LED grow lights have come a long way since the millenium began. They used to be a subject of scorn and disappointment amongst growers everywhere apart from the NASA astronauts who were happy with any harvest at all :)
So you can spend hours reading about LED grow lights and still be confused and baffled like we all were to start with, so to save the hard work I’ve translated the science into plain English below the stuff you need to know and why.
Made in China
All LED Grow Lights that you find on the internet are manufactured in China.
Shenzen in China is the silicon valley for LED's and all recent inventions and improvements have been made by scientists there.
As you are probably aware, most electronic goods that you purchase are manufactured in China including your mobile phones, televisions, games consoles, laptops etc. This is because the Chinese people are the worlds best electronic engineers and manufacturers.
So basically not only have the Chinese people invented and improved LED technology they are also the world leaders in its design and manufacture of LED Grow Lights. So if its not being made in China then it will not be as good as any of its Chinese counterparts.
Why buy LED Lights?
LED's are fast taking over all our lighting sources worldwide because new technologies in the last decade have made them more powerful and efficient.
EU legislations are slowly but surely outlawing the making and supplying of old types of inefficient bulbs. This is why you are seeing LED's in street lamps, car headlights, torches and many other places in the last few years.
LED's save you money in more ways than one, they have extremely reduced running costs and a typical LED bulb lasts for so long that the scientists just put a 100,000 hr life on them meaning that you wont need to change a bulb for 10 years and that's if you leave it on 24 hrs a day.
LED Lights Change How you Grow
LED's bring many benefits to the grower, most of these are just incidental and nothing to do with the LED bulbs but are more a side effect. For example :
You dont generate masses of heat like you would with a traditional HPS bulb. This helps the grower in more ways than one :
Smaller intake and outake fans are needed as you are not sucking out excess heat continually.
The onboard fans also help promote some airflow in your grow room.
Smaller carbon filter to go with the smaller fan.
Less feeding needed as nutrients are not evaporated into the air as they are with HPS bulbs.
No fire risk from overheating ballasts of exploding bulbs.
No radio interference like you get from some digital ballasts.
No more glowing grow rooms from thermal footprints, this saves huge amounts of energy and helps save the planet.
The bulbs last 50,000 - 100,000 hours depending on the bulb.
Less landfill from old bulbs.
Less trips to the shop to pay £35 plus for a HPS bulbs.
UV bulbs will also help neutralize odor in your grow room, not much but every little helps.
Larger coverage area from new super powerful 3w LED's means you need less lights to cover the room.
Plug and play solution with LED lights
No ballasts buzzing and fizzing away as they get hotter and hotter.
No need for timer relays to control your led grow lights.
One digital timer can control up to 8 LED grow lights.
Screw on power cord makes your grow room safer.
Better overal crops through full 5-8 band light spectrum
Bigger more solid fruits.
More nodes and larger leafs.
Faster time to harvest than traditional bulbs by about 10%.
Targeted Spectrums for Optimal Growth
LED Lights only emit light in the spectrums that a plant needs unlike traditional lights that either emit every possible colour, blue for vegetation, red for flowering. Not only is this wasteful it also costs the gardener more money in the long run.
We provide many colours for plant growth and marine life and can also customise ratios on most of our lights
Most people are also convinced that throwing some white LED’s into the mix or having a white CFL hanging nearby is also a good idea.
So essentially LED’s are doing what the HPS market is trying to do at the moment, you will notice in the last 5 years since LED’s started becoming more prominent and the research published that HPS lights moved to multi spectrum bulbs that complete both vegetative and flowering stages of growth.
Any LED light you purchase from us can be used from beginning to end of any crop that you grow as they have the most balanced spectrum available that is widely agreed to be the most productive spectrum at the moment.
1 Watt LED Diodes
About five years ago LED’s started to work well for growers thanks to advancements in the basic LED technologies. Although there were still comparatively weak LED’s they did not have a huge amount of penetration they still worked very well for smaller plants or plants without excessive canopies.
3 Watt LED Diodes
A few years ago new super 3watt LED’s became widely available, and now these are set to dominate the hydroponics growing market easily out performing their Halide and HPS counterparts.
The new 3 watt bulbs have a huge amount of penetration and will penetrate any plant canopy to the leafs below and the leafs below those leafs and so on.
LED Lens Technology
LED’s have a preset lens welded onto the basic LED, this is normally either 60/90/120 degree angle. The angle is for each LED not for the Shade like on a Halide or HPS light. So each led is sending its light directly at a preset angle. This works much more efficiently than traditional bulbs where light is escaping everywhere and your plants get every bit of light you produce so nothing is wasted.
Double Lens Technology
Last year the Lens technology went a step further and some clever person put an additional plastic lens at a 60/90/120 degree angle over the LED to capture and light that has bled out and redirect it.
This has had a huge effect by almost doubling the efficiency of the lights in some areas. In the past you could put punier LED lights right on your plants. Now with Double Lens and 3watt bulbs you have to hang it at least 24 inches above your canopy or you will bleach your plants because the light is now so powerful. However these lights will perform well at :
4G 3w Grow Lights 1 - 1.5m above your plants.
1w Strip Lights 1m above your plants.
Casing and Cooling
Great bulbs do not a great light make. LED’s are only efficient if they are kept nice and cool. The mark of a decent LED grow light is the size, quality and number of heatsinks and fans aswell as quality LED's.
All our lights have the best heatsinks and fans available and the bulbs are kept very cool so they run for maximum efficiency and run for longer.
Grow Light Design
Traditionaly you have two different types of LED Grow Lights designs. However with the third and fourth generation of grow lights we sell the overall design of everything has been overhauled and reinvented to keep pace with the new more powerfull 3 watt bulbs. We like to call this new design the LED Cluster Modules.
UFO Grow Lights
The UFO grow lights were generally the most efficient use of light but there are several downsides :
Each light has to be individaully hung and spaced.
Each light has to be individually cabled creating a lot of work and mess in your room.
LED Panel Grow Lights
Panel grow lights were the next step and they were great for 1 watt bulbs but as we have moved to 3 watt bulbs the design has become flawed in several ways for example :
Inefficient bulb array design for 3 watt bulbs causing a loss of coverage.
Inefficient cooling in old slimmer cases for 3 watt bulbs.
LED Cluster Modules
The new design that we adhere to has improved upon the traditional two designs hugely and has also improved upon the 3G design of last year to keep pace with the bulbs increasing in power and the secondary lens covers.
The LED Cluster Module design spaces LED circular arrays in a more efficient manner to ensure maxiumum distribution of all wavelenghts in the coverage area. This means you need less bulbs and therefore use less power and save more money. This keeps pace with the higher power output of the diodes this year.
Deeper case to allow full air movement.
Extra side vents to allow more airflow.
Chunky heatsinks to take the heat out from your bulb arrays (a cool LED is an efficient LED).
Massive fans to suck the hot air out and cool air in.