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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '15, 00:13 
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Hello Guys -

Thank you all in advance for your advice and consideration.

I am building a indoor IBC system. For my grow beds plants, I am planning to grow a variety of salad greens, tomato's, broccoli, and herbs.

What do you guys recommend for indoor grow lighting? I have been on ebay and looked at the specialty LED grow lights. I'm not growing Marijuana....but, they all work the same right? Or can i get away with using off the shelf fluorescence fixtures?


Thank You


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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '15, 10:13 
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Welcome Topdiggy2

Some of our senior members have significant expertise in this area and hopefully they'll chime in soon - but I'll do my best for now. Also do a search on this forum... I learned a lot that way. But, to be honest, most of my reading was on various cannabis related sites.

I have a second system with a small growbed under artificial lights. Have some LED lighting and it works. But I'm not convinced that the initial cost is justified... though perhaps it will be l in a year or two. I also have one 130 W CFL (compact fluorescent) bulb. I bought the reflector and light fitting (E40) at the local hydroponics store and the bulb came in the mail in an unmarked carton - the police haven't visited me yet :)

I don't have any but understand that T5 and other sized flourescent bulbs at the right wavelength work well too.

But most of my light comes from small (supermarket or hardware store available) compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs such as the 24 W (E27) Philips Tornado. They work well and it's easy to swap bulbs in and out depending on whether I'm growing leafy greens or something that flowers (marigolds).

As I understand it, you should have bulbs at 64000 Kelvin (Cool Daylight) for leafy greens and a combination of these and some 27000K (warm white) bulbs if growing something that flowers or fruits.

I believe that LED is much more energy efficient than CFL for the effective light output... but both are way ahead of the standard HID lights in this area. I run my lights during daylight hours when my rooftop solar panels are working.

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '15, 12:56 
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HID lights are actually more efficient in lumens per watt than most fluorescent AND most LED. The issue is they have limited utility, you can't put them as close to the plants because they're so hot, so the actual light hitting the leaves is less than a fluorescent or LED bulb can deliver. 4ft T8 fluorescent is my go-to light for just about everything. I use high quality programmed rapid-start ballasts that are much more efficient than the typical instant-start ballast that comes with the fixtures you might buy at a local home improvement store.

I use 4100k 'cool white' bulbs and so far have had good growth rates. The important thing to note is that regardless of what the color temperature of the bulb says, fluorescent bulbs still have a much wider spectrum than LED. That is why only REALLY expensive / high-end LED lights can compete with fluorescent.

The only advantage that T5 has over T8 is the size. You can fit more bulbs in the same size fixture. T5 is marginally less efficient than T8, although I don't know the details on why, only that comparing manufacturer specs shows it to be so.


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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '15, 23:45 
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Okay, thanks guys!!!

@ Dangerous Dave
Yeah, i feel you on the initial setup cost...thats why i asked here! Like seriously? lol thanks for the input

@ Cathode
Thanks, exactly the info i was looking for!

Appreciate you all!!!


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PostPosted: Jul 20th, '15, 22:56 
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I have grown indoors with just about every grow light available, and I have many customers also giving me feedback on different types of lights, as well as individual brands etc.

From the point of view of Initial outlay v’s Results… HID lighting is the winner by far if growing a wide variety of plants.

If just growing lettuce, herbs and small leafy greens etc, T5HO globes can be effective, but you need a lot of battens and close together… it becomes almost as expensive as HID in both initial outlay and running costs.

I have a couple of customers that are having success with their current LED’s, but they have found that around 300w per square metre is required as a minimum… and only the very high quality, expensive units provide the good results, the cheap versions available off ebay simply aren’t worth a pinch of goat poop. Between them they have both binned quite a few cheap sets before settling on high quality sets.

One has a 350w unit (not sure of the brand on that one), and the other has a 290w unit, so he’s saving about 50% on his electricity (a 600w HID is recommended for a 1sqm area).

https://www.hydrogrowled.com/189X-PRO-- ... 86C60.aspx

Just as a comparison, he paid nearly $1000 for his 290w unit a couple of years back when they were on special and the Aussie dollar was worth more than a US dollar. The same set is currently listed on their website for US$1200 (AU$1632), plus freight to Oz, plus import duty and GST… not much change out of $2k…

Whereas, I could sell you a top quality 600w HID light kit for $300 and you’d have $1700 left over to pay for the 50% extra power. At current Perth elec’ prices, if you ran the light 12hrs per day, it would cost you $1.87 per day, less the 50% the LED’s would be drawing, so 93.5c per day… or 1818 days… or FIVE YEARS!!!

