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I have a lighting question, I am getting ready to run electrical in my grow room. The grow area will consist of 2 8' x3' GBs put end to and and 2 8'x3' DWC sitting just below and adjacent to the GBs. The total foot print will be 6' -7' x 16'. I was going to light the area with 3 1000w HID fixtures, using the extra light for a seed tray at the end of the GB's. The extra light would also allow for some expansion. 

Is this the best way of doing it? Someone suggested that doing 4 400W would work better and use half the electricity. What is my choice?

Below is a quick sketch of my idea, The square water things are my IBC fishtanks, the rectangular beds are the GB at the top of the picture and the DWC toward the bottom. The white squares are where I was going to put my HID lights. 


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Just to add some color, I will be getting these lights:

Virtual Sun Lights

and this controller:

Helios 4 Lighting Controller

Hi Chris,

Generally, as a rule, with the fewer sources of light in a grow room, you end up with more shading issues. The extent of which, course depends on what it is you are growing. You're almost always better off with more fixtures/bulbs emitting your light, than with fewer fixtures (even when total Wattage is the same in both scenarios).

Looking at your sketch, I highly question weather 4 400Watt fixtures would do the job for you. 

If 3kW is your target...a good plan might be 3 400W fixtures (MH) above your DWC troughs and 3 600W fixtures above your media beds. That would give you some decent overlapping coverage (to mitigate shading, and better keep you within your Watts per square foot target).

Shading certainly becomes an issue with larger plants (peppers, bushy [determinate] tomatoes etc)...even under my 1000Watt fixture, those aforementioned plants block out a lot of light, and the plants around them sit languishing in almost total shade.

Hope some of that helped. Sorry for not addressing the crux of your question yesterday when I responded. I meant to but ran out of time...

Thanks Vlad! Do I still need a lighting controller with the reduced Wattage? 

Hi Chris,

Those types of controllers are nice items, but not a necessity. You can use standard type timers. Just off-set the timers (even by just a few minutes apart) so that they don't all kick on at the exact same time...meaning so that they don't draw amperage at once (depending on how your basement is wired, and how much draw you have at initial start up it may flip your breaker...if all your outlets in the basement are wired to a single 15 amp fuse)

Watts divided by Volts = Amps

So, if you had say 3 600W fixtures plugged into 3 outlets and those outlets were all wired to the same 15amp fuse...your breaker would be flipping from the overdraw. Remember, many common electrical items (motors, pumps etc...) have a much higher initial draw (amps) at the moment they start up than their rated operating amperage draw. (This initial draw only lasts a portion of a second...but it's long enough to blow a circuit breaker)...

If you have outlets wired to different fuses (most residential fuses/breakers in the US seem to be either 15amps, or 20 amps) could run all your lights, fans, pumps by 'diluting' the current draw of those items, across a number of different fuses/breakers. 

So the answer to your question depends on the way your basement is wired, the size of your fuses/breakers, and the gauge of the wires behind your walls.

If you are unsure about any of the above...just get a controller to be safe. 

Got it. Thanks. I will just run the 240 for the Controller. I need to run wiring for the exhaust and intake systems anyway. This build gets more and more complicated by the minute!

Chris keep in mind when buying your ballasts, that using the controller you linked you will need ballasts that run on 240 volt (not the 120 volt). 

I know it doesn't say on that web page you linked...but that Titan Helios 4 product is built to handle handle 30amps at 240 volts on the input side, and can handle 20amps at 240 volts on the output side. So make sure that your ballast can operate at 240 volts. It's pretty common to give yourself a 10%- 20% safety factor on the output side (meaning try not to push the controller beyond 16 to 18amps). 

Using 240 volt ballasts (3- 400W and 3- 600W ballasts) should put you at 12.5 amps total (well below the controllers rated 20 amp output...even with 20% safety factor, your still fine)...

Thanks Vlad, I am looking at the Apollo lights on Amazon. They take both 120 and 240.

I live in Ohio...doesn't get too hot here, how crazy do I need to get with exhausting the heat from the lights. In the winter I would want the heat in the grow room, but do I need to do crazy things like the Just4Growers group suggests?

You don't need to get too 'crazy', but you do want to be able to vent the heat if need be. You can direct that heat either back into your grow room when needed (cold days/nights)...or you can vent that heat into your living space (where you eat, sleep and play) on days/nights when it's not so cold...and save on some heating costs.

Honestly, during the warmer (spring, summer, early fall) months, you'd do good to just move the whole thing outside (minus the fish, the fish I'd keep put indoors year-round) and use the Sun. It's light/heat is free (and it's full spectrum to boot :)

I don't know anything about Apollo lighting, and they don't proffer much information about themselves. I tend to stay away from most "internet-only-off brands", as there is usually not much recourse when things break or don't work the way they're supposed to. I might not have qualms about buying an 'old style' magnetic ballast from an off brand manufacturer, since there is nothing there that you couldn't fix with $12 and 10 minutes of your time (either a capacitor, or the ignitor)...but with electronic/digital ballasts, there is not much you can do to fix one, if some part of the PCB goes pretty much throw it away and get a new one (or have the company you bought it from replace it for you)...I do realize that most things these days are manufactured in China, but there are decent Chinese parts, and really crappy-cheapo Chinese parts. 

Make sure your ballasts (especially the digital/electronic ones) come with a decent warranty. Many even semi-reputable manufacturers will give you a 1 to 3 year warranty on items like electronic ballasts. (I'm NOT saying Apollo is a bad brand/quality...just check them out before you pull the trigger...warranty, customer service etc)...

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