LED - Lets get serious

Discussion in 'DIY LED Builds' started by DXE, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. DXE

    DXE Moderator


    Just as many of you out there - I have been getting more and more interested in LED lighting.

    Skunky has been doing a small test and his results simply backup what others outside of GK are seeing.

    A couple notes from my research.

    If you are reading an article from 2012 or older - delete it - the technology is rapidly evolving.

    You get what you pay for. Stay away from inexpensive systems. They use cheaper LED (3 watt or less) and generally cheaper electronics.

    Wait for programmable systems. - Most of the systems out there have pre-set spectrum settings - someone elses idea of what I want for Veg or Flower. While this may work well - it is a hit or miss as there are no standards between vendors or products within a vendors line.

    These systems are not cheap - they are an investment that can halve your electrical usage and help deal with temperature as well.

    I would love it if we can use this thread to discuss the various vendor LED products out there so that I (and others) can share what we hav learned and make a more informed purchase.

    Specifically - I am looking for a programmable spectrum 500 watt (1Kw equivalent) unit using 5 watt LED arrays

  2. DXE

    DXE Moderator

    I simply cant believe no one out there wants to talk about LED lighting??
  3. CCrete

    CCrete Mr. Poopyfacepeepeehead

    I don't think anyone wants to mortgage their house to grow a plant :rofl6:
  4. DXE

    DXE Moderator

    I guess BUT I am looking to expand my grow - and adding two more 1KW lights is not a pretty option (electrical usage and heat)

    I can accept the costs IF I get the control (Spectrum) and results (electrical, heat and buds)

    I have been talking to several of the light vendors talking about my requirements and an getting close to pulling the trigger

    I was just hoping we could get a technical discussion going here

    CREATIVE GARDENER Cured Fat Sticky Bud

    I've got an area that's a great addition to my 2 main flowering rooms but no AC. I flower 6 plants under 2- 400 hps during the cold of winter and get 2 cycles thru before it's too warm. That's a lot of extra bud I'm missing out on 8 months of the year. I think I'll sell an old golf cart and get an LED to add a couple more cycles a year.

    2 months and it's more than paid for. 2 more months and I got a new golf cart!

    Be Cool, CG
  6. Hank Chinaski

    Hank Chinaski Ruminating

    How much do those kinda systems go for, dxe?


    Heat is such a problem. I'm pretty much unable to flower in the 3 summer months.
  7. skunky

    skunky labor smoke'n lumberjack

    Right now, with what I'm aware of there is only one programmable light but it's more of an aquarium light. There is one guy on another forum that has been talking about trying to make a DIY that is not only programmable but runs cycles so certain wavelengths are on at certain points through out the day to mimic outdoors. Though I don't really think that's necessary. Sounds cool as shit and would be great for research purposes but don't find it to practical for our uses.

    Two most important things are the diodes used and components. Good diodes just mean better efficiency, that and if you are running a multi spectrum unit the better LEDs are more accurate in the emitted output light. Good example would be a cheap Chinese red led vs an osram or phillips. Especially when talking deep reds, the chinese one will say it's 660nm but really more like 640. Sure the plant will still use it but if you want that 660 peak like you wanted mixxed in with 630-640 you won't be getting it while the osram and phillips would be more on the money.

    Bridgelux and epistar make good blues, osram and phillips make great reds, and CREE makes the hands down best whites and some great blues and reds just not in the far red range as far as I know.

    Now we also have reflectors and lenses. We are all familiar with reflectors and some LEDs utilize that, like the HANs bonsai hero and the newer units using multichip COB leds. For most 3-10w single LEDs lenses are employed to better focus the light and spread as needed. So pay attention to spread and coverage area.

    Then on top of coverage area would be good to see some quantum/PAR results. PAR if you aren't familiar is photosynthetically active radiation. It is a measure typically shown are umole/m2. So that is telling you how many photons with in that area are capable of driving photosynthesis. Looks like as far as we know right now about 200-400umole is good for seedlings, 4-500 for veg, 5-800 for flower and really anything up to 1000umole. But over 1000umole doesn't seem to have any impact.

    So you want quality, which any good LED manufacturer could give you details on the diodes used like brand and part number, the heat sinks, the fans, drivers, driven amperage, lense angle... anything they should know within reason.

    Watch out for gimmicks. Like IR and UV LEDs. They are far and deep red for IR and UV is violet deep blue, if anything UV-a NOT UV-B.

