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Constructing a 100% CFL Grow in the
The Grow Room forums; As many people know, CFL's are a very popular alternative to fluorescent growing for many reasons. CFL lighting is available ...
Constructing a 100% CFL Grow
As many people know, CFL's are a very popular alternative to fluorescent growing for many reasons. CFL lighting is available almost everywhere and comes in a wide range of spectrums and wattages. In this thread I will talk you threw setting up a CFL grow step by step.
Q1.What are spectrums?
A1. spectrums (Compact Fluorescent Light) are another type of fluorescent light, all based around the same properties. A glass bulb filled with a gas that reacts to a electrical current causing it to illuminate. There are 2 different basic types of CFL bulbs.
1ST TYPE: Self-Ballasted....More commonly referred to as a Spiral CFL. These bulbs contain there own ballast in the end cap of the bulb. They are also powered on a normal home light socket making them the most versatile, also these are the most commonly used CFL's due to there availability. Common wattage ranges from 12 to 42 watt.
2ND TYPE: Plug-in Common....This type of bulb does not contain there own ballast. To power them a ballast must be purchased. Also the design is different. These bulbs normally consist of a 3 tier tube structure. Depending on wattage they may have 4 even 5 small "U" bend tubes to produce the light. These lights are also the more powerful of the 2. Wattage ranging from 6 up to 200!
Q2. What spectrum are CFL's capable of?
A2. Simply put, almost any. CFL's typically range from 6500K(also referred to as "daylight" bulbs) to 2700K(soft-white or warm bulbs) on average although upwards of 10000K are available but not desired.
6500K spectrum--Used for vegging, seedlings and clones These lights glow white with a slight blue tint.
2700K spectrum--Used for flowering. These lights glow yellow/orange
Q3. What are the PROS of growing with CFL's?
A3. VERSATILITY. CFL's have a very compact design allowing them to be placed almost anywhere.
COST TO OPERATE. Due to them being a fluorescent light, they require appox 1/4th of the power to operate compared to a incandescent of the same wattage with a higher lumens output. Also by keeping the wattage down, it will not increase your electric bill as much and keeps you safe from tipping off the electric company on over consumption of electricity.
LOW HEAT OUTPUT. These bulbs put out considerably low heat compared to HID lighting, allowing you to place them much closer to the canopy of the garden. But they do produce heat! Do not be mistaken, You will need proper ventilation to keep the room in the ideal temp zone.
Q4. What are the cons of growing with CFL's?
A4. The cons are limited. Just that to equal the lumens output of HID lighting, you ill need a mass number of CFL's. The other con would be the wiring. In Most cases there will be numerous wires connecting the lights ( due to you needing anywhere from 2-20, possibly more depending in the application. HINT: you can eliminate 50% of the wiring if you opt to use "Y" adapters. (small screw-in single socket adapter that goes into a light receptacle with 2 receptacles for bulbs)
Now that we all have a general understanding of cfl's, wattage, spectrums, pro's and con's, Ill begin to explain the grow room setup.
CONSTRUCTING YOUR GROW ROOM
First you will need to decide if you plan to build a grow box, or take advantage of a spare closet or bedroom. Boxes and closets are the most common. Once that decision is made, you will need to add reflection to the walls. There are two ways to go about this. You can either paint the walls a semi-gloss or gloss white. The purist white you can find. (white reflects light, dark colors absorb light) OR purchase "Mylar" ( a paper thin material with a 95% reflection rate. Mylar is by far the best reflective material you can use due to its mirror like finish. Next step will be ventilation. If using a closet, there are not very many options for this besides fans (oscillating fans seem to work best). Not exactly practical to go chopping holes in your closet walls for a duct work vent system. If growing in a premade or purchased box, then a duct system would be best. A "squirrel cage" fan (for exhaust) with 6inch ducts will work great in addition to a fan blowing on the plants to strengthen the stems. If working on a budget, you can also use computer fans wired together. The best power source for that would be a 200ma-400ma(ma=miliamp) adapter. A power cord for a cordless phone should always meet that criteria perfectly ( thats what i use). Ill also post a DIY tutorial on that later. Now before you decide on how many lights to purchase, you'll need to decide on how many plants you want to have. I recommend no less than 1 26w(daylight) bulb per plant. Some will argue that saying 1 bulb is not enough. Coming from my experience, 1 bulb per plant will be ok for vegging but if you feel that you need more light, go for it, cant harm a single thing. Just be sure to have proper cooling. For flowering I would go with no less than 3 bulbs per plant (soft-white or warm). Also be sure to keep the lights as close as possible to the plants. Normally 3-5 inches for CFL's will do fine.
