What Every Grower Needs to Know About Light When Growing Indoors

What Every Grower Needs to Know About Light When Growing Indoors.

What type of lights are used for hydroponics?

Low budget: 600w HPS

High budget: Sanlight Q6W Gen2

Longer answer:

To get the biggest yield from your grow light you'd need to factor in the intensity and spectrum as both of these variables play a major part.

Assuming all the other variables such as temperature and humidity were optimum; the main factor influencing yield would be the intensity of photosynthically active radiation (PAR). This is light within the range of 400-700nm.

Basically this is saying that the brighter the light the higher the yield. So simply choose the brightest light you can find, but not so bright that you exceed the capabilities of the plants. Aim for a PPFD of 1000-1500. (check website for more info).

Are LED grow lights any good?

LED Grow Lights

Energy Saving

LED grow lights have become more efficient than their metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS) competitors which could lead to massive energy savings. For example, the Telos 0008 draws 240W and has the equivalent light output of a 315W ceramic MH and a 400W HPS, saving up to 40% of energy.

Longer Lasting

Constantly replacing costly bulbs and reflectors is not an issue with an LED grow light. High power LEDs from CREE, like those in the LED fixtures on sale at Grow Power, have been tested to last 85,000 hours at over 90% output (that's almost 10 years!) and there is no need for a replacement reflector thanks to our unique optics.

Better for Plants

LED grow lights emit far less infrared radiation than traditional grow lighting, which can reduce heat stress and damage. Also a tailored spectrum is easier to produce with LEDs ensuring your plants get the light they need.

Do you need sunlight for hydroponics?

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Are LED lights good for hydroponics?

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How many hours of light do you need for hydroponics?

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How many watts do you need for hydroponics?

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Why is HPS better than LED?

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What size LED light for 4x8 grow tent?

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Do grow lights cause cancer?

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Can I leave my grow light on 24 7?

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600W HPS Digital Light Kit

This 600W HPS Digital Light Kit comprises a quality combination of Euro reflector coupled with dual spectrum 600W lamp and digital, dimmable electronic ballast. You just can't get more bang for your buck than this.

600W Digital, Dimmable Ballast.

Ultravivid Digital Dimmable Ballast with Super Lumens Boost

The Ballast supplied with our 600W HPS Digital Light Kit is a 600 Watt Digital Dimmable model with a 660W Super Lumens setting allowing you to boost the output of the lamp by 10 per cent. Most growers will reserve this setting for the final four or five weeks of flowering when it makes the most difference and ensure a real positive difference to final yields.

Are Digital Ballasts Truly Dimmable?

It should be noted that while these types of ballasts are referred to as 'dimmable', it is really a setting that should be reserved for emergency situations such as when you may be dealing with heat issues during a particularly warm period. Why? Because the output of a 600W lamp when fed a reduced electrical supply will not match the supply, it will be about two thirds of that.

For instance, if you have a 600W lamp installed and the dimmer setting is switched to 400W the output of the lamp will be around 400 x 0.66 = 264W. The reason for this is because the lamp is specifically rated to work at optimum efficiency at its quoted rating, in this case 600W. When the supply does not match the quoted rating, the efficiency drops off sharply.

In order to get the most out of the dimmer settings on your 600W HPS Digital Light Kit, a dedicated lamp should be purchased instead. So if you wanted to reduce the output while retaining maximum output from the lighting fixture you should swap the 600W lamp for a 400W one. This will match the supply to the lamp and the output efficiency will be maximised.

So if you intend on utilising the dimmer function on the 600W HPS Digital Light Kit, the advice is the purchase lamps to match the settings on the dimmer switch, i.e. 250W, 400W, 600W.

What Does the Super Lumens Setting Do?

In contrast, the Super Lumens, or Boost function on this 600W HPS Digital Light Kit, actually overclocks the lamps natural capacity increasing it's output for 'free'. This is simply taking advantage of the way that lamps are produced by the manufacturers who build in an approximately ten percent tolerance from the quoted rating in order to ensure that their lamps can handle most real world situations they may encounter without failing. In this case, they should be able to handle a ballast whose output is above the quoted 600W.

Are Digital Ballasts Better than Magnetic?

Magnetic Ballast

The short answer is yes. In general, the electronics inside a digital ballast provides a cleaner and more stable electrical signal to the lamp ensuring higher efficiency and a better output which directly translates to an increased final yield.

Magnetic ballasts, while simpler, do nothing more than pass the electrical supply arriving through the mains supply directly to the lamp. This can result in swings in output throughout the day and potential blown lamps due to a surge from the electricity company. 

In addition, magnetic ballasts are very heavy compared to their digital counterparts making working with them more challenging.

Euro Reflector

Euro Barn Reflector

Sometimes known as a Barn Reflector, the reflector supplied with our 600W HPS Digital Light Kit may be basic but its performance should not be underestimated. Tests have proven that the performance of these reflectors is comparable or even exceeds that of so-called high end reflectors.

Remember to Remove the Protective Film!

So many of us have eagerly switched on our very first HPS lights and been so wow'ed by the intensity of the light that we never stopped to wonder what that melting plastic small was. Your reflector will be supplied with a thin plastic film stuck to the reflective surface in order to protect and preserve it's reflectivity. This must be removed before use in order to prevent it melting and dripping over the lamp and anything else underneath, potentially lowering the output of the lamp.

Dual Spectrum 600W Lamp

Loadstar 600W Dual Spectrum High Pressure Sodium HPS Lamp

Our 600W HPS Digital Light Kit is supplied with a dual spectrum, 600 watt, High Pressure Sodium Lamp. While being a budget lamp it's output is, in fact, comparable to some of the most expensive lamps on the market from leading names such as Philips and Gavita. You can rest assured that spectacular yields are possible from this lamp.

What does Dual Spectrum mean?

Plants survive by converting transient energy from light into sugars which can be permanently stored for later use. Essentially each cell in a plant is a tiny power station set up to convert photonic energy to carbohydrates. In contrast animals consume these sugars from plants and break down the stored energy for immediate use in a process known as respiration.

With the above in mind, it should come as no surprise that the quality of light received by a plant is of paramount importance.

Many different chemical reactions occur within the cells of plants, each one is driven by specific wavelengths of lights. Some reactions are responsible for growth while some cause physiological changes in the plant such as stretching or bending.

In order to prevent excess stretching and focus the plants energy on growth, carbohydrate production and the production of aromatic compounds so favoured by indoor growers there needs to be an abundance of light in terms of both intensity and wavelength. The combination of wavelengths produced by a particular lamp is referred to as it's spectrum.

Our 600W HPS Digital Light Kit comes with a dual spectrum, HPS lamp which emits mainly red light but there is also a smaller peak of blue. The blue light helps to prevent stretching meaning stockier, bushier plants and more of the plants energy and resources being put toward growing larger and more flavourful fruits.

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