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    MACNA XXI : Nano Custom’s Japanese Style LED Spotlight

    For me, one of the most exciting products at MACNA was Nano Custom’s PAR38 LED lamp. These lamps screw into your standard E26 household socket, but unlike traditional spotlights the Nano Customs PAR 38 unit is powered by 5 CREE XR-E LEDs driven at ~750mA for roughly 15w of electric consumption. For the first time […]


    For me, one of the most exciting products at MACNA was Nano Custom’s PAR38 LED lamp. These lamps screw into your standard E26 household socket, but unlike traditional spotlights the Nano Customs PAR 38 unit is powered by 5 CREE XR-E LEDs driven at ~750mA for roughly 15w of electric consumption. For the first time true spotlights for reefs may become a reality in North America.


    The lights currently retail for $119.95 and come in two versions–12K & 20K. The 12k is comprised of (3) white XREs and (2) royal blue XREs, while the 20K uses (2) whites and (3) royal blues. At roughly 20″ the 12K lamps was hitting over 220 PAR–Not included in those numbers is the incredible colors that royal blue LEDs can bring out in corals.


    The optics had a fairly tight spread, I would guess 30-40 degrees based on the height they had them mounted. However, Clive (evilc66) of Nano Customs hinted that optics as tight as 8 degrees were available for those wanting a more focused and higher intensity light.


    The high intensity of the LEDs makes it difficult for camera’s to capture their true color–shown below is a 12K lamp with 3 white and 2 royal blue LEDs.


    Nano Customs PAR38 LED Spotlight is a simple plug-n-play reality that can be universally applied to nearly all reef aquariums. Clamp on lights, track lighting, even desk fixtures can be converted into a simple direct-able and energy efficient light source for your reef tank.

    I have personally tried over 10 different types of LED spotlights ranging from 5mm LEDs to Cree XREs in Cast and Machined aluminum heat-sinks from the U.S., China and everywhere in between. Based on what we saw at MACNA, I would rank Chris and Clive’s Par 38 Spotlight ranks very high. I cannot make any direct comparisons yet, but we have a feeling these lights will outperform similar LED spotlight models currently available. Many other LEDs are plagued by wiring issues and poor quality LEDs, if Nano Custom’s can overcome this they will have a very popular and useful light for the masses.

    For all, but the tiniest pico reefs these lights will be for supplemental purposes, but that does not make them any less significant. I strongly believe that coral specific lighting is the future of reef aquarium lighting. With mixed reefs, this will require the use of spotlights. For more information on utilizing LED spotlights see one of our past articles here: LED Spotlights and Reef Aquariums.


    1. September 30, 2009 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

      Those look awesome Eric. Mmmmm, would love to get my hands on a few to test over my 12g (hopefully soon to be 20g’ish)

    2. Brandon
      September 30, 2009 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

      I figured you would get the scoop on those guys. I saw some pics floating around on the web. I wonder what the PAR readings will be in 18-20″ of water.

    3. September 30, 2009 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

      CREE has an excellent reputation in the lighting industry. My understanding is many commercial LED fixtures rebrand CREE components. I’m really really excited about this and can’t wait to see these in person.

    4. Kurt
      September 30, 2009 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

      any links to some cool fixtures to use these with?

    5. Mike Meyer
      September 30, 2009 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

      I thought the recent issue with PFO lighting was Orbitec’s patent on using LED lighting for aquarium purposes. How do these get around that?

    6. September 30, 2009 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

      Great looking fixtures! These would complement my T5’s nicely.

    7. evilc66
      September 30, 2009 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

      @Mike Meyer

      Orbitec was primarily going after PFO for the ability to manually and automatically change the spectral output and brightness.

    8. September 30, 2009 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

      Looking forward to trying them out. I have both the 12k & 20k ordered for my nano. Pairing them up with http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/ylighting/Tolomeo_Clip_Spot.pdf… now it is time for a nice, tight optic, red LED spot to be made.

    9. September 30, 2009 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

      Sorry, posted a broken link before http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/ylighting/Tolomeo_Clip_Spot.pdf working on adding a set of barn doors to it.

    10. September 30, 2009 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Since our inception here at Nanocustoms, we have always strived to use first tier suppliers in all of our products, be it our line of retros, or products manufactured in our vertically integrated facility, quality is our first priority.

      The unique combination of widely available E26 lamp base and the rapidly evolving trend towards Japanese style spotlighting, we felt this product, if priced right, could deliver value unparalleled in the industry.

      Although we anticipated sucess, we never anticipated THIS much success, as all units are just about spoken for. We have one with your name on it. Clive will be in touch 🙂


    11. sam
      September 30, 2009 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

      $120 each??? pass…

    12. September 30, 2009 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

      If you want to supplement with a bit yellower color…


    13. Marteen
      September 30, 2009 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

      @ Matt Wendell

      Isn’t 5000k getting a little close to the unusable spectrum for corals? I know 6500k has been shown to provide some good growth for SPS but I thought lower than that you start seeing detrimental results.

    14. October 1, 2009 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

      It depends on the goal you are looking to achieve. If you are looking to spot light a corol to make the color pop and a 5k bulb does the job then use it. It is a different theory then traditional American style lighting.

    15. October 1, 2009 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

      @sam – While this is mostly aesthetic applications, which I agree makes you reconsider the investment, the CREE LED’s are usually rated at 50,000 hours. At 12 hours a day, that’s well over a decade before you would need to replace the fixture. Makes the price tag look more reasonable.

    16. george
      October 1, 2009 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

      @Chris – Double check I think there is one with “George” on it 😉

      Looking foward to what you think of these Eric!

    17. October 1, 2009 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

      All I can say is, It’s about damn time! I’ve been waiting to see products like this available in our market.

      I loved my Supakaru spotlight when I had it, so I am definitely excited to try these out. I know they won’t be as powerful, but honestly, who doesn’t love a spotlight?

      Can’t wait to get my 12k.

    18. Jose
      October 4, 2009 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

      Eric, i have not been around for awhile but this seems interesting. I have an idea floating around my head of a long tank with just a couple tabling acros on one side, maybe this lighting option will work perfect.

    19. October 10, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

      Mine came in on Friday (12K & 20K). Time for me to get to work on the light fixtures.

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