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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 January 14, 2014   #16
Lee
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Just curious, what is the benefit of the more expensive T5 fluorescent lighting systems vs the cheap T8 shop lights at Lowes/HD?

I've got the MH system up and running in the garage. Seemed a better
place than my closet where the fluorescent fixtures are. Boy is it bright!

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Old January 14, 2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee View Post
Just curious, what is the benefit of the more expensive T5 fluorescent lighting systems vs the cheap T8 shop lights at Lowes/HD?

I've got the MH system up and running in the garage. Seemed a better
place than my closet where the fluorescent fixtures are. Boy is it bright!

Lee
The T5 lights are also available inexpensively at Lowes/HD. I purchased 10 of them there for my garage a few months ago.

The MH light is bright to your eyes but not so for the plants. They are looking for the spectrum of light produced by bulbs rated 6400 or 6500 Kelvin. Your plants will benefit from the warmth of the MH bulb but only a small portion of the light. When comparing the cost of the MH bulbs to the cost of the 6500K fluorescent bulbs on the basis of plant utilization, the 6500K bulbs are far less expensive.
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Old January 14, 2014   #18
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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

It is confusing for those of us who aren't up to speed on things like lumens and kilowatts! I was always told that the type of lights boiled down to what you wanted to do with them. If it's just start seedlings that will be transplanted out later, then the cheap fluorescents will do the job. If you actually want to grow crops indoors, then you need an actual "grow light" of some type.

I have a chrome shelf unit with a bunch of suspended Home Depot 48" T8 shop lights, and they keep my seedlings perfectly content until it's time for them to go outside.
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Old January 14, 2014   #19
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I have a chrome shelf unit with a bunch of suspended Home Depot 48" T8 shop lights, and they keep my seedlings perfectly content until it's time for them to go outside.
At the Home Depot near my home, the T8 shop light bulbs and the T5 6500K bulbs differ in price by about 20 cents.

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It is confusing for those of us who aren't up to speed on things like lumens and kilowatts!
Lumens are a measure of human perception of brightness. Watts are a measure of power.
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Old January 14, 2014   #20
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When I was in the photography business we used to have a problem with the colour of the viewing light used to look at colour photos we printed. We ended up using two 4 foot cool white fluorescent tubes plus a 60 watt incandescent lamp. This combination is the closest to daylight we could find.
Apart from the 'volume' of light required I believe the colour is just as important.
Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old April 11, 2014   #21
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I use LEDs and I really don't notice that much difference compared to t5s the LEDs are 190w I think they need more work they donor compare to GPS or mh


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Old April 29, 2014   #22
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I'm growing with trulite led (https://www.truliteled.com/).

I'm having somewhat odd results. My plant isn't getting taller but it is growing more and more fruit constantly. I have an approx 10" tall plant with 40+ set tomatoes. It's an indeterminate variety (Abraham Lincoln).

old pic

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-k...9/20140419.JPG

One weird thing I noticed is that the plant is putting out 2 fruit sites at each node instead of 1 and it is almost never putting out suckers. Also, the fruit seems to be developing pretty slowly which I presume is because it is trying to develop too many fruits without enough foleage. I probably should have pulled some of the blooms off.

The vendor of this grow light claims that having your light spectrum off by 1% results in 50% reduced yield. Judging by how many flowers this plant is producing; I think they're right.

I think a large majority of LED grow lights do not get good results.

I'm not even doing it right. I screwed up my nutrients and had a significant Ca and Mg deficiency and the plant is still doing its thing.

Time will tell if I get full term fruit. So far it looks like the results will be good.
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Old May 15, 2014   #23
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A little update. I'm not sure if I'm going to get proper fruit with the LED grow light. So far I have some small tomatoes forming but I'm not sure they're going to turn into proper sized tomatoes.

I'm not sure if I screwed up my nutrient solution or if it's a light problem. I just know my tomatoes aren't growing as rapidly as I had expected.
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Old May 15, 2014   #24
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I have never been a fan of LEDs. They sound great on paper, but always seem to fail to deliver.

