The LED Boards are driven by a custom multi-channel Driver Board which allows for the fine-tuning of the intensity of the individual Deep Red and the Hyper-Violet channels, as well as full-range dimming via either a manual dimming knob (standard) or via an external aquarium controller (input ports built-in)
Now, you might be thinking “damn if that isn’t totally overkill, WTF!!” I thought that as well at first…so this deserves a bit of explanation. It’s not just thrown in there so I can say “oooooh look,my lights are dimmable!!” or some crap like that. There is actually a logical reason that this feature is worth having.
Let’s start with dimming. In and of itself, the ability to dim the LED fixtures has a huge benefit. Spectrum-tuned LED Algae Scrubber lights have a much higher effective intensity when compared to CFLs, so it’s easy to over-light an Algae Scrubber screen and cause something referred to as “photosaturation” (which, simply put, means no growth due to too much light). This has the most benefit when first starting a scrubber, because there is very little algae to adsorb the light energy – dimming the fixtures to a very low intensity allows algae to get a fast foothold.
After a screen gets started, having the ability to run very long hours (even longer than 23 hours/day) at a dimmed intensity means you will have all-day-long filtration. If you have 100% on, 100% off fixtures, then you will typically hit a limited photoperiod where additional hours/day will cause that pesky photosaturation thing, or result in growth types that tend to actually inhibit your scrubber’s capability.
Next, let’s discuss the type of dimming. My driver boards are actually based on Pulse-Width Modulation dimming, or PWM dimming. That means if you turn the dimmer to 90%, the LEDs are actually “flashing” with 100% intensity for 90% of the time, and 0% intensity for 10% of the time. It happens very fast, so to us, it looks like the lights are just darker. However, to algae (at a cellular level), this has the effect of injecting a very short “dark period” that can allow part of the photosynthesis process to occur more efficiently.
For you scientific types, please notice that I say “CAN” there – I can’t make the claim that it actually does this, but I do know that there is a strong basis for this. I’m not the type to make some kind of huckster claim without having something to back it up. What I can tell you is that ever since I started shipping my Algae Scrubbers with my custom PWM dimming driver, customer results have been notably better.