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Old 08-31-2010, 12:14 PM
NorEastFla NorEastFla is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: North East Florida
Posts: 68

Hey HydroACR, good to meetcha.

I started experimenting with LEDs myself about 6 months ago. I can share with you what I've discovered so far:

1. (This is the most important of all) They have a maximum distance, (Throw), that they can be used at with good results. I've found that regardless of led light type, 18 inches is the farthest you want to put the lights above your plant canopy.

Any further, and your plants will start stretching, (gaining internodal length), wildly. I tried 24 inches on some Super-Hot Peppers and the internodal length was truly awesome. Sometimes as long as 2 feet between nodes.

With the lights at 12" above the canopy, and the plants trained to maximize the canopy, the nodes tightened to only 1 inch. Quite a remarkable difference.

2. Here's one that has puzzled me to no end; I bought four 28 watt "Glow Panels". At 28 watts, they work perfectly. With the lights at 12" from the top of the canopy, I get growth that is comparable to a 400 watt hps at 24 inches.

The LED light manufacturers make lights that are up to about 300 watts per/panel now. The distance that you can use them does not change. the 300 watt LEDs *also* have to be kept no further than 18 inches from the plant canopy to be effective.

So, is the light has to stay within 18 inches of the canopy, and a 28 watt light works perfectly, then what would be gained by increasing the light to 300 watts? You would have arrived right back at the power usage that you had with standard HID lights!

Standard HID lights can be increased in power with the benefit of being able to raise them higher and gain square feet of canopy increases proportionally, thus increasing your plant yield per/additional watt.

It seems that increasing the power of LEDs will *NOT* increase anything proportionally. Perhaps an increase in fruit, but I'd have to see what increase would justify a Ten-Fold increase in power.

The growth I've had with the 28 watt LEDs is fantastic. My last crop of Super-Hots grew so fast, with so many blooms and peppers, that it blew away anything I've ever produced inside before.

My next experiment with them will be with "Tom-Thumb" lettuce. That type of lettuce only grows to a 5 inch diameter, so it will be a perfect growth crop for the 12" LED light distance. I'm going to cover the crop with my four lights, each covering 5 square feet of area, for a total of 20 square feet of lettuce.

I'm going to try a continuous harvest of lettuce by staggering the planting this 35-55 day plant at 50 plants within my 20 square feet of space with the four LEDs over them. It'll be interesting to see how well they do.

Good luck to you, HydroACR. Please post back here to let us all know how your experiments do.

EDIT: I have the seeds now for the Tom Thumb lettuce. Now to build the system. Lots of chores around my place. Being a home owner seems sometimes to be more of trying to keep the house from fallin on my head.

I'll start a thread when I get the Tom Thumb growing.

Last edited by NorEastFla; 09-06-2010 at 12:46 AM.
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