If you want to experiment with new lights in the future, I would suggest trying both an HPS and a halide at the same time; they don't have to be big. By having both at once, it compensates for each light's deficiencies in spectrum.
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Old May 15, 2014   #25
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i can vouch for the kessil H350 as a grow light, it's staggering the light it puts out for such a small package. i've used the kessil and one of those dark star types and the kessil blows the other away. the black box one was 240w and the kessil was 90w and has a radiator built in to the design to keep it cool. i think before long they will be able to bridge the gap with LED if they keep at it
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Old May 16, 2014   #26
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I think I have too many plants growing under my light. The light doesn't seem to penetrate the canopy and I think I have too many plants shading each other out.

When the plants were small, the ones growing under the light were growing faster than the ones growing outside. Now they're larger plants and I'm having shading issues.

I'm going to move a bunch of them outdoors to see if I can recover but I've had 2 solid weeks of no spare time to maintain my garden. Maybe I'll just be too busy and enough plants will die that I don't have to worry about it.
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Old February 13, 2015   #27
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I was just looking at the same system on amazon the other day. Right now I just have a mirage of an old t5, an old 150 halide and a China import 55-3watt LED. I am ordering bulbs for the halide and t5 next week. Then one day I will either take the LED apart to see if I can change the spectrums on the diodes or what. All my bulbs are 10,000k and above. So after new bulbs, I'll look into a 400-1000watter like the one your looking at. I would just say check with the seller, to be sure the ballast is digital and efficient. Pretty sure a tight(fast) PWM will give the best consistant current. I think the slower PWMs are what knock bulbs out prematurely. Not 100% possitive though.
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Old February 13, 2015   #28
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When you get a halide bulb, Optilume makes a good balanced spectrum grow bulb. Hortilux does too, but they are pricier.

I know digital ballasts perform better on paper, but I have had durability issues with them, especially in a greenhouse environment that can be harsh on sensitive electronics. I don't think they are as tough as the old style heavy magnetic ballasts.
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Old February 21, 2015   #29
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Did you ever decide on a light system? The t5s put out more light than a t8. Where a t8 might be a 40 watt in a 4'. A 4' t5 will be more common as a 54 watt. Also t5s seem to have more precise spectrums, par ratings and nm measurments. To get the exact what your looking for. In my many reef aquariums over the years. I have used halides, t5s and LEDs. Best results being with t5s. So far gardening, My halide seems to have out performed my LED. One is growing tomatoes and one peppers though. My replacement t5 and halide bulbs get here tomorrow. To compare all three. I am thinking a 400 watt halide would do 6-9 flats easily. Even if you had to move a couple here and there. My 150 watt halide maxes out at 2 flats if I turn them, but it can crank out a 6" tomatoe in 3-4 weeks easily. I am still experimenting with my 55x3watt LED fixture.
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Old April 22, 2015   #30
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Eye Hortilux developed a new T5 bulb that has a PAR that is off the chart, its really an amazing bulb. But they also run at around $30 each, and are just now becoming more available.

The Ipower setup is a low quality brand, sure its cheap, but everyone I know that has used ipower has replaced it within a few months claiming the ballast shorts out. if you want to go with HPS or MH I would recommend Nanolux ballasts, with eye hortilux bulbs, and depending on the area you need to light, I would recommend anything from small area's (2x2 to 3x3) an simple wing reflector like the one in the picture, but if you start getting larger area then that, go with something like the sunburst, radiant, or raptor hoods.

LED lights are a hard one, most you find on amazon wont work for squat, only about 2% of all the LED's on the market will actually promote growth. The good ones I have tested personally so far is California Lightworks "Solar Flare (tm)", Kind LED, Envirolux Rail LED systems, and a china made system we are currently testing works great to. (that is less then 1/4 of all the LED's I have tried so far) we are looking at trying the PowerPar LED bulbs in the next month also.

another great alternative for lighting is CFL's but not just any CFL's, most people think the kelvin temp. is what you want to look for with lights, although the kelvin temp does point out the base spectrum's of the bulb, it doesn't tell you what colors it actually produces, (You want to look at the PAR Chart) many CFL's only produce the PAR value to make it easier for the human eye to see. We do use CFL's alot, they are cheaper to maintain, last along time, and work great. our favorites are the Flourowing CFL bulbs (Hydrofarm sponsored brand)
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