on a 15AMP over 110V current you can run up to 1650Watts
on a 20AMP over 110V current you can run up to 2200Watts
on a 30AMP over 220V current you can run up to 6600Watts (watts can be from either 220or downgraded 110)
on a 50AMP over 220V current you can run up to 11000Watts (watts can be from either 220or downgraded 110)
FYI: in the USA we run a 110v x 2=220v , do not calculate at 240v
Lets talk Lights!!!
Outside Daylight:This is really amazing!!!
Direct outside daylight in the summer time is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 foot candles.
This is equal to 10,000 lumens per square foot.
and for reference
Foot Candle: This is the basic unit of light intensity or how much light you shine on a given area.
The foot candle is based on how many lumens of light you shine on a given area (measured in square feet).
An example would be:
If you shine one lumen of light on one square foot - you get one foot candle.
If you shine 10 lumens on one square foot - you get 10 foot candles.
Light intensity is what really counts for plant growth.
This is a term that we need to understand.
The process by which carbon dioxide and water are combined in the presence of light energy and chlorophyll to form carbohydrates.
Photosynthesis takes place in the plant cell's chloroplasts.
Inside the chloroplasts, chlorophyll absorb light energy from the sun.
The chloroplasts then use that energy to jumpstart the process of photosynthesis.
The carbohydrates/ sugars are the plant's internal energy storehouse; they are used to build and maintain plant tissue.
The energy for a plants food production engine comes from light, in the form of wavelength energy.
In regards to indoor growing, think of light to a plant the same way you would the sun to the Earth.
Without the sun's energy, life on Earth would not be sustainable; similarly, a plant cannot maintain plant processes without adequate influx of light energy.
The sun is every spectrum of light, but a plant only uses certain aspects of this spectrum to accomplish food production.
Bottom line, in an indoor scenario it is the goal of the gardener to replace the sun.
Generally, plants use blue light during the vegetative stage and red light during the flowering stage.
Think about this in outdoor terms.
we experience seasons- times of year when the climate is different, but predictable (at least for now).
In the spring, at the beginning of the outdoor growing season plants are vegetative growing, there is an 18-hour day and a bright blue sun.
In the fall, when a plant is flowering, there is a 12-hour day with the sun lower in the sky, resulting in red light from the sun.
Plants have evolved to use this variance to induce specific plant processes.
It is standard procedure to use blue light to "veg" and red light to bloom.
However, photoperiod is very general in nature.
to the higher latitudes would be more prone to this phenomenon than a plant on the equator that experiences relatively consistent weather year round.
The best way to determine if changing your photoperiod has a beneficial effect on your plant growth is to test it yourself. The proof is in the pudding!
There are many different forms of light. i will focus solely on those suitable for growing plants.
Types of Indoor Lighting
High Intensity Discharge (HID)
There are several types of HID lighting, but only two generally accepted for plant growth: Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS).
Metal halide lamps are rich in the blue spectrum, which is very close to full summer sun.
This promotes fast vegetative growth and compact, stocky plants with short internodal leaf spacing.
If plants are not being grown to flower, a MH light is all that is needed.
High-pressure sodium lamps are high in the red and yellow spectrum, which imitates the fall sun.
HPS lamps promote fruit and flower production. However, any premium full-spectrum HPS light can be used from seed to harvest with minimal sacrifice in production.
HID vs. Fluorescent's
The fundamental difference is that fluorescent's create light by passing electricity through a gas vapor under low pressure and HID's create light by passing electricity through a gas vapor under high pressure.
The light emitted by fluorescents is gentler and more diffuse; it doesn't release a lot of heat, and doesn't make the plant work as hard.
For this reason they can be kept closer to the plant.
HID lights produce more heat than fluorescents, resulting in a potential liability in an unventilated grow room
its recommended ventilating your grow room. However, HID's have a more intense, and therefore further penetrating light spectrum.
For this reason, HID's are preferred for larger plants, for plants that require high levels of light, or situations where large areas need to be covered.