CONSTRUCTING THE LIGHT SETUP
There are endless ways to go about this. Most recommend mounting them horizontal to take full advantage of the lights but with CFL's that can sometimes be a problem depending on application. At any hardware store you can pick up "clamp reflectors). A round or oval housing with a single light socket. If you plan to use "Y" adapters, be sure to get clamps that will accommodate the size you need, 10inch reflectors should do fine. You can also get some socket moguls from Wal-mart or Home Depot. If you plan to go this way, be prepared to do some electrical work. These sockets will have to be wired together and a power cord added. Those are the 2 easiest ways im aware of. Also you can pick up some plug socket Wahl(looks like a normal light socket but with prongs to be plugged directly into a electrical socket, no wiring required). With that option, you will need numerous electrical sockets. Extension cords will work fine, just depends on how picky you are. If the cosmetics matter, then all the messy cords may not suit you. But if your afraid of wiring moguls then I suggest this. Again the possibilities are endless when going with CFL's. Now for REFLECTORS. If you didnt pick up the clamp reflectors(best option, socket already attached, no wiring needed, and its a reflector..kills 3 birds with 1 stone..just add the Y adapter, 2 bulbs and your set) then you'll need to make some. Please people, check into the clamps. They also make hanging a breeze due to the strong clamps, they can be clipped to anything. Now for making reflectors, again endless options. You can use the "soda-can method" cost efficient and productive. There are several threads posted about this topic. Another option (the way i chose to go), you can pick up a set of disposable aluminum baking pans. All sizes vary, just be sure to get the size to fit your application. I will post a DYI topic on this also but in short, with a razor knife..slice off the entire bottom of the pan and set it aside. with the 2nd pan you'll notice the edges are overlapped, Take pliers to unfold the flap to give a contact point. Take the 2nd pan and place the rim over the unfolded flap you made, then fold the flap back down and pinch with pliers. Instant reflector, then make holes in the top for your sockets. May be hard to picture but again the DIY info will be posted shortly. Well for all those interested in going th CFL way, i hope this helps and answers all your questions, I spent 3 hrs on this so i hope it helps someone besides me, lol
Last edited by igstid420; 10-29-2007 at 06:19 PM.
i hate CFL's. good article though.
Very helpfull, I'm working with cfl's myself, but where i live its hard for me to get anything, so its pretty much all homemade, and/or bought from the internet but everything takes like a month to get here. You can see my grow at the link below,
i like it
thnx man help'd me out
could u tell me where i can buy cfl lights online... in switzerland theres nothing !!!!!!!!!!
ive been evrywhere and they all look at me like " Whats cfl ? " lol...
Very nice.....just watch the heat...these are around 140-155 degrees...each.. Yes.. thats way hotter than most people think...I did a thread about this...."Another CFL vs HPS" expalins the heat issues....and gives temps...the other thing is total all the watts....are they really low cost as we think....when I changed to HPS power bill dropped 70.00... because total wattage draw is less....very informative work you did here.
(Genesis 1:29-31):Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it-- I give every green plant for food. And it was so.
Thnx premeir, online you can go to Walmart.com - Save money. Live better. www.homedepot.com Ace Lowe's Home Improvement . these are all the local stores i've browsed for cfls. They all seem to carry the same brands and wattages. You can also check out High Tech Garden Supply Light bulbs, Rope Lights, Halogen and Fluorescent bulb - 1000-Bulbs - The Light Bulb Superstore , these 2 retailers carry the high end CFL bulbs 75w-200w and all these sites ship world wide.
By Beaner in forum Outdoor Growing
Last Post: 05-02-2007, 05:25 PM
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