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Discussions about fluorescent, LED and other types of grow lighting for Venus Flytraps and other plants

Moderator: Matt

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By Steve_D
In addition to standard fluorescent grow lights, LED (light-emitting diode) lights are becoming more available and somewhat cheaper than they used to be, although still much more expensive than fluorescent grow lights. The LED lights are purported to have some advantages over fluorescent lights in that they are designed to produce only the frequencies of light that plants actually use, and produce almost no heat, saving a tremendous amount of electricity. In addition, LEDs are said to last many more years than fluorescent lights, from 5-10 years depending on brand, type and use.

This is a discussion topic that anyone with a knowledge of, experience with or interest in LED lights can participate. Hopefully it will be educational and helpful to all of us. :D

Sounds like it is time for someone to experiment... I am currently looking into some lighting systems for my in-door plants.

I'm currently experimenting growing with some very expensive but really interesting LED grow lights that were originally developed for a NASA program.

Here is a photo of some plants I have growing under the LED grow lights.
LGM540-LED-growlight-setup4.jpg (116.2 KiB) Viewed 9328 times

The LED lights produce almost no infrared nor ultraviolet light and instead concentrate on the parts of the spectrum that plants use most. They produce almost no heat, use very little electricity, and introduce almost no stress to the plants. In addition, the light from the LED's is very focused rather than being diffused as in fluorescent and other lighting; the LED light can be aimed directly at the plants with little light wasted.

I'm finding the LED grow lights to be very good so far for the initial stages of growing plants after they are deflasked from Matt's tissue culture. These plants, which have grown in tissue containers in 100% humidity are extremely delicate and can burn, dry and die in just a few hours after being taken from their culture containers. These LED lights are very gentle on the plants, while providing them with all the parts of the light spectrum to make them grow well and keep them happy.

These particular LED grow lights are more expensive than most people would want to spend for this purpose, but they (reportedly) have a very long life (7-10 years with no light degradation) and I'm impressed with them so far. There are much more reasonably priced LED grow lights on the market too, for those who wish to experiment. I have no experience yet with any other brand however.

More information about these LED Grow Master lights:
By tc3driver
DAMN STEVE.... that is like 3G worth of lights..... BAAALLLAA!!!

I was planning on picking up a couple of light strips... I just haven't yet... that and I need to find a place to put them....

FF75, I am not sure... the worse you could do is buy and try... if it works... AWESOME... if not... you are out a small amount of cash... and may be able to return it even...
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By Steve_D
Steve - Do you think this LED lamp would do?

I'm not sure, since I have no experience with any LED growlight setup except for the LGM540s. I do know, from having done research (as best I could) before buying, that there is a huge and intense debate on the Internet about various types and brands of these LED lights, among growers of a certain "house plant" that is often grown in closets and other places out of view.

Some of the LEDs (in some brands of LED growlights) are larger and higher wattage, and produce more heat and higher electric bills. Some people say you have to have those high-watt LEDs to get good growth results. Others argue that the extra wattage is just wasted in heat. I ended up going with the LGM540s, which are low wattage, produce almost no head nor infrared nor ultraviolet light, even though I did consider other brands and even the one you link to, the "Glow Panel," because the LGM540s seemed designed scientifically for the specific purpose of growing plants instead of merely harvesting money from an eager market while the manufacturer's could do so, before their product gets a bad name.

However, it could be exactly the opposite: the really expensive LED growlights like mine might actually be the ones selling on high-tech hype (like high-end audio system cables), and the cheap ones might work as well as the expensive ones, or maybe none of the LED alternatives work as good as reliable and effective fluorescent grow lights.

So at this point, who knows? I certainly don't. Although I hope not, my setup might just be a very expensive mistake! :roll: I'm considering buying a couple of those much cheaper "Glow Panels" or other LED lights just to compare the growth under each LED system.

Whatever you decide, good luck! :)
By goldslinger

Thanks for all of the information as I have been kicking around the idea of LED's for awhile, too.

Me having 3 = 54 Watt High Output 6,500K T-5'S is barely adequate for a 18" x 48" shelf (mine is just like Yours) for My collection of VFT's. After several Months, they get paler and slow their growth. I'm beginning to wonder if They are getting damaged; I don't know. The HO T5's are the best flourescent option, for sure.

I think I might augment My conventional T-5'S with these, and buy more as I can afford them; I think it was Smart of You and You will at least break even on Your investment on the electric bill savings in the 7 years or so of Kiliwatt hours.

The nice thing about LED's is that the manufacturer can purposely shape the individual LED lens to direct the dispersion of light where They want it. The Grow LED's, will have a narrower cone of dispersion. LED's also are unbreakable .