Until the introduction of compact fluorescents, fluorescent lighting was mainly used for propagation and early vegetative growth.
Traditionally, the efficiency of fluorescents has not been comparable to HID's:
(42) of the average 40 watt 4' fluorescent tubes (1680 lumens/bulb, 31.5 lumens/watt)
(1) 400 watt HPS lamp (50,000 lumens/bulb, ~130 lumens/watt)
That's 1680 watts to accomplish the light output of one 400-watt lamp!
(or ~ $9.00 vs. ~$36.00 on your power bill every month)
You can see how the efficiency of the lamp is so important in choosing your light and for your power bill.
It's the ongoing cost no the upfront cost that is so important when choosing a light.
With the developments of compact fluorescents and T5 technology, the light output of fluorescents rivals that of HID's.
Each 54-watt bulb in the Tek-Light produces 5000 lumens:
5 Fluorescent(216 watts) (20,000 lumens, 92.59 lumens/watt)
250 MH (23,000 lumens, 92 lumens/watt)
250 HPS (28,500 lumens, 114 lumens/watt)
Choosing a Light
Type of plant
Crop's containing leafy plants, such as lettuce, herbs, spinach, etc., can be maintained using blue light only.
Plants being grown for their fruit or flowers will benefit greatly from an influx of red light to optimally grow and flower.
If one light must be chosen, metal halide light most resembles the sun and is adequate for any and all growth.
However, progression in the light manufacturing industry now allows seed to harvest growth under any premium full-spectrum bulb provided there is sufficient overall light levels.
The only way to definitively determine what works best for you is to try it out.
Experimentation is a bastion of indoor gardening and is half the battle in creating an ideal plant environment.
How to determine light efficiency
Plants "see" light differently than human beings do.
While they are a good general standard to measure light efficiency, lumens, lux, or footcandles, should not be taken as gospel for plant growth since they are measures used for human visibility.
A more correct measure for plants is PAR
Photosythetically Active Radiation (PAR) : used to refer to the portion of the light spectrum optimal for plant growth, namely about 400 to 700 nanometers in wavelength.
watts. In addition to quantity of light, considerations of quality are important, since plants use energy in different parts of the spectrum for critical processes.
How much light do I need?
Technology has advanced so much in the last 15 years that we are constantly refining the process and updating what we know works best for growing.
Current theory holds that the minimum amount of lighting needed to sustain a good rate of growth is around 20-25 watts per square foot. Mid range is around 30-45 watts per square foot.
Optimal is 50-75 watts per square foot, but 75-100 watts/square foot is not unheard of.
There is really no such thing as too much light, but using an HID light in a small space may result in high temperatures that are hard to control.
To determine adequate light for your space use the Calibration and Conversion tables.
Which type of lamp is best for me?
As you will notice, there are many different kinds of HPS lamps and many kinds of MH lamps. Some are definitely better than others.
For example, notice the increase in light between the Hortilux Blue MH (left) and standard MH (right) below:
Standard HID lamps were originally designed for streetlights and stadiums, not for growing plants.
A hortilux or "full spectrum" lamp was designed specifically for horticulture and is recommended for all stages of growth, even switchable systems.
However, standard MH lamps can be used with success with a red supplement (such as a low K fluorescent, or standard HPS) for flowering plants.
Standard HPS lamps utilized from seed will result in leggy plants that are stretching looking for the blue light absent in standard HPS lamps.
If using one lamp from seed to harvest using HPS lighting always use a Hortilux or "full spectrum" lamp.
When using florsecents pay attention to the Kelvin (K) rating.
The lower the K value the more red the spectrum and vice versa.
Aim for ~6,000 - 6,500 K for a blue spectrum and 2,700 - 2,500 K for red spectrum lamps.
Using your Light
The most efficient way to use HID lights is to have them moving within the growroom.
Light movers can increase the coverage area of your light and significantly improve the dispersal of light throughout your garden.
There are many advantages to this, and a number of different ways it can be done.
Moving the lights will eliminate plants tendency to grow toward the light source and provide light to areas which otherwise may be shaded.
