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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Neptune Systems Apex - Lunar Sim Module (LSM)

At one point i had an Interpet blue LED strip working in my freshwater tank to provide a little moonlight cover for extended viewing after the main lighting period. I have also always found that having the moonlights come on just before the main lights power down, seems to help stop the fish jumping as they suddenly go out.

Sadly, despite the price i paid, the Interpet unit began to fail on me. Mainly the plastic casing seemed to tarnish over and went brown on the insides. The LEDs still worked but gave out hardly any light at all in the end, so it has been removed and the tank has been without night time light supplement for a while.

Wanting a bit of moonlight back into the tank, i acquired the Lunar Sim Module (LSM) for the now installed Apex controller.

1-Neptune Systems Apex Lunar Sim Module LSM.18

I went with a 3 LED setup in the hope that it will be sufficient for the Lido 120.

The LSM, as with all other Apex gear, is blissfully simple to add into an existing setup.

Attach the USB (AquaBus) cable… plug the LED loop in… done…

In test, dumped on the floor next to the tank…

2-Neptune Systems Apex Lunar Sim Module LSM.36

After a second or two, the indictor light flashes yellow a few times, then goes green after registering itself with the base unit and dropping onto a default outlet setup that works alongside the Season Table.

Again, brilliant, nothing has to be done by the user to configure the unit… it “just works”.

Of course the LEDs then powered up…

3-Neptune Systems Apex Lunar Sim Module LSM.14

For an easy solution, some electrical grade double sided tape was applied to each of the LED modules…

4-Neptune Systems Apex Lunar Sim Module LSM.32

And attached to the underside of the Juwel covers, one at the front, two at the back…

5-Neptune Systems Apex Lunar Sim Module LSM.50

Followed by a bit of wire routing and tidying up, that was pretty much it. Around 10 minutes to install. Took me longer to find the tie-wraps and sticky tape!

6-Neptune Systems Apex Lunar Sim Module LSM.21

And i now have a nice deep blue glow for the evenings and early mornings.

Picture looks terrible i admit. Its a bit of a struggle as the sofa is in the way for getting in front of it.

I opted to not use the Season Table as i want the moonlights to coincide with the main lights going on and off. Using the Table doesn't really pose any advantage to me as its a purely aesthetic thing.

This is my program…

1-LSM Programming

The LEDs ramp up from 0 - 100% over 1 hour, then stay on for 35minutes. The main lights come on at 12:00 o’clock so there is a 5 minute over lap.

They then shut down for the day before coming back on 5 minutes before the main lights go off, stay at full intensity of 30 minutes then ramp back down to zero, before going off completely for the night.

There are of course provisions in there to power them off if the Feed Pause’s are launched. This is mainly to stop me or somebody else getting an eyeful of the front mounted LED when the covers are opened for feeding.

Following is the MoonUp profile, the MoonDown is just the opposite in the Start and End intensity's.

1-Apex LSM Profile

The LSM is quite an expensive add-on for just a moonlight, but it really does give a very nice effect and doesn't loose you a socket on the Energy Bar or extension lead as its solely powered from the AquaBus USB system.

Of course all the usual Apex ease of use and controllability are built into it for the most hard-core of control freaks!

The LEDs are not the most powerful and with there only being three of them, they don't give any shimmer effect and are generally lost in the midst of the light coming from the T5 tubes. If you want shimmer, then you will need something with a little more grunt.

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