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What's the Skinny with Epistar LEDs???

Discussion in 'LED and other Lighting' started by Jonny Fly, Aug 6, 2012.

    Jonny Fly

    Jonny Fly Member

    Hello, I've only been submerged in the world of LEDs for a few months so I'm no expert. I have 7 Blackstar LED lights, which I purchased from Gotham Hydroponics, totaling 1125 quoted or stated watts and equalling just about 600 actual watts. I've been looking on e-bay and there are a few LED's out there using the 3 watt diodes I prefer and looking almost exactly like my "240W" Blackstar LEDs which are my favorite, and the people selling them misquote their wattage just like just like Gotham. I didn't notice that this was rather common until after I bought my Blackstars and had them shipped to my home. So needless to say, I got rather fucking pissed of when I found out that they were only 135 watts. I'm not ripping on Gotham Hydro. I like Victor and enjoy talking to him, I just felt robbed at the time.
    A lot of the LED arrangements being offered on eBay use Epistar LEDs. I am only familiar with and trust Cree and/or Bridgelux LEDs. So I'm just askin' wtf is the deal with Epistar? and, Can I trust a no-name "300 watt 8 Band Hydroponic LED Grow Light with 3W Epistar LEDs" straight off some dudes shelf in China or should I stick with the (also assembled in China) $2 per watt Blackstars using the proud American Cree LED? Cause I'm tellin ya, $1 per watt LED configurations are starting to look pretty good!!! Especially when my income is about half of what it used to be. All input is read and appreciated.

    Eraserhead Well-Known Member

    Do you know what a real Cree LED looks like?


    SupraSPL likes this.

    foreverflyhi Well-Known Member

    not 100% sure but i dont think blAck star uses all cree, just one or two

    Chronikool Well-Known Member

    Epistar are a reputable Taiwanese manufacturer. However the thing you have to know in the LED market place is there are a shitload of cowboys out there. (mainly by way of China) The Epistar advertised on ebay, probably isnt a real Epistar. LED Light manufacters claiming they have Cree, Bridgelux, Osram, Lumiled, Semiled, Epiled, Epistar, etc for too good to be true prices smells alot like....FAKE! :D
    SupraSPL likes this.

    patrikantonius Active Member

    They aren't necessarily "fakes". In fact, the LED can be divided into two main parts: 1. the die (semiconductor; the "yellow part" you can see on the above picture), and 2. everything that is around it (lens, substrate, connectors, etc.)
    The real difficult part in creating a LED is manufacturing the die. Only a few manufacturers produce LED dies. On the other hand, once you have the die, basically everything that's left to do is assembly (with some precision of course), and that is in the reach of the Chinese, no-name LED makers.

    My theory is that those Chinese grow LED makers cite brands such as Bridgelux or Epistar when the LEDs they use have Bridgelux or Epistar dies, whether or not the LEDs (as a whole) are made by those brands. I believe that, because those independent Chinese factories don't have the same expertise as the "real" manufacturers, these LEDs are not "as good" as their equivalents made by Bridgelux or Epistar.
    SupraSPL likes this.

    Red1966 Well-Known Member

    Quite often, manufacturers will only have one Cree or other high quality LED, while the rest are cheaper units. Then, they can truthfully say they use Cree diodes. Epistar licenses other makers to use their brand name, so a claim of using Epistar diodes is meaningless. Also, never is binning mentioned in the advertising, even Cree has defective diodes with low bin codes. The guy who makes Plant Photonics will send close up photos of the LEDs he uses. You can determine the manufacturer of a diode by the fine wires on the face of the diode that way. Most makers and resellers are purposely vague or deceptive about the origin of their diodes. Very few lights are made in the US, most are made in China, shipped here, and sold retail as "USA designed" lights, meaning the retailer got to specify the bands used. You can do this yourself and get the same lights sold by nearly all the well-known brands, but much cheaper. Many "American" brands arrive directly from China, never even handled by the American vender.
    SupraSPL likes this.

    LEDmania Active Member

    Though we don't know which brand LEDs they are using, there is one thing we should understand: A real CREE LED cannot be soldered on a same circuit board with the other brand LEDs, because their encapsulation technologies are completely different. So, if you are told that your lamp has been built with Epistar and Cree LEDs combination, that must be a SHI-T.
    Forrestfirebuds likes this.

    guod Well-Known Member



    LEDmania Active Member

    ja, heel interessant ~

    QuikSnatch Member

    Hey Jonny! I'm currently in the same situation. With a little research I found that Epistar is pretty legit when quality is a concern. Also, the seller on Ebay answers my questions the following day, (albeit with horrible grammar and typos) has updated a lot of posts to include close ups, specs and even part numbers used. I went to Epistar's website to verify the parts being used and found a discrepancy; the red diode part # listed on Ebay is slightly different than the same diode on Epistar's website. Might be an old version of a product that had since been upgraded.. IDK What I DO know is that those are the right spectrums being used and the seller has 100% positive feedback. I'm looking at the $649 800 watt model for my 3'x3' closet grow. With 3 watt LEDs running at 1.6 watts each producing more lumens than a 250 watt HPS it's very likely I'll buy one next tax season unless Kyle at Diamond Series decides to have Christmas sale LOL When I buy LEDs I'll do a journal on my homemade aeroponics perpetual grow. Until then I plan to keep researching, hell I might just build OWN damn light for these prices..
    1st tymegrower

