Great LED By Gabe on 4/16/2014
Gabe would recommend this product to a friend
I love this lamp! I don't get the buzzing that others mentioned but one of mine did come with a broken fan blade and sometimes has issues connecting to the director. I assume this one got tossed around during shipping so I didn't knock any stars off. If I could rate FedEx here then that would be another story... I have been running these for just under 3 months, I have three of these over my 125g 6 foot tank. They provide more than enough light with just 2 but I had more shadows than I like so I got a third. On an even more intimate level these lights put out amazing color. I love that they are full spectrum. In just the first week I noticed my zoas get much brighter and vibrant. All the other corals LPS SPS softies, it doesn't matter. They have all become more vibrant too! I was running blue and white spectrum LED's previously. The wider spectrum is fantastic!
The director is still in beta and kinda glitchy. I'm still not convinced it's better than the new controller. No droid app yet so I don't get the hype yet...
If you're considering new LED's I would highly consider these and I definitely recommend them.
Works great By Josh HIll on 4/6/2014
Josh HIll would recommend this product to a friend
Everything is great in my opinion. I think that the AI director/controller gives you more ability to adjust lighting on demand than does the APEX module. However, I really like these lights. My lights are mounted on a roll top canopy and 2 of these light are doing a great job of growing life in my 90 gallon mixed reef. Acros and frogspawns are doing great, and my clam has regained a ton of color. Only drawback that I have found is that when I roll my canopy open the cooling fans make a ton of noise since they are not level to the ground, but this is just when I feed my tank. The do put off a ton of heat, so I recommend adding a cooling fan to help if these are going in a closed canopy. I am using an Air King fan and everything is great. I have not noticed any buzzing noises as in the previous reviews. I will be adding these to my frag tank eventually.
Awesome light! By reefer823 on 3/17/2014
reefer823 would recommend this product to a friend
I dont get the bad reviews, this light is nothing less than stellar! No buzzing at all and when in combination with the director the control is unlimited. Doesnt even really get hot/need the fan to kick on. AI stands by their products and if for some reason the product is defective go call them and use that warranty they give you! been a customer for years.
Buzzes By Ramfi on 3/15/2014
Ramfi wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
They should call this light buzzes sound, not hydra
Update to "Light Buzzes on Red Channel" By Review Update on 2/5/2014
Review Update would recommend this product to a friend
Aqua illumination got back to me about the buzzing issue and offered to exchange my light. The new light is silent on all channels except the white, which is extremely faint and acceptable. I am loving the new light paired with the AI director. I would make the purchase again.
Customer support got off the wrong foot when they said that my problem wasn't a problem but that buzzing was "normal". As the two five star reviews can attest, this was not "normal" since their lights, and my replacement, were fine. This was probably the result of poor quality control on early fixtures shipped. The issue had to do with the LED dimmer switches, which could have easily been screened on a breadboard set up or by sourcing higher quality dimmers.
The light is bright, beautiful, and has way more features than comparably priced LED's. Customer service came through the end. I would recommend this to a friend.
I do caution anyone against being an early adopter of a just released tech product. Give them some time to work out the bugs. This goes for the newly released Radion Gen3's as well. I think the Hydra 52's are ready for prime time by now.
Outstanding Light! By Michael on 2/4/2014
Michael would recommend this product to a friend
I have used a few different AI fixtures and find the Hydra 52 is a significant upgrade to the ones I have used and am using right now. I started in this hobby with PCs and then eventually went to T5's and finally to LEDs a few years ago. I've been using AI products ever since I started with their Sols a few years ago, then upgraded to the Vega Color fixtures, and now I'm on the Hydra 52 to give them a try. I keep coming back to AI for a few reasons:
First, I like the modularity in their designs. It is easy enough to upgrade their fixtures when new technology or upgrades come out. Second, they are reliable. Third, they grow just about everything very well, and finally they have outstanding customer service right here in the US.
Customer service is extremely important to me considering that, over time, I've done some stupid things like incorrectly install lenses on my Sols and bust a LED puck. They took care of me for a lot less than what I was expecting the repair to cost and turned things around for me very quickly. As we all know, if your lights go down for an extended period of time, that can spell death for your corals. I've also seen them bend over backwards to expedite replacement power supplies to a fellow reefer who flooded and fried his originals. That's part of the value of having a US based company with product on-hand and customer service that is responsive. I was an early adopter of the Vega color fixtures and AI worked quickly to upgrade the controller firmware for the wireless controller to address customer concerns. I also beta tested the AI Director and the owner of the company would be online responding on the weekends to help develop and perfect that product too. It is nice to have a company that is responsive to and that listens to their customer base. I say all of this because I think that this is one of those considerations that is important when selecting a light like this as opposed to some cheap overseas LED fixture that may burn out or die leaving you with no option other than to buy another fixture.
I did read the first couple of reviews listed here and did not experience the buzzing sound at any power levels. I tried a bunch of different combinations by going through my AI Director and setting up the Hydra 52 a separate lighting group. Every now and then something will slip through the cracks and I would hope the first two people who reviewed the lights contacted AI as I have always found them to be very responsive.
