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Rich
11-04-2015, 09:04 AM
So I made the switch the other day to the Kessil lights from my AI Hydra 26. This is going to be my ongoing comparison thread between the two. Stay tuned for a full write-up.

Currently right now I can tell you that there is a huge difference in the way the Kessil lights the tank vs. the AI. The AI produced little to no shimmer in my tank, even with the top of the water moving as much as it does. My ceiling lights in the basement had more shimmer than the AI. This is good for people who don't like the shimmer effect. The Kessil can be compared to a disco ball in Saturday Night Fever, only instead of just doing the hustle, everyone is shining extremely intense lighting on the disco ball while they dance.

Specs: As listed by the manufacturer

AI Hydra 26 - Dimensions: 7.28" L x 5.375" W x 1.6" H
Light Range: 24" x 24" x 24" coverage area
Power Usage: 95W Power Consumption (at full power)
Power Supply: Universal Input Range: 100-240VAC/50-60Hz
Cable Length: 10 Ft.
LED & Lens: 26 total LEDS with 80 degree lenses.
Cooling: Heat sink top with center evac fan. The fan runs silent just like the unit.

Notes: AI advertises that they tested the light at 85W full power, but the full power is 95W. The 10ft power cable has a transformer as part of the cable. It's smaller than any of the transformers on all of my laptops, but it should be noted that you will need room to hide/mount this.

Kessil A360WE - Dimensions: 2.96" Length x 4" Diameter
Light Range: 24" surface diameter by 3' penetration (on average)
Power Usage: 90W
Power Supply: 100-240 VAC (Input), 48 VDC, 1.87A (Output)
Cable Length: Ridiculously long, and is advertised to have an extension cable. It's not joking... I'll measure it later to give an accurate number, but it's in the realm of over 10ft judging by appearance next to the AI's cable.
LED & Lens: Proprietary densely packed LEDs and lens with spotlight style projection.
Cooling: Single top mounted evac fan that runs silent.

Notes: The power cable has a transformer on it that is equal in size to the AI Hydra's. Keep in mind that you will need space to hide/mount this.

Function/Buttons/Knobs:

AI Hydra 26 - 1 button for all power functions that selects all of the AI preset light modes without the ability to adjust light parameters without the separate controller. The light can be adjusted from off to 5% all the way to 100% light intensity, but does NOT reverse. It will turn off after 100% light intensity and you have to push the button again to get it to go back to where you want it. This button is on the backside of the unit and is almost invisible unless you're really looking for it. While attractive, it leaves the user wanting the AI controllers. The 5% setting is nice for a "moon" effect.

Kessil A360WE - 2 color matched knobs to control the color and the light intensity between 15% light and 100% light with the ability to back off the intensity and change the color at will. If you work from home, or are home during the times you need to turn on/off your lights then this is amazing. There is no "moon" function without the separate Kessil controller because the light only turns down to 15% intensity and then it turns off.

The Kessil also has a metal loop on the top of the unit that allows you to mount the light.

Mounting Options: Speaking only on the factory available options since there are too many custom options out there

AI Hydra 26 - AI gears itself more towards the modern/clean look of their mounting solutions. They've designed their EXT rail system to be strong, functional, upgradable, and attractive. The nice thing about the EXT system is that you can purchase rails at 3 different lengths to get the light exactly where you need to have it without a lot of overlap. The system also allows customers to "daisy chain" the lights together by using the EXT rails as a coupler. AI also offers a wire mount hanging kit for an almost non-intrusive mounting solution that still uses the EXT rails to link lights and a tank mount foot system. The EXT rail system mount allows for running of your wires down a channel in the rail to hide them, too. Both the EXT rail mount and the hanging wire mount are height adjustable, but the foot mount is not. The height adjustment capabilities offer an almost limitless range to meet the demands of your tank. The bad side to the mounting options are that they are not cheap... at all.

Kessil A360WE - Kessil offers a gooseneck tank mount with a 90 degree adapter to allow the light a cleaner look. The gooseneck is the smallest mounting option without doing the hanging above the tank route. The gooseneck can bend to your desired height - within limit. Wires must be ziptied or wire loomed to the gooseneck.

