Two days ago, i posted on our Facebook/reefaddicts wall that Ecotech released information to upgrade the current LED reflector with their new TIR lens. Frank had a bag of these lens already, so I offered to swap out a pair to see what was involved. Initially I figured you had to take out two screws to pull off this silvery plastic reflector dish.
What that did was take off a clear acrylic cover. I had to take out four more screws around the perimeter, then four screws around the fan cover. Gently I pried up the black panel that protects the innards.
Next, I had to remove four screws in the silver reflector, and two of them had white paste on the screws. I'm assuming it is thermal paste, because the other two screws didn't have them. I removed the reflector, oriented the new TIR lens in position and replaced the screws in the exact manner they came out.
With that side down, I removed the two screws that held the clear acrylic disk on the right set of LEDs and then four more screws to remove the silver reflector. It isn't really a reflector since LEDs are mostly directional, but I'm not sure what Ecotech calls this part.
I installed the other TIR lens, again carefully using the same screws where they were previously, white paste again in the exact holes they came out of.
With this done, I placed the black gasket in place, and then fit the main cover back where it fit. All the screws were seated snugly, and the fan cover was screwed down next. In this next picture, the Radion LED fixture on the left is the standard type, and the one on the right has the TIR lens upgrade.
The way the light fixtures are made, they have a slight wedge shape. By installing parallel rails on the top of the canopy, the lights can be pressed into place as the bottom is a little narrower than the top section. Carefully screwing the rails the proper distance apart, the lights were each put in their spot. Each light has four small screwed holders in the four corners, made for the hanging kit. Instead, we ran monofilament cable through those holes as a safety line. This way the fixtures were insured against falling into the tank.
With that done, the ballasts were screwed to the back of the canopy, out away from getting wet. The lights have 10' long wiring for the ballasts to be under the tank or to the side, but we opted to put them up on top of the tank's canopy.
Each ballast runs one light fixture, and uses 130w of power at most. Radions are completely programmable, and communicate with each other.
Once everything was wired up and ready, we hoisted the assembly on top of the tank. Yes, it was heavy.
Let there be light!
As soon as the lights were on, all three of us (Frank, Tyler and myself) were impressed with the light spread. It really looked good, and the LEDs were in default mode still. Adjustments for the perfect look come later.
In this next full tank shot, the right side of the tank is brighter. The reason is this: The right side is lit with a standard Radion in the front with a TIR lens upgraded Radion in the back. The middle section only had one light on, as the other one was already programmed for store use (and wasn't scheduled to turn on until 12pm to 6pm) and we were working on this around midnight, way past its bedtime. Finally, there was only one light on the left size turned on, as one more still needs to be installed.
What you are seeing is a 450g reef with four of the six radions turned on.
This next picture shows a standard Radion next to a TIR lens Radion (on the right). I know you can't see much, but it is obviously brighter in person (23% according to the email I got from Ecotech) and looks more white/washed out in this image.
The tank already has some livestock, like this adorable Look Down fish. They are so small right now, but will grow to be huge.
Here's what the tank looks like from behind. Pretty darn clean!
Is the cabling system necessary? It can be quite secure, especially when each light costs about $750. Another option would be to find some rigid steel rod that you can feed through the holes to span the wood cross beams. This would provide an easier way to take a light out if necessary, but how often does this really happen?
The next step is to get all the Radions communicating with each other, and then with the Vortech pumps beneath. We decided to call it a night, as there is always tomorrow.
For those of you wondering how much work it is to swap out the silver reflector for the TIR lenses, I'd say you'd be looking at a 20 minute project per fixture.