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Caution to Anyone Switching to "Cheap" Blue/Red only LEDs

LED Blue LED Red LED Blurple White LED Fixture Lamp Light

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#1 U)<now

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 05:00 PM

Hey All,

 

    I was surfing YouTube the other night for reviews on some newer pepper varieties, and LED lights, since I want to switch to LED at some point. I came across several videos that tested LED vs T5 fixture grows and "Full Spectrum" LED vs Blue/Red LED fixture (mostly Red) grows.  I know there are plenty of arguments going in every direction for every type of light, just wanted to bring attention to the cheaper versions of the blue/red (blurple) only colored LED fixtures since I see many people on here trying out some of the cheaper ones. It looks to me that full spectrum LED is the best overall, vs only red/blue.

 

The results were interesting.

 

Most notably, was the cheaper LED fixtures that were Purple in color (or Blurple, whatever you want to call it) with mostly Red LED's and lower wattage per sq ft, grew weaker plants. The height was similar to the T5 and Full spectrum (White LED) plants, but the stems on the plants grown under the purple colored LED's were softer, had larger node spacing,  and the example plants (tomatoes) actually collapsed under their own weight, while the plants under the Full Spectrum "white" LED continued to grow upward with firm stems. 

 

I think there is now a wave of Full Spectrum LED fixtures coming into the market that even have a bit of UV and IR light in them, so those are probably a better route to go, even with them being more expensive. 

 

Here are the sets of videos I found. I just wanted to give anyone considering the cheaper blue/red led fixtures a heads up before wasting their money and time/season. 

 

  • This set was 4 part series and kind of long, over an hour for all 4 videos, but very informative and explains some basics of lighting before going on to show the grow results. Skip ahead in the videos if you just want to see the grow results. This is the set of videos from the test results mentioned above.
    • Part 1 - 
    • Part 2 - 
    • Part 3 - 
    • Part 4 - 

 

 

 

Regards,

 

Troy

 


Edited by U)<now, 02 February 2018 - 05:01 PM.

Next year, I'll grow less plants...  :crazy:


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#2 Dinsdale

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 08:19 PM

I totally agree.

Two years ago, I did my research and I decided to buy a reliable, robust, highly efficient, passively cooled, full spectrum COB LED grow light. That thing only draws 125W from the wall, but boy is it powerful, and my plants love it: short internodes, thick stems... My seedlings are 3 to 4 ft away from the light but they stay nice and compact, like 3 sets of true leaves and less than 2 inches tall.

 

Also, let's not forget that we're dealing with electricity here: Cheap fixtures can be dangerous! 

 

 

 



#3 PexPeppers

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 09:22 PM

I totally agree.
Two years ago, I did my research and I decided to buy a reliable, robust, highly efficient, passively cooled, full spectrum COB LED grow light. That thing only draws 125W from the wall, but boy is it powerful, and my plants love it: short internodes, thick stems... My seedlings are 3 to 4 ft away from the light but they stay nice and compact, like 3 sets of true leaves and less than 2 inches tall.
 
Also, let's not forget that we're dealing with electricity here: Cheap fixtures can be dangerous!

 
COB's are pretty awesome. Here is my 6x Citizen CLU-048 1212 chips ran @ 33w each  @ 36v (can handle 50w ea) * ~915 ma. Around 650-700 PPFD @ 16". Built this to cover a 6ft table
 
kgSvHANl.jpg

Here are 2x Folux Helios FH-120 boards ran @ 50w @ 48v * 1050mA each (can handle 150 watts) in a 3x3x6.5ft Grow Lab tent over 9 ghost plants. These hit around 800-900 PPFD @ 16" if ran at 100w each. currently measures around 560 PPFD at 50 watts each, but its spread out. 

 

1DbebSLl.jpg

 



#4 U)<now

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 09:34 PM

 
COB's are pretty awesome. Here is my 6x Citizen CLU-048 1212 chips ran @ 33w each  @ 36v (can handle 50w ea) * ~915 ma. Around 650-700 PPFD @ 16". Built this to cover a 6ft table
 
kgSvHANl.jpg

Here are 2x Folux Helios FH-120 boards ran @ 50w @ 48v * 1050mA each (can handle 150 watts) in a 3x3x6.5ft Grow Lab tent over 9 ghost plants. These hit around 800-900 PPFD @ 16" if ran at 100w each. currently measures around 560 PPFD at 50 watts each, but its spread out. 
 
1DbebSLl.jpg
 

Those setups both look to be doing an awesome job! Diy COB systems are what I was looking into last year when I was researching.

Next year, I'll grow less plants...  :crazy:


#5 PexPeppers

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 09:36 PM

PM me if you need help. i'll be happy to guide.



#6 U)<now

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 09:47 PM

Those Folux panels look pretty nice also. That 240 system, like you have can put out up to 47,520 lumens, that's like 18k more than my current system and just over half the current draw.

