Led grow lights recommendations.

Discussion in 'Greenhouse Growing' started by mazambo, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. mazambo

    mazambo Super Gardener

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    Some mylar sheet for the lights, impressed with the quality quite sturdy.
    20200217_171237.jpg
     
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    • Cuttings

      Cuttings Gardener

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      Be fery careful, the cheap chinese ones do not emit enough light, and they use a cheap metal wire, not copper wire like we sre used to. I use a professional lighting system by Telios, these are guarenteed for 50,000 hours, and mixed spectrum lights. So for germination the light is placed 1m above soil level, for compact green growth 90 cm above the growth, and 80 cm to promote flower bud, with built in UV to keep bacteria to a minimum.
      Telios have just launched a new unit a 6 light unit, that covers 2m square, that costs £299, and the benefit of Telios lights are you can buy a link kit for £7, so you can run up to 12 units from 1 plug. I use a larger version in the nursery. Top tip, check out auction houses that deal with police, left property, confiscated and liquidated stock, I managed to buy some of my units for £65 from such auctions after police confiscate them from people caught growing cannabis with them, when these units cost £700 each brang new.
       
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      • ricky101

        ricky101 Total Gardener

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        Afraid we are a bit lazy these days compared to your diy construction.
        We just use one of these £10 4x2ft grow tents for seeds and cuttings etc and it later doubles up as a cold frame outside for hardening off the plants.

        Only expected it would last one season but its been going of 3 years so far and still seems good.

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        • CanadianLori

          CanadianLori Total Gardener

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          @Cuttings some don't have the money to spend on anything but bargain items. Mine are perhaps very low range and work extremely well. Budgets count, particularly when you're new to the game. The 4x 48" and 2 x 24" ballasts that hold my grow Led's are at the cost of $200 CDN total, got me started. And I could only afford one area at a time. So half that price each time. Then I branched out to buying strips and setting them up myself and I run them direct from DC power. No conversion waste. Each to their own :)IMG_20200223_070253.jpgIMG_20200223_070221.jpg
           
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          • Cuttings

            Cuttings Gardener

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            I agree, if you purchase units that are made for the EU market, they have to conform to safety standards with the wiring, my warning was to the cheap chinese lights on Amazon and Ebay, with the cheaper wire, they have overheated and caused fires, so its a bit of a lottery, I should have been clearer.
             
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            • mazambo

              mazambo Super Gardener

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              @Cuttings thanks for the input, I can't foresee a situation where I would need a professional/expensive setup, I'm only sowing a few seed varieties and as i get the plants I want I think cuttings is the way to go so probably less seed sowing as i go along. What I have is for a few extra hours light per day I just couldn't justify any big outlay for that, I'm sure I'd go with something like yours if I had the volume of plants.
               
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              • CanadianLori

                CanadianLori Total Gardener

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                @mazambo you have an ideal situation. I would only be using the lights for a few hours to prolong the day too if I had some place to put the plants where they would get good daylight. Unfortunately, I've only got space in the cellar so I run my lights (which are Canada Standard Approved CSA) during the evening and night when the power rates are lower. Once of these days I'll get around to hooking them into my battery/solar panel array. And in a couple of months, it will be warm enough to start heating the greenhouse and then I won't need them at all :)

                Let us know how you do with your strings - those are essentially what is in most of the fancy ballasts. :)
                 
              • JWK

                JWK Gardener

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                I have been watching this thread with interest as I like the idea of use LED grow lamps to replace my Lightwave T5 florescent tube setup as on the face of it LEDs are brighter and cheaper to run. Mine looks like this:
                upload_2020-2-24_22-29-8.jpeg

                Those cheap Chinese LEDs look tempting and the sales pitch irresistible BUT they never publish the light output and are very vague about power consumption. I've been trying to compare like for like. My T5 system gives 16,000 lumens (equivalent to a sunny day in the spring) and consumes 216 Watts. It costs about £100 and my system has lasted 8 years.

                The professional systems @Cuttings has found do give the technical specs to justify the extra price. From what I can find, an equivalent LED system (Telos) with similar light output seem to be about twice the price of a T5 system and still use the same amount of electricity.

                I'm not knocking the cheap DIY systems you folk have put together and I do respect the fact that you are getting good results with them. I am just puzzled how.

