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Old April 4, 2018   #64
cwavec
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: PA - 5b
Posts: 73
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Just a quick comment here. I could add more and probably should but don't have
all the info in front of me or the time to find it right now.

I have several shelves (structure is a separate topic but I like what I have) each with
three shoplights strapped together. That is six T8 tubes above each and they are all
overdriven, so I get lots of light. They are on pulleys, so I can raise and lower at will.

This arrangement has worked well for me but I would NOT do it again. Here's why:

1) It is virtually impossible anymore to buy a decently constructed shoplight. This is so
sad because, after all, the shoplight is almost an icon of the American life. But they
are just not made anymore. I got mine around 2008, almost the last lots before the
manufacturing went to crap. What you would get now is so expensive you couldn't
afford more than one or two for this purpose and they will still be junk. The ballast
inside will be garbage and likely burn out in less than a month even if not overdriven.

2) Flourescents are going out of use anyway. I was surprised to find this out because
I have been dependent on them. I don't care between T8 or T5 - they will all be gone
in just a few years. Take a look at the product mix in any HD store and you should
conclude the same. I have great service out of what I've already built but definitely
would not build more.

LEDs are coming into play here. There is a lot of junk on the market and even more
that is just not suitable for plants. However, there has been some genuine attention
to making LED arrays specifically designed for plant growing. Have a look at the
following urls:

http://www.cree.com/led-components/m...ds-CXA3590.pdf

http://www.cree.com/led-components/a...s/horticulture

This is what I would use now on any new build or possibly a successor product
since they seem to be advancing so rapidly. Building this might be too much of
a challenge for some folks by the time you worry about the right power supply,
area coverage, etc. but there are a couple of companies providing everything
in a kit.

Sorry for the sparse info but I just don't have the time right now and, besides,
you can look at google and find lots of related material.
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