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Old 01-20-2020, 02:01 AM
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Default DIY Vivarium Lights

Hello Everyone!

I have decided to put together a blog focused on DIY and other technical aspects of our hobby.

I just finished my first post; DIY Vivarium Lights which I hope you may find helpful.

It uses standard screw in light sockets and a homemade enclosures so you can customize the size of the fixture, number of light bulbs, and the size and type of bulbs.

https://www.thedartfrogblog.com/blog...ivarium-lights

Check it out let me know what you think

Thanks!



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File Type: jpg Light on Tank.jpg (68.6 KB, 94 views)
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:22 AM
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Default Re: DIY Vivarium Lights

Sorry to say but those led bulbs are no good for vivariums or frogs the led wavelength is completely off you need full spectrum colours in there you can get full spectrum white I have some and get amazing growth .on my big tank I have reds blues greens to mimic what light they should get for optimal health green does nothing for the plants however in makes them greener as this is the light they reflect they absorb the red and blue purple mix colors the white is just for show the home led bulbs use rubbish LEDs even the good ones are naff they're just made for seeing I would recommend the cfl bulb if you want something off the shelf it's what I used to use doing aquascapes better range on them also you should do a pic with the colour in the 4500k range makes the tank feel warmer to look at and makes the frogs colours pop a bit more good write up thought you could also paint the inside matallic instead of white to get more reflection or glue on some foil still keeps the price down keep up the nice work

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Old 01-20-2020, 11:51 AM
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Default Re: DIY Vivarium Lights

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Originally Posted by scrumpydc View Post
Sorry to say but those led bulbs are no good for vivariums or frogs the led wavelength is completely off you need full spectrum colours in there you can get full spectrum white I have some and get amazing growth .on my big tank I have reds blues greens to mimic what light they should get for optimal health green does nothing for the plants however in makes them greener as this is the light they reflect they absorb the red and blue purple mix colors the white is just for show the home led bulbs use rubbish LEDs even the good ones are naff they're just made for seeing I would recommend the cfl bulb if you want something off the shelf it's what I used to use doing aquascapes better range on them also you should do a pic with the colour in the 4500k range makes the tank feel warmer to look at and makes the frogs colours pop a bit more good write up thought you could also paint the inside matallic instead of white to get more reflection or glue on some foil still keeps the price down keep up the nice work

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That's why I really like these fixtures, as you can put in any type of bulb you want and change them up very easily.

I have been using the 5000k off the shelf LED for 3+ years and have been very happy with the results, my plant growth is very good. I have no doubt there is better bulbs for growing plants but I have no complaints for $1.25 a bulb. CFLs are pretty much nonexistent at this point around me.

Thanks for the input, metallic paint and or foil is a good idea!
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: DIY Vivarium Lights

I can’t provide a source right now (or probably ever), but I swear I read that white reflects more light than foil.

A mirror surface might be better, but from a practical standpoint white paint is cheap, easy, and effective.

Edit: here’s the thread

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Old 01-20-2020, 02:33 PM
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I can’t provide a source right now (or probably ever), but I swear I read that white reflects more light than foil.



A mirror surface might be better, but from a practical standpoint white paint is cheap, easy, and effective.



Edit: here’s the thread
Cool read so it's user preference nice find

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Old 01-20-2020, 05:10 PM
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White paint does indeed reflect light better than metal/mirror/foil....somehow.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: DIY Vivarium Lights

Well yes but no it dose reflect it as diffused light in all directions and the mirrored surface directly reflects it back so I would imagine you get a softer light from white other wise all light reflectors would be white not mirrored so one is uniform one is not so mirror may be better if you want to get the light to particular parts of the tank whereas white if your not to bothered and want a not uniform spread hence reflectors shaped in particular way ie aquarium reflectors DIY ones are white gutter cut in half whereas pro ones are polished mirror surface so it all depends on what you want your light to do both work equally in there own way

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Old 01-22-2020, 03:59 AM
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Default Re: DIY Vivarium Lights

A couple of points I would like to make for anyone passing by this post.