                Have any of you measured the light output with a meter, I have a cheap one similar to this:
                https://cpc.farnell.com/tenma/72-12900/light-meter/dp/IN07388?st=pocket light meter


                I have a second set of DIY lamps using 8 CFLs screwed into ordinary light fittings. At this time of year I start with two lamps then add more as the seedlings take up more and more space. The CFLs I use are GE rated for horticultural use, i.e. have the right spectrum for plants. They only cost a few quid each and have lasted years. Again I use my light meter to check, they give about 75% of the light output compared to my T5 system.

                I also use the light meter to check things like how much light is lost through my greenhouse glass - about 10 to 15%. With bubble wrap insulation at this time of year I'm losing nearly 40% light in the greenhouse.

                Another surprise is how much double glazing cuts out light, I have Pilkington K coatings on my patio doors which cut out nearly 75% light. Hence I can't put plants inside as although it seems bright and sunny they just grow etiolated.

                I would dearly like to run a LED trial against my T5 lights - maybe next year.

                Keep us up to date how your plants grow @mazambo :dbgrtmb:
                 
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                • andrews

                  andrews Super Gardener

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                  I'm using some of the Chinese LED lights and they do make a difference. They are supporting various aeonium seedlings, Ensete ventricosum and greenovia seedlings. All are doing well. Ensete seedlings will die without sufficient light so they are topping up the daylight.

                  I intend to buy some quality grow lights and use to propagate on racking once I can reclaim the racking. Undecided as to what to buy as prices range vary greatly. Lots of research needed to understand what the extra money buys.
                   
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                  • JWK

                    JWK Gardener

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                    Going off topic I know, but here's my DIY CFL growlights taken today. The Sansevieria cuttings will get moved out soon, and with two empty light holders I'll fit extra bulbs when it gets really crammed:
                    20200225_063221.jpg
                     
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                    • Scrungee

                      Scrungee Well known for it

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                      Because they don't 'waste' energy producing the amount of heat as T5s.

                      But I rely on that heat to keep sensitive plants warm in (and above) my greehouse growlight box, and have the greenhouse heater on a lower setting, saving on heating a relatively empty greenhouse early in the season.
                       
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                      • ricky101

                        ricky101 Total Gardener

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                        @JWK - some readings from our little seed tray sized heated propogator, using these 30cm led units rated at 6w (12v @ 1/2amp).

                        30cm tube at 150mm depth 8,000 Lux, at 300mm depth 3,000 Lux.

                        Sunlight at 11am though house doubleglazing 75,000 Lux
                        though greenhouse 10mm polycab twinwall 55,000 Lux
                        direct sunlight over 100,000 Lux

                        While the leds Lux figures look very low , they do seem to make a good improvement to the young plants growth.
                        Have also used them on the aquarium for a few months and they give much better plant growth than the aquarium led lighting unit that came with the tank.


                        Lux Meter , ebay cheapy similar to this

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                        8520 Led Tubes 30 or 50cm about £3 each
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                        Leds on for 10 hours a day
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                        Fuchsia cuttings now 2 weeks old. - not a single one lost so far :fingers crossed:
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                        • JWK

                          JWK Gardener

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                          Thanks @ricky101 that's very useful information.

                          So if you used 4 tubes you would have a pretty good light output.

                          I see more benefits of your LEDs, you can put them close to the cuttings without scorching ( a problem I have with fluorescents). Also there is no way I can put the top on my propagator under my growlamps as it heats up too much inside.
                           
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                          • Scrungee

                            Scrungee Well known for it

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                            Plus, if seedings are in small cells they require constant monitoring to prevent they drying out and getting frazzled, especially around edges of cell trays. The bigger the growlight box, the more chance of underwatering something.
                             
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                              Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
                            • ricky101

                              ricky101 Total Gardener

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                              We made up a temperatute controller for the greenhouse, 4c min, propogator 20c, and heated bench 10c, so that helps avoid such overheating, though we still do a quick check daily whatever the weather.

                              With such strong lamps think overheating will always be problem, but it could be overcome by using a small pc type of fan to draw in cool air into the enclosure once it hits a preset maximum temperature.

                              A simple solution is to use on of these popular £10 controller modules *which once they have reached the max temp will switch off the heating, if used, and then switch on the cooling, say to a small fan.
                              * check the type you buy has both cooling and heating, some are heating only

                              We also attach a string to the greenhouse auto roof vent, so as it opens it also opens the lid and side vent on the little orchid enclosure which really helps keep it cool,


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                                Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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