Now, having owned the Sols, and Vega Color, I was actually going to upgrade to the Hydra for the extra colors and lenses but never got around to it before they announced the Hydra 52. I am glad I waited as the 52 is an amazing light. They really amped-up the power on these lights! Just taking a look at the power supply and comparing it to the power supply of a Sol, Vega, or Hydra will let you see the difference in what these are meant to do! In comparing these to the Vega Color specifically, I like how the new lenses have the diffuser quality to them (like the type of the Hydra) as it gets rid of that "disco ball" effect that you get with a lot of LEDs out there. I had thought about adding or changing pucks on the Vega Color to add UV and Violet which AI did in both the Hydra and Hydra 52 so that is a welcome improvement in my mind. Just be careful when increasing the UV level as you can potential bleach things out if your corals have not been getting UV in the past!
Of course, this light works seamlessly with the AI Director and you can mix and match lights if you are in a situation like me where you are upgrading from one type of AI fixture to another. Just setup a separate category or group (or more) for your Hydra 52 so that you can adjust those levels as needed. If you haven't picked-up a Director yet and are running AI lights, you owe it to yourself to get one. The ease and level of control you have over your lights is just amazing compared to the regular wireless controller. I have found that AI lights are extremely powerful so I always start new fixtures at lower settings regardless of PAR measurements so as to not bleach things out. When I switched from Sols to Vega Colors I matched PAR levels but the Vegas were powerful enough that I had to back them down a bit to keep from bleaching out my corals.
Time will tell but I think going to multiple LEDs at lower power levels will give more even coverage and PAR levels. I am also hoping the addition of the UV will help stimulate different colors in my colors and I do like the more purplish look that you get by combining the violet with the blues, which I think was missing from the other AI lights like the Sols and Vega Color.
I have been running a total of 6 AI Vega Color fixtures for about a year and half now and got in one of these Hydra 52 to see if it really was that much of an improvement over my Vega Color . . . I now plan on ordering more of these as my budget allows to eventually replace all my Vega Color fixtures with Hydra 52s!
Pleasantly surprised By Pegasus on 1/28/2014
Pegasus would recommend this product to a friend
After reading the two reviews, I was a bit worried as I have ordered it through a LFS. The light doesn't come with the controller and the rail, so beware. The new controller is a hundred times better than the old ones. Very easy to program and I have it up and running in half an hour (took a while to assemble the rails and there is no manual, but looking at the pictures here you can probably figure out). The other tank I have 400W power compact and look yellowish due to the poor lighting compare the AI LED. So, not only the AI LED simulates the sunrise and sunset, the color is so amazing that it is like diving in a very clear sunny day. I can't be any happier with this light. No buzzing sound on mine on any intensity level, hopefully I won't run into the same issues as the other two reviewers because I am going to get 2 more of them.
horrible first LED experience By anthony on 1/21/2014
anthony wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
i received my hydra 52 module last week and to my disappointment, it had a very loud buzzing sound when the dimming capability was on. I thought it was the driver considering i had never purchased an LED before, i considered this to be normal. after speaking with many friends and hobbyist, they assured me that it was not normal and to send it back.
AI also told me that this was tested to a "tolerable" level and it is normal. ...... Sorry to say but that buzzing is FAR from normal and "tolerable" I mean, i could literally hear this buzzing/humming noise from 10-15 feet away and probably more if i had tried. I had mentioned that if it is a driver problem it could set my house on fire and that is unacceptable. they replied by saying that it is not the driver and because of the "intense power" of the module that the sound might be more "apparent" then the other modules.
I don't know about anyone else, but i definitely won't sacrifice my comfort for "intense power".
On a good note, the led were extremely bright and if you plan on running them at 100% all the time, then you won't have to worry about the humming. BUT! if you plan on running ANYTHING lower than 100% on EVERY LED like MOST hobbyist..... Don't bother with this light till they fix this "tolerable" noise.
Light Buzzes on Red Channel By Forrest on 1/14/2014
Forrest wouldn't recommend this product to a friend
My light came and when I plugged it in it started buzzing. I turned off the different channels and isolated it to the Red channel dimmer switch. I filed a warranty request to AI and they replied that they all buzz to some amount but that they test them to make sure that they fall within an acceptable range before they are shipped.
If this is true I would not buy this light if you are under 30 and still have decent high frequency hearing. I am not sure who is checking lights but this does is not acceptable for me. Despite them saying that this is "normal" I hope that mine is a lemon since it only occurs on the Red channel, and the since switches used are probably the same for all channels.
The sound is audible and annoying 6 feet away over trickling water and aquarium equipment. The white channel buzzes slightly but I would call this acceptable and expected as it is not audible more than a couple feet away and is very, very faint. None of the other channel make any noticeable noise.
I will update this review if AI does offer to return the light and that fixes the problem. Then I can focus the review on the light produced, which from first impressions is very bright and balanced.