Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

Have a great invention to help with gardening? Are you the self-reliant type that prefers Building It Yourself vs. buying it? Share and discuss your ideas and projects with other members.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old December 19, 2018   #1
SQWIBB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Philly
Posts: 659
Default Grow Light Build 2015 - Updated 2018

This is my Grow Light Build journey, sorry if this was posted already, anyhow I started this in 2015 and just added a few tweaks this month.


Grow Light Build


December 26th, 2015 - updated December 18th, 2018




For the upcoming 2016 garden year I decided to build a Grow Light/Germination area this winter. I also wanted to be able to grow some winter veggies for my salads and smoothies. I don't know if this is cost prohibitive but its not about saving money anymore, recently it has become a risky business purchasing lettuce, my wife has been ill twice due to e-coli poisoning and once she ended up in the ER.



Onto the build
There was an area in my garage that is just the right size, (barely), but I was using it for storing scrap metal, paint, deck stain, my generator, a tool box and a bunch of other stuff. I decided I would much rather have the spot for a permanent grow area, so I thinned everything out and made it work. The generator and toolbox will stay, the toolbox was thinned out and a few drawers will be used for the indoor grow area tools and supplies. There is another problem with this corner as it can be quite drafty from the garage door, I am working on that.



  • The area is cleaned out and wiped down then painted with a few coats of Kilz.







  • The next step was to make the table, I had a desk that was disassembled and sitting on the deck waiting for trash day, I decided to use the top from the desk as the table top. The desk was cut down to 52.5" a 22.5" then I glued and nailed some oak trim on the sides.





I didn't want legs on the table and wanted a "floating table", to do this, a hole was drilled in one corner and an eye-bolt is installed, I used a bead of silicone when installing the eye-bolt.
Another eye-bolt is installed in the shelf above where the table top eye-bolt is located, most on the weight will be on the nailer plate.


  • The bottom of the table top is painted with a heavy coat of Kilz... love those goopy brush strokes!



  • I installed a 2"x 4" nailer with two lags and caught 2 studs.




  • The wall is painted with Kilz again and two coats are applied to the nailer.



  • The table top is scratched up for better paint adhesion.





  • I caulked the back of the table top (only had brown caulk) then the table top is slid into position and a temporary wire is added for support. About 8 pilot/countersunk holes are drilled and the tabletop is secured to the nailer using HD Coated deck screws.



  • The tabletop and the floor are painted with an oil base paint. My neighbor came over to say hello and swears I'm growing "Ganja".



  • When I was thinning out my junk, I came across a few glass floating shelves that I had removed from over top my old fish tank about 5 years ago, I decided to install the shelves above the table, the only problem is that they were shiny brass, so I put on 4 coats of flat white spray paint.





  • December 27th, 2015 - I ran a level and popped in some drywall anchors for the shelf. I had to modify the screws on a grinder as these shelves take special size screws using very narrow heads. The floating shelf supports are installed with the modded screws and touched up with a few more coats of flat spray paint.



  • The glass shelves are usually secured with rubber inserts but since I have no idea where they are, I just placed a few strips of electrical tape on the glass and the fit is perfect... nice and snug!



  • Then I installed the power station and some timers. One timer will control the light and the other timer will control the oscillating fan.



After the shelf install I put on another coat of oil base enamel on the tabletop.


I had a few lettuces growing, a few were growing in the shut down Aquaponics planter by the Koi pond and a couple sprouted from seed I had planted late in the season in the shut down Aquaponics rail NFT/Deep water culture hybrid system. I figured this would sort of be a trial, the plants are placed under one of my 2 bulb LED shop lights. The plants are in terracotta planters lined with a wicking material (pond underlayment) then placed in a steamer pan with some water and a bit of fertilizer. These will be moved to the grow table once the table is completed.








  • December 28th, 2015 - Installed the new chain and Safety Chain Clip Quick Links.



  • Rolled in the Tool Box.




  • Grow table tool box.



  • The Generator needs to stay in this spot.






After a bit of research I decided on a 4 bulb 4' Fluorescent fixture using 6500 Kelvin bulbs. I almost purchased this T5 grow light from Amazon, it seems like a pretty good deal and is worth looking into.