On the traditional lighting, People just pay the electric bill and don't realize that the extra lighting really adds up over time.

365 Days x 7.5 Year (useful life span of these LED units, conservatively) = 2,737 Days.
2,737 Days / 30 = 91.25 Months.
My Wife said Our electric Bill has bumped about $35.00 for My fixtures in the grow room.
$35.00 x 91.25 months = $3,193.75 over a 7 year period.

I would spend about $500.00 for the same electricity for these; not to mention savings on cooling costs.
I figure I would save about $2,600 bucks on electricity in that period using those L.E.D.S just going by the electric bill, of Ours.

Heat and wasted Spektrum is wasted energy and $ $ $

I think I'm going to give it a go!

Last edited by goldslinger on Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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By Steve_D
The nice thing about LED's is that the manufacturer can purposely shape the individual LED lens to direct the dispersion of light where They want it. The Grow LED's, will have a narrower cone of dispersion.

Right. That I'm guessing is one of the primary advantages. The cones of light from the LGM540s are narrow and very focused. There is not much diffusion or wasted light.

I'm still curious as to whether the brands of LED lights that are much cheaper actually work OK. The Glow Panel mentioned by firefighter75 above is one of the brands that caught my attention, as well as the LED UFO. At some point I would like to buy a few of these much lower cost alternative LED lights to do a comparison. Here are some sources of LED grow lights:

LED Grow Master

Sunshine Systems (GrowPanel, GrowUFO)

Access Hydroponics (various LED panels and bulbs)

HID Hut (various LED grow lights)
By goldslinger

I went ahead and ordered 3 x Sunshine Systems Glow Panel 45. That's about the best I can afford right now. I don't think I can 'daisy chain' them which is kind of a bummer.

I read the 'Testimonials' of Access Hydroponics site listed and all of them just said 'fast service' or 'great service'; is that all they could dig up? The systems there are so inexpensive, that they MUST be using Chinese LED'S and I've had experience with Their LED'S in other circuits and not impressed at all. Nothing against the Chinese, but specifically on LED'S, They have a way to go to catch up in this very proprietory business of formulas in making the chip in LEDS for brightness and longevity.
I could be wrong, though; maybe they are good systems and maybe what I bought were Chinese LED'S.

The Sunshine Systems had numerous testimonials on the quality of the plants that grow under them. Even a Journalist for a Gardening Magazine gave this particular panel rave reviews. Of course, one was donated to Him, ha ha.
They also posted time lapse videos of stand alone led systems of Theirs.

Steve, I'm wondering if the debate of 'hi power versus low power' in those forums for People growing 'special' plants in their closets has something to do with the height of the plant/s they grow that need penetration power? Since VFT'S in particular don't have much depth; it is My hope that the mega power systems aren't needed.

I am going to use all three for one shelf; that should be plenty, I'm guessing. Recommended height is 12 to 18 inches; mine looks like it will be right at 12; I will start at that.

I will post the results on My explants hardening out on these in a few Weeks with pics. That was mainly what I wanted them for to begin with; then will see if good enough for adult plants, too.

I'm excited!

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By Steve_D
I will post the results on My explants hardening out on these in a few Weeks with pics.

Please do post results and photos. LED grow lighting is kind of new territory. Perhaps you and I and others who use LED lighting can compare results so that others can make more informed decisions about what kind to buy if they are interested. :)
By goldslinger
Will do. I will keep a Journal and post pics from time to time.
By IrishDragon
Know any euro companies that sell similar products? I am new to Europe, fresh from the states. I couldn't even begin to think of where to look here.
By goldslinger
Know any euro companies that sell similar products? I am new to Europe, fresh from the states. I couldn't even begin to think of where to look here.

Any Hydroponics stores? The internet May be Your Salvation; it is mine; nothing Here in Western Kansas.

I talked to the lady at the Company on the Glowlight 45 lights, and they will be getting a new style Glowlight 45 that can be linked or 'Daisy Chained' together in a couple of Weeks; too late for Me on these, but I know electronics and will just hardwire them like that anyway. I will call the Tech Dept.first to make sure that it okay. They will be here Tomorrow!

User avatar
By Steve_D
I couldn't even begin to think of where to look here.

Dutch businesses perhaps will have LED grow lights, both "brick-and-mortar" and online businesses that cater to those who grow the weed-like plant that Holland is famous for not making illegal. :)
By goldslinger
Hey, Folks!

I'm working on a 12 Week update on the Sunshine Systems Glow Panel 45 LED lighting system on My VFT'S of various types and Pings, etc.

Give Me a few more Days to load some pics and type up a lengthy analysis of what I think of it.

It is favorable, but there are some minor issues I want to address as well.

The pics will amaze You.

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