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Thread: T5 Bulb Brands?

  1. #1
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    T5 Bulb Brands?

    So, I'm curious to know - how much does brand matter when it comes to T5 bulbs? With T12s, they're cheap enough to swap out frequently, but I was shocked by the cost of T5s now that I'm trying to switch over. I found some good-looking deals at 1000bulbs.com, but I've never heard of several of these companies before so I'm a little skeptical. The best deals I've been able to find locally roughly compare to the average prices I'm finding online, but that's like $9-$15 per bulb, and that's the case price!
    $95 for a case of 25 bulbs is tempting. But who the hell is Halco? And $125 for 50 is even better, but I've never heard of Plusrite either. Considering this is less than half the price I'm seeing elsewhere - even with shipping - I'm thinking it might not be a bad gamble to find out. It sure would be nice if I could get some tips from someone who's been down this road already.
    Thanks guys,
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    personally i use German 5000k 85cri Narva, but that is because I got a 25 count case of them on ebay for a dollar (I was the only bidder LOL).... shipping was 20 though
    one big advantage to T5 is their bulbs retain over 95% of their power over the life of the bulb. Unlike most other formats you dont have to replace them till they die. Which is typically several years

    It is commonly accepted that on this side of the pond, the GE T5's are the best "standard" bulb for plant growth... on the other side of the pond they have a much greater selection to choose from including Gro-Lux

    In time it will be that way here, so I dont know if I would buy a case unless I got a good deal or could put them to use within the next year or two

    did you get your fixture from contractorlighting?.... if you havent ordered yet, they will fill it with bulbs for ya if you ask (no name generics)

    otherwise... i would just look for something in the 4100k to 6500k range with a cri of 85 or better

    to be honest there can be a significant difference between bulbs.... but when you are fed a diet of hamburger, you wont notice the diff between a ribeye and a filet mignon

    HTH's
    Av

  3. #3
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Oh wow, really? I would've expected they'd be like other fluorescents, where tossing them every six months or so was best.
    I'm going to go with contractorlighting, but wanted to use a mix of 3000k and 6500k because the stuff I've read says those temps give a better PAR rating. I'd like to convert at least four shelves to T5s, so a case of 25 is within reason at my scale. 50 is a little iffy, but it still costs dramatically less than a case of 30 GEs. What do you think is at stake in terms of quality? Failure rate? Actual output? Color?
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Joe,

    Any response would just be a wild guess at best. Ive used GE, Narva, No name etc... they all do decent to good.

    The Lifespan of T5 is approx 3 years with extremely high efficiency retention (95%+), they dont weaken with age. The contractorlighting fixtures are also "intelligent" and will shut that bulb down when the time comes.

    But keep an eye on ebay, you can find some really good deals occasionally, I think there is currently a GE deal like 9 or 10 bulbs for 40 bucks IIRC

    contractorlighting will fill the fixtures up with 5000k or 6500k for a few bucks each, so even if was going to use a 3000k/6500k mix, the deal is still too sweet to pass up. Especially with no additional shipping

    But please verify that with the salesperson when you call...

    I cant really comment about brand x or y compared to GE, Narva or Sylvania... I just dont know mate, but given the option I would always choose a name brand over a generic.
    Just better mojo to me

    Av

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    Joe,
    Whatever way you go, share your results back here. I'm also likely to start to dabble with T-5's in the coming months.

    While T-8, electronic-ballast shoplights are bombproof, they have mediocre light output. My AH Supply power compact fluorescent's with mirror reflectors provide great high-cri light at a good intensity but have had an issue with lamp life (& concomitant outage issues). Even though the power compact tubes are basically T-5's bent in a U, they have all died because the cathode (iirc) touches the cylinder wall. This would also seem to be an issue with normal T-5's. However, I've yet to hear from T-5 users with premature lamp death ....
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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  6. #6
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I thought that contractorlighting only had 4100k and 5000k - I'll have to check again later. Any links to that eBay listing? I've been looking for days but they're really hard to find amongst all the other bulbs and fixtures. I can't seem to find a reliable search keyword for them.
    Also, can anyone recommend a method for making a semi-scientific comparison between my old lights and new ones? I'm going to ask around the labs at school but I've been given some hilariously bad advice from those folks in the past.
    Thanks again.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    blokeman's Avatar
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    i use two sunblaster t5ho 39 watt(i believe they are 6500k), and they are ok, but i don't get any coloration in my pings, the dews got nicely colored up when i brought the lights closer, but they are just not intense enough for the pings to color up. They did say that they were intended for seedlings... :P
    Grow list...
    http://terraforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114907

    “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” C.S. Lewis

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    Tamer's Avatar
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    I use four Spectralux T5 2' (2x 6500k and 2x 3000k). These are High-Output 24 watt.

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