I mentioned the BrickBlaster Pro LED fixture a couple of weeks after LDI this past year in Vegas. My late writing about the BrickBlaster Pro is a prime example of how large industry trade shows can be. I totally missed seeing The Black Tank company on the show floor. Lucky for me, a friend emailed me about the company and their brand new BrickBlaster Pro LED fixture.
The Black Tank company was kind enough to send me a demo kit of the brand new fixtures in order to provide you a review of the BrickBlaster RGBW LED fixture. Lets start by taking a look at what the BrickBlaster is. It is a small, I mean really small. It’s an LED fixture housed in a 4″ cube with Red, Green, Blue and White LEDs. The Black Tank company is using 16 Luxam Rebel, 3 watt LEDs to produce 1200 lumens of max output with all the colors. That would be four LEDs per color. Each LED has a life expectancy of 50,000 hours. Pretty impressive for the size, number of LEDs and the output.
In addition to the RGBW BrickBlaster, The Black Tank company also produces a Variable Color Temperature BrickBlaster that can produce a white light from 2700 kelvin to 6500 kelvin. Although the Variable Color Temperature, (VCT) fixture wasn’t available for my review, It would be safe to say that the VCT fixture has to have a higher output of lumens compared to the RGBW fixture. Information on those numbers haven’t been made available yet, but should be ready soon.
Taking a closer look at the RGBW version of the BrickBlaster Pro, there is a lot happening in this small cube. First has to be the lens system. Like many LED manufacturers out there, to offer different beam spread with the fixture, there are lens over lays to widened and narrow the beam. The BrickBlaster Pro uses this same sort system and offers a 20, 40 and 60 degree lens option. What is unique about the lens system is how they attach. Rather than a slide clip, the lens have four holes in the corners that line up with the thumb screws on the fixture which will certainly keep the lens in place. A downside of this type of lens holding system is the small thumb screws. Not that anything is wrong with the thumb screws, but the fact that they are small pieces. I think it is some unwritten law of the universe that at some point a small piece or part will go missing or lost. Just something to be mindful of when changing out lenses.
Speaking of changing things out, the BrickBlaster Pro has an interesting design when it comes to how the fixture is designed inside. While I would love to show you what I am talking about, it is something The Black Tank company wants to keep under wraps for the moment. It has to deal with the exchanging of the entire LED board. Lets say and LED or two are failing on your fixture. Rather then swapping out or having to carry extra fixtures around, bring some spare LED boards with you. Just a couple screws, the board comes out and disconnect it, re connect the new one and put back the screws and done. The brains of the BrickBlaster Pro, which stays with the housing, knows which type of LED board you placed in, whether it be the RGBW, Variable White or a custom LED array that you had built.
The Menu System
Controlling and configuring the BrickBlaster Pro is fairly straight forward. The menu system on the back is easily readable and provides helpful information such as the current temperature of the fixture. Now I am one of those people that like to jump right in and start playing… manual, who needs a manual?! The BrickBlaster Pro was easy to get started and up and running and spitting out lumen goodness.
Within the onboard menu system, you have three different modes that the fixture can run in, DMX, Color Wash and Manual Mode. The DMX mode is pretty easy to understand, set the DMX address and either 8-bit or 16-bit mode and away you go. The other two modes are for control at the fixture. With Manual Mode, you can set any of the four colors to a specific DMX value from 0 to 255 and leave it, no DMX console or control required. The last mode, Color Wash has all kinds of control and function for a set-it-and-forget-it running. You have the ability to control the speed and colors of a wash that will keep scrolling until you turn the fixture off.
In addition to the menu system on the back, you’ll find a 5 pin DMX in and Out to daisy chain fixtures together. You’ll also find a Neutrik Powercon connector for powering up the fixture. I personally would have like to seen a powercon pass through connector for powering up multiple fixtures at once. But with the 4″ cube size of the fixture, that might not be possible.
Built into this small package is a fan that help keep the LEDs cool. The fan is fairly quite, I really only noticed the fan running when I was adjusting settings on the menu and a breeze from the fan was coming out the air vent on the back of the fixture. As with any LED fixture, the LEDs must be cooled in order to prolong their life. The on board thermal management helps keep the temperature in check and assures they keep pushing lumens out for their life expectancy.
Over all I was highly impressed with the output of the fixture. Would would have guessed that four LEDs per color would be able to produce so much output in such a small package. While the distance that I was throwing the LEDs was less then 20 feet, the area that I was hitting was well covered and super saturated. The RGB white was like many LED mixing towards white, not the typical “white” that we preserve as white, but more of a pinkish hue. Thus the addition of the white LEDs. Adding those in softened the white and made some paler and pastel colors which make me giddy with joy.
The BrickBlaster Pro holds up fairly well and packs a punch for such a small package. The fixture can find use in a wide variety of venues and situations where color, small form factor are essential. Since the fixture is not sealed from the elements, dry locations are a must. The BrickBlaster Pro would fit into almost any type event for uplighting and washing where control is not necessary, but maybe simple color changing to static colors are.
I enjoyed my time with the BrickBlaster Pro. Thank you to The Black Tank company for allowing me time to experience the fixtures. Again, sorry I missed you at LDI. Next time, that will not happen! Look for some enhancements and up grades to the fixture as well as new LED fixtures from The Black Tank Company. To learn more about the BrickBlaster Pro, be sure to visit The Black Tank’s website at www.theblacktank.com.
Have you seen the BrickBlaster Pro in person? What did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts about the fixture in the comments section of the review. While you’re writing something, what did you think of this review? Did it help, did you feel it was informative? I always love to hear what you think!