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A Practical Guide To LED Grow Lights

Writer:Jane Time:2020-10-09 Browse:97

Although there are many different types of hydroponic lighting, there is a lot of talk in the hydroponic field about LED planting lights and how they could be the "next big thing" for indoor garden lighting. Like many products in the hydroponic market, there is a lot of marketing and hype behind LEDs.

Sometimes, when you're struggling with marketing campaigns and online rumors from hydroponics growers, it's hard to know if LEDs are the ideal solution for your garden. To solve this problem, I decided to delve into the real state of LEDs in an unbiased way. Let's begin to understand the advantages of LED compared to other lighting technologies!

Advantages of LED lighting
Let's skip hydroponics for a moment and just look at the advantages of LEDs over incandescent and fluorescent lights. Now that we know the general advantages, we can apply them to hydroponics to see if they still work.

1. Less energy
2. Over a longer period of time
3. The smaller
4. Solid (more durable)
5. Lower calories

In addition to these basic advantages, LED lighting has a high luminous efficiency when compared to incandescent and fluorescent lamps. Luminescence efficiency is the ability of a light source to produce visible light, so the higher the light source efficiency, the more visible light is produced per unit of power input.

One thing to keep in mind before reading any more is that visible light doesn't always mean better.

LED for higher photoelectric efficiency
LEDs can achieve 18 to 22 lumens per watt, while incandescent bulbs can achieve 60 to 100 lumens per watt of 15 lumens per watt. Fluorescent lamps reach 100 lumens per watt. Fluorescent lamps seem to perform better than LEDs, but LEDs have been shown to roughly follow Moore's Law, which means that their output of lumens per watt roughly doubles every 18 months.

LED has a longer life
LEDs last longer than incandescent or fluorescent lamps. There are reports that LEDs made in the 70's and 80's are still working! This is because they are solid, which means there is no vacuum or gaseous component. LEDs last 25,000 to 100,000 hours until they fail.

They are efficient
Another benefit of LEDs is their thermal efficiency. Unlike high-pressure sodium bulbs, they don't give off a lot of heat to the growing environment. Because air and water temperature are so important for hydroponic growth, this could be a huge benefit for people who grow in confined Spaces or need to control heat for other reasons. It also allows you to place the light closer to the leaves of the plant, which helps you get the light using the inverse square law.

To control the color temperature

industry news
Chromatography of average HPS lamps
The big potential benefit of using LEDs is their ability to be customized to any color temperature for growth. It is well known that plants need different colors of light at different stages of growth. Typically, you need to purchase two different types of CFLs to meet your lighting needs throughout the life of your plant. If you use the high pressure sodium route, it is usually only used during flowering because it focuses very much on the red region of the spectrum, which is used during the flowering or fruIt 'period.

With LEDs, you could, in theory, purchase a system that has color filters on a single LED in each region of the spectrum that the factory needs. You can then adjust the amount of each color at any time to customize the chromatography entirely to the actual needs of the factory. There are a few systems like this, but they are far from each other, and the ones that do exist are quite expensive. If you want to develop yourself at all costs, consider further research.

The only drawback to LEDs for hydroponics is cost
Currently, good quality LEDs are very expensive compared to other types of hydroponic lighting. We are talking about $400 for a 150-watt system from a well-known supplier, while $99 for a 1000-watt HPS and $200 for a ballast. The price of LED is expected to drop significantly in the next 2-3 years, so the future will focus on very affordable LED systems.

Is it time to try using LEDs in your indoor planting?
They are now in effect, but may not be the best lighting option for getting plants from seed to harvest due to low yields and high start-up costs. To match the volume available with HPS, you may have to invest the same amount of LED panel wattage, which is at least twice as expensive.

But, in the long run, it will cost less when you consider the lower electricity bills that will be generated and the lower cost of dealing with the heat emitted by HPS.

LEDs are likely to surpass HPS, metal halides and CFL lighting solutions in the next few years, but they are only a little too expensive for hobbyists to use over the growth cycle.

If you really want to mix them up without going broke, here are some ideas:

Use them as supplementary growth lamps to provide some additional light output, thus reducing head and cost (excluding purchase cost)

Use them on non-flowering plants (lettuce, basil, most herbs)

Use them on flowering plants, but only during the vegetative phase. Then switch to more powerful lighting

I hope this is a useful guide for anyone considering using LED lighting. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.



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