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Thread: LEDs for Helis

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    LuluMegan's Avatar
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    LEDs for Helis

    Hey guys,
    I'm wondering if anyone grows heliamphora under LEDs and how they color up.
    I read on the icps website that LEDs may not be the best choice for helis, I also read that plants like the deep red lights.
    I was thinking about doing an LED set up because you can put them on a panel of whatever size you want, whereas with t5s it's the 2 ft or 4 ft rule and more of a rectangular shape. (I'm planning on making a custom grow chamber).
    I guess I'm just a little worried that if I buy LEDs they may not give sufficient lighting for my helis.
    I tried looking through old threads but couldn't find anything specifically addressing LEDs and helis.
    I'd appreciate any feedback tips and pictures thanks!

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    NECPS President Dave S.'s Avatar
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    I grow my helis under LED and T5 and they color up just fine. I prefer to mix LED and T5, but certain LED lights do put out a ton of light. I recently bought an LED light designed to be used as a security flood light at box store like Home Depot and I was surprised at how well it works for plants like helis and nepenthes. You almost have too many choices these days with LED light options.

    You are right that low-powered LEDs have a risk of not getting your helis to color up well.

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    LuluMegan's Avatar
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    Ahh I see, I may think about doing that. I was thinking about giving up on the LED search. I'm not very tech savvy, how do I tell a low powered LED from a better one? Thanks for the help Dave!

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    NECPS President Dave S.'s Avatar
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    The term Watts is used to determine how much power it can potentially put out. You can also look for color which is often called daylight (in the below example 5000K).

    I am a big fan of using LED light technology for growing plants indoors. I have done so since 2006. I still use most of my original lights from back then.

    Here is what I would suggest for a heli or two: http://www.homedepot.com/p/TCP-200W-...z0u18wZ1z0u1gt

    The true test will be to see how your plants react and if you like the results.

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    LuluMegan's Avatar
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    That's really helpful, I may buy one and put a heli under it and see how the future pitchers color up. Thanks a bunch

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    Actually, you probably want to pay attention to lumen and lumen/watt rather than wattage. Actually PAR is more relevant than lumen, but you won't find this info from most LED models. LED technology has been progressing rapidly, and older models output smaller amount of light for a given wattage than more modern models. Also, the design of LED dramatically influence the efficiency (lumen/watt). The TCP PAR38 seems to be relatively inefficient (2100 lumen for 29W = 72.4 lm/w).

    This would be a better deal: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Cree-90W-...U100/205184900 This is 1500lm/18W = 83.3lm/w. I measured this model recently, and it gives 350 micromol/m^2/s (1870footcandle) at 12" from the bulb. Full sun is about 2000 micromol/m^2/s.

    All of these house-hold type LED bulbs are not so efficient due to the design constraints (difficult to manage heat). If you can do simple wiring, DIY LED is the way to go. You can get almost 2x the efficiency at the similar cost.

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    NatchGreyes's Avatar
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    One thing you won't want to use is one of the cheap LED panels available on Amazon. I have a couple and they really don't save money compared to T5s, nor are they good enough light for most plants.

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    The best way would be to find reviews or one in use somewhere. If you can actually look at the LED while it is running without hurting your eyes, move on. If the LED fixture needs 100s of LEDs I'd pass, the LEDs I'm using would roast any plant with 100s of them in a 2' X 4' area. I'm perfectly happy with a single LED every 2-4". I'm not using the bulb type, I'm using a DIY kit.

    I'd say it would be safe to assume any of the newer Phillips or Cree LEDs would work just fine. They are actively competing with each other and that generally leads to better products.

    Try doing a search of these forums, over the last year a lot more LED types are being played around with and documented well.

    Also keep in mind that lumen/lux ratings are just what a human eye can see, so you can have a very good Red or Blue LED with a silly low lumen rating.

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