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I was wondering if anyone has experience with LED lights? They are supposed to be very efficient. I am planning on using them to extend daylight for a few hours to supplement our short days in winter. If you could share what you have discovered it would be appreciated.

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There is a group on the topic of Artificial Lighting and you may be able to find the info you seek from those guys, some of them have much experience dealing with the use of lighting.

Artificial Lighting Group

The 'propagandist' at the hydroponics store said they supplemental lights that inhibit certain types of growth for certain stages of growth. (eg: red=fruiting)
Um... I think people will know what I (insert adjective) on the internet. 

Eric Warwick said:
The 'propagandist' at the hydroponics store said they supplemental lights that inhibit certain types of growth for certain stages of growth. (eg: red=fruiting)

Hi Rick.  I use LED lighting in my system, and I will NEVER return to HID lighting ever again!

 

I used to use a 400 watt Ceramic Metal Halide (Phillips Master Color bulbs), which have the greatest spectrum of light I have ever seen in a bulb.  This will provide a 4 x 4 foot area with plenty of light for vegetative and flowering growth.  However, it gave off a great deal of heat and attracted many insects.  Plus, it is quite heavy in terms of electricity.

 

Now, I am using a 120 watt equivalent LED light from the makers of the 357 Magnum LED light (link here http://www.357magled.com/357_magnum_LED.html ) and my plants have never grown so fast or as full!!!  If I was growing a more intense crop, like peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, I most certainly would buy the 357.  Growing various kinds of greens and herbs simply do not need that kind of intensity.

 

I highly recommend LED lights, as they pay for themselves within a year, give off no heat, use considerably less energy, and provide a much better usable PAR light for the plants. 

 

Hope this helps Rick.  Good luck whatever you decide!

Hi Benjamin,

Thank you for your reply. It does help, and I am pretty sure I am going to use led as supplemental lighting in my greenhouse. My next conundrum is the building of my lighting system. I found a company that sells the components, but they are not very descriptive in the use of their products. I have found it is usually more cost effective build things myself, (budget constraints.) Now I am looking into combinations and ratios of color as well as the mechanical construction of the light itself. There is quite an array of types and sizes of led's. Heat sinks, power supply, fans, etc. are all reccomended components.

Hello Rick, 

Glad to see your greenhouse is getting under way...

If you plan on going that route make sure you research the companies that you purchase components from thoroughly as there are many, many unreputable people at the moment in the business of selling LED's and components, as well as the grow lights themselves. You like others may find that if you use quality components, the savings really are not that much as opposed to buying the lights already built.

The general consensus is that BridgeLux is about the best U.S maker of LED diodes at the moment. 

The 357 Magnum is an awsome product, one of the first to use 3 Watt diodes (instead of the usual 1 Watt-ers). What this does is give you more canopy penetration (if your growing short lettuce type plants this is not much of a concern). What should be of concern to folks is that there are a lot of cheap knock-off products that dont tell you their LED diodes are 0.06 Watt diodes and are basically useless for growing plants (even though they sell them as grow lights). 

Make sure that if you decide to purchase a factory made LED grow light that it is from a company that backs their product with an unconditional 90 day money back guarantee (as a lot of the reputable guys do). And make sure they take the time and have the knowledge to answer ALL of your questions concerning their product. I've talked to a number of sellers of components that have very little knowledge of the product that they are selling.

You may want to check out Prosource Worldwide products as well as the 357.... http://www.prosourceworldwide.com/default.asp

as they are a generally accepted reputable company with a quality product. (I am not affiliated with them in any way).

Also, if you are not in a rush, you may want to wait a bit for the new generation of LED's to become available to the public and then check out the responses/trials coming from the medicinal herb growing community. (There is a new lens technology coming our way that is supposed to "revolutionize" LED lighting. As it is being researched and developed by one of the top players in the game, it might be worth the wait to see how this pans out).

Though if you are supplementing "short winter days" the heat produced by traditional HID's should be an advantage and not a nuissance then shouldn't it? I mean if you're heating the greenhouse why not illuminate and heat it on the same bill?

Anyways, good luck...and you are a brave man my friend. 

 

LED Light Bulbs come in a variety of sizes and styles, and are designed to help you create a LED lighting schematic that not only looks beautiful, but is also energy efficient and safe. led flood lights

 

let me know what peices work out when you make your own thanks J

Rick Stillwagon said:

Hi Benjamin,

Thank you for your reply. It does help, and I am pretty sure I am going to use led as supplemental lighting in my greenhouse. My next conundrum is the building of my lighting system. I found a company that sells the components, but they are not very descriptive in the use of their products. I have found it is usually more cost effective build things myself, (budget constraints.) Now I am looking into combinations and ratios of color as well as the mechanical construction of the light itself. There is quite an array of types and sizes of led's. Heat sinks, power supply, fans, etc. are all reccomended components.

you can now get "tubes" that fit right into a T8 fixture, i think you just remove the ballast and run them right off 110. Not sure on spectrum or intensity but definitely something to consider if you want to retrofit some existing T8s
T8's are not so bad on their own. Would love to retrofit some T12s if I could.

Sounds like they work great. Do you have an indoor system or are you just supplementing during shorter light days? 

Benjamin Frimmer said:

Hi Rick.  I use LED lighting in my system, and I will NEVER return to HID lighting ever again!

 

I used to use a 400 watt Ceramic Metal Halide (Phillips Master Color bulbs), which have the greatest spectrum of light I have ever seen in a bulb.  This will provide a 4 x 4 foot area with plenty of light for vegetative and flowering growth.  However, it gave off a great deal of heat and attracted many insects.  Plus, it is quite heavy in terms of electricity.

 

Now, I am using a 120 watt equivalent LED light from the makers of the 357 Magnum LED light (link here http://www.357magled.com/357_magnum_LED.html ) and my plants have never grown so fast or as full!!!  If I was growing a more intense crop, like peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, I most certainly would buy the 357.  Growing various kinds of greens and herbs simply do not need that kind of intensity.

 

I highly recommend LED lights, as they pay for themselves within a year, give off no heat, use considerably less energy, and provide a much better usable PAR light for the plants. 

 

Hope this helps Rick.  Good luck whatever you decide!

Hi Rick,

I use both types of lighting and agree with James (above), on using HPS or MH instead of LEDs in our/ your area but you already have plenty of heat so I guess it's a trade off between paying for electricity or spending time and labor to cut, haul, season, stack and then pelletizing lumber.

As for LEDs, The ones I use are not very efficient and am disappointed with it fruiting tomatoes. No worries with the greens but in that case I'd prob go with T-12s (cost much less and widely available).

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