The other thing that needs taking into account is heat… LED’s generate a lot less than HID. Here in Perth, even with our very mild winters, both my customers that are running LED’s are also running MH HID’s in their grow areas in winter to provide some warmth, otherwise the plant growth is dismal.

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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '15, 01:34 
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Good point about the heat. It makes no sense to spend extra $$ buying expensive LED (or fluorescent) fixtures, and then install a separate heater to keep temps up in the cooler months. At that point, the heat provided by a HID fixture is actually beneficial.


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PostPosted: Aug 1st, '15, 15:52 
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HID is good for 'flowering plants', but needs to be raised high from the beds, which reduces efficiency. This would be good if you were growing a variety of plants of different heights.

For lettuces and small plants, I think LEDs tubes in fluro fittings would work best, but you would have to find the right ones. I don't think they would be heaps more efficient than T5's, but they would be cooler (not sure if that's helpful).

There is a lot of talk about spectrums etc. but from my reading it seems overall brightness is the main factor. Fluros work fine and are cheap.

Here is an interesting article about a 'lettuce factory' using LEDs in Japan http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 01844.html

There is another company in the US, growing lettuces in shipping containers using fluros.


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PostPosted: Sep 10th, '15, 23:49 
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LEDs are too expensive to bother and the cheap ones are less efficinct than HID- i build mine (170 lumens/W) but if i didnt id be using HID or fluro tubes

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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '15, 09:10 
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Is there a known PAR level for leafy greens that is considered sufficient? Lumens are not an accurate test for the amount of energy getting to the plant. I am testing some LED lights in our system, or will be soon, and would like to have a number to base it of off. These are top of the line lights so quality and strength of light is not an issue. I have grown pot with them and seen how well they perform. From what I read it sounds like lettuce requires more of the blue spectrum, but I have not seen anything on PAR levels. Appreciate the help.


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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '15, 17:59 
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Everleigh Farms wrote:
Is there a known PAR level for leafy greens that is considered sufficient? Lumens are not an accurate test for the amount of energy getting to the plant. I am testing some LED lights in our system, or will be soon, and would like to have a number to base it of off. These are top of the line lights so quality and strength of light is not an issue. I have grown pot with them and seen how well they perform. From what I read it sounds like lettuce requires more of the blue spectrum, but I have not seen anything on PAR levels. Appreciate the help.



id be interested to hear what you consider top of the line lights

white leds produce light from the 400-700nm range so its all photosynthetically active radiation (PAR)

PAR levels for lettuce? would have to be measured in PPF not PPFD because it depends how many hours per day u run ur lights- i do remember reading about this last year but cant recall the numbers

17 mol/m day is recomended (295 PPFD @ 16 hours per day) check that maths

http://www.aua.gr/~ferentin/papers/Ligh ... _et_al.pdf

http://www.apogeeinstruments.co.uk/conv ... rated-ppf/


im currently growing lettuce fine at 16 hrs per day with 105 µmol/(m2s)

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PostPosted: Sep 13th, '15, 03:35 
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Thank you for the information Fishyfarmer. I do know that the current fixture will deliver around 500 micro-mole (at center) at its current height (38") and runs for 18 hours a day. According to my calculations, that would give me a daily PPF rate of 32.4 mol/m. The average PPFD for the fixture at 24" over a 4'x4' area is 405 and it is a full spectrum white LED that incorporates parts of the UV spectrum. There is plenty I could describe about the lights, but for the sake of time saving, I will post a link to the lights so you can review them at your convenience. http://www.mkgenergy.com. In this case I am currently using the HiOptix 1000 model at 5000k.


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PostPosted: Sep 13th, '15, 06:06 
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oh wow thats crazy- i heard about those lights
i know a guy who was able to get a par meter under these lights at a canna fair- very nice

how much do they cost?(if u dont mind me asking)

u may find that model a bit intense for lettuce no?

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PostPosted: Sep 13th, '15, 10:25 
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"PAR" is a size, not a measurement of light, FYI. It's a designation of the shape or size of flood and spotlight bulbs.


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PostPosted: Sep 13th, '15, 13:58 
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Are you referring to PAR (Parabolic Aluminized Reflector)? I was referring to Photosynthetically Active Radiation and adequate level of measurement (PPF,PPFD, or micromoles) to base my test off.


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PostPosted: Sep 13th, '15, 14:07 
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Fishyfarmer,

That is one of the things I want to check on with these tests. I figured it would be a bit strong but I was not quite sure what levels lettuce required and what my PPFD was at that distance. Still not 100% on how to work the formula for the calculation, but I'm working on it.

The HiOptix 1000 fixture retails around $2500 but the fact that the light will not have to be replaced for the next 30 years is a real plus. The P-series you may have seen on there have multiple sizes ranging from $400-$1400.


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