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-   -   Inexpensive Grow Lights / Lighting? (http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1403)

doni49 07-28-2009 10:15 PM

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 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

HydroACR 08-01-2009 11:36 PM

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.....

pilotguide 09-07-2009 11:05 AM

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.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3490/...155e039360.jpg

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

GpsFrontier 09-07-2009 05:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pilotguide (Post 3111)
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.

pilotguide 09-07-2009 05:44 PM

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

GpsFrontier 09-07-2009 07:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pilotguide (Post 3113)
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.

RenettaHogan 12-27-2009 10:48 PM

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.

smurf 12-29-2009 04:17 PM

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.

GpsFrontier 12-29-2009 05:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smurf (Post 3663)
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."

smurf 12-29-2009 06:13 PM

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.

Amigatec 12-29-2009 06:16 PM

Here is the info on Overdriving.

I plan to do this myself.

GpsFrontier 01-02-2010 06:34 AM

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.

Amigatec 01-02-2010 09:42 AM

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.

GpsFrontier 01-02-2010 09:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amigatec (Post 3688)
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?

Amigatec 01-02-2010 09:25 PM

1 Attachment(s)
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.

Amigatec 01-02-2010 10:48 PM

I plan to move this into my Hydroroom this spring. I am going to redo the whole room, and maybe room year round inside.

GpsFrontier 01-03-2010 03:04 AM

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.

Amigatec 01-03-2010 09:52 AM

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.

Amigatec 01-03-2010 10:18 AM

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.

smurf 01-03-2010 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amigatec (Post 3708)
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.

Amigatec 01-03-2010 04:33 PM

I detailed how I built mine, but the web pages are down now.

smurf 01-03-2010 04:57 PM

Well that doesn't help much :(

Amigatec 01-03-2010 05:10 PM

5 Attachment(s)
Basically I buiilt a wood base from treated 4X4's and used metal stakes to tie it down with. And around the top just under the roof I added chainlink fence pipe to the wall to brace it better.

I then used screws to fasten the metal base to the 4X4's.

Amigatec 01-03-2010 05:12 PM

5 Attachment(s)
I slid bolts unto the wall studs and bolted the pipe to it.

Amigatec 01-03-2010 05:17 PM

I built this to grow Hydro in but, I haven't been able to power, water, and gas to it yet.

smurf 01-03-2010 05:30 PM

Looks great, bet you cant wait to get it up and running :)

Amigatec 01-03-2010 05:36 PM

The wife is disabled so I had to put the GH on hold. That is why I am growing in the house. It will take a few dollars to finish it up.

GpsFrontier 01-03-2010 07:25 PM

Hopefully you will be able to use it for hydro soon, especially after all that work and money. I haven't decided weather I will buy a greenhouse or build it from scratch. I need to do some pricing of materials first, as well as map out exactly where it will go, and how big it will be. Maybe it will cost less to build 2 or 3 smaller ones instead of one larger one.

If I bought one I will need to modify it, and I will need to take the cost of that into consideration. If I didn't modify it, I would never be able to grow anything in it during summer. The outside air temp can reach 128 degrees during the summer months. Inside a greenhouse that is sitting in the sun, the air temp would out of control. It would cost way to much to run air conditioners in it to get it down to a reasonable temp. If wasn't see through, I would need to run lights in it, wasting all that free sunlight.

What I have in mind is building it so that it is see through like a regular greenhouse, but adding removable lightproof panels to the outside (white to reflect light and not absorb heat). These panels would only be needed half the year during the summer months when it's hot. But now I need to bring the light inside. I plan to use a series of Tubular Skylights to do this. I may even make my own, they don't need to be pretty.

Tubular Skylights, all of the benefits, none of the problems
Natural Sky Lighting
Tubular Skylights

These will bring in the light without the heat. I think the best way to do this is to build the greenhouse with the see through panels, but making them removable. Then I wouldn't need to cut through them to install the Tubular Skylights, I would simply swap out the see through panels with the light proof ones. This should make the cost of adding AC to the greenhouse much more reasonable, and still allow me to grow in natural light.

Amigatec 01-03-2010 08:15 PM

The cheapest way to build a GH is a HoopHouse, using Chainlink fence pipe. Just bend the pipes, anchor them in the ground and throw some rolled plastic over the top. The polycarbonate panel get get pricey.

smurf 01-03-2010 08:42 PM

Do you think you can grow indoors using the Solatube?

GpsFrontier 01-03-2010 08:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smurf (Post 3727)
Do you think you can grow indoors using the Solatube?

Sure, they bring in full spectrum natural light. Provided you use enough of them to saturate the area with strong lighting. Also you need to keep them clean, dust and dirt on them will diminish the amount of light you are able to bring in.

Amigatec 01-03-2010 09:03 PM

We have a dealer 30 miles away, i may make a trip over next weekend and check them out.

Amigatec 01-03-2010 09:25 PM

The website says they start under $250. My growroom is on the north side of the house so it won't work as well for me.

GpsFrontier 01-03-2010 09:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amigatec (Post 3730)
The website says they start under $250. My growroom is on the north side of the house so it won't work as well for me.

You can place the roof collector in a place that gets plenty of light then run the tubing to any room in the house you want. They can get pricey but the roof collectors are specially made to collect light. That's mainly what the cost is, but you don't need to use there collectors. You can basically use any clear plastic to let light in. Even the glass covers like on outdoor lamp posts, as long as it's clear to let the full light in, and weather proof.

It wont collect as much light (about half) but you can run 3 or 4 of these, even more if you want, and it wont cost $250 a pop. The main thing is the reflective tubing, and the cost of this tubing. This tubing lets you direct the light from the roof to anywhere you need it to go. Even the roof flashing is fairly common, it's usually found with the roofing and/or heating and AC ducting supply's at any home improvement store.

smurf 01-04-2010 03:14 AM

Great to know, I want to plant indoor in a large scale warehouse. They also have 21 inch ones just for what i am looking at doing.


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