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Hi Everyone,

I wanted to check with those who have experience. I am putting together a 3 tote system in my basement with expansion in mind after I get cycled. I would appreciate recommendations on lighting. I plan on growing as much as possible in my space, leafy greens and flowering/fruiting plants. 

My ceiling is just under 7' - so vertical space is an issue, but I think I have that solved. 

Can someone suggest a lighting setup? Brand, type, watts, etc.

Thanks!

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my basement system has been producing lots of leafy greens,, had my first couple strawberries as well, after being out of town for a week i had to really trim back my tomatoes.. my ceilings are mostly under 6', so i'ts kind of interesting working in the area..i'm using 3 pairs of t8 shop lights per growbed, with two 32 watt, 48" long bulbs per fixture (each gb is a 1/2 of an IBC) with great results so far..i have four pairs of lights on one gb

even if money was no object, i wouldn't bother with led's, but might consider t5's

Thanks Keith - I have found a few people locally selling T5's as well as some MH and HPS switchable ballasts. I want to make sure I have enough lighting to achieve my goals without breaking the budget. I have also seen some videos on making grow lights using CFL's and metal sheeting. 

I recommend joining the artificial lighting group where you may be more likely to get the attention of the guy who have the most experience with such things.

Keep in mind that Florescent lights need to be very close to the leave of the plants (like the tubes an inch or so away) so they can be difficult to use for multiple sizes of plants in a grow bed and then there is the disposal issue and the need to replace the bulbs regularly even though they still look bright to you.........

The high intensity discharge types of lighting (like MH) will penetrate further into the canopy of large plants and are generally a good option for growing more variety in a space or if you have any supplemental lighting coming in from somewhere.  Overall if you get the high quality T5 or MH they will watt for watt probably come out similar in light and heat production.  The T5 are just spread out more and need to be really close to the plants while the MH is more of a point source of heat and light.

If you mess with LED's you still probably need the other lights as well so not really cost effective yet.

I have been using HPS lighting for my tomato grow with good flowing/fruiting results. The charts are out there for wattage and square foot coverage of HPS/MH... something like:

150 watts 2x2

400 watts 4x4

1000 watts 6x6

Many will recommend using MH for the vegetative stage and HPS for the fruiting stage.

I've not noticed much (or any) difference at all, in the amount of fruit set or flowering when using all metal halide (MH) lamps with non-photoperiodic plants (things like tomatoes, peppers, cukes etc...) They flower and set fruit just fine without switching to HPS.

Their are also combo bulbs out there like Phillips' Son-T-Agro if your growing pot or other photoperiodic cultivars.

Watt per Watt, dollar per dollar, cost to own, venting the heat, cost of maintenance (bulb replacements and the frequency with which those replacements become necessary)...there is IMO still nothing more effective, cheaper or easier than High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting...meaning MH or HPS or CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide)...That is, when using the sun is out of the question.

Though for leafy greens...if you have (or can get your hands on some for free) old T-8 fixtures, and you like a bit of DIY stuff...you can modify them to run ODNO. This mod will only work with electronic ballasts and not magnetic ones. It does increase the heat output a little, but really jacks up the amount of light they put out. There are many good tutorials/diagrams on the net for this. You can Google it... Basically your running multiple leads to a single tube. Easy as pie.

HO-T-5's come ODNO'd straight out of the factory I believe, hence their gains over 'regular' T-5's (they are both really the same tube, just wired differently). T-8's seem to be the 'sweet spot' for this modification, and you should be able to scrounge some up for cheap or free...

You still AS WITH ALL FLUORESCENT LIGHTING need to replace the tubes every six months or your plants will suffer. (even though your eyes wont notice the difference, your plants will, as PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) begins to drastically fall off. MH or HPS you need to change out bulbs about every 2 years or so.

A single 400 Watt HID bulb should be about perfect for a single IBC bed (unless you're a maniac with the spacing).

Thanks Vlad - that helped immensely.

...

