instead of T12 I'd probably split the difference and go with at least T8 for the better efficiency.
My understanding is that LED plant lighting is not yet quite up to the challenge of being the only light for the plants, that they need some period of time each day with a more full spectrum of light but you can greatly decrease the amount of electricity used by only running the full spectrum HID lighting for a much shorter period of time. (Sounds like a set up that just changes where you spend your money instead of actually saving much money.)
it is important to note that T5s usually require new fixtures and cannot be easily retrofitted into existing T8 or T12 systems.However, using fixtures specifically designed for T5 lamps optimizes performance and prevents the misapplication of other types of lamps – a common problem with T8 systems. Compared to metal-halide systems, T5s offer better lighting quality due to a higher color-rendering index, better light distribution, and lumen maintenance.
They do make "full spectrum" LED's...Although that sort of defeats the whole purpose of LED grow lights. (Diodes that are specifically 'tuned' to a particular Nm light wave spectrum, hopefully, one that is useful to the plant). I can only relate what I've seen first hand from friends that use them...The ridiculously expensive 5 band tri-spectrum LED's seem to work great, the cheaper LED's, not so good, especially for flowering and/or fruiting. The even cheaper ones (and even these are still a couple hundred dollars) don't appear to be good for much of anything. (Vegetative cycles included). It seemed ridiculous to spend over 800 US dollars for just ONE good LED fixture, so I went with HID's for the greenhouse.
A pair of 36Watt T-8's did wonderfully as my only light this spring/summer in a windowless garage growing various vegetables. But I personally am apprehensive, to the point that I wont use them, above an AP system (tube explosion, mercury content spewing into water, plants, fish)...But they are really cheap too run.
Do they offer "off-peak" rates for electricity where you live? It costs me around 10 US dollars to run 4 - 400Watt HID's 7 hours a night.
I'm sure there are people on this site, maybe folks with indoor set-ups, using LED's who have more info.
So after getting poor results with all of the LED's I tested between 2007-2010, I stopped wasting time running trials on them. Two years later, I'm considering starting up again and am curious if anyone's had good results with any specific makes/models.
What I'm really after is seeing pictures to back up the claims.
I visited the Cidly.com site. I like what I see, but the site is not set up for US sales, or even individual sales. Any suggestions as to US Vendor?
John White said:
I spent a couple of weeks last year visiting led grow light factories in ShenZhen and Guangzhou
LEDs are not a low tech product.
Power factor, THD almost more like a speaker than a light.
That said the chinese are getting much better.
I think the Apollo series lights from Cidly.com are the best value.
High quality LEDs and a high quality power supply.
A VERY CLEAN DESIGN
I just looked on eBay for Apollo LED lights. There are some and they seem to have all the certificates for quality. I am uncertain what size would be useful for my 4foot by 7foot growbeds. Any Ideas?