Since the light is moving, it can pass quite close to the plants without burning the leaves.
The size and shape of your room will determine the type of light mover that will best suite your needs.
Linear movers carry the light fixture slowly along a track and back again during the light cycle. Most are six feet long, support a single lamp, and are recommended when the growing area is long and narrow.
Circular movers are best when the length and width of the room are similar. They are designed to carry one, two, or three lights, in a 360-degree circle, ideally lighting a ten by ten foot area. This diameter can be reduced but rarely extended. Two arm and three arm movers are most popular, with the latter supplying much more
light per square foot.
The average garden light will increase your power bill $5-10/month depending on the exact size of the system and photoperiod of the light. To calculate the exact cost of using your light refer to your power bill and the Calibration and Conversion tables .
Most high intensity lights can be run on either 120 volt (standard house current), or 240 volt (e.g. used for electric dryers, stoves, etc.).
Electricity cost would be the same but the latter would draw half the amps allowing the grower to run twice as many lamps on the same electrical circuit.
Timers are essential for a properly operating growroom.
By nature, a plant requires darkness for at least six hours daily to incorporate the food that it makes for itself during photosynthesis.
It is a common misconception that 24 hours of light on a plant benefits its growth.
While some plants can be more receptive to this than others, it is a good idea to allow the dark period so as not to overexert your plants.
A light timer is the bottom rung in automating your grow room.
Many growers do not realize the extent that a grow room can be automated.
Automation can not only reduce maintenance and electricity costs, but significantly increase yields by way of a more idealized growing environment.
Light timers are available for either 120 or 240 voltage, but always check to see that the amperage rating on the timer exceeds that of the light or lights.
Lamp and Ballast Maintenance and Troubleshooting
A lighting system consists of a lamp, ballast
Ballast : a device used to regulate flow of electricity to match the needs of a specific bulb, and reflector.
Most lighting systems come with some sort of warranty.
The extended warranty usually comes with the ballast since it is the most technical component of your lighting system.
In putting together a lighting system it is crucial to match the wattage on the lamp with the wattage on the ballast, and also to match Halide bulb with Halide ballast and Sodium lamp with Sodium ballast (except switchable ballasts and conversion lamps).
The ballast acts as a current control for the electricity coming out of your socket.
Because of this, the wattage of the lamp must match up with the wattage of the ballast or the current will either be too strong or too weak for the lamp, resulting in a shorter life span or non-start situation.
In the case of matching MH with MH and HPS with HPS, the only
difference between a MH and HPS ballast is the presence of an ignitor in the HPS ballast.
If a MH lamp is put into a HPS ballast the MH lamp will receive an ignition charge it is not manufactured to withstand resulting in a decrease in lamp life.
Conversely, if a HPS lamp is used in a MH ballast the HPS lamp will not receive the ignition charge necessary to "fire" the lamp, resulting in a non-start.
Reflectors are universal; they have nothing to do with wattage or electricity.
They simply direct light down onto your garden. It is a good idea to change your lamp once a year.
HID lamps act off of excited gases. The gases get used up over a period of time by undergoing chemical reactions with the glass tube encasing them and after about a year up to half of the usable light will be gone.
You may not be able to see this with your eyes, but your plants will show you the difference.
It may take up to 30 seconds for the lamp to ignite and up to five minutes to reach full brightness.
As a lamp ignites, it tends to flicker and change color for several minutes.
This is quite normal, especially with halide lamps, which may appear to change color slightly during normal use.
If the lamp does not ignite after 30 or 40 seconds, unplug it.
After the power has been disconnected, check:
• that the lamp is screwed in all the way
• that the timer is set on the "on" position
• that all plugs or electrical connections are O.K.
NOTE: Do Not Open The Ballast Enclosure To Check Wiring Yourself!
Heat kills ballasts.
It has been said that a ballast operating with an internal temperature of 150 degrees or less can last for 20 years.
Every degree above 150 decreases the life of your ballast by 2 years! So it is important to maintain a temperature of less than 150 degrees inside your ballast.