Aesthetics:

AI Hydra 26 - Sleek black box that would fit more modern décor. It looks like a lot of time was put into the box and heat sink to make it an attractive unit. It would almost be a shame to hide it in a canopy that didn't have some amazing light rack that slid out on a drawer slider to show them off.

Kessil A360WE - Like a black Campbell's soup can filled with some delicious light for your tank. It's definitely not the most attractive unit compared to the AI. They are very compact in size and don't take up much room. Depending on your mounting solution you can make these look modern enough to not be an eyesore.

Light Penetration:

AI Hydra 26 - The manufacturer advertises that they've tested the light at 24" depth (2ft) at 85W full power. My current tank is a 150g tall measuring 24"L x 48"W x 30"H - technically 6" higher than recommended. I ran the light at 85% values for the blue spectrums, 65% UV, and 55% or lower for some of the other spectrums like red, green, white, etc.. Light does reach the bottom of the tank at the sand and corals did respond to the light fairly well. I also ran the light on a 29g breeder tank for over a year.

In the 29g tank...
Corals responded very, very well. I had amazing growth from softies, leathers, zoas, and LPS. I was never able to keep SPS because of the softies in the tank, and I was running a HOB skimmer that was underpowered for my bio load.

Using the scolymia as the test subject in this tank, placed on the sand bed, it looked full and happy-ish. It responded well to the changing of the light with feeding response.

In the 150g tank...
My amazing torch coral that looked amazing in the 29g, and was very happy in my 150g at the middle of the tank, decided to die. Not happy about that. It was well fed and received great flow and light. The hammer coral is also in the middle of the tank, but doesn't look as full as it once was.

Again, using my scolymia as the test subject, being that it is on the sand bed, it was extremely puffy like a donut while the lights were on. I have not seen a feeding response, though. I had to spot feed it after I turn off all the pumps and it would eat.

Kessil A360WE - Manufacturer advertises a 3ft penetration for the wide model. I'd say that's pretty spot on. It lights up the entire sand bed and reflects upwards to light the bottom of corals. It is, unfortunately, too soon to see what the corals think of the light. The zoas respond very well, and the shrooms no longer extend towards the light.

Scolymia test subject is very fat, and I'm starting to see a feed response again.

Controllers:

AI Hydra 26 - AI offers 2 proprietary options for the Hydra 26. They have the "new" style controller that allows you to adjust everything that you need on the lights and even offers auto daylight savings adjustment, cloud sweeps, thunderstorms, coral acclimation, regional lighting, moonlight cycles (if there is no moon outside, the night lights are off. If it's a sliver of a moon then the lights turn on a little. If the moon is full then the lights are brighter.) AI also offers the director which is essentially the same thing but with web enabled content.

Kessil A360WE - I don't have one, yet.

Gimmicks:

AI Hydra 26 - With one of the separate controllers you can enable lightning mode, cloud sweeps, moon cycles to your local area, moon cycles in Fiji, Bahamas, Florida, etc. You can even enable a coral acclimation mode. Lightning mode is cool when you hook up a sound system in conjunction with the lights. It puts me to sleep quick.

The shimmer available from the AI light is almost not noticeable to me. I can see shadows in the tank from the fish, but the ripping water lines is barely noticeable.

Kessil A360WE - None. Absolutely no BS in this light. JK... I don't have the controller, yet. I have no idea what cool things it does.

The shimmer from the Kessil is insane. Kessil makes it a point to say that it is unrivaled in the market compared to other LED brands. One of the most gimmicky things about their advertising is that you can see the shadows of the fish as they swim in the aquarium. I can see the shadows of my fish as they swim around with just my ceiling lights on in the basement - totally moot advertising point. The rippling water lines adds an almost hypnotizing effect to the tank. I don't recommend staring at it for long periods of time otherwise your significant other may wonder if you're drunk and staring at your fish.

tango
11-04-2015, 10:09 AM
I love my kessils just wish they had more royal blue color to add in

Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk

Levi
11-04-2015, 10:16 AM
So I made the switch the other day to the Kessil lights from my AI Hydra 26. This is going to be my ongoing comparison thread between the two. Stay tuned for a full write-up.

