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Discussion forum for the various methods and structures used for getting an early start on your growing season, extending it for several weeks or even year 'round.

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Old December 31, 2013   #1
Lee
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Default Grow Light System on Amazon

Does anyone have experience with this grow light system?
http://www.amazon.com/iPower-GLSETX4...ide+grow+light

I'm curious about how well this would work as a substitute for
my fluorescent shop light setup.
Also, any other general advice/comments on these type of lighting systems would be great!

Thanks,

Lee
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Old December 31, 2013   #2
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For ornamental indoor plants many types of supplemental "plant lights" will suffice. But for production of fruit much more energy in a specific spectral range is required. To produce a crop of tomatoes:
• Light source must have color temperature of 6500 Kelvin.
• Add up the total Watts of the light source. Use actual Watts, not Lumen equivalent.
• Light source must be directed downward by a reflective hood.
• Position the light source 1 meter above the floor and measure the projected area of the light.
• The total watts divided by the projected area must be in the range of 50-75 Watts per square foot.
• During use, keep the light source 1 meter above foliage.

This works out to about 18 4-foot T5 HO 6500K bulbs mounted above the plants in a 4'x4' grid. For cucurbits, you can get away with half of this.
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Old December 31, 2013   #3
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Hi Lee,

Doing some research on LED's vs. fluorescent, I came across this really useful article, particularly in regards to fluorescent vs HPS vs MH (and a few more - but not so much on LED's). There are some good comparison charts towards the end of the article.

http://www.greenmanspage.com/guides/lighting.html

BTW, I disagree somewhat with Hermitian's statements that one "must" have 6500 K lights (although they are desirable for seed starting and vegetative growth) or that the lights must be 1 meter above the plants (that might apply for his particular scenario, but I think that most of us have fluorescent lights MUCH closer to the plants - especially seedlings - than 1 meter!).

Anne
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Old December 31, 2013   #4
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That is a very attractive price on that product. The digital ballasts do tend to eat bulbs fairly quickly, especially the cheaper brands. Maybe it would be ok. You wouldn't know until you tried it, and I'm guessing the people on Amazon leaving positive reviews have not used the ballast long enough to see how long their bulbs last. Their bulbs are labelled "Hortilife," which is obviously a cheap ripoff of Hortilux, which has the best reputation as a brand.

I would probably buy it because it is so cheap, but just not expect it to last long, especially the bulbs. And by the way, this doesn't happen with the HPS bulbs, but with the Halide bulbs you really need to make sure they don't get too hot; put a fan or cooling system on it. It's about 1800 degrees inside the MH bulb normally and 90 psi. Get it too hot, and they can explode and send 2,000+ degree pieces of glass everywhere. Most building products ignite easily at that temperature.
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Old December 31, 2013   #5
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I purchased the air cooled version of this brand (same 400 watts ) as a lightening deal for $112.99 around the black friday sales. I tried it for less than a minute. It does get very hot and its very bright. I was going to mount it on a jump start frame and try to fool mother nature into giving my peppers a head start before setting out ( would I get a crop earlier ?)

Woot rotates through this brand too. I imagine the electric bill will skyrocket!

- Lisa
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Old December 31, 2013   #6
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You guys have gotta try Sunblaster T-5 HO's with Nanoflect reflectors. I've got 5 (2 shining down and 3 shining horizontally) working on an 8' sq ft space and I'm growing snow peas by the dozen, and my Tommy Toe is flowering and producing green fruit in just about a month.

They are relatively cool and I have absolutely no complaints.

http://www.harrisseeds.com/storefron...-fixtures.aspx

Charley
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Old December 31, 2013   #7
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Sorry, I cut off my pics before the upload was complete.

Charley
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Sunblasters in action 001.jpg (454.0 KB, 367 views)
File Type: jpg Sunblasters in action 003.jpg (462.6 KB, 376 views)
File Type: jpg Sunblasters in action 006.jpg (455.5 KB, 372 views)
File Type: jpg Sunblasters in action 007.jpg (469.2 KB, 375 views)
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Old December 31, 2013   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salsacharley View Post
You guys have gotta try Sunblaster T-5 HO's with Nanoflect reflectors. I've got 5 (2 shining down and 3 shining horizontally) working on an 8' sq ft space and I'm growing snow peas by the dozen, and my Tommy Toe is flowering and producing green fruit in just about a month.

