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growth rate motorized light track vs. dedicated light

So has anyone done any comparison tests regarding growth rates on plants between the two?

say a 4x10 DWC with dedicated MH lights every 4-5 feet

vs. the same DWC with a light track sharing one light over the course of the 10 feet

Would the "grow-out" times be significantly better with the dedicated lights vs. the light track?

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I did an experiment in the mid eighties while working for an unnameable agency in California. The advantage of moving lights is that you get a more even light and heat distribution while using less lighting units. However, in large scale application, it was more efficient to have two sets (twice the amount) of lights that are switched on and off in a checker board configuration, on rotation than one set of moving lights. This simulates intermittent shade from trees or clouds. 

As far as growth rates go, it is about the same due to the fact that it is the amount of PAR (photo active radiation) that the plant is able to absorb. The only way to boost productivity is to increase the wattage. Although I use 600 watt lights tho grow most fruit bearing veggies, the industry standard is to use 100 watts. On a side note: High wattage is not necessary for leafy greens.

I hope this helps.

Cheers

Dino, if I've understood the 'point' of these light movers (which is unfortunately not to save us folks a bunch of money on less lights :) you might be defeating the purpose (and benefits) of a light mover if you only use one light and have it travel on a mover that whole distance. You might need at least two lights to make use of the boost in LAI (Leaf Area Index) that a mover would provide. (4 x 10 raft)

(Leaf area index is just a measure of total upper leaf surface exposed to direct light in relation to the area that a plant occupies). There is evidence (and certainly marketing spiel) that suggests that a light mover with the proper number of lights would get you an increase in yield. Not just from increased LAI, but probably like Carey says, plant-to-lamp tolerance and even what you'd be able to do with your plant spacing (more plants/same space)...

"Significant" may kinda depend on your definition of the term. 

 

yep one kW...all in the name of science. Although it is more energy efficient to do it in a checker board design, it is too costly in capitol expense for profit making enterprises to justify the little bit of growth enhancement. 

If you are looking for maximum grow efficiency in a low light, enclosed area (like a basement). The best grow method is using a tower configuration (google colosseum) with verticle lighting. Tall towers can use verticle movers for maximum efficiency. 

Yeah but this just looks sooo much cooler than the Coliseum system :)

Yes definitively a very big Kewl factor...but not quite as energy efficient...bang for the buck per sq ft/ heat dissipation/ simplicity and more importantly to us is the ability to adapt a recirculating aquaculture to become AP.

Interesting points.

I should have mentioned that I (was) thinking more than one light for a raft as big as 10 ft.

people have mentioned using t5ho they are much cheaper, especially if utilizing a light mover.

I need to read up on the LAR looks quite interesting.

Vlad - is your greenhouse for commercial purposes?

Oh, another point is that yes track lights are good, no doubt about it but, it's kind of expensive and not worth the cost for most hobby and or commercial growers (unless you 1. can convert an old garage door opener or 2. are growing medical herbs).

I have one of these Volksgardens here at home.  We've been considering where to set it up in addition to our current garden.

They are a bit of a pain to plant and harvest, the plant holders don't slide in and out as easy as they might seem.  Not bad though if you're just running one or a few.  

Also, rockwool... *shiver*.  I used to have to stock and sell that stuff, and it makes me itch just thinking of it.  


Vlad Jovanovic said:

Yeah but this just looks sooo much cooler than the Coliseum system

Jesse my friend! Congratulations!.....You are rich!

Hey Carey,  what do you mean by "more efficient"?


Carey Ma said:

I did an experiment in the mid eighties while working for an unnameable agency in California. The advantage of moving lights is that you get a more even light and heat distribution while using less lighting units. However, in large scale application, it was more efficient to have two sets (twice the amount) of lights that are switched on and off in a checker board configuration, on rotation than one set of moving lights. This simulates intermittent shade from trees or clouds. 

As far as growth rates go, it is about the same due to the fact that it is the amount of PAR (photo active radiation) that the plant is able to absorb. The only way to boost productivity is to increase the wattage. Although I use 600 watt lights tho grow most fruit bearing veggies, the industry standard is to use 100 watts. On a side note: High wattage is not necessary for leafy greens.

I hope this helps.

Cheers

This was to simulate extreme conditions  that lacked any external light (sunlight) as in subterranean or the dark side of the moon. 

In the sense that light was distributed more evenly thus better, more uniform growth. No burned/ scorched areas (too much heat). No yellow or dark green or stretched out areas from lacking of light. It was also cheaper to run lights (12-30%) in a tighter checkered pattern with no loss of productivity vs. using the traditional in line method and prescribed lighting calculations. 

These lights were controlled using X-10 (power-line carrier) automation on a simple algorithm that turned off one set of lights as the next set became brighter. In other words, a three minute delay.

Of course you have the ultimate setup with water cooled track lighting . Oh how I envy your toys....I'm sure I'll be able to play like that again in the near future...as soon as I can get someone to finance another lab;) :P

A couple of weeks ago, I circumvented purchasing a T-5HO lamp and went with a PL-L style. Very similar to high output t-5's only way cheaper (at least here they are, and a little more high output) if you decide to go that route their may be some potential benefits to PL-L  http://aquaponicscommunity.com/group/artificiallighting/forum/topic...

So far it is performing wonderfully, but the HPS set up is still ready and waiting for when it comes to flowering/fruiting time (habeneros and other freaky-hot peppers). Personally I'm just not real keen on fuorescents high output or not, for anything other than clones and sprouts and leafy greens. You just cant beat the lumen output of HID's. By the time you set up a comparable/adequate T-5 set-up (400+Watts) it is no longer that much cheaper, it's still hot as hell, and your still no where near the lumen/per Watt output  

of HID's...Again just my personal preference, heck if it was just salads/leafy greens,  the older and way, way cheaper T-8's do just fine as long as you keep them reasonably close to your plants.

 ...Hmmm...The greenhouse is 2131 square feet and yes, I plan on selling some things that are grown in it, so technically... but I don't know if I'd call it "a commercial" operation? Realistically that's pretty small for what we are used to as a commercial greenhouse. No investors, self financed and it is on my land, so I like to think of it as a large Family/very small commercial greenhouse/ap system...

Dino Pantelidis said:

Interesting points.

I should have mentioned that I (was) thinking more than one light for a raft as big as 10 ft.

people have mentioned using t5ho they are much cheaper, especially if utilizing a light mover.

I need to read up on the LAR looks quite interesting.

Vlad - is your greenhouse for commercial purposes?

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