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Adding LED screw-in bulb to CFL grow?

Discussion in 'General Marijuana Growing' started by moops, Oct 27, 2009.


    moops Active Member

    Has anyone used the PAR38 screw-in LED lights? They are found on Ebay etc. They have 168 LEDs and can be bought for vegetative stage (blue) or flowering (red). They use 14w.

    Would adding this to a CFL grow provide additional benefit? My hypothetical situation is: Should one add one of these to a grow, or would one be better served using that socket for another large CFL bulb (43w?), and not bother with an LED.

    Would this small LED bulb provide a benefit that a CFL would not?

    CaptainDastardly Member

    Well...you're obviously going to get more wattage with the CFL's...maybe even a tad more penetration (though I doubt enough that it would be worth bragging about) as well. Unless you've found the LED light quite cheaply, the CFLs will be much much less expensive.

    The real question then comes down to whether the LED's will produce a denser/stockier plant (since that seems to be advantage they have) than with CFL's.
    It does seem like most who use the "good" LED lights, and swear by them, end up with some very dense and hard buds...whereas a lot of the CFL grows often have fluffier buds. But...will it be enough?

    If you feel like spending the money on them, you could easily get Y-splitter adapters for your light socket and plug 2 of those lights in (or 4 or 8, etc, depending on how far you want to go) to one. Since the lights are only 14w each you can easily use quite a few before even hitting the power consumption of a normal 100W incandescent bulb.

    Of course...by the time you buy all those bulbs you could have just as easily gone with MH/HPS...or even a shit-ton of CFLs.

    Personally, I like the idea of LED lights. They are just too expensive right now unless you've already got the money to toss around for experimenting.

    moops Active Member

    Unfortunately this is a "hypothetical" grow since I want to wait for good, good seeds - but in the meantime, I'm building the grow area for whenever the seed-stork delivers my babies. The "main" light is a 105w CFL w/reflector. One side is supplanted with a "Y" splitter you described - I'll probably put 2 43-watters here. The other side is where the LED screw-in bulb would go - rather than face down on the canopy, it would shine into the side of the plant.

    These are NOT the tri-band, lavender-colored light output, 300-watter LED grow lights that you see in hydroponics catalogs - it just looks like a big outdoor screw-in bulb. For the veg bulb, it's all blue (all one color); for flowering, it's all red (again, all one color LED). 168 LEDs on these bulbs.

    It shines an royal blue-like color, and trying it out on my houseplants and cooking herbs, it penetrates deep into the plant.

    Most likely I'll take your suggestion of adding another Y-splitter to the side with the LED, and add another screw-in LED or another CFL.

    I'm just wondering if what the LED provides gives a benefit in addition to the light provided by the CFLs. Here's an example of the light in question:


    CaptainDastardly Member

    ::nod:: Yeah, the WalMarts in my area sell those lights, but they still want like 20-30 dollars each for them..which I why I mentioned that CFL's are much, much cheaper.

    Though I haven't actually had the pleasure of growing with LEDs yet, I do try to keep up on all the information I can find. From everything I can see, the 2 major advantages to LED are...

    1) Being able to get your lights so close and positioning them for side growth.
    (For the most part you can do this with CFL's too and they are also pretty good at promoting short internode distances)

    2) More useful spectrum output.
    (I'm not really sure you can find anything with a better spectrum output than LED...because you can literally make LED lights in nearly any ranges you want. I believe this is the aspect that helps LEDs produce the rockhard nugs that some of the mega growers show off when using them.)

    I don't really see LEDs as using less power....maybe for seeing, but not so much for growing. The only reason I say that is because if you were to switch from 600w HID, you'd probably still want at least 600W of LED, or a combo that added up to that.
    Even if someone designed an LED that was 5x as efficient as HID (doubtful anytime soon), then people would still shoot for the same wattage in LED...just so they could get 5x the light for the same wattage.

    I'm not sure what those bulbs you posted cost in your area...but I can almost guarantee they cost more than 2x 26W CFL's...probably more than 2x 42W CFL's even. If you just want more power, go with lots of CFL's instead of LED...or check Ebay and similar places for HID lighting (I picked up a 400W MH a while back for 40 bucks, complete with light and a money back guarantee).
    If you are really just wanting to experiment with LED lighting and have a few bucks to burn, then give it a whirl.

    In the end, if I were to use a combo of CFL and LED, I think I would use my CFLs for main growth purposes and use the LEDs for side lighting. Might even be able to stuff them right into the plant to really get that internal/under foliage.
    I think the LED would be more useful for flower than growth though, since CFL or MH lights can do the growing fine and aren't that expensive if you look around or enjoy playing with electricity. For flowering, I could really see how a more efficient spectrum use and the ability to get so close to plants could make for some buds you could use beat a man to death.

    moops Active Member

    What you stated makes sense!

    Basically, no matter what my setup, it'll always be "x" CFLS +1 LED. I don't plan on removing one CFL and putting an LED in its place - it will always supplant the lighting setup.

    When I hold the base of the bulb, it's just a little warm and that's it. It barely contributes any heat, no do the LEDs themselves even have a noticeably high surface temperature.

    I was thinking it would provide light on the side, or as you suggested, putting closer to the base of the plant, facing upward 60 degrees or so, so the understory gets a nice blanket of LED goodness.

    moops Active Member

    oh, and i may spent the extra money on a few extra of the veg/flow LED bulbs as an experiment.

    A good CFL array over and around a few plants, plus a two or three of these LED bulbs shining UP from the base of the plant. I wonder how this would affect growth and yield? I'm not so well versed on the botany part in terms of the reaction of the plants.

    RanTyr Active Member

    To answer your question: Of course it would be beneficial to use that led in conjunction with the cfls you already have. More light is almost always better.

    Do you play wow?

    moops Active Member

    sorry, don't play wow.

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