Oh yeah, I guess I should add that other than the issues of cost, efficiency, maintenance, etc...another big reason I wont use fluoro lighting above the big AP system (I still use fluoros and PL-L's on some smaller systems) is that I've (twice) been in offices where fluorescent tubes have exploded for no apparent reason. This would be EXTRA bad in an AP setting because of the mercury content of the fluorescent tubes contaminating the system. Very, very bad scenario...Might not ever happen, but if it did, it would be one of those 'dump and take apart  EVERYTHING (media and all) and totally start over' type of deals...(for me anyways...now people living on Lake Erie may not mind, or may have evolved an immunity to mercury laden food over the years, but for us lesser evolved types... I'd like to keep the possibility of something like that ever happening down to zero :).

And for leafy greens/salads you could probably get away with  250Watt MH in an IBC foot-print, and some tin foil/mylar or TC's emergency blankets (the foil type)...or some boards painted titanium white...

Wow - I am really completely at a stand still on what to do. 

Lol... you could just use that lettuce for tuna salad .

Vlad Jovanovic said:

...

Oh yeah, I guess I should add that other than the issues of cost, efficiency,maintenance, etc...another big reason I wont use fluoro lighting above the big AP system (I still use fluoros and PL-L's on some smaller systems) is that I've (twice) been in offices where fluorescent tubes have exploded for no apparent reason. This would be EXTRA bad in an AP setting because of the mercury content of the fluorescent tubes contaminating the system. Very, very bad scenario...Might not ever happen, but if it did, it would be one of those 'dump EVERYTHING (media and all) and totally start over' type of deals...(for me anyways...now people living on Lake Erie may not mind, or may have evolved an immunity to mercury laden food over the years, but for us lesser evolved types... I'd like to keep the possibility of something like that ever happening down to zero.

Haha

I don't want to sound like the poster child for HID lighting (there are a number of us on this forum that do) but over the decades I've used many different light options...I've ran the numbers many times, for myself, for clients and for friends (though for friends, I suggest putting it down own paper for yourself, then have someone (usually me) point out the stuff they forgot, if they forgot something). HID hands down...If someone has an argument that will hold water that shows otherwise I'd would earnestly love to hear it. This has been gone over to death in other threads and on other forums, and in 'real life' late into the night (half drunk) debates with other growers. Barring an application like a stealth marijuana grow inside an office filing cabinet...HID's are the way to grow. Cheaper, less hassle, grows plants better. Plain and simple.

Keith (not to pick on him or anything, many folks are doing the same or similar) is using what? 4 pairs of 32Watt T-8's (though I'm pretty sure he meant to say 36Watt T-8's) for his leafy greens. That's 288Watts, 4 fixtures (and accessories, chains, electrical chords etc...) 4 fixtures that you have to keep adjusting to keep within 2" of your plants and not burn them and 16 bulb replacements a year etc...etc...etc...vs. a 250 MH bulb and ballast with a bulb that you replace every 2 years. And don't have to keep moving (daily or every other during growth spurts) the light to within 2" of the tops of your plants. Seriously, see what stuff costs in your area or on craiglist put it all down and see what you come up with. Just the 'dollars and cents'. Then do the same with all the other stuff (convenience, time, lumens per Watt... blablabla). For tomatoes or anything with a canopy you have to get a little creative with the way you hang fixtures. Vertical lighting becomes attractive...and a necessity with fluoros...

I like the old style magnetic ballasts (I prefer copper windings to silicone diodes... and because they hardly ever break. And when/if they do break you can fix them with a 10-20 dollar purchase, or a capacitor you pull out of an old TV set you have lying around in the garage or whatever...instead of having to replace the entire ballast) and I like to use all Phillips brand stuff, but that just me. There are other reputable manufacturers out there...

Sorry for the rambling barrage of half formed ideas...this stuff has been gone over in great detail in a number other threads.

Haha...tuna salad  (with a side of Fukushima dolphin)...


Scott W F said:

Wow - I am really completely at a stand still on what to do. 

So there is a person locally selling 3 1000W HPS Lights with ballasts for $200 per light. If I were to have 3 IBC beds and a 3 vertical strawberry tower system - would this work? Thoughts?

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