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Old 01/18/2018, 03:01 PM   #1
WhiskeyCoffee
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Upgrading Viparspectra 165w to SB Reef Light PCB DIY Picture Tutorial

Just upgraded my Viparspectra 165w to the SB Reef Light PCBs. This was a fairly easy upgrade, however they use a different shape Molex connection so I had to splice my wires and use my old pin connections. It was nerve wracking but simple when using butt splices.

First thing I noticed was on the side of the box, it says "PCB Board" with Chinese characters. I believe SB orders the boards from China and then retrofits them with their own LEDs. At least I hope this is the case.



Second thing I noticed was a rattle in the box, this was due to light covers coming off. Fortunately they snap back on and they have a layout available on their website so you are putting the lenses back in the correct position.



I was very impressed when I opened the Viparspectra lights. Very clean and organized, didn't seem like they cut any corners. As you can see the SB and VP almost look identical from above, expect VP adds additional heatsinks on top. The effectiveness is debatable and unfortunately I don't own an infrared thermometer.



At this angle you can see that the VP and SB boards are the same thickness, 1/16". Many of the lower end black box lights use boards as thin as license plates (supposedly).



Here I've completed the upgrade and you can see the butt splices I had to use.





Here you can see the SB Reef Light LEDs definitely have more purple (right):



So in my opinion, Viparspectra definitely seems to be on the "higher end" of the black box spectrum. The color and arrangement of the lights seems to be almost on par with SB, with SB having more true UV and better lenses for light distribution. I would say it's almost not worth it to upgrade if you already own Viparspectras and this upgrade would be a better choice for people who bought extremely cheap black boxes such as Mars Aqua, Galaxyhydro, etc.

Time will tell if this was a solid investment, though.


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Old 01/19/2018, 05:01 AM   #2
RobZilla04
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Interesting comparison. I have the VP and wondered about swapping the red/greed LED's to purple (or other color). Not sure I'd have the guts to actually pull them apart and tinker though....


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Old 01/19/2018, 02:17 PM   #3
WhiskeyCoffee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobZilla04 View Post
Interesting comparison. I have the VP and wondered about swapping the red/greed LED's to purple (or other color). Not sure I'd have the guts to actually pull them apart and tinker though....
Super easy! I've never spliced wires before but it was very straightforward. Using butt splices instead of soldering makes it very quick.


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Old 01/19/2018, 02:59 PM   #4
outy
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Color is a preference, not a sign of better or less quality. They are both Chinese and similar to my ocean revives. Same timer you have.

I like blue much better than purple


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Old 01/20/2018, 10:41 PM   #5
marinelife
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The boards come from China already set to SB specs. They are 100% Chinese. They are just shipped to a warehouse here in the US to then sent to you. Sometimes they even come direct.
Most Chinese Black boxes are made in the same place and just changed to the specs of the company or person buying them


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Old 01/22/2018, 09:07 PM   #6
rfgonzo
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Good Job, One thing I would highly suggest is putting shrink tubing over your butt splice connections to keep from corroding. You could even replace the cheap pvc butt splice connectors with shrink terminals.


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Old 02/07/2018, 05:17 PM   #7
WhiskeyCoffee
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Originally Posted by rfgonzo View Post
Good Job, One thing I would highly suggest is putting shrink tubing over your butt splice connections to keep from corroding. You could even replace the cheap pvc butt splice connectors with shrink terminals.
That's my plan eventually.


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