Monday, January 13, 2014

Kessil A360WE: Say goodbye to your Metal Halides!

Kessil LED lights have been among the most popular reef aquarium lights since they first hit the scene in the summer of 2011.

If you have ever been to a high-end aquarium store or an aquarium show (such as Reef-A-Palooza, MACNA or MAX), you would have definitely noticed these sleek, soda can-sized LED fixtures hanging above many of the vendors’ display tanks. 

In addition to their sleek and compact design, their ease-of-use, great color blending, gorgeous light output and the impressive shimmering effect they produce makes it easy to see why they are such hot-selling LED lights.
Their latest release, the controllable Kessil A360WE, is essentially an upgraded A360W outfitted with new LED diodes that increase light output up to 15%.

I have been admiring these lights for quite some time and finally got a chance to take them for a quick test drive!

I was impressed with the build quality right out of the box. The components appear to be well-made and the feature-set seems to be well thought-out. 

Most LED fixtures require you to lower the output of certain channels to achieve your desired color. This means you can't utilize the full output of the fixture unless you conveniently happen to like the color with every channel set at 100%. 

The Kessil Logic feature on the A360WE allows you to maximize the output of the fixture at any chosen color. It allows you to first dial in your color preference, then dial in the intensity. At any chosen color, you can direct 100% output to the LED diodes!

For those that prefer automation, the A360WE has control ports built-in so you can use your Apex (VDM module required) or ReefKeeper (ALC module required) controllers to program these lights. Multiple Kessil A360WE lights can be easily linked and controlled together with an optional daisy chain cable.
There are also numerous options available for installation. Most of our customers opt for the gooseneck mount that which easily clamps the light to your aquarium. The flexible gooseneck allows you to adjust the height and aim of the light. A recently released 90° adapter gives the gooseneck a little extra reach and is great for larger aquariums. There are also removable brackets and a hanging bolt for those that wish to suspend their Kessil pendants.

After mounting the A360WE over my 34-gallon Solana, I noticed the coverage was very even throughout the entire aquarium. It is definitely more than enough light for my 20” x 20” cube. A single A360WE will cover an area up to 30” x 30” for a mixed-reef or 24” x 24” if high intensity is required.

The benefits that stood out most were how dramatically it made all my corals fluoresce, how easy it is to adjust the color/intensity and how natural and gorgeous the shimmering effect looks.

With Dense Matrix technology, many different LED diode colors are mounted on a small chip. The close proximity of the diodes allows the different color spectrums to blend together before leaving the light, which creates a very uniform color and eliminates the ‘disco effect’ that some LED fixtures suffer from.

This single point source light is also the reason for the great shimmering effect and what make it a great alternative to metal halide lighting. One caveat of having a single point-source light is that there will be more shadowing since all the light is coming from one single point. For the large majority of hobbyists, the shadowing is not an issue at all and actually looks more natural. Only very densely-packed aquariums will benefit from having multiple fixtures or supplemental lighting.

With this high-quality light, Kessil has another winner on their hands. Kessil goes one step further by offering a 2-year manufacturer warranty versus the standard 1-year most LED aquarium light manufacturers offer.

If you are tired of the heat generated from metal halide/T5 lighting, the high electricity costs and the annual bulb replacements, I recommend taking a look at the A360WE to find out for yourself why Kessil LED lights have been so popular!