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Inexpensive Grow Lights / Lighting?


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  #1  
Old 07-28-2009, 11:15 PM
doni49 doni49 is offline
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Default Inexpensive Grow Lights / Lighting?

Hi all!

I'm interested in setting up a hydro garden in my basement. The main reason for doing this is to try and save money. So it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend big bucks on lighting/systems.

I'm interested in tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, leaf lettuce & some herbs to start with. Assuming everything goes well, I'd like to possibly add some others--like maybe watermelon.

Can someone suggest a good source for lighting? I've found something on this site that looks like it has potential, but I'm looking for opinions. I'm considering this one: led-Plant-Grow-Light-Panel-Red-Blue-Hydroponic-Lamp_220417864342.html" target="_blank">LED Light.

I'm inclined to go with something even if the production isn't the best that it could be under different lighting--I live alone so I don't need a HUGE amount anyway and if I can grow two plants under a cheaper light and get decent production, I'd be satisfied. But if for example, a tomato plant will only produce a couple tomatoes, then that wouldn't work for me.

TIA!

Since I

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  #2  
Old 08-02-2009, 12:36 AM
HydroACR HydroACR is offline
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I've seen mixed reviews on the led lighting, plus those tend to be on the pricey side.... some basic hps lights would probably do fine.....
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2009, 12:05 PM
pilotguide pilotguide is offline
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How about some simple inexpensive compact florescent lights? I know the results are certainly not like MH or HPS but they do work. I built 2 lights for very little money.



Check out this youtube link for the video about how to build these.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs_QRorECvo


and the results of this guys build...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zNxabqqRDU


David

Last edited by pilotguide; 09-07-2009 at 12:13 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-07-2009, 06:05 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotguide View Post
How about some simple inexpensive compact florescent lights? I know the results are certainly not like MH or HPS but they do work.
That's a nice simple design. Although there a couple of things to keep in mind about using CFL's. First, the video says 42 watt bulbs but does not specify if that is the actual wattage or replacement wattage. To clarify, a compact florescent light (CFL) is a energy saving light. They tell you what the actual wattage is and what wattage bulb it's designed to replace.

example:
a 60 watt equivalent will probably be about 14 actual watts. That is a energy savings of 46 watts.

But using CFL's to replace a 150 watt HID light you would need to calculate it by the actual wattage of the CFL' and NOT its equivalent value. That would be 14 x 10= 140 watts or 14 x 11= 154 watts. So how well the CFL's work depends on the actual wattage of the CFL's used as compared to what wattage you are wanting to replace or compensate for.

Second is the distance from the plants. The lights effectiveness is greatly reduced the farther the lights are from the plants. This is true for all lighting, though I believe is even more critical for CFL lighting.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:44 PM
pilotguide pilotguide is offline
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The bulbs I am using are 2X45 Watt (or 200 watt equivalent) and 2X23 Watt (or 100 watt equivalent) for a total of 136 Watts. I don't disagree that HID are far superior but on a budget you can certainly get away with CFL's. The one thing I do like is the fact that CFL's don't get HOT. So dropping them very close to your plants is stress free.


David
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  #6  
Old 09-07-2009, 08:47 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotguide View Post
The bulbs I am using are 2X45 Watt (or 200 watt equivalent) and 2X23 Watt (or 100 watt equivalent) for a total of 136 Watts. I don't disagree that HID are far superior but on a budget you can certainly get away with CFL's. The one thing I do like is the fact that CFL's don't get HOT. So dropping them very close to your plants is stress free.


David
Great, I just wasn't sure witch they were referring to in the video. I also wanted to explain for anyone else who might read my post. I have not used CFL's myself because I grow outside in the sunlight. Although I have read they give good results as long as they don't get the wattage thing mixed up. I did forget to mention the lack of heat buildup, yes that is a great advantage in using CFL's. I do plan on using them myself on an indoor setup and outside by having them go on before the sun comes up and again before the sun goes down to extend the daylight hours during winter.
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:48 PM
RenettaHogan RenettaHogan is offline
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I built the light system today, quite easy. I'm going to use it for sprouting my seedlings. I plan on putting another one together too. It if goes well, I'll make more for my classroom hydroponic project. Thanks for sharing.
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2009, 04:17 PM
smurf smurf is offline
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Dont forget you can overdrive the lights. The lights will wear out faster, and some say it does not make them any brighter - however I believe that it does.
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:48 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smurf View Post
Dont forget you can overdrive the lights. The lights will wear out faster, and some say it does not make them any brighter - however I believe that it does.
Not sure what you mean by "overdrive the lights."
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:13 PM
smurf smurf is offline
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When you buy a lighting fixture, it comes with a ballast and two bulbs (lets say ok?)