The specific spectrum is alright but it's not needed. you can grow most plants under just about any light. The main thing that matters is how much light you give them. The loosely defined term full spectrum is certainly not needed. I grow plants under a very large variety of lights with no problems. I have never come across any LED that would not grow plants so long as it was powerful enough. And almost all consumer LEDs that are white are made very similarly. They all have the blue and red light to more or less of a degree. Can a plant specific or full spectrum one be a little more efficient, sure, is it needed, not at all.

As to the design of the DIY box it's really an idea that is 5 to 10 years out of date nowadays as you can find down facing LEDs for so cheap it makes almost no sense to build systems like this unless you have a very specific use case. Unless you have tons of free time and you happen to have most parts of this for free in your garage it's hard to justify it over just picking up a purpose build LED for aquariums. The purpose-built one will direct all the light down, it will be much better looking and more streamlined and take up way less space, and it will be more efficient and most of the time once you include the cost of the supplies it will also be cheaper than these DIY boxes.

The example build above was $42 new and is going to be outclassed by a $30 LED from topdogsellers.
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Pubfiction View Post
A couple of points I would like to make for anyone passing by this post.

The specific spectrum is alright but it's not needed. you can grow most plants under just about any light. The main thing that matters is how much light you give them. The loosely defined term full spectrum is certainly not needed. I grow plants under a very large variety of lights with no problems. I have never come across any LED that would not grow plants so long as it was powerful enough. And almost all consumer LEDs that are white are made very similarly. They all have the blue and red light to more or less of a degree. Can a plant specific or full spectrum one be a little more efficient, sure, is it needed, not at all.

As to the design of the DIY box it's really an idea that is 5 to 10 years out of date nowadays as you can find down facing LEDs for so cheap it makes almost no sense to build systems like this unless you have a very specific use case. Unless you have tons of free time and you happen to have most parts of this for free in your garage it's hard to justify it over just picking up a purpose build LED for aquariums. The purpose-built one will direct all the light down, it will be much better looking and more streamlined and take up way less space, and it will be more efficient and most of the time once you include the cost of the supplies it will also be cheaper than these DIY boxes.

The example build above was $42 new and is going to be outclassed by a $30 LED from topdogsellers.
Points taken but I think part of this hobby is ....for lack of a term “crafting” and it’s not always about the best of the best. Some may find that time spent making this setup is fun and enjoy the idea of tinkering in their shop. I thought the presentation was easy to follow and a good read.
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:08 PM
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Just a heads up, white light is achieved by combining all other colors of light. So if you want to use straight white lights you'll be just fine as long as the light is bright enough. Lumens are what really matter here.
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: DIY Vivarium Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pubfiction View Post
A couple of points I would like to make for anyone passing by this post.

The specific spectrum is alright but it's not needed. you can grow most plants under just about any light. The main thing that matters is how much light you give them. The loosely defined term full spectrum is certainly not needed. I grow plants under a very large variety of lights with no problems. I have never come across any LED that would not grow plants so long as it was powerful enough. And almost all consumer LEDs that are white are made very similarly. They all have the blue and red light to more or less of a degree. Can a plant specific or full spectrum one be a little more efficient, sure, is it needed, not at all.

As to the design of the DIY box it's really an idea that is 5 to 10 years out of date nowadays as you can find down facing LEDs for so cheap it makes almost no sense to build systems like this unless you have a very specific use case. Unless you have tons of free time and you happen to have most parts of this for free in your garage it's hard to justify it over just picking up a purpose build LED for aquariums. The purpose-built one will direct all the light down, it will be much better looking and more streamlined and take up way less space, and it will be more efficient and most of the time once you include the cost of the supplies it will also be cheaper than these DIY boxes.

The example build above was $42 new and is going to be outclassed by a $30 LED from topdogsellers.
The variety, look and cost of a lot of the new LED is very attractive and in most cases a great option.

The cost of $42 dollar would provide you enough material to build 3 lights. I always have extra material laying around so in this case I was able to build 3 light fixtures for about $32 dollars total with bulbs, so about $11 a fixture. That's tough to beat.

Again I have the tools and extra material available but lighting up 3 tanks for $32 vs $100+ is a worthwhile money savings for me.