    Now as far as spectrum goes, I think I will be a believer in the white leds. I liked the idea of being full spectrum. Though we will see I'm one of the guinea pigs for that right now. Though I would say stay away from dual spectrum monochromatic LEDs, the ones that emmit a single color. Red and blue of two different wavelengths of light won't cut it. If anything using monos you might want to look into the blackstar spectrum, which is a ratio of reds to blues along with reds to red and blues to blues. most of those will include the "UV and IR" LEDs, but won't really cost anymore. Just keep in mind you could modify the spectrum to include a couple more 660s instead of the IR and more 430s instead of the UV and if you want UV get a reptile UV-B CFL bulb or a UV-t5 on a separate timer. But with whites you could pic the right kelvin temp or do a mixture of white and red flower. With the red as a flowering booster.

    If you are looking at DIY there are a couple of good how to threads I found on rollitup.org in the LED section. The better I've seen using CREE CXA 3070 COBs and 3050s. Also some with VERO 18s i think they were and they are supposed to be a fraction of the cost of the CREE.

    If you want to purchase I would say price wise Area 51 takes the cake. Then you have apache tech which ones you get around to 1k equivalent will run you close to $2k. You can get a AT600 from apache tech for $2000 instead of the price on the site for $2400 I would just have to get the promotional code from greengenes. You could then get 4 A51 units for I think it was $1920 or $1960 for 4. Either way though there is some variation. With the AT600 you have a single fixed fixture that takes up a similar size as a 1K in a raptor hood, judging by greengenes video starting the AT600 vs 1k horti on a solis tek ballast. With the A51 you could have multiple free hanging units to better spread your light and you somewhat have control over the center intensity vs the edges. Meaning you could bring the units closer and further apart.

    As far as units I would look at.

    Area 51- http://a51led.com/store/index.php

    Apache tech- https://www.apachetechinc.com/

    California Light Works(might mention they are pretty loud)- http://californialightworks.com/

    Illumitex or BML Spyder, Spyder is being ran by the ex VP of horitculture from. If you look at the two you will see the similarities are pretty obvious. Both are made here in TX. Illumitex is available at 1000bulbs.com too.

    illumitex- http://www.illumitex.com/illumitex-led-products/neosol-ds/

    BML- http://www.bmlhorticulture.com/multi-bar-fixtures/

    Rapid LED Onyx is looking promising- http://www.onyxgrow.com/bloom.html

    For smaller things again area 51 and CLW have some smaller units as well as apache though the smaller apaches are pretty pricey. Then there is also the HANS bonsai hero LED that's good for small projects. They offer 65 and 80W versions. This in the light two lights you see in the pics I posted in the other LED what do you think thread of the 3' tall plant under the area 51 XGS 190.

    Hans- http://www.bonsaihero.com/ledgrow.html

    Oh and just for the hell of it, here is a link to greengenes channel for the AT600 vs 1k grow. This guy could be my brother the way he rambles on forever. LOL

    Link to the thread(Creative gardener and friendly farmer, you guys might give it a look)- http://www.rollitup.org/led-other-lighting/813412-apache-at600-led-vs-1000w.html

    Max Rockatansky likes this.
  8. DXE

    DXE Moderator

  9. friendlyfarmer

    friendlyfarmer Rollin' Coal

    Believe it or not I actually have a LED light. I inherited it. A friend recently bought one and I don't recall which one, but I am going to use it to veg a 2X4 table starting in about 2 weeks. I'll do a thread on my LED. Another LED thread. :LOL:
  10. Bigbud214

    Bigbud214 Ganja Guru Extreme

    Awesome info as always Skunky.... Man you are so well versed. I'd love to see the end results... LED would be great in my closet....l

    CREATIVE GARDENER Cured Fat Sticky Bud

    I checked out another hydro-garden shop this afternoon mainly for easy drive, all interstate, I'm in a small town with 3 red lights and that fucking metro traffic, especially rush hour, is too much for my nerves.

    But, the cat there had recently gotten a bunch of Led and couldn't find anything good to say about them at all. He wasn't the owner or anything 'cause it's a chain of about a dozen or more shops. So the decision to carry them wasn't his. He said the only reason they were there was customer interest and the boss didn't want to miss out on his share of the market. Seemed that no matter what positive aspect I brought up he stuck with ' waste of money and time'. It was right at closing time and maybe he just wanted to get the fuck out of there.