    1st tymegrower Member

    in the same boat, thinking bout a blackdog. They claim 2 use epistar as well

    tenthirty Well-Known Member


    tsmit420 Member

    as far as i know neither bridgelux or epistar manufactures highpower leds suitable for growlights. i believe bridgelux used to manufacture them but they are not offered anymore. i am almost certain that any company using bridgelux or epistar are almost certainly not manufactured by epistar and bridgelux and i would stay away from them. almost all the chinese knockoffs are modeled after the same design. they work and they are cheep so there not all bad if you build the light urself or buy it really cheap off alibaba when they stop working they can be easily replaced. currently you can get a 500w led for less than 500 bucks then american companies buy these and because these companies are in china they can put their own name on em and sell the same light for 1500 bucks. its impossible to tell if u have legit leds when it comes to bridgelux or epistar because there is no indication on their websites or from reputable electronic parts stores like mouser newark digikey, that they even make colored 1w or 3w leds. the safe bet is to stick with companies that use cree luxeon osram everlight because they are easily distinguishable from cheap Chinese leds. they best of those companies are luxeon and everlight but currently no led companies use them because they are much more exspensive than cree. osram is also a great company and are very efficient but i only know of one company that uses them. cree is widely used but often with bridgelux or epistar to fill in the wavelengths that cree does not offer. with chinese companies you can any wavelength you want other then uvb which leads me to believe that companies that use cree are also adding chinese leds to fill in the blanks and to save costs while still seeming like they are offering real leds by having some legit cree.even the top companies are using chinese parts and manufacturers. To me the best bet on leds would to just save money and troubles and buy super cheap directly from china and then upgrade the leds on your own cuz even with the cost of the extra exspensive leds it is still half the price of companies like hydrogrow and ulll end up with a better performing light specific to your needs. alll the technology is in the leds any company claiming to have special technology is just a bunch of hype every other part of grow lights use technology that has been around for years and is extremely cheap to manufacture

    tsmit420 Member

    i dont know if that is true but either way that doesnt mean you cant have cree with other leds on the same light. there is plenty with real cree leds along with cheaper ones. most led grow lights have multiple drivers running the leds in seperate circuits and pcb's. the drivers can have a slightly different current to match that of the leds in the series. even different wavelengths from the same manufacturer would run best with different drivers some are 700mA some 1000 Ma if you want to run them to their max theyd need to be in a different circuit. allthough its just nonsense to say that two leds of the same current can not be in the same circuit. if you mean just the way they are mounted there are plenty of ways around that like custom built pcb wich is something a manufacture would do anyways. as a electrical engineering student i can tell you that there is no problem getting cree to work with other leds exspecially for a manufacturer the only difference is the pcb they use which is hardly a problem. other companys like osram ssl line everlight and luxeon all use very similiar encapsulation and many of them are likely compatible with the same pcb. most people that build their on buy them allready mounted on a star pcb and wire them together. cree does offer many wavelengths so you have to use other brands if you want a good spectrum

    SnotBoogie Active Member

    Seem to remember SDS saying that the patents for epistar LEDs were sold or something? and so lots of asian producers are making them based on the original designs?

    This might have actually been bridgelux so :3

    ganjarules106 Well-Known Member

    Interesting i was thinking of buying a epistar screw in light bulb for my flowering cupboard. So are your guys thoughts that there is no point and will be a wast of money or is it a good idea thanks

    Yodaweed Well-Known Member

    www.a51led.com they make panels using all cree LEDs check it out.
    Mohican likes this.

    speedyganga Well-Known Member

    Hi guys,
    I am uping this thread as I wonder exactly the same.
    I have done grows with led from epistar/bridgelux (chinese led). They work just fine. Also looking at the specs, it says it delivers 110/120 lumen/w at 350mA for the 1W
    now, looking at Area51, their cree XTE R5bin gives 125lumen/W...
    It looks the same to me, can someone explain to me the difference ?
    If the problem is just penetration, area has Lenses, we could put a 20┬░angle on our 1w bridgelux led and achieve the same thing isn't it?

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member

    - There are many and not few ,led chip manufactures ...

    -Few of them are setting the standards via their R&D .The rest are doing plain "copy & paste" ...

    -Chips using tech & patents from Bridgelux ,are being massively producted by about 50 or so chip manufacturers ,
    in Shenzhen only.

    -Real 'quality' problem is not at just the chips ..(volume emitters vs thin film ones .)
    Casing material and size as also thge thermal resistance between chip's semiconductor junction and the case of led ,
    do play a crucial role to the efficiency of the led .

    -All leds can support plant growth.
    Even the 5mm epoxy ecapsulated ones ,even the 5050smd ones .
    Cheap ones .No name ones .All of them .
    Thing is how efficient,how much space involved and at what built/service cost ,they are able to manage it .
    And for how long they will last.
    (...Both a Ferrari and a Zastava or Lada ,will transport from A point to B point .
    With plenty of differences though,in between ...)

    -You get ,what you pay for.
    "1st Law of Trading" and " Market's Basic Pricing Principle" .

    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member

    chip manufacturers.JPG

    speedyganga likes this.

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