As Pete said DIYing may not be for everyone but I do enjoy it.

I also like the flexibility of easily being able to swap out a bulb that may have gone bad or one with a higher or lower lumen output, or even added in another bulb altogether.
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Old 01-22-2020, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: DIY Vivarium Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumpydc View Post
Sorry to say but those led bulbs are no good for vivariums or frogs the led wavelength is completely off you need full spectrum colours in there you can get full spectrum white I have some and get amazing growth .on my big tank I have reds blues greens to mimic what light they should get for optimal health green does nothing for the plants however in makes them greener as this is the light they reflect they absorb the red and blue purple mix colors the white is just for show the home led bulbs use rubbish LEDs even the good ones are naff they're just made for seeing I would recommend the cfl bulb if you want something off the shelf it's what I used to use doing aquascapes better range on them also you should do a pic with the colour in the 4500k range makes the tank feel warmer to look at and makes the frogs colours pop a bit more good write up thought you could also paint the inside matallic instead of white to get more reflection or glue on some foil still keeps the price down keep up the nice work

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
scrumpydc, I appreciate your comments, but I have a different way of looking at things. Please don't take what I say as criticism, just an alternate view. What are you basing your opinion on that these bulbs are "no good for vivariums or frogs"? While these bulbs might not be ideally efficient in terms of providing exclusively the wavelengths used by photosynthesis, they certainly contain light in those wavelengths. Most bulbs are multi-spectral by nature and contain light over varying peaks across the whole visible spectrum and therefore they provide the light needed for plants. As pubfiction said, plants will grow under most kinds of light because of this. Some CFLs can even work (as you pointed out), though you will pay a lot more for those in the long run due to inefficient use of electricity and they may heat your tank up more than you would want.

While plants will grow under a variety of kinds of light, most of us care about the look of the tank. An optimal growth bulb for plants maybe purple. While this may grow plants the best, it is a real eyesore. So, we are trying to balance between the growth aspect of plants and the display aspect for the frogs and rest of the tank. This is where the perceived color of the bulb comes in. There are lots of ways to measure this element (K (Kelvin) rating, Color Rendering Index (CRI), etc.), but the truth is that this part of the equation is very subjective. Drifting toward the warmer end of the spectrum as you suggested makes for a yellow look to the tank which I don't favor (probably has to do with my partial red-green color blindness). Most folks suggest something with more blue to it, pushing it toward the middle of the color options. That's where the magic 6500K number comes in.

My only point in writing this is that, as pubfiction said, plants can be grown under lots of different lights. The other stuff is a lot more subjective and there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. I appreciate johnachilli trying something different and look forward to further discussion on lighting!

Keep up the good work in the topic, everybody!

Mark
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Old 01-22-2020, 05:24 PM
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scrumpydc, I appreciate your comments, but I have a different way of looking at things. Please don't take what I say as criticism, just an alternate view. What are you basing your opinion on that these bulbs are "no good for vivariums or frogs"? While these bulbs might not be ideally efficient in terms of providing exclusively the wavelengths used by photosynthesis, they certainly contain light in those wavelengths. Most bulbs are multi-spectral by nature and contain light over varying peaks across the whole visible spectrum and therefore they provide the light needed for plants. As pubfiction said, plants will grow under most kinds of light because of this. Some CFLs can even work (as you pointed out), though you will pay a lot more for those in the long run due to inefficient use of electricity and they may heat your tank up more than you would want.



While plants will grow under a variety of kinds of light, most of us care about the look of the tank. An optimal growth bulb for plants maybe purple. While this may grow plants the best, it is a real eyesore. So, we are trying to balance between the growth aspect of plants and the display aspect for the frogs and rest of the tank. This is where the perceived color of the bulb comes in. There are lots of ways to measure this element (K (Kelvin) rating, Color Rendering Index (CRI), etc.), but the truth is that this part of the equation is very subjective. Drifting toward the warmer end of the spectrum as you suggested makes for a yellow look to the tank which I don't favor (probably has to do with my partial red-green color blindness). Most folks suggest something with more blue to it, pushing it toward the middle of the color options. That's where the magic 6500K number comes in.