    I didn't recognize the brand and they weren't nearly as expensive as the top names. A 300+ watt was well less than $500, 800watt was less than $900 which made me shy away. So I paid for the few things I needed and let him lock up.

    Be Cool, CG
  12. friendlyfarmer

    friendlyfarmer Rollin' Coal

    I just priced out a digital 1000W rig, comparable to what you could replace with a LED light meant to deliver the same flower power. Shipped to my door , for $449.54, I can have a Nanolux 1000W dimmable digital HPS ballast with a Lumantek bulb and an 8" cooltube and 8" inline Hurricane fan. This is what you need (essentially) to run a 1000W of HID flower lighting. It will cost me $.18 per hour in my neck of the woods to run this puppy.

    So what can LED deliver to compare, and how soon will it pay for itself?

    Creating excel spreadsheet with the calculations to auto-correct for changes in things like price of electricity, which varies month to month, place to place, etc. Assuming LED actually can do what HPS can.
  13. Annunaki

    Annunaki Developed Alternating Nodes

    I know if you dig a bit online you can get a dual 600w lumatek dimmable for under 250$

    CREATIVE GARDENER Cured Fat Sticky Bud

    There's so many variables and little factors you'd almost have to have each setup on a meter of it's own completely separate of one another. Growing in the same room with only a partition separating them just isn't enough to really compare overall cost. When we see that unbiased comparison we'll know for sure.

    Be Cool, CG
  15. skunky

    skunky labor smoke'n lumberjack

    So for me just as a rough estimate in cost saved I only took into account the difference in cost, bulb replacements, and difference in cost to run each.

    For me.

    A51 XGS190- $525

    Digital 400 with hood- $200

    Difference of $325.

    190W * 12hrs @.13KwH for 30 days = $8.89

    440W * 12hrs @.13KwH for 30 days = $20.59

    Savings of $11.70/mo

    I replace bulbs ATLEAST twice a year. Really more like 3 times.

    @$90/ea for hortilux

    So at 6 months: $90+($11.70*6)= $160

    @1yr: ($90*2)+($11.70*12)= $320.40

    So going off light consumption alone in a year the light will have paid for it self solely in electricity savings and bulbs replacement. That's being modest. Exhaust is being ran at minimum and the ac doesn't have to be cranked down at all so really should see it pay itself off in under a year really. Well as far as my little setup goes.

    Oh and one other thing I neglected to mention in the other post. Wattage ratings. Pay attention. Look at the wattage the diodes used and the number of diodes. If it's 3Wx100 it's not a 300W fixture. It's more likely around 180W. A 3W LED just means that was it's max. You don't run them that hard, that's why driven current is important if you drive too hard and run too many watts through each diode you will burn them out faster. So 3W fixtures driving them at 700-720mA are kind of pushing it and tend to burn out quicker. Now a 5W diode at that current would be no problem. Just need to keep some basic physics in mind. W=V*A. You can usually find the specs to determine or if you look at the specs you will see all that. California light works is the only one besides all of the cheaper ones that doesn't advertise for true watts. Like my light, 12 pods/6 LEDs/ea= 72@5W. If it was just diode count times what watt LED my light would be "360", instead of 190.
  16. Bigbud214

    Bigbud214 Ganja Guru Extreme

    How big an area you using that on Skunky?
  17. skunky

    skunky labor smoke'n lumberjack

    Just a small 2x3 section of small spare closet.
  18. DXE

    DXE Moderator

  19. skunky

    skunky labor smoke'n lumberjack

    There is a guy that's about to really test these out on riu that just dropped over $3k or some shit on these. They for sure look promising. The xmls look nice and 2700k should be great. Though I'd think for your space size I would 3 to replace a 1k. Idk two might do it but might be a little less than a 1k. 3 should do the trick. When I get to a computer later I can give you contact info to the guy that just bought some of these. Oh and I think he said something about a discount if you mention him
  20. friendlyfarmer

    friendlyfarmer Rollin' Coal

    If you can effectively replace a 1000W HPS and attendant fans and bullshit (which runs about $450 up front) with three of those for a total of $1,350, how long would it take to save the extra $900 in electricity using the LED opposed to the HPS?

    Say the HPS and fan costs $.20 per day and the LED cost $.05. Nine hundred dollars divided buy .10 is 90 days to recover the cost. Did I do that right?

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