This does not take special attention for normal growing temperatures will not allow this threshold to be reached.
With a remote ballast you can simply keep your ballast outside of a warm grow room if need be.
Lighting is one of the five major factors to consider when creating a support system for your plant life, (water, nutrients, oxygen and CO2 are the others).
Thus if you plan to grow inside, out of season, you must supplement the sunlight normally required for proper growth.
This can be done with three different kinds of lighting, incandescent, fluorescent, and H.I.D. (High Intensity Discharge).
These are the most popular types of lighting for gardening purposes. There are many other kinds of lighting, but they don't produce proper color (kelvins) that is suitable for growing.
Incandescent lighting- These are the least efficient and least effective method of lighting, for plant growth.
Incandescent lighting is the same as what is used in the average medium base household fixtures.
This type of lighting is a very poor choice of lighting for your garden because of their inefficiency.
Fluorescent lights- These are a little better choice than incandescent lights due to the fact that they are about twice as efficient (lumens of light output per watt of electricity used).
However these lights are not very effective in comparison to an HID (High Intensity Discharge) system and these lights must be less than 12 inches away from their subjects to ensure successful growth.
However, some find that our T-5 fluorescent lights are perfect for use with seedlings and cuttings as well as for use with other plants that do not require the high intensity of H.I.D. (High Intensity Discharge) lighting.
H.I.D.(High Intensity Discharge)- These lights are by far the most efficient and effective lights being used by growers today.
There are two types of H.I.D. (High Intensity Discharge) lamps that have suitable light spectrums (color range) and intensity for plant growth.
MH (Metal Halide) lamps are rich in the blue light spectrum, similar to full summer sun.
HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lamps are rich in the red/yellow spectrums, similar to the color of the fall sun.
MH (Metal Halide) bulbs are very efficient and produce between 70 and 115 lumens of light output per watt of electricity used.
MH (Metal Halide) bulbs produce a light that is very close to full summer sun, with a spectrum rich in the blue end.
This promotes fast vegetative growth and compact, stocky plants with short internodal leaf spacing.
MH (Metal Halide) bulbs create light by passing electricity through an clear inner arc tube that is enclosed in the vacuum of an outer clear glass tube.
This inner arc tube contains mercury and other metals in iodide form. When electricity is applied to these metal iodides they give off very intense light and heat.
The outer casing can also be phosphorus coated. Most gardeners prefer the clear bulb, as it produces the brightest white light available.
MH (Metal Halide) bulbs come in sizes from 70 to 1500 watts with the 250 w, 400 w and the 1000 w being the most popular sizes for gardening.
All MH (Metal Halide) bulbs need to run with a ballast (a ballast is a transformer that steps up the voltage to the proper amount needed to ignite the iodides), that is designed to run that specific bulb size.
The bulbs themselves need to be burned in a specific position. They come in three types: Vertical (marked BU or BD), Horizontal (marked HOR) and Universal (marked U). The universal bulbs can be burned in any position, but they still are more efficient when burned vertically.
MH (Medal Halide) bulbs should be replaced about every 10,000 hours of use or approximately 18 months (as per an 18 hour / day on cycle).
HIGH PRESSURE SODIUM
HPS (High Pressure Sodium) bulbs are the most efficient bulbs that are available for grow lights.
They are high in the red and yellow parts of the light spectrum and low in the blue, this imitates the fall sun.
Because of this spectrum some plants that are grown with HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lights will grow elongated and rather leggy, while many other plants are not affected by the limited light spectrum.
For plants that normally bud and flower in the fall an HPS (High Pressure Sodium) is usually the light of choice because it's light spectrum promotes flower production.
There are color corrected HPS (High Pressure Sodium) bulbs (such as the Son Agro) available for improved growing with HPS (High Pressure Sodium) efficiency.
These are designed specifically for indoor horticulture, and have a more balanced color spectrum.