My only point in writing this is that, as pubfiction said, plants can be grown under lots of different lights. The other stuff is a lot more subjective and there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. I appreciate johnachilli trying something different and look forward to further discussion on lighting!



Keep up the good work in the topic, everybody!



Mark
That's cool I agree that the white light has the colour needed and the k is subjective for the person the 6500k is great and I used and still use it in some of my tanks but I have found that playing with the k rating on one of my tanks the warmer colours you go the more it seems the tank is covered by a forest canopy witch is good if that's the look you want as I say its subjective the most important thing is par rating and it's affected by all sorts of things 1 being depth of tank white is not white there are many different par ratings depending on the quality of the led and all I was saying is that alot of off the shelf bulbs just are not as efficient as they say when it comes to simulating daylight in tanks but it is still good ime not saying don't use it it's quick easy and runs cooler but the only reason I say cfl is because there still used in alot of grow rooms it was just an alternative as cfl is cheaper(were I am) with LEDs they vary alot cheap and weak to costly and powerful whereas CFLs don't as mutch bit more standerd sorry I didn't clarify that's the only reason I say there no good just you never know if you're going to get a rubbish one or a good one that's why I would recommend a cfl as they are all pretty standerd as it's the way they work when you get into LEDs there are alot of factors for someone just dipping into the hobby and getting a bad led bulbs could mean the difference between a nice looking tank and a rubbish one but this is just my opinion and by no means law I have experienced bad led bulbs on tanks and they make you hate to look at it if your gonna go led bulbs research the par rating on it and play with different k rating to see what you like to look at and have fun with it

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Old 01-22-2020, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: DIY Vivarium Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnachilli View Post
The variety, look and cost of a lot of the new LED is very attractive and in most cases a great option.

The cost of $42 dollar would provide you enough material to build 3 lights. I always have extra material laying around so in this case I was able to build 3 light fixtures for about $32 dollars total with bulbs, so about $11 a fixture. That's tough to beat.

Again I have the tools and extra material available but lighting up 3 tanks for $32 vs $100+ is a worthwhile money savings for me.

As Pete said DIYing may not be for everyone but I do enjoy it.

I also like the flexibility of easily being able to swap out a bulb that may have gone bad or one with a higher or lower lumen output, or even added in another bulb altogether.
I am probably not clear on your pricing but I thought you said that $42 built you a 3 socket fixture with 60 W equivalent LEDs, it would 3 bulbs or perhaps more to beat the $30 fixture I am talking about.

If you are building a 3 socket fixture for $11 then that is pretty good. But if you are are talking about a 1 socket fixture for $11 then we would be comparing to different LEDs, and again you can purchase down facing LEDs for $10 -15 on ebay that will outclass a single socket fixture. Or at the least you will need to up the fixture you put in there to a 100W equivalent bulb to get close but you are still putting a bunch of time in to get break even at best.
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Old 01-23-2020, 01:46 AM
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I am probably not clear on your pricing but I thought you said that $42 built you a 3 socket fixture with 60 W equivalent LEDs, it would 3 bulbs or perhaps more to beat the $30 fixture I am talking about.

If you are building a 3 socket fixture for $11 then that is pretty good. But if you are are talking about a 1 socket fixture for $11 then we would be comparing to different LEDs, and again you can purchase down facing LEDs for $10 -15 on ebay that will outclass a single socket fixture. Or at the least you will need to up the fixture you put in there to a 100W equivalent bulb to get close but you are still putting a bunch of time in to get break even at best.
In this case yes It was 3 fixtures with 2 sockets each, for 18" cubes. The lumen output for two 60W equivalent bulbs is 1500 which I think would be about the same as the 18" beamworks which seams to have about 1050 lumens. Of course the beamworks is directing all of it downward, but even given the loss I think the lumens enter the tank would be comparable. I don't have a beamworks fixture to compare but I am going to look into getting one soon so I can see how I like them.

