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Grow Lights

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Grow Lights

Post  rabbithutch on 6/6/2014, 5:28 pm

I haven't done this in more than 40 years, and in those days we used UV lamps (and special color spectrum ones if we wanted to spend more and show off).  I'm thinking ahead to starting plants next winter and looked into it.  I seems that the current fad is to use LED lamps.

Has anyone here researched the use of LEDs vs. UV or others?  If so, care to share your findings with us?  I'm having a hard time getting what I believe to be credible information about the pros and cons of the choices.

TIA  
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Re: Grow Lights

Post  boffer on 6/6/2014, 5:52 pm

I've run into the same problems trying evaluate all the marketing hype, anecdotes, and myths.  Part of the problem are various units used to measure the light itself (lux, lumens, etc.), the properties of light itself relating to distance, the effects of aging on bulbs, and limited abilities to measure the correct wavelength at the plant.  I gave up!

Here's my unscientific experience: I have a dozen lights ranging from free to $300.  They ALL grow seedlings.  Wavelength and intensity aren't important for seedlings.  One just needs a little patience and experimenting to determine how far from the light the plants should be.  I've posted pictures of seedlings wrapping around old T12s as they grow.  The stronger the light source, the farther away the plants should be.

I see no need to spend the extra money on LEDs.  I have T12s, T8s, T5s, HPS, CFL, and MH.  In order to keep selection simple and realistic, I use the rated power consumption as a rough guideline for comparison purposes: a 150 watt bulb will put out more light and cover a larger footprint than a 40 watt bulb.  But they ALL grow seedlings!

If you want to talk about growing plants to maturity, that's a different conversation.
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Re: Grow Lights

Post  plantoid on 6/6/2014, 6:22 pm

I only use LED broad spectrum grow lights, they are self contained voltage reduction devices containing 38 or so robust high intensity LED's encase is ABS plastic .. similar to those uses for cannabis growing ( NO I Don't  grow it or any such rubbish either ) because they are cold lights to all intents purposes .
 The light output spectrum does not decay like a Fluor tube does if it is left on for a few weeks at a time .
 You talk of cost of running the lights mine are the equivalent to 15 watts with respect to 12 volts where as the Fluor tubes are 35 watt  with respect to 240 volt ( I'm in the UK )

Convert these to coulombs per second for a like for like rating ...this give the number of electrons being pushed through each  circuit per second . ( It's a massive set numbers )

 That makes my LED light bulbs  run at about 1/20 of the cost of the tubes , which will cost about £1 for 35 hours of burning so for every 35 hours the LED's are on its only cost me £ 0.05 p an hour to run one or 10 p an hour for both of them .

They are quite robust, one of the Led bulbs survived a drop of 32 inches off a bench on to wooden floor.   A Fluor tube would have smashed and presented a chemical hazard as well as glass .

My lights have been on  24/7 since the last week of January 2014 . They were purchased Dec 2012 and ran from 1 Jan 2013 till june 2013 @ 24/7 .

 I have an under bed heat cable buried in four inches of moist silver sand for the heat source transfer to the plant pots,  as well as a gentle convection heat in the cabinet ( It is a full four sides & top enclosure  my heater cable had a variable thermostat  it is set to 76 oF & consumes 30 watts an hour if on all the time .. Actually it is on about 1/3 of the 24 hr period .

 I have not discovered any lengthening of the germination times .
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