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Thread: General consumer LED lights

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    Millipede's Avatar
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    General consumer LED lights

    lately ive been seriously considering buying some LED lights from walmart or fred myers or something. theyre kindof expensive but i think they would be worth it. my question is: are these lights good enough for plants? what should i look for in an "off the shelf" LED light for growing plants?

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Even the high-end one's aren't really optimal for growing plants. You'd probably be better served to save up and invest in T5HO equipment. You might be able to save a little money by replacing the bulb in your reading lamp with LEDs, but for horticultural purposes you'll be disappointed.
    ~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 /
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    Yeah, save your money, I tried a 12" x 12" LED panel to supplement some naturally low light orchids who were also getting some light from a western window and it was woefully incapable of even doing that. Look into T5 High Outputs if you wanna upgrade your lighting, you won't regret them.

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    T5HOs are more widely available and cheaper, initially to purchase. There ARE high-end LED units that ARE capable of supporting plant growth. These units, however are MUCH, MUCH more expensive. I worked it out a few years ago and it would have taken me YEARS to make up the cost difference in replacement lamps and operating costs. I know of quite a few people who are using LEDs on reef tanks, where supporting coral/zooxanthellae photosynthesis is probably on a PAR with most full sun terrestrial plants, just a different spectral output.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    You found LEDs that actually break the cost-efficiency barrier over time? Including increased electrical consumption and heatsinking? Butch would probably be interested to hear about those. (I am too actually.) Got a datasheet?
    ~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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    I haven't looked into them recently. Last I looked, the Solaris systems would have taken me something like 5 years to recover the cost versus a MH/PC combo fixtures replacing the MHs every 6-9 months and the PCs every 9-12 months. Like I said, they CAN grow plants, but the initial outlay is still way too high to even try them, for most people anyway. Now, if you're comparing to T5HO, especially with the longer lamp life and much lowered current fixture costs, it's T5HO, hands down. At the time, the only real T5 quality fixtures available were Giesseman, which were way too expensive to conside even over MH/PC.

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