I don't need to cover the Red spectrum for seedlings and greens.
Warm Glow - 2200k, Soft White - 2700k, Bright White - 3000k, Daylight - 5000k, Cool White - 6500k

The shop light is modified with 2 strips of LED's, these LED strips were removed from two 48" LED shop lights, one had a bad internal driver and the other was a wrong bulb sent to me as a replacement for a bad bulb from a 4 pack (the replacement bulb was a "linear led" and since my existing setup was a ballast bypass type LED with shunted tombstones, you can imagine my surprise when I popped this bulb in and sparks shot out and blew the circuit.
Anyhow the LED's are stripped out and wired together to share the driver, then the LED strips are glued to the lamp housing, giving me a 6 bulb fixture.


  • Adding strip LED's and driver to the reflector for added light.





  • FOCK!! I shorted out one LED strip with the chain, I ordered a replacement bulb to ★★★★★★★ize.



  • Wooohoo, we have light.



  • Test plants are in place on 16 hours of light.



December 30, 2015

  • The bad LED strip is removed and the new LED strip is added. The Hydrofarm Germination Station heat mats are in place but are not turned on yet.



  • Organized and labeled my supplies.



  • Mounted the Temperature controller and ran an extension cord to power both heat mats.




  • Installed an oscillating fan to run several hours a day to help promote stronger stems this is called thigmomorphogenesis, I also have read it helps prevent dampening off.



Four more lights were added using led's this time, I glued 4 tombstones on each side of aluminum bar stock from an EZ-Up and secured to the shop light using 3/4" self tapping screws. The tombstones are wired to a cord with a plug scavenged from an old lamp, this is then plugged into the other end of the shop light, I can now turn the 11" x 22" trays 90° allowing four side by side trays if need be.


  • I had to tape everything in place until the epoxy cured, lol...








Last edited by SQWIBB; December 19, 2018 at 08:15 AM.
SQWIBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19, 2018   #2
SQWIBB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Philly
Posts: 659
Default

The bulbs came in and they were the correct kelvin but the wrong type bulb... can you say Sparks!! Instead of sending back the bulbs I liberated 4 from one of my shop-lights and had to rewire that shop-light differently to accept the new bulbs, I may order 6500 next year.


  • Ten bulb shop-light in place, the outer 4 LED bulbs can be unplugged if needed.




The test subjects seem to be thriving so the lights seem adequate for greens.

  • Black seeded Simpson





  • I think this is Parris Island Romaine.




  • Heat Mats are all on the same temperature controller.



I ordered new trays, my original trays would split after a season of use.
These are Permanest Tray and domes from Indoor Garden Supplies.




  • I decided to order "permanent cups" These cups are awesome, nice and sturdy, and can be run through the dishwasher. The taller ones are 20 oz. cups and fit 18 to a tray (barely) and 17 to a tray (comfortably). The smaller ones are 10 oz. cups and fit 21 to a tray (comfortably). The different colors are nice too, so I can plant according to color for a quick reference.







April 3rd, 2016

  • This is how things look right before hardening off.




SQWIBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19, 2018   #3
SQWIBB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Philly
Posts: 659
Default



Supply List (updated 2018)




December 18th, 2018


Update on the grow table
Since I am going into my 4th year with the light, I decided to replace the 4 three year old fluorescent tubes with
6000k Led bulbs from Amazon, the cost of the Led's is 42.00 as opposed to 23.00 for new 6500k fluorescent bulbs at Lowes.



My new bulbs are due to come in Friday but I had some motivation so I decided to do the mod and use my existing shop bulbs until the new bulbs come in.



When I took the light down, I noticed a strip of Led's that were out, the Led strip still works but the driver is shot, I didn't feel like trying to figure out what driver it needed so I replaced with Led tape, and let me tell you, soldering Led tape is not fun! Pardon the grimy fingers, I'm a Printer by Trade.




  • I installed three strips, 2 on the bad side and 1 on the good side. I placed the strip directly over top of the old strip and secured with hot melt glue.







  • These fluorescent bulbs are three years old.






Time to mod the fixture for the new Led's. The new Led's are "Single end powered ballast bypass" or "direct wire LED fluorescent replacement tubes" that means they are powered on one side and that there is a positive and negative on one side of the Led bulb and the other side is not powered.
  • Disassembly and ballast removal. Ballast wires are cut a few inches from the ballast for two reasons; 1) to reuse the wires and 2) just in case I need to reuse the ballast.



  • Tombstones have one wire so they are shunted.



  • I checked the tombstones with a volt meter and verified that they are indeed shunted, so I need to fix that problem.

  • Shunted

  • Shunt removed. There is a little tab in the center that connects the two sides, this is a shunted tombstone, after the tab is removed it is now a non-shunted tombstone.