Currently right now I can tell you that there is a huge difference in the way the Kessil lights the tank vs. the AI. The AI produced little to no shimmer in my tank, even with the top of the water moving as much as it does. My ceiling lights in the basement had more shimmer than the AI. This is good for people who don't like the shimmer effect. The Kessil can be compared to a disco ball in Saturday Night Fever, only instead of just doing the hustle, everyone is shining extremely intense lighting on the disco ball while they dance.

Please make sure to note that the Kessil is made for the depth of tank that you have (31") and that the AI Hydra 26 is NOT. This will completely change the comparison and skew the results so to make it a fair comparison, take note of the differences in how these two products were intended to be used. Cant compare a 2016 corvette z06 to a 2016 honda civic lx stock and say one is better without understanding the differences right?

Rich
11-04-2015, 10:33 AM
Please make sure to note that the Kessil is made for the depth of tank that you have (31") and that the AI Hydra 26 is NOT. This will completely change the comparison and skew the results so to make it a fair comparison, take note of the differences in how these two products were intended to be used. Cant compare a 2016 corvette z06 to a 2016 honda civic lx stock and say one is better without understanding the differences right?

Almost slipped my mind. Thanks, Levi.

Rich
11-04-2015, 10:34 AM
I love my kessils just wish they had more royal blue color to add in

Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk

Yeah, the AI has the deep blue and royal blue in it. The Kessil is more of an aqua color.

Levi
11-04-2015, 11:07 AM
Almost slipped my mind. Thanks, Levi.

That's what I am here for Rich!

A360WE Specifications

Dimensions: 2.96" Length x 4" Diameter
24" surface diameter by 3' penetration (on average)
Power Usage: 90W
Power Supply: 100-240 VAC (Input), 48 VDC, 1.87A (Output)

Hydra 26 Specifications
Specifications

95W Power Consumption (at full power)
Universal Input Range: 100-240VAC/50-60Hz
24" x 24" x 24" coverage area
Cable Length: 10 Ft.
Regulatory Compliance: UL, CE & RoHS

The biggest difference is the COB style chip from the Kessil generating greater penetration vs the puck style on the hydra. Have you noticed any comparable differences in response from your corals/fish with the kessil?

I have to say that I do not think you can go wrong with either light as they are both awesome lights. I would be very interested if you were able to take the same coral and frag it and have one under the hydra and one under the kessil to see if there were any noticeable results. Did you end up selling your hydra to get the kessil? If so this isnt really a possible experiment but your opinion of the two lights and your experiences between the two in a detailed comparison would be awesome. I almost bought 4x of the hydra 26 for my 120g, was seconds away from pulling out the plastic and ordering so I would have to say I am somewhat of an AI fanboy.

Coral Xpressions
11-04-2015, 11:10 AM
Please make sure to note that the Kessil is made for the depth of tank that you have (31") and that the AI Hydra 26 is NOT. This will completely change the comparison and skew the results so to make it a fair comparison, take note of the differences in how these two products were intended to be used. Cant compare a 2016 corvette z06 to a 2016 honda civic lx stock and say one is better without understanding the differences right?
U sure can as both vehicle engine operate the same way...As do led functions. As both cars have gas and break pedals, both lights have plan on and off switch. Corvette was made to driver as was was the civic.

So a comparison would be be the kessil can penetrate deeper than the AI.

Your argument is Invalid

Levi
11-04-2015, 11:53 AM
U sure can as both vehicle engine operate the same way...As do led functions. As both cars have gas and break pedals, both lights have plan on and off switch. Corvette was made to driver as was was the civic.

So a comparison would be be the kessil can penetrate deeper than the AI.

Your argument is Invalid

Actually stop thinking so simple minded

Civic the concern is gas mileage, the acceleration is pathetic compared to a corvette z06, the aerodynamics are completely different, one is front wheel drive and one is rear wheel drive which is completely different, one is a v8 and one is a 4 cylinder, one has leather interior and one doesn't... the list goes on and on and on

Your argument is just as invalid as saying "a light is a light so comparing a t5 to an LED is acceptable in regards to both produce light." Yes while this is true, this is not the type of comparison that consumers are looking for and what I was trying to encourage Rich to do since he has/had both lights and can give first hand experience with two different LEDS with two different types of technology and methods of delivery.

