you tried all these fixtures side by side? Or are you basing most of this off of what you read online?

I can't speak to some of the fixtures you mention, as I haven't tried them myself, but I'm not sure I agree with your comments about radion G5s. I find their coverage impressive, but I am using multiple XR15s. I understand your point about needing multiple fixtures, but unless you're talking about a small tank like a 40 gallon I don't think there are any fixtures out there you wouldn't need multiples of on a larger tank.
 

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Regarding above posts on coverage I have a single orphek atlantik v4 over a 36 inch tank hanging 15 inches above the water, and im only comfortable placing sps specifically directly under the light. My entire right sided branch rock is mostly shaded. It certainly grows corals and I think my sps are bow starting to settle into it, but placement is strategic.
 

addictreef

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Thanks for putting in the work with this comparison. When was the last time the XHO got a design change?
 

Jake atkinson

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Spread is one of the main reasons I went with XHO's. I have been very happy with mine. Great job doing your comparison.
 
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Interesting. Thanks for doing this.

The OR3 are supposed to have 90 degree lenses. Anyone know what the equivalent angle is for the reflectors on the ReefBrite? Personally I'd say measuring at 6" is not ideal since they are usually at least that high above the water and corals are another 12"+ below the surface unless a shallow frag tank.

It would be great to see the same test at 18". I wonder if the PAR will drop too low on the ReefBrite. The color does look better to me on the ReefBrite. Of course the PAR doesn't matter as much if just for POP and it's better to have more spread for needing fewer bars to supplement color.
 

ryshark

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Since BRS hasn’t covered this yet I did a quick output comparison between a Reefbrite XHO Blue (30”) and an Orphek OR3 Blue Plus (24”). Figured I’d share my results with the community.

I’ve always been extremely happy with XHO output and spread, in fact I have them over every single reef tank as supplemental actinic lighting.

A lot of the optics on my older Reefbrites have started to deform and melt, and the output has noticeably dropped as a result. I recently saw the new Orphek OR3 Blue Plus is available and wanted to see how they stack up against the XHOs.

The OR3s have amazing build quality and a competitive price. Unfortunately, I found the spread to be very poor for my application. They advertise 120 degree optics, but they are much closer to 60 degrees. They make a very intense hot spot, if you wanted coverage with these optics you’d have to cover the tank like some folks do with the Atlantiks, or put them really high up.

Anyway, onward to the results. This is a very crude test setup, I’m sure BRS will do something much more professional in the future.

For a visual evaluation against a blank background I set them up 6” off the ground. OR3 on the left, XHO on the right:
1604089002967.png


Next I measured out from the centerline every inch and took par measurements:
1604089016373.png


1604089024512.png


Here’s a plot that I think really highlights the difference in the spread:
1604089032751.png


Finally, for a more qualitative evaluation I put them over a 3’ x 3’ frag tank. Exposure is fixed for these shots.

OR3:
1604089037602.png


XHO:
1604089041859.png


My conclusion (opinion) is that the XHO crushes the OR3 performance in my application. It has amazing spread and with very little wasted light. I’ll definitely be sticking with XHOs.

I’ve also reached out to Reefbrite about options to repair/replace the old fixtures with the optics that are going bad. Tullio himself called me back and is going to give me options to either refurbish or replace them. I don’t have any prices yet, but so far he’s been awesome to work with and has promised to help me out with these fixtures even though they are outside of warranty.
Looks like a clear winner here, thanks for doing this. I also had a good experience with @Reefbrite outside of warranty. For me, I purchased XHO brand new and I was so slow at getting my build going that by the time I got them out of the box the warranty was expired. My XHOs would flicker, so I called ReefBrite and they sent me a new power cord for free and they have worked great ever since. I had a similar experience with Ecotech and they charged me like $60 for a new cord.
I recently decided to increase my XHO duration from 10-hours to 11-hours over my tank which only has a few acro frags. So far I have been doing it very slowly at 5-10 minutes per day over the last few days. It is just one XHO bar mounted to an 8-bulb T5 fixture. Is it necessary to go this slow or can I safely increase the time up by less than 1-hour in 1-day. I'm not sure how much PAR one bar puts out.
 

