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Thread: Do LED grow lights really work?

  1. #21
    Unregistered Guest

    Default

    Just found this forum and have not registered yet but thought I would share some of my limited experiences with LED. I've used the 14 watt all-red, all-blue and red blue panels in a grow test with basil seedlings as the guinea pigs. I also included a 105 watt, 5000K CFL bulb.

    The CFL won, of course, even though the 3 seedlings (started out about 1" tall) were getting only about 3,000 lux. Among the LEDs, the all-blue produced - by far - the best plants. The all-red panel's plants might as well have had a blood alcohol content of 5.5% - they couldn't even stand up. The red/blue plants were also very healthy looking.

    Obviously, the panels are not big enough to grow more than one plant to maturity, and even then I would keep it trimmed.

    I also have a 125-watt red/blue/orange (8:1:1 ratio) which is providing lighting to three broccoli plants, a 7-pod pepper and a tomato. The pepper is in a potting mix, the others in water. The panel, which I bought on-line from a mon & pop outfit (not e-bay) at a very good price covers about the same area as a 400-watt HPS system.

    The broccoli and tomato plants are a bit on the leggy side but are growing nicely. I attribute part of this to the "grow" formula of nuits that has more nitrate than is really necessary. The pepper plant, OTOH - wow! As seedlings, they started out under a 54-watt R/B panel that had about half the bulbs burned out. I then moved it to the 125-watt panel. I have never seen such tight internode length of huge leaves before. Not being registered, I don't want to post a link to another forum but I have pictures of the plants from the seedling stage in a thread there. Anyone interested can e-mail: [email protected].

    I recently bought a 60-LED, 300-lumen, 6500K white LED bulb. I have it hanging about an inch from the tomato plant to see if providing other light spectra makes a difference. What surprises me, and I think it gives credibility to Lux meters not working very well with LEDs - at that distance, I am getting at least 120,000 lux.

    My hope is to raise about five dozen tomato plants in an unused room this winter. I can probably buy the panels for the same price as 400-watt HPS/MH systems, maybe by then a little cheaper, but instead of using 3,200 watts per hour, I'll be using 1,000. Based on a 16/8 hour day and four month grow, that will save over $400.

    Mike

    The

  2. #22
    Unregistered Guest

    Default Spectral Comparison

    LED Grow Master provides a spectral comparison to HPS on the website.

  3. #23

    Default

    I have little experience with LED's but so far I can say this...
    all LED's are not created equal and don't believe the hype about high wattage LED rectangles and circles (UFO's).

    I use a very low watt LED bar. The led bar is not just red and blue. It covers all of the spectrum needed for plant growth. I was using a 400w HID and I replaced it with one low watt led bar and I am experiencing better results with the LED. I run the LED's 24 hours a day. My setup is in a room that has little supplemental light; since I took down the HID. I use a led grow master light.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Did you consider the heat from your HPS as the determining factor in your side by side test and not necessarily the quality of light?

  5. #25
    DesertHydro Guest

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    I disagree with anyone saying LED does not work well.

    LEDs work BETTER than most HID systems when you use the right color spectrums. The cheap ass lights you buy on eBay that only have the 660nm spectrum are complete junk. You need to make sure when ordering LED lighting to get the 630nm red spectrum. These 630nm LEDs are much more expensive to buy therefore most LED systems on the market do NOT use them. Make sure to talk to me before buying LED's or go to my site in the signature

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    22

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    my personal experience with LEDs has been less than satisfactory. i have tried quite a few different models (Glow Panels, UFOs, Xenons, Chinese, you name it) and i've never once experienced growth that i would deem worth it. in every single instance i got flimsy growth, slow growth, mutoid growth, and in most circumstances, the planst stopped growing and began dying within a month. one of my favorite stories is about the time i tried to grow peppers under a 125 watt LED in a 2x2 tray. one day about 3 1/2 weeks into growth, all the pepper plants dropped over 75%of their leaves. i was shocked and stuck all the plants under a 4' 8 bulb T5 Tek-Light and within two days the peppers had bounced back and were actually starting to make flower sites!

    the few times i experienced actual vibrant growth was when i was using the LEDs as supplemental lighting to either HPS or CFL lighting. but considering the price of LEDs and the fact that you will still be using even more electricity, it's rediculous to consider that as an option

    and with over 8 years experience working in Hydro shops, my experiences have been backed up by numerous customers who had decided to give LEDs a whirl. i've never once ran across an actual human who has given me reports of successful grows under pure LEDs.

    one last point i have to make is this, i don't believe that LEDs are the answer yet. there's no doubt that the technology will get there, but it's not there yet. but if you wish to pioneer and try out LEDs, my word of advice would be to consider waiting until the proof is in the pudding.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    4

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    LED/HPS hybrid system works out financially if you use the 9 watt grow bars. You just run the HPS about 1/3 of the photoperiod. This will save you about 60% on your electrical costs and extend the lifetime of your HPS. As far as the high watt versions- it would be ridiculous to consider them as an option.

  8. #28

    Default

    I read portions of this thread with interest. I'll just add my 2 cents. I believe that LED's will be the furutre of lighting as well. At the moment, they are prohibitively expensive for the 3 and 5 watt led's necessary for this to work. However, this technology has been used for a number of years in the Saltwater Aquarium hobby with excellent results. The biggest benefit is being able to control the spectrum by dimming different sets of leds. We can also use the controller to simulate the solar and lunar cycles which in the aquarium hobby is key. I have seen these in person and I have also seen the light output measured with a PAR meter and they can easily out perform 400w halides. Don't count them out.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    7

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    In my opinion, we havn't come far enough with LED technology to make then affordable to a average consumer. That being said, HPS lights are the way to go.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Yes, I have seen LED grows work, but there are expensive. As of now, I don't think they are quite worth the money. Maybe in a few years they will come down in price. For now, stick with HPS lights.

    Brian
    Grow Lights Reviews and Research

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