Coral Xpressions
11-04-2015, 11:57 AM
Those are all comparisons, gas mileage, acceleration power. Keep digging. We continually compare all lights to the spectrum of the sun yet they are not.

And rich was going to give a comparison of the two but you told him to factor in what they were designed for. Yet they were both designed for the same thing. To light an aquarium and It'd inhabitants. Plain and simple. T5s and halides are designed for the same thing are they not.

Try opening your mind and realizing you asked him to do one thing and then now just recanted it while restating what you wanted him to do

Levi
11-04-2015, 11:59 AM
Those are all comparisons, gas mileage, acceleration power. Keep digging. We continually compare all lights to the spectrum of the sun yet they are not.

And rich was going to give a comparison of the two but you told him to factor in what they were designed for. Yet they were both designed for the same thing. To light an aquarium and It'd inhabitants. Plain and simple. T5s and halides are designed for the same thing are they not.

Try opening your mind and realizing you asked him to do one thing and then now just recanted it while restating what you wanted him to do

your babbling is pointless

Coral Xpressions
11-04-2015, 12:01 PM
Your ignorance is mind bottling. Wiki search the definition for comparison. Anythjng can be compared. You're saying they can't but I can compare everything between these 2 cars with a list of specifics as you have provided for each light. Your book smarts are clearly showing the lack of common sense knowledge herr bud

Rich
11-04-2015, 12:26 PM
Yes, I still have the AI. Comparison in my particular setup would be moot, because as you said, the AI hydra 26 cannot reach the depths of my tank to the proper par levels needed. Although, corals on the sand did respond very well to the AI light. Comparing it to the Kessil on how corals react, more zoas are coming out in areas where the light reflects off of the sand. Then again, in the 29g I was able to grow corals very quickly with the AI. In the 150g tall, I was barely able to sustain corals. My shrooms would extend and reach for light with the AI, but the Kessil keeps them full and not extended.

Levi
11-04-2015, 12:38 PM
Yes, I still have the AI. Comparison in my particular setup would be moot, because as you said, the AI hydra 26 cannot reach the depths of my tank to the proper par levels needed. Although, corals on the sand did respond very well to the AI light. Comparing it to the Kessil on how corals react, more zoas are coming out in areas where the light reflects off of the sand. Then again, in the 29g I was able to grow corals very quickly with the AI. In the 150g tall, I was barely able to sustain corals. My shrooms would extend and reach for light with the AI, but the Kessil keeps them full and not extended.

nice so when are you getting the second kessil?

Rich
11-04-2015, 12:55 PM
nice so when are you getting the second kessil?

I have 2 already. I just need goosenecks and a controller for them.

Levi
11-04-2015, 01:08 PM
I have 2 already. I just need goosenecks and a controller for them.

AWESOME so the hydra 26 could be your fully controllable thunderstorm fuge light?

Manchestercity
11-04-2015, 04:55 PM
Rich I read that the ai had a pink tint to their color. I don't have the ai but do have two kessils and I can say there is no pink at all.

Hydroid
11-04-2015, 07:13 PM
Sorry if this is a little off topic but I've been having trouble deciding between these two brands for my 2'x2' frag tank project
Considering AI prime / kessil a150(price)/a160 (control)

Just_Tim
11-04-2015, 07:39 PM
Sorry if this is a little off topic but I've been having trouble deciding between these two brands for my 2'x2' frag tank project
Considering AI prime / kessil a150(price)/a160 (control)
The AI PRIME would be the better choice simply because the kessil isn't actually $160. After you buy the kessil you also have to but the controller and goose neck.

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Coral Xpressions
11-04-2015, 09:57 PM
You don't have to buy the gooseneck or controller.

The 150s are discontinued though. Might still be a few out there but ya might as well go with the 160 wither way and can add a controller later if you chose to

Sharkboy99999
11-05-2015, 12:47 AM
Sorry if this is a little off topic but I've been having trouble deciding between these two brands for my 2'x2' frag tank project
Considering AI prime / kessil a150(price)/a160 (control)
If you end up getting wanting the prime let me know. I think bush can get kessil lights if u go that way

Levi
11-05-2015, 12:51 AM
Sorry if this is a little off topic but I've been having trouble deciding between these two brands for my 2'x2' frag tank project
Considering AI prime / kessil a150(price)/a160 (control)
Prime has a built in controller that has all sorts of cool features and you still have to buy the hanging kit or the mount kit for it. Prime is a joint venture light bringing out the best from EcoTech and AI technologies.

