The EcoTech Radion XR30w Generation 3 (G3) fixtures are the latest update to the Radion product line. In prior years, EcoTech made some minor adjustments to the LEDs, but the Generation 3 release features both LED upgrades as well as a redesign to fix flaws to the design of previous units.
Update: EcoTech Radion XR30w Gen 4 now available!
At ReefNation, we have been looking into the LED fixtures or DIY kits that offer full spectrum lighting to be able to truly replace the light spectrum reef hobbyists enjoyed from their T5 HQI systems in years past. Historically, these full spectrum lights provided the best coral coloration and growth, but had the drawback of replacing costly bulbs every year. Enter full spectrum lights like the Radion G3 which now even include indigo and ultraviolet (UV) LEDs as well the upgraded Cree XP-G2 and Osram Oslon square LEDs to further increase the PAR ratings and round out the color spectrum.
So what cosmetic changes were made? Well, one of the biggest complaints with prior generations of the Radions was the touch panel controls on the top of the units. We are always careful when working with lights, but it’s not uncommon to have a little moisture on your hands when you try and adjust your lights. Ever tried using a touchpad on your laptop or iPad after washing your hands? Doesn’t work to well does it? EcoTech has now replaced the touch panel with rubber backlit buttons.
In addition to that cosmetic change, the new G3 & G3 Pro lights are fully integrated with EcoSmart Live giving you full, wireless control of your lights. As this is the first EcoTech light fixture we’ve used at Reefnation, we have to admit that controlling these lights from your mobile device, anytime, anywhere, is a really cool feature!
What’s in the box?
Within the all elusive box you see locked up at LFS are a few things. The light, the power supply, the power cable, a user manual and the USB cable. The power supply is the heaviest part and will need to be mounted properly to ensure it is out of the way and is not exposed to any moisture.
You will notice the power cable is quit long, but this allows a lot of flexibility with mounting the power supply out of sight to ensure a small lighting footprint above your tank.
What you may notice though is the lack of a hanging mounting kit. For this, more and more options are hitting the market, but we went the route of a simple, $20 DIY rail kit that we built using some metal braces from Home Depot, some self-tapping screws and some flat black Rustoleum spray paint.
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How it works
Once you get the power supply mounted, the power cord connected and the light mounted above your tank, we would recommend using the EcoSmart Live software to configure the light. Although the G3 lights come with the improved control buttons, the EcoSmart Live software will allow you to finely tune your new light. If you don’t own the EcoTech ReefLink, no problem. You can use the USB cable included with your new light and a laptop.
You can use any of the preset schedules that are provided. In addition, you can click on any spots of the timeline and create a custom color and intensity setting.
On the color selection screen, you have the ability to select preset color spectrums (e.g. 10K, 12K, 14K, 18K, 20K, etc), cloud probability, storm probability or you can adjust each of the light colors to create your own color. As you adjust the colors above, you will see the change in the spectrum below to see exactly what the color spectrum will look like. If you are trying to match a specific spectrum you had from a previous light (e.g. T5), it doesn’t get much easier than this!
Using the EcoSmart Live software, there is one other feature that you should be aware of. If you are transitioning from traditional lighting (e.g. T5 HQI), use the acclimation mode. Much like how we reduce the amount of time our traditional lights run for after bulb replacements, this will reduce the intensity of the light to allow your tank to slowly adjust to the new LED lights. As the weeks pass, the intensity will increase until it is at 100%.
The Radion lights are one of the fixtures that contain the proper LEDs to provide reef hobbyists with a full light spectrum. The G3 units also integrate with the EcoSmart Live software which provides reef hobbyists with the most full featured software to control every aspect of your lighting.
EcoSmart Live also allows you to control your lights from anywhere, anytime. These lights can also be connected to an EcoTech Battery Backup unit to protect your tank during any power outages.
The Radion lights are shipped without any mounting hardware or kits. This just adds an additional cost to arguably the most expensive units on the market.
We have waited to release this review until we have had plenty of time to setup, configure and tweak the setup of our Radion G3’s. As we’ve been running these on one of our display tanks for a few months now, we have been pleased with the value we have received from these units.
From the granular control, the minimal above tank footprint and the wireless access, these light fixtures are great! Having replaced an AquaticLife T5HQI combo light, we have also reduced the power consumption from 516W to probably 250W (as we only run the lights at about 75% intensity) while still providing a full spectrum light to our corals.
The acclimation period has ensured the corals were minimally stressed during the transition and we have seen similar coral color and growth patterns. For the money, we can say it’s well worth the investment!
MAX PAR: 900
Cool White: 8 Cree XT-E (40W)
Length: 11.8 inches (30 cm)
Variable Usage: 150W
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