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i even have both and wanted to see which way i would go for. Couldnt figure out which was better- my eyes werent confirming any. i didnt measure PAR or coral growth. i was relying on looks and couldnt figure out which was better LOL. disappointed, lost, and sort of not into adding stripes anymore but def corals looked better. now i see the PAR analysis and spread i see which is better for the corals! Thanks! @gws3
 
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gws3

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Regarding above posts on coverage I have a single orphek atlantik v4 over a 36 inch tank hanging 15 inches above the water, and im only comfortable placing sps specifically directly under the light. My entire right sided branch rock is mostly shaded. It certainly grows corals and I think my sps are bow starting to settle into it, but placement is strategic.

Yes, that's the problem, it's very directional, just a focused beam downward.

Thanks for putting in the work with this comparison. When was the last time the XHO got a design change?

When I spoke to Tullio he said about 3-4 years ago they went from boards with 6 LEDs to boards of 16 LEDs and increased the total number of LEDs per strip. Other than that I'd say the design remains the same, other than some fit and finish type improvements.

Spread is one of the main reasons I went with XHO's. I have been very happy with mine. Great job doing your comparison.

Thanks!

Thanks for doing the work @gws3

I was looking into some more light and this was very helpful!

Glad to hear it was helpful.

Interesting. Thanks for doing this.

The OR3 are supposed to have 90 degree lenses. Anyone know what the equivalent angle is for the reflectors on the ReefBrite? Personally I'd say measuring at 6" is not ideal since they are usually at least that high above the water and corals are another 12"+ below the surface unless a shallow frag tank.

It would be great to see the same test at 18". I wonder if the PAR will drop too low on the ReefBrite. The color does look better to me on the ReefBrite. Of course the PAR doesn't matter as much if just for POP and it's better to have more spread for needing fewer bars to supplement color.

If you look at my chart in the first post the XHO covers 12" at a height of 6" with a very distinctive drop off past that. That represents a 90 degree spread.

The data shows the OR3s are no where close to the advertised 90 degree spread.

I did this quickly just to compare the two side by side. The actual PAR values don't hold much meaning in application considering there is no water present.

Looks like a clear winner here, thanks for doing this. I also had a good experience with @Reefbrite outside of warranty. For me, I purchased XHO brand new and I was so slow at getting my build going that by the time I got them out of the box the warranty was expired. My XHOs would flicker, so I called ReefBrite and they sent me a new power cord for free and they have worked great ever since. I had a similar experience with Ecotech and they charged me like $60 for a new cord.
I recently decided to increase my XHO duration from 10-hours to 11-hours over my tank which only has a few acro frags. So far I have been doing it very slowly at 5-10 minutes per day over the last few days. It is just one XHO bar mounted to an 8-bulb T5 fixture. Is it necessary to go this slow or can I safely increase the time up by less than 1-hour in 1-day. I'm not sure how much PAR one bar puts out.

Sure thing. Compared to an 8 bulb T5 fixture it's not putting out much PAR. You'd be completely safe changing it an hour at a time. I run mine for 12 hours a day.

i even have both and wanted to see which way i would go for. Couldnt figure out which was better- my eyes werent confirming any. i didnt measure PAR or coral growth. i was relying on looks and couldnt figure out which was better LOL. disappointed, lost, and sort of not into adding stripes anymore but def corals looked better. now i see the PAR analysis and spread i see which is better for the corals! Thanks! @gws3

No problem, glad it helped.
 

NotASpammerDude

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Honestly what you need to do is test the Orpheks at a height where their peak par (middle) matches that of the XHO and then measure the same thing as before, just the orphek higher up. That's the most fair way to do it, and more logical. Orphek may be able to achieve a similar spread but need to be higher up, know what I mean? Either way thank you for taking the time to test this.
 
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