You rewire it, and install one more ballast so now you have one ballast per bulb, or you remove them and install more powerful ballasts. I.E. 30watt ballast it came with, and install two 40 watt ones per bulb.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:16 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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Here is the info on Overdriving.

I plan to do this myself.
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:34 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is online now
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Thanks for the link to the information. I have not had time to go through it fully yet though it seems that it generally doubles the power to a particular light, but at the expense of eliminating a light. I am not sure how that would help unless space is of dire importance.

Also the diagrams refer to a exterior ballast. With CFL's the "C" stands for "compact" otherwise it's a Florescent light (FL, not CFL)The ballast in a CFL is sealed in the fixture, that is what the word compact refers to, and an exterior ballast is not compact as far as I know. Best as I can tell for tight situations where space is important, it may be useful but not with CFL's because they have sealed ballasts.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-02-2010 at 06:47 AM.
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  #13  
Old 01-02-2010, 09:42 AM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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I have 5 4ft shop lights and just bought 12 ballasts from ebay to overdrive with. I plan to set up 3 of these up over an E&F system and grow lettuce and greens in. They don't need a lot of light, I will be using T8 6500k bulbs in these fixtures.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:13 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigatec View Post
I have 5 4ft shop lights and just bought 12 ballasts from ebay to overdrive with. I plan to set up 3 of these up over an E&F system and grow lettuce and greens in. They don't need a lot of light, I will be using T8 6500k bulbs in these fixtures.
So you are using florescent tubes in a shop light fixture and simply adding an extra ballast to each tube/light in the fixture, sounds good. By the time it is all said and done what did it cost you to complete each fixture, and how many tubes are in each?
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:25 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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The ballasts are 4 tube ballast. I will have to mount them on top of my Walmart ShopLights. I have 3 of them hanging in a 2X4 shelfing unit. The other 2 I have behind the E&F unit in the Hydroroom. I plan to overdrive all of them.

Here is a picture with all 5 of them hanging. I have since covered the back of it with mylar, and have redone it some.
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  #16  
Old 01-02-2010, 10:48 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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I plan to move this into my Hydroroom this spring. I am going to redo the whole room, and maybe room year round inside.
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:04 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is online now
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I wish I had a place to grow inside. Both bedrooms are being used, the den is used everyday, and the kitchen living room and dining room are all basically one big room. There is space in the garage but I think it would be pointless, the air temp in the garage is about the same outside during the winter and about 10-15 degrees higher in the summer. I get all that free sunlight outside, so basically it seems pointless to spend the money to run lights and still need to deal with the weather to grow in the garage.

I have plans to build a greenhouse, though not any time soon. It will be easier to heat during winter, and I will build it in a way that it wont get hot from the sun in the summer. So hopefully one swamp cooler and one window ac unit will be enough to cool it during the summer, of coarse that depends on how many square feet I build it. I will still be able to use natural sunlight year round, maybe some supplemental lighting during winter.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:52 AM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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It gets cold here, so I have to grow inside in the winter. The room is about 10X10, I plan to build a platform about 1 foot high along one wall, and set a few Waterfarms on it for tomatoes.

I also will be moving the grey shelfing unit into that room and setting it up with my E&F on top and another system on the bottom. The E&F will be for lettuce, spinach, and greens. The other system will be for peppers. I have yet to decide what it will be. I will probably use CFL's for this, I am leaning toward a Drip system of some kind, or maybe Bubbleponics.

I also would like to buy a Light Mover for the 400 watt CMH light. I have LOTS of plans for the room. I am going to use my garden space for growing Giant Pumpkins, with a strip of land for outside tomatoes.
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  #19  
Old 01-03-2010, 10:18 AM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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You say you want Greenhouse? I have one of these, Harbor Freight 10X12 Greenhouse.

You will have to brace it and build a base for it. You can catch these on sell for $699.
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  #20  
Old 01-03-2010, 04:30 PM
smurf smurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigatec View Post
You say you want Greenhouse? I have one of these, Harbor Freight 10X12 Greenhouse.

You will have to brace it and build a base for it. You can catch these on sell for $699.
Ok, now i really want one of these. Damn you.

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