Sent from my LG-H901 using Tapatalk

Rich
11-05-2015, 08:19 AM
Rich I read that the ai had a pink tint to their color. I don't have the ai but do have two kessils and I can say there is no pink at all.

I'm surprised that anyone would say that. It's more of a purple-ish tone that can be tuned out depending on which spectrums you're running. If you like running the red sprectrum, obviously the light could come in slightly purple tinted because of the blues. I've had the Kessil and the AI on together just because I don't have a controller to turn on the Kessil, yet. I can say that, for a fact, the settings that I had my AI set to are more purple compared to the Kessil. Although, it's something that I never noticed before because the Kessil is extremely aqua blue compared to the deep blue and royal blue coloring of the AI. Once I adjusted the settings on the AI I got it to a pretty close match.

Rich
11-05-2015, 08:25 AM
AWESOME so the hydra 26 could be your fully controllable thunderstorm fuge light?

LOL... If I ran a fuge, yes. Although, the wife says I need to sell it.

Rich
11-05-2015, 08:38 AM
Sorry if this is a little off topic but I've been having trouble deciding between these two brands for my 2'x2' frag tank project
Considering AI prime / kessil a150(price)/a160 (control)

Totally not off topic while we're on the subject of the 2 brands. Both lights will be able to reach the recommended depths for the size of that tank. I'm just on a quest to see which light actually grows/sustains corals better (for me).

The AI Prime is a great unit that has everything you need built in for a good price. You would need to figure out a mounting solution if you don't purchase one of the ones from AI.

The Kessil is also a great unit, but does not have built in features since it has been on the market longer than the AI Prime, but is left with the ability to be linked to existing systems like the Apex if you run one (I don't... but I will in the future), or the Kessil spectral controller.

Between the 2 lights, I would go for what you want to run in the long term based upon these factors:

1.) Price overall
2.) Customer service (great from both companies)
3.) The look that YOU want from the light itself and the body of the light.

Both lights will grow corals in that tank. I know that all of what I've said will not help you make a decision, though.

Rich
11-05-2015, 08:41 AM
Give me suggestions on what you want me to list in comparison, everyone. I want to compile as much information into this thread as possible between the 2 lights to help people out.

Levi
11-05-2015, 10:07 AM
Give me suggestions on what you want me to list in comparison, everyone. I want to compile as much information into this thread as possible between the 2 lights to help people out.

how much heat does each unit generate? Is one more quiet than the other? when you get the controller, how adjustable are the spectrums on the kessil vs adjustable on the hydra? Overall how aesthetically pleasing are the two units and which one do you feel "looks" better over the tank? any odd ball differences that were disappointing on either unit? (something like a short power cord that just made positioning difficult?) any odd ball differences that were pleasant surprises on either unit?

Redneck_Reefer
11-05-2015, 10:14 AM
I have 2 already. I just need goosenecks and a controller for them.

Rich hit me up
I will be selling both


The Dude abides

Levi
11-05-2015, 10:21 AM
Rich hit me up
I will be selling both


The Dude abides
Finally upgrade to an apex? :)

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Redneck_Reefer
11-05-2015, 10:36 AM
Yep


The Dude abides

Levi
11-05-2015, 10:51 AM
Awesome man, when is the meeting at your place

Sent from my LG-H901 using Tapatalk

Rich
11-05-2015, 12:01 PM
how much heat does each unit generate? Is one more quiet than the other? when you get the controller, how adjustable are the spectrums on the kessil vs adjustable on the hydra? Overall how aesthetically pleasing are the two units and which one do you feel "looks" better over the tank? any odd ball differences that were disappointing on either unit? (something like a short power cord that just made positioning difficult?) any odd ball differences that were pleasant surprises on either unit?

Killing it with the suggestions, man. Thank you. I already added the aesthetics portion, but I'll expand on it. I wasn't sure if anybody really cared.