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Old 01-23-2020, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by scrumpydc View Post
That's cool I agree that the white light has the colour needed and the k is subjective for the person the 6500k is great and I used and still use it in some of my tanks but I have found that playing with the k rating on one of my tanks the warmer colours you go the more it seems the tank is covered by a forest canopy witch is good if that's the look you want as I say its subjective the most important thing is par rating and it's affected by all sorts of things 1 being depth of tank white is not white there are many different par ratings depending on the quality of the led and all I was saying is that alot of off the shelf bulbs just are not as efficient as they say when it comes to simulating daylight in tanks but it is still good ime not saying don't use it it's quick easy and runs cooler but the only reason I say cfl is because there still used in alot of grow rooms it was just an alternative as cfl is cheaper(were I am) with LEDs they vary alot cheap and weak to costly and powerful whereas CFLs don't as mutch bit more standerd sorry I didn't clarify that's the only reason I say there no good just you never know if you're going to get a rubbish one or a good one that's why I would recommend a cfl as they are all pretty standerd as it's the way they work when you get into LEDs there are alot of factors for someone just dipping into the hobby and getting a bad led bulbs could mean the difference between a nice looking tank and a rubbish one but this is just my opinion and by no means law I have experienced bad led bulbs on tanks and they make you hate to look at it if your gonna go led bulbs research the par rating on it and play with different k rating to see what you like to look at and have fun with it

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

Hate to be that guy, but for the love of god put a period or comma or something in there.................... threw in a couple extra for ya
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Old 01-23-2020, 04:40 PM
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Hate to be that guy, but for the love of god put a period or comma or something in there.................... threw in a couple extra for ya
Sorry, ime dyslexic I forget sometimes.

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Old 01-25-2020, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Lokirathehunter View Post
Just a heads up, white light is achieved by combining all other colors of light. So if you want to use straight white lights you'll be just fine as long as the light is bright enough. Lumens are what really matter here.
Perceived white light doesn't have to be full spectrum. If you check the spectrum graph on a few different 6500K or other "white" colored emitters you'll see that they are very much not full spectrum or all colors. The unit Kelvin doesn't say anything about the spectrum it's just a unit to describe the perceived color that we see. There can be big gaps in the spectrum from emitters with white light.

And I would humbly say Lux/Par is the thing that matters not necessarily Lumens. Lumens only say what the output is not what actually reaches the plants/surface. 1000 Lumens may be perfect for a tank X inches tall but if you put it on a tank Y inches tall it may not be enough.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:40 PM
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I can’t provide a source right now (or probably ever), but I swear I read that white reflects more light than foil.

A mirror surface might be better, but from a practical standpoint white paint is cheap, easy, and effective.

Edit: here’s the thread
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philsuma View Post
White paint does indeed reflect light better than metal/mirror/foil....somehow.
Saw this video a while back from the channel Migro with some actual testing on best reflective material. Mylar and other "mirror" like surfaces were better than white paint.

Video: https://youtu.be/LQ-Hg_L011k

From the video description:

Test results for HPS setup (LED is very similar)
Quantume (PPFD) sensor reading for the following setup:
No walls: 640 PPFD
Wooden wall: 680 PPFD (5% increase)
Matt white wall: 750 PPFD (20% increase)
White mylar wall (same as glos white paint): 750 PPFD (20% increase)
Silver Mylar (generic): 800 PPFD (27% increase)
Silver Mylar diamond pattern: 800 PPFD (27% increase)
Grow tent lining Lighthouse tent: 840 PPFD (33% increase)
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:38 AM
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Thank you for posting that. I really enjoyed your Blog as well. I love the DIY aspect of this hobby and really enjoy the exchanging and sharing of ideas. It's awesome when someone like yourself takes the time to share. I'm about ready to convert the top of my Exo 18x18 so that information is greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:04 PM
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Thank you for posting that. I really enjoyed your Blog as well. I love the DIY aspect of this hobby and really enjoy the exchanging and sharing of ideas. It's awesome when someone like yourself takes the time to share. I'm about ready to convert the top of my Exo 18x18 so that information is greatly appreciated!
Thanks! I have a bunch more content planned now I just have to find the time to get it all done! Good to know people are finding it helpful.
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