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mini DIY LED panel experiment

LED light moruga thai

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#1 Sluggy


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Posted 06 July 2014 - 06:18 AM

On my windowsill there are a few morugas on the left, and Thai (Prik Chee Fah) on the right. 
These plants were germinated and planted ridiculously late in the season, explaining why they are still so small. 

They don't get a lot of direct sunlight, not even when it's sunny out. So a few weeks ago I added one of my little homemade DIY LED panels, just to see what would happen. This one has only 24 x 1 watt diodes.  

The morugas, being notoriously slow growers might have grown a bit bigger than their cousins but at this stage it's almost impossible to tell They probably need a little more time before anything shows. Their leaves are a bit darker and healthier looking though.

The Thais on the other hand went all Jack And The Beanstalk on my ass ! 


Note how the plant in the corner - which gets the LEAST natural light of the whole bunch - shoots up. It looks healthier and more vigorous than it's cousins right before the window that get no supplemental LED light.

Here's a closer pic : 


I would say these are pretty dramatic results in just two weeks time.
Now unless there's some genetic anomaly or strange coincedence at play here, the experiment seems to indicate that supplemental LED light, in the right wavelengths can be VERY beneficial to chillies especially Capsicum Annuum.  

Here's the "recipe" for this particular mini LED panel build : 

10 x red 660 nm
6 x red 630 nm
1 x blue 
1 x royal blue 
3 x warm white 4500 K 
1 x pink 2700 K (?) 
1 x cool white 6500 K 
1 x cool white 10000 K 

The LEDS are equipped with random 60, 90, and 120 degree lenses/reflectors.

I don't think a panel like this alone will be sufficient to grow a plant full cycle (although that's another experiment), but as supplemental light source it seems to have a pretty good impact. 

I will continue, and also repeat this experiment to get conclusive answers.

The next, different experiment will be trying to grow a chilli plant full cycle, and get fruits, using only 30 watts. I've already built the "full spectrum mini panel" prototype for this and will keep you guys posted ! 


Edited by Sluggy, 06 July 2014 - 06:28 AM.

#2 John1234


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Posted 09 July 2014 - 04:53 PM

Look forward to the updates, it looks great so far :)

#3 frosty



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Posted 09 July 2014 - 05:34 PM

Put reflective material around the back?

#4 dlsolo


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Posted 10 July 2014 - 05:23 PM

Put reflective material around the back?


Yeah, I'll second that.  Get the most you can out of your LED lighting.  Even some Reynolds Aluminum foil would recover some of those "rays".

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#5 Sluggy


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Posted 21 July 2014 - 07:21 AM

Okay, out of curiosity, I've decided to repeat the experiment, so I took another flowerpot with plants from the same strain (Prik Chee Fah), with a couple of runts. Again the smallest plants were placed in the corner where they get the least natural light. 
(The plants on the left are Morugas, doing swell, but they're not really part of the experiment).


Less than two weeks later : 

Although the runts have not yet surpassed their taller cousins in growth, this is most likely due to the fact we;ve had all kinds of sunny and tropical weather here in Amsterdam last week. This means the window plants are getting the most sun by far.

It is safe to say though that the runts that get the extra LED light did shoot up significantly.


I'll have to wait and see how things pan out. 

For the time being, I stand by my claim that LED light, even in moderate wattage, does have a significant positive effect on chilli plant growth, as long as it is supplemental, and in the right wavelengths. 

Now for something completely different. This is a low wattage full spectrum DIY panel I conjured up for shits and giggles. 


This thing is crazy bright and can dazzle : possums, raccoons, deer, and sucka MC's.

Seriously though,  30 x 1 watt LEDs with random 30-60-120 degrees reflectors/lenses is HELLA bright. 

Now this is the plan. I'm making 5 or 6 of these things and will put them in my 1 square meter ( = 3 x 3 ft.) grow cabinet this winter. 

The idea is to not have a single, stationary light source like a 200 watt LED panel or HPS or whatever, but have 6 of these things in there, but using timers, only 4 of them will be on at any given time. The LED modules will go on at different intervals.

That way the light source changes, left top right, maybe you could even emulate sunrise, noon, late afternoon sun.

Maybe that's all a little far fetched but I like to experiment with this kind of thing   :D 

The 30 watt fuill spectrum mini panel "recipe" is : 

1 x 400 nm UV
1 x blue 
2 x royal blue
1 x warm white 3500 K
1x warm white 4500 K 
1 x cool white 6500 K 
1 x cool white 10000 K 
1 x yellow
8 x red 630 nm
12 red 660 nm
1 x IR 730 nm


Edited by Sluggy, 21 July 2014 - 07:27 AM.

#6 Ignite


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Posted 21 July 2014 - 08:45 AM

What are you using for a LED driver and for a heatsink?  Are you actively cooling them?



#7 Sluggy


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Posted 21 July 2014 - 01:34 PM

New mini panel :  Driver and heatsink come from Ebay. Cheap Chinese stuff.

After running the mini panel for a few hrs I figured things got a little too hot despite the heatsink.

So I'm adding a regular PC fan and will go with active cooling for that one.

The first panel has passive cooling with real clunker heatsinks.
From old PC parts
They do get pretty hot, but not THAT hot. 

Edited by Sluggy, 21 July 2014 - 01:36 PM.

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