I'm happy with the performance of my current Diy T8 system, but I'd like the long term cost savings of LED. I moved out of town a few miles, and the power company out here charges 26 cents/kw, vs the city was only charging 12 cents/kw. So running my setup went from costing about $25 per month to almost $60 per month at the new house. Not to mention I replace my T8 bulbs every other season, and that's $95 each time. (T8 Sylvania Octron XP 2850 lumen 6500k, $15 for 2)

Next year, I'll grow less plants...  :crazy:


#7 U)<now

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 09:49 PM

PM me if you need help. i'll be happy to guide.

Thanks for the offer. When the time comes, I'll hit you up.

Next year, I'll grow less plants...  :crazy:


#8 PexPeppers

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 10:01 PM

Those Folux panels look pretty nice also. That 240 system, like you have can put out up to 47,520 lumens, that's like 18k more than my current system and just over half the current draw.

I'm happy with the performance of my current Diy T8 system, but I'd like the long term cost savings of LED. I moved out of town a few miles, and the power company out here charges 26 cents/kw, vs the city was only charging 12 cents/kw. So running my setup went from costing about $25 per month to almost $60 per month at the new house. Not to mention I replace my T8 bulbs every other season, and that's $95 each time. (T8 Sylvania Octron XP 2850 lumen 6500k, $15 for 2)

 

50,000 hours (10 years @ 12/12) MTBF by the datasheet! the single boards run at about 70°C Max, way less if dimmed.



#9 AJ Drew

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 12:16 AM

Thank you for sharing.  I had some ballasts go south at the end of last year.  Late enough I could move things outside instead of replacing the ballasts there and then.  Thought this would be the perfect time to upgrade to LEDs.  Instead, I purchased new bulbs and new ballasts because LEDs were too confusing.  So many different claims.

My old ballats are magnetic ship anchors.  The ones that went bad were ten plus years old.  Figure if two went in the same year, the others will go soon.  Maybe by the time they go bad, their will be enough shares like this that I can finally make up my mind and go for better lighting.


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#10 BDBeatz

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 03:21 AM

Thanks for all the great info. I myself is trying to figure out what would be the least cost effective lights to run 12/12 but still produce strong pepper plants

#11 PexPeppers

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 04:10 AM

Thanks for all the great info. I myself is trying to figure out what would be the least cost effective lights to run 12/12 but still produce strong pepper plants

how big of an area are you working with



#12 BDBeatz

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 09:56 AM

how big of an area are you working with


I have a 4"x4"x6.5" tent and a 4.5"x3"×18inch shelves

#13 alkhall

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 10:11 AM

I also have been looking at LEDs to replace my T5HOs.

 

I have looked at 'grow lights' both SMD and COB, integrated strips, replacement tubes (both direct wire and ballast), and making my own with components.

 

Nothing really stands out, especially when considering initial cost versus energy savings and maintenance costs.

 

I have had, in my humble opinion, very good results with my T5HO industrial highbay fixtures (6 lamp/6500K) with the seedlings generally having 8-10 sets of true leaves at 6 inches for the superhot varieties.

 

But, they do use ~700W together. Fortunately, I have only had to replace one lamp in three years, and no ballasts so far. And, I did get the fixtures for free, which saved me ~$300. I only had to buy 6500K lamps (~$9 each for Spectralux).

 

Anyway, I will use my T5HO to begin with this year, and see what further LED options I find.

 


Edited by alkhall, 03 February 2018 - 10:31 AM.

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#14 Walchit

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 10:16 AM

A 6 bulb t5 should only be 324 watts right? 6x54

#15 alkhall

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 10:29 AM

A 6 bulb t5 should only be 324 watts right? 6x54

 

Oops.. good catch.

 

I started to write 350W and then decided to change it to the total for both fixtures, but forgot to delete the 'each'

 

Edited post.


Edited by alkhall, 03 February 2018 - 10:31 AM.

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#16 WichitaChief

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 03:18 PM

PEX which color temp Helios are you using in your set up? I see they have 3 choices available. How do you change the wattage? At a given voltage doesn't the panel draw what it's going to draw? These look interesting. I think they would be good for my seedling starting table.



#17 PexPeppers

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 03:29 PM

PEX which color temp Helios are you using in your set up? I see they have 3 choices available. How do you change the wattage? At a given voltage doesn't the panel draw what it's going to draw? These look interesting. I think they would be good for my seedling starting table.

 

You change the wattage by soldering on a potentiometer to the dimmer leads on the LED power supply and it changes the current output. These are constant voltage power supplies. I am currently using 3000K but I am definitely going to get a 3500K as they are great for all around (Veg and flowering). 



#18 WichitaChief

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 05:30 PM

Gotcha. I was figuring 3500K or the 4000K since all I use them for is starting my seedlings until they go in the garden.



#19 Walchit

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 07:27 AM

I want to buy led for my third table, I was looking at those little 45 watt square things but I would need probably 6-8 of them to cover my area. Also thought about using the white led shoplights. Tempted to buy another t5 cause I know they work

#20 PexPeppers

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 11:24 PM

I want to buy led for my third table, I was looking at those little 45 watt square things but I would need probably 6-8 of them to cover my area. Also thought about using the white led shoplights. Tempted to buy another t5 cause I know they work

 

If it's a 6 ft table you could get away with 2 of those folux FH-120 kits with a 240 watt power supply







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