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Hydroponic lighting

Author : Date : 8/1/2013 7:43:41 PM

Do I need a reflector?
Generally speaking a reflector is a must to ensure that all of your light is director towards your plants. Since lamps often produce light in a 360 degree pattern from the center of the lamp, it is especially important in horizontal applications to direct the light sent upward back down towards the canopy. A different style of growing employs the use of HID lamps hung vertically between taller plants. Since the lamp is hanging at approximately half way up the height of the plant and is surrounded by plants on all sides the reflector is not required. This is the only style of growing that will not benefit from the use of a high quality reflector.
Is it safe to run a 1000w Lamp on my homes current wiring?
Without knowing your particular electrical situation we cannot provide you with a definite answer. A qualified electrician should always be consulted when you are unsure of your wiring. Assuming your home is up to current electrical codes, assuming you have nothing else running on the circut, a 1000w HID would run safely on a standard 15 amp circut. A 1000Watt Light will use around 10 amps of electricity. Generally speaking, a standard household circuit in North America consists of 14 gauge wire rated for 15amps and 120v. Assuming that your 1000w light is the only thing plugged into that circuit, you will be drawing roughly 9.7 amps on the 15 amp circuit. This is below the 80% maximum load one should place on any electrical circuit and you would be safe to run your lamp. Exceeding the 80% capacity of any electrical circuit is not recommended and may be a fire hazard.
What is a relay or a flip box?
Relays or Flip boxes allow gardeners to divert the power from one ballast to a second reflector/lamp when the primary reflector/lamp is not in use. This means you can run your lamp and reflector for 12 hours and then use the relay to switch to a second garden for 12 hours. The benefit of these systems is doubling your garden space without purchasing a second set of ballasts. All that is required is a second lamp cord, reflector and lamp. Your ballast will run for 24 hours a day between both gardens. This does not work for 18/6 light schedules.
What is High Pressure Sodium lighting and what is it good for?
A High Pressure Sodium light is a gas-discharge lamp that uses sodium in an excited state to produce light. HPS lamps have been the standard in indoor gardening for many years due to their ability to produce high intensity light in the red and orange color spectrums. This light is ideal to trigger a flowering response in flowing plants. This type of light has been shown to create large yields of high quality fruit and flowers. The downside to these lamps is the inefficiency of the lamps which can be noticed by the amount of heat that they produce. They also produce most of their light directly beneath the lamp making them more ideal for fewer large plants compared to many smaller plants as dispersing the light in an even pattern can be very difficult. With today’s technology growers are starting to employ the use of more efficient Induction Lamps and well as LED grow lights to more evenly disperse their light and lower the need for large ventilation or air cooling systems.
Are there controllers available to run multiple HID lamps from one power source?
Yes, gardeners can purchase pre-made lighting controllers that require a dedicated wire to an electrical panel or other high power outlet (dryer or stove outlets). This allows you to plug your multiple hid lamps into one controller and use one timer to control the light schedule of all of your lights. This is the simplest way for a gardener to run multiple HID lamps. These Power Boxes can be purchased at any Homegrown Hydroponics location.
What types of lighting are suitable for indoor gardening?
There are several types of lighting all suitable for use in an indoor garden. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The main types of garden lighting are:
        Metal Halide
        High Pressure Sodium
        Sulphur Plasma
Is it safe for my eyes to look at grow lights?
No, one should never look directly into a grow light. This can cause serious injury to your retina. It is however acceptable to work in areas lit by HID lighting. Some gardeners feel their eyes become strained after prolonged exposure to HID light environments. All gardeners would benefit from eye protection when working around indoor grow lights. The benefits are protecting your eyes from damaging UV rays as well as correcting the color emitted by HID lights to a more natural appearance for easier disease pest identification. The sooner the gardener can spot problems, the more effectively they can be dealt with. One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Method Seven protective eye wear is available at all Homegrown Hydroponics locations.
What is Fluorescent lighting and what is it good for?
A fluorescent lamp, fluorescent tube or compact fluorescent lamp is a very low pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp that uses a fluorescence to produce visible light. The electric current (in the gas) excites mercury vapor which produce short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light. A fluorescent lamp converts electrical power into useful light much more efficiently than incandescent lamps. The most popular fluorescent lamps used for plant growth are T5 Fluorescents and Compact Fluorescents. When comparing the two of equal wattage, the T5’s are better for spreading out the light and covering a larger area more evenly. This is ideal for many small plants such as seedlings or cuttings. The CFL is better for covering a smaller area more intensely, which would be better for growing fewer, larger plants. When comparing Fluorescent lighting to other types of pant lighting, Fluorescents tend to excel at growing seedlings and cuttings as well as any plant with a low light requirement. Although possible, flowing fruits and vegetables is generally more successful with a higher intensity lamp.
How do I dispose of old grow lamps?
Due to the contents of hazardous metals found in grow lamps, they should be recycled properly by taking them to your local recycling depot. Some hydroponic stores will recycle them for you as well. Grow lamps should not be placed in the garbage as they are likely to break and leak their contents into the ground at the landfill.
What is an Induction Lamp and what is it good for?
An electrode less lamp or induction light is a light source in which the power required to generate light is transferred from outside the lamp envelope to inside via electromagnetic fields, in contrast with a typical electrical lamp that uses electrical connections through the lamp envelope to transfer power. There are three advantages of eliminating electrodes: • Extended lamp life, because the electrodes are usually the limiting factor in lamp life. • The ability to use light-generating substances of higher efficiency that would react with metal electrodes in normal lamps. • Improved collection efficiency because the source can be made very small without shortening life, a problem in electroded lamps Induction lamps are ideal for applications where low heat output and highly efficient lighting are required. Induction lamps provide similar light output to a standard fluorescent, except with a more optimized spectrum for plant growth and come in much higher wattages. Although initially a 400w Induction Lamp may appear to have similar performance to 400w of T5 Fluorescents (both producing approx 40 000 Lumens) the differences become evident very quickly. Induction lamps are rated for 10 x the bulb life than a T5 Fluorescent. This means the difference between 10 000 hours and 100 000 hours of bulb life. The induction lamp also maintains 90% of its light output over 70 000 hours. Like other fluorescent technologies, the induction lamp is not a High Intensity Discharge lamp, which means it produces its light over a larger surface area instead of being very intense in one hot spot. This means these lights evenly light a large area much more effectively than an HID lamp would. Huge savings can be realized when comparing to HID lighting by producing similar or higher light levels over a larger area while consuming less than ½ the wattage. (400w induction vs. 1000w HID.) The ideal distance between an induction lamp and plants is 6” vs. 18” for a 1000 HID. This means these lights excel at growing many short plants vs. few taller plants. Modern greenhouses are starting to employ the use of Induction lighting due to their excellent efficiency and length of operation.