HPS (High Pressure Sodium) bulbs are made out of a translucent ceramic arc tube containing a mixture of sodium, mercury and xenon gas. This arc tube is suspended in an outer glass shield (bulb).
HPS (High Pressure Sodium) bulbs range in power from 35w to 1000w, with the 250w, 400w, 600w and 1000w being the most popular for horticulture use.
HPS (High Pressure Sodium) bulbs should be changed no later than 24 months from initial use.
These bulbs (like the Metal Halides) also slowly lose their brightness over time, so to maintain proper light intensity the bulbs must be changed at the end of their rated life.
Selecting a Grow Light
Plants have the unique ability to manufacture their own food. The food manufacturing process is called photosynthesis.
Photosynthesis is carried out by many different organisms, ranging from plants to bacteria.
The best known form of photosynthesis is the one carried out by higher plants and algae, as well as by cyanobacteria and their relatives, which are responsible for a major part of photosynthesis in oceans.
All these organisms convert CO2 (carbon dioxide) to organic material by reducing this gas to carbohydrates in a rather complex set of reactions.
Electrons for this reduction reaction ultimately come from water, which is then converted to oxygen and protons.
Energy for this process is provided by light, which is absorbed by pigments (primarily chlorophylls and carotenoids).
Chlorophylls absorb blue and red light and carotenoids absorb blue-green light, but green and yellow light are not effectively absorbed by photosynthetic pigments in plants;
therefore, light of these colors is either reflected by leaves or passes through the leaves. This is why plants are green.
The next chart shows the relationship between chlorophyll activity and color of light.
Common electric light sources are indicated below the chart.
You will notice that Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS) produce light in the most photo synthetically active spectrums (colors).
As the chart above indicates, cool (blue) and warm (orange) colors in the spectrum enhance chlorophyll activity and food production.
Cool light is most pronounced during the summer months when the sun is highest in the sky. It is responsible for keeping plants growth compact and shapely.
Warm light, such as when the sun is lower in the sky during the fall harvest months, is responsible for triggering reproduction in plants in the form of flowers and fruits.
After you select the type of lamp you want then you must decide how many systems will be required to cover the planted area.
The following chart shows the coverage area of the available lamp sizes.
HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lighting can cost up to 15% more than comparable MH (Metal Halide) systems, however, the bulbs have a longer life span and also have a higher lumen output than any other H.I.D. (High Intensity Discharge) lighting.
MH (Metal Halide) bulbs lose about 15% to 20% of their light intensity after one year where as the HPS (High Pressure Sodium) bulbs lose only about 5% of their intensity in the same time frame.
MH (Metal Halide) systems produce between 70 and 115 lumens per watt of electricity consumed,
HPS (High Pressure Sodium) systems produce between 97 and 150 lumens per watt.
Growers continue to debate over which of these types of H.I.D. (High Intensity Discharge) lighting is the preference for generic use. But, the rule of thumb is that metal halide light spectrum is best for dense vegetative growth and the high pressure sodium is best suited for blooming growth.
If you are starting to wonder if this article has a specific answer to the question of which is better, well, I'll leave it up to personal preference. Some people have been known to have a MH (Metal Halide) and a HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lighting system,
using the MH (Metal Halide) for the vegetative cycle and then switching over to a HPS (High Pressure Sodium) system when it's time for blooming.
Another option is to use a switchable ballast (available in 1000w MH/HPS and 400w MH/HPS). These are ballasts that allow the grower the option of using an MH (Metal Halides) or an HPS lamp (High Pressure Sodium),
or they can use both (one bulb for a period of time and then switch halfway through the grow period to the other bulb, to simulate the grow seasons).
These switchable systems are slightly less efficient than the normal ballasts, but they are much cheaper than buying an entirely separate system.
Regardless of which system you choose, you should change out your bulbs no later than the end of their rated life; this is due to the loss of intensity and therefore rendering the system less efficient.
MH (Metal Halide) bulbs should be changed after 12 to 18 months and HPS (High Pressure Sodium) bulbs after about 24 months.
This will ensure proper light intensity and therefore proper growth.