  • Notice the wire touching the metal in the tombstone, this existing wire will be for the hot, I now need to add a wire on the other side so I have a neutral and hot on each tombstone.




I removed the Ballast and used the wires from the ballast to rewire the tombstones, the problem here was that the hole in the tombstone to feed the wire on the other side did not go through to the metal piece like shown above, so I had to drill out the hole to accommodate the new wire. One side is red, the other side is blue.

  • Testing time




  • My 12 bulb Led grow light is working perfectly. 8 led tubes and 4 led tape strips.



I have the light setup as follows. The four led bulbs in the center are one group, the 4 outer Led's are another group and the led tape strips recently installed are another group, so they all work independently from one another. This works great If I am using two trays lengthwise. I turn on all the lights when using 4 trays side by side.

  • Plugs for outside Fluorescent bulbs and Led strip lighting.






  • The new 6000k Led bulbs came in. you can see the difference, one bulb in the center 4 (to the right) is a 4oook I believe.












  • I moved the Temperature controller and power station to the side, it was a bit of a PITA when I had to make adjustments on the light height with the timers plugged into the power strip.







  • Removed the silver Mylar and added flat white plastic tiles.



  • Tidying up the drawers






  • My indoor gardening is about to get a little bit easier




  • I installed these Adjustable Grow Light Rope Hangers and it is one of the best things I have done to this grow area.
SQWIBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19, 2018   #4
PhilaGardener
Tomatovillian™
 
PhilaGardener's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,845
Default

Looks great! Thanks for sharing such a detailed write-up!
PhilaGardener is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20, 2018   #5
SQWIBB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Philly
Posts: 659
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilaGardener View Post
Looks great! Thanks for sharing such a detailed write-up!

Thank you for the kind words.
SQWIBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20, 2018   #6
biscuitridge
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: washington
Posts: 193
Default

What lumens are you getting at what distance from the canopy?
biscuitridge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20, 2018   #7
biscuitridge
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: washington
Posts: 193
Default

And what is your total watts being drawn from the outlet?
biscuitridge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20, 2018   #8
SQWIBB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Philly
Posts: 659
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by biscuitridge View Post
What lumens are you getting at what distance from the canopy?

Got me
SQWIBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20, 2018   #9
SQWIBB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Philly
Posts: 659
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by biscuitridge View Post
And what is your total watts being drawn from the outlet?



I'll need to check that with my Kill a watt meter, but to be honest it doesn't matter to me what it is.
SQWIBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20, 2018   #10
biscuitridge
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: washington
Posts: 193
Default

You can download an app for lux and fc, that would be an easy way to get some sort of an idea of light quantity. I'm just curious as to what those leds put out.
biscuitridge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20, 2018   #11
peppero
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: selmer, tn
Posts: 2,942
Default

Great documentation!

Jon
peppero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21, 2018   #12
PlainJane
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: North Florida
Posts: 927
Default

Really interesting and gives lots of ideas. Thanks!
PlainJane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21, 2018   #13
SQWIBB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Philly
Posts: 659
Default

Biscuit, I'll see what I can come up with this weekend in way of Lux and Wattage.
SQWIBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21, 2018   #14
biscuitridge
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: washington
Posts: 193
Default

Awesome, thanks much!
biscuitridge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 24, 2018   #15
SQWIBB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Philly
Posts: 659
Default Led Update






December 24th, 2018


I had ordered 2 new Led grow lights for the new indoor garden area, but it got me to thinking, and you know what happens when I start thinking $$$.
I was reviewing led grow lights and came across the Viparspectra 700w led that looked perfect for the new grow area but it was just too expensive at $300.00,

I surfed the net all day and best I could find was $285 free ship but was still on the fence with ordering one, until I came across one on e-bay brand new still in box.


It was an auction and was @ $110.00 when I placed a bid, but was outbid in a few hours. The auction still had two days and 9 hours to go. I decided to set my max bid 3 seconds before closing, so I stayed up late Saturday night 12:30 I believe and was watching the seconds count down and submitted my bid 3 seconds before closing and won at $222.50, not bad. So I decided to use the 1,000w lights for the existing table and the new 700w for the new grow area.







December 22nd, 2018
  • I had some work ahead of me to accommodate the Viparspectra led.

























December 23rd, 2018


  • Sunday mid day I got a wonderful surprise.



  • First I installed the new BR bulbs then sadly removed the existing Led tube grow light.






















I will store my led tube grow light until I am sure that these will work with seedlings, then I'll probably disassemble and store the parts.
SQWIBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:22 PM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2019 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★