How to Burn-in / Season T5 Bulbs for Use with an LED Powermodule Fixture

As we discussed in our Dimmable Sunpower burn-in series, burning-in your T5 bulbs prior to dimming is an absolute must to: (1) ensure optimal bulb performance and (2) prevent spectrum shift or premature bulb failure. The same premise applies to the LED Powermodule.

To properly burn-in or season a T5 bulb, it needs to run at 100% for a full 50 hours. These 50 hours do not have to be straight. However, this process should be fully completed prior to dimming any new bulb.

Please note: If you do not properly burn-in / season new T5 bulbs, this will likely result in premature bulb failure.

Relamping: Replacing Bulbs on Existing LED Powermodule Fixture

Burn-in Station Method (Recommended):

  1. Set up a 2-bulb fixture or retrofit kit in an area away from your aquarium.
  2. Run each bulb for a full 50 hours @ 100% before dimming. Since the burn-in station is not over an aquarium, it is safe to run the fixture for 50 straight hours (which translates to 2 days and 2 hours). Just ensure you give it a minimum of 50 hours.
  3. Install the two new, just-seasoned bulbs into the fixture with the labeled end of the bulb over the small hole in the fixture housing.
  4. Repeat the process above with two additional bulbs until all bulbs are properly burned-in.

Over Tank Method (More Common):

A burn-in station is the preferred solution. However, for most it is not a very practical solution. To burn-in your bulbs using the fixture over your tank, please follow the procedure below.

  1. Install two new bulbs with the labeled end of the bulb over the small hole in the fixture housing. These should go into the bulb slots for T5 Channel 2. For a 4-bulb LED Powermodule, channel 2 has two bulbs. For an 8-bulb LED Powermodule, channel 2 has four bulbs. Do NOT replace the bulbs on Channel 1.
  2. Create a program for Channel 2 without any slope to the schedule and the top line at 100%, so that the bulbs on Channel 2 are running at 100% for 10 hours each day. Please continue to use your normal program for Channel 1. Run this program for 5 full days, so that the bulbs on Channel 2 run at 100% for 50 hours without dimming.
  3. After the 5 days, mark the burned-in bulbs on Channel 2 with a sharpie. This way you will know they have been burned-in. Then, move the bulbs to your preferred location on Channel 1. Repeat this process with any additional bulbs until all bulbs are burned-in.

Following this process should not negatively impact the health and well-being of your corals, because it gives your corals five full days to acclimate to the intensity of the new bulbs. With that being said, it is always a good idea to carefully monitor the health of corals and tank inhabitants every day. New bulbs have significantly more output than old bulbs, so some corals may not react favorably to them.

For new tanks and/or new installations: We recommend burning in your bulbs away from the tank first – prior to installing the fixture and bulbs over your tank.

We hope you found this guide helpful.

Do you have any additional tricks or recommendations for how to burn-in / season bulbs prior to dimming? We would love to hear from you, so please drop us a line here.

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