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Old 05/27/2017, 11:29 PM   #1
Reef_World
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Chinese black boxes

How reliable are these black boxes? How long do they last? Are the leds replacable once one burns out


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Old 05/27/2017, 11:47 PM   #2
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they are really inexpensive, just get another


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Old 05/27/2017, 11:56 PM   #3
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I have one I purchased about 4-5 years ago going strong. Another I bought lost one of the channels after about 2 years. It is easy to replace LEDs in them. I moved an older one I had to my refugium and replaced some of the blues with warm white/red. Was pretty simple to do.


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Old 05/28/2017, 12:20 AM   #4
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they are really inexpensive, just get another
Which brand did you get?


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Old 05/28/2017, 12:39 AM   #5
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If a box has no dusk to dawn feature, will fish get stressed with the lights turning on and off suddenly?


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Old 05/28/2017, 01:01 AM   #6
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If a box has no dusk to dawn feature, will fish get stressed with the lights turning on and off suddenly?
They'll get over it.


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Old 05/28/2017, 06:46 AM   #7
Ron Reefman
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Inexpensive black box led fixtures come with a wide variety of features, from MarsAqua with just 2 channels and manual dimmers, to Euphotics with sunrise/sunset control. And just beyond the black box design there are Reef Breeders with very modern, slimline design and 6 channels of color control and still priced below most other non-black box fixtures. This post gives a pretty good list of black box features and brands. http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...&postcount=233

If you care for the black box case they can last many years. I have some that are now 6 and 7 years old. Some are steel and can rust if not cared for, but most are now aluminum and hold up much better. The leds are fairly bullet proof, older fixtures have had some issues with drivers (power supply) and circuit board issues. But they seem to be getting better and better in terms of quality. Some offer quite good customer service and warranty, others are a giant PITA. I'd recommend you stick with ones that have a website and not just sold on Ebay or Amazon. My customer service experiences with Reef Breeders has been superior, and it's mostly been for pumps, not leds. BTW, they have a sponsor forum here so they are easy to reach.

The very least expensive, MarsAqua will grow corals and produce perfectly acceptable light. After that, it's about features for easy of use and extra control, neither of which have much effect on the coral or the fish. Before leds, sunrise/sunset was a joke. All t5 and MH fixtures are on/off except for one expensive t5 fixture. Your fish will have much more stressful things than on/off sunrise and sunset.


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Old 08/07/2017, 09:31 PM   #8
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Great review


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Old 08/08/2017, 07:58 AM   #9
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Thumbs up

Reefbreeders


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Old 08/08/2017, 10:36 AM   #10
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The leds are fairly inexpensive to replace. Most of the time the seller will be helpful and provide cheap or free diodes when they go bad


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Old 08/08/2017, 10:48 AM   #11
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The leds are fairly inexpensive to replace. Most of the time the seller will be helpful and provide cheap or free diodes when they go bad
You best have some soldering skills for a lot of these lights. I haven't taken mine apart but I know for a fact that the individual led's are not just plugged into a board. The led's themselves are only a couple of bucks.


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Old 08/09/2017, 08:30 AM   #12
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You best have some soldering skills for a lot of these lights. I haven't taken mine apart but I know for a fact that the individual led's are not just plugged into a board. The led's themselves are only a couple of bucks.
Yup! I caused some permanent damage to an led circuit board when I over heated it trying to solder in a new led!


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Old 08/09/2017, 08:30 PM   #13
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For just starting out they work well


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Old 08/09/2017, 09:58 PM   #14
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I had never soldered any thing before in my life, but I changed out all of the green, red and 3500K diodes on the Marsaqua 300W unit. It was semi easy. That was about a year ago, and all of the diodes still work.

However if I was to start all over again, I would save enough to buy an LED with better aesthetics, spectrum, diodes and built-in programs.


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Old 08/09/2017, 09:59 PM   #15
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Soldering is not easy.
If the iron is not hot enough, it wont work. If it is too hot, it damage the board.
Been there and done that, not worth the effort.


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Old 08/10/2017, 02:40 AM   #16
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Soldering is easy if you're not absolutely inept.


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Old 08/12/2017, 05:59 PM   #17
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Have you actually worked on these blackbox led before?


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Old 08/12/2017, 06:25 PM   #18
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Have you actually worked on these blackbox led before?


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He probably can't even solder because a statement that soldering is easy is a dead giveaway.


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Old 08/12/2017, 07:18 PM   #19
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You must use a proper wattage soldering gun to do the job. It's not easy if you never did any. Steady hands, proper heat and proper soldering lead is required. Un-solder requires steady hands, proper heat and unsoldering tools (i use small flat head screw driver to lift up the "leg" from solder pad), i would pre-solder a small amount of fresh lead. The heatsink cools down your solder very fast, so I would say unsoldering job is more difficult to do for inexperience DIYer.


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Old 08/12/2017, 08:26 PM   #20
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You must use a proper wattage soldering gun to do the job......................... I would say unsoldering job is more difficult to do for inexperience DIYer.
That's exactly what I experienced. I spent more time taking off the old diodes than putting in new ones. I accidentally burned through the old diodes 2-3 times. But I was throwing them away, so no harm. It was fun.


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Old 08/13/2017, 11:23 AM   #21
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Practice on an old circuit board. Just grab something electronic that's going in the garbage and remove a board for practice if you are handy at all it's fairly easy.


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Old 08/15/2017, 10:51 PM   #22
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He probably can't even solder because a statement that soldering is easy is a dead giveaway.
I can... Why would I say it if I didn't believe it?

There are plenty of good resources for learning to solder, it's probably easiest to learn from youtube in this day and age, but really it isn't difficult at all.


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