They are relatively cool and I have absolutely no complaints.

http://www.harrisseeds.com/storefron...-fixtures.aspx

Charley
Great product.
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Old January 1, 2014   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
I imagine the electric bill will skyrocket!
I don't think it would be that bad, especially not with just 400 watts. My plasma TV draws that much power.

On your electric bill, it will show the price you pay for a "kilowatt-hour" of electricity. That's 1,000 watts for one hour. Mine is about nine cents. I think the most expensive in the US is on the east coast, 20-25 cents.

Divide 1000 by 400, which is 2.5, and that's how many hours a kw hour will run that light. So if your electric rate is close to mine, it's probably about $1 a day if you never shut it off, and 75 cents for an 18-hour day of light.
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Old January 3, 2014   #10
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Thanks all for the constructive feedback. I had planned to use this
in place of my shop lights inside a walk in closet. However, I'm now
a little concerned about the heat issue.
Perhaps the added heat would allow me to move my setup to the garage instead.....

Thanks again!

Lee
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Old January 3, 2014   #11
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I've been looking into LED growlights, but I have found little reliable or useful information beyond pot growers speculations. Does anyone have any experience or insight on affordable units? I like that it appears that the lights can be hung further away from the plants than fluorescent lights, and that they use tiny amounts if electricity, and that they don't waste energy on parts of the spectrum that plants don't or can't use.


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Old January 3, 2014   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerShawn View Post
I've been looking into LED growlights, but I have found little reliable or useful information beyond pot growers speculations. Does anyone have any experience or insight on affordable units? I like that it appears that the lights can be hung further away from the plants than fluorescent lights, and that they use tiny amounts if electricity, and that they don't waste energy on parts of the spectrum that plants don't or can't use.


There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
LED plant lights are ok for indoor ornamentals that have low light requirements. For photosynthesis, plants require photo energy which we typically measure in Watts. Lumens is not a unit of energy but rather a measure of human perception of brightness. A label on a plant light or bulb that says "equivalent to XXX Watts" is referring to the lumen output of an incandescent bulb of XXX Watts -- not actual Watts consumed or delivered. It requires a significant amount of energy to produce fruit on a plant; e.g., tomatoes. The guideline is 50 W/sq.ft. to 75 W/sq.ft. with a spectral measure of 6400K to 6500K. You can obtain this with the SunBlaster by ganging together 16 to 24 4' long T5HO bulbs per 4' x 4' area.
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Old January 5, 2014   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerShawn View Post
I've been looking into LED growlights, but I have found little reliable or useful information beyond pot growers speculations.
What I have found after a lot of digging is that 95%+ of all LED information out there is at best a misunderstanding and at worst outright fraud. Most of it is just parroting some crap that's floating around. If you go searching at places like this. http://www.lrc.rpi.edu then you can find some actual information.
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Does anyone have any experience or insight on affordable units?
I don't think they exist.
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I like that it appears that the lights can be hung further away from the plants than fluorescent lights, and that they use tiny amounts if electricity, and that they don't waste energy on parts of the spectrum that plants don't or can't use.
Current LEDs have about the same efficiency as fluorescent tubes and thus produce the same amount of heat and use about the same amount of electricity. Where the LED gains is that it's easier to aim the light where you want it. As far a spectrum there are fluorescent tubes that in theory match a plants light needs better than a general purpose lamp.

As far as longevity LEDS still suffer from depreciation of light output worse than fluorescents and even more to the point the design, manufacture and therefore life and efficiency of the ballast in a LED is going to be identical to that of a fluorescent. The only significant difference is that you don't need someway to provide a voltage spike to start them. Other than that both light sources are supplied by constant-current, pulse-width-modulated power supplies.

Short answer fluorescent fixtures are what win when the cost is figured in.
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Old January 5, 2014   #14
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Thanks to Doug for shedding some light on the subject! I for one am confused by it all, especially when I read some of the sites by those pot-growers! I think I'll get some fluorescent shop lights from Home Depot.

Linda
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Old January 5, 2014   #15
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Originally Posted by Labradors2 View Post
Thanks to Doug for shedding some light on the subject! I for one am confused by it all, especially when I read some of the sites by those pot-growers! I think I'll get some fluorescent shop lights from Home Depot.

Linda
For the same cost, get some fluorescent light tubes that are rated 6400K (Kelvin) or 6500K. Your plants will thank you.
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