IF you are new to LED and want help choosing what to buy, POST HERE!

Discussion in 'LED and other Lighting' started by SnotBoogie, Mar 13, 2013.

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    SnotBoogie Active Member

    There's been a deluge of growers new to the LED game making threads to request buying advice recently.

    To combat this, I hope to centralise "Recommend me a LED light for my situation" threads into one place (as the answer is often the same).

    IF you need help deciding what light to buy, post your situation below! we will endeavor to help you!

    PLEASE be specific and check your question hasn't been answered already!

    I will reserve the next post so that if the community comes together to produce a FAQ, we can keep it nice and handy at the top.

    Sticky would be nice. :grin::grin:

    SnotBoogie Active Member

    Why buying LED lights are different from HID, flourescent, and other established technology

    The thing with the market for LED lights is that they have only recently become affordable for our purposes. They're still so new that the "cutting edge" moves extremely fast! what this can mean is that prices can vary wildly, between brand new tech and older stuff for example. At first it is very confusing, as what you think you "know" could become outdated due to advances in technology or cheaper production. Things that were expensive could become cheap, making you think you have a great deal, when in reality it is because there is some even newer technology which does the job better. For this reason, it's important to seek up-to-date info when making a purchase.

    Another difference is that no-one has solidly decided what the "best" LED light, or light colour is. People, and plants have their own personal preference. ;) This gives you even more reason to seek a wide variety of sources of information. One of the best ways to do this is simply to take your finger off the post button, sit back and roll a joint, and have a click through some of the threads and grow journals that take your interest. You'd be suprised how much you will learn from conversations that seem to have nothing to do with the topic. :bigjoint:

    Again... Read grow journals! lots of experienced growers try out the latest tech here. You might answer your question just by reading, and have pictures of the results too!

    And remember, the search button is your friend!

    // going to stop for now.. I intend to add a DIY vs retail explanation next.If you guys have contributions please fire away, either pm or post here and i will edit them into this post.

    SnotBoogie Active Member

    I was thinking about that Chron. While its irritating for us i don't want to encourage people to be major dicks. I think the best compromise would be to post a link to this thread, and then Stop replying so the thread drops off front page.

    PSUAGRO. Well-Known Member

    Great idea Snot..........................STICKY this Mods!!!!!!
    bongspipesplants likes this.

    multipass Active Member

    Maybe in the first post we can list a some common lights with small images and short reviews to give a nice introduction/overview
    -like 10-15 most popular/cost efficient/overall best/effective
    -maybe also some overrated/cheap/crapy LED lights.
    Jonathanholmes3128 and green217 like this.

    SnotBoogie Active Member

    I've started writing a FAQ/explanation in my placeholder post above. if you guys have contributions fire away via pm or here and i will edit them in.

    Chron any chance you could delete your ninjapost to keep it nice and neat? :hump:

    i've also pm'd an active mod to ask for a sticky.
    Superfen likes this.

    jcmjrt Active Member

    Lies manufacturers tell:

    Wattage - many (most) are listing the theoretical power limit of the LEDs they are using. LEDs are not typically driven at over 70% of max and most of the units you will be looking at are being driven at 50 - 60% of max...so that 200 watt named panel is really about 200 watts (.55) = 110 watts. Real watts grow plants and theoretical watts catch customers. Try not to be one of the ones that gets "caught".

    Coverage - LED lights typically are highly directional and grow most like T5s as far as coverage goes. They do not work well as point sources of light like HID does. So what does that mean? There is definitely variation in fixtures depending on angles, wattage, etc however, most will grow well under the fixture and 2 - 6 inches off each side. What does that mean? Most manufacturers will give a size for the fixture - let's say that size is 12 x 15inches - the mostly likely good growing area for flowering for that light is 16 x 19 inches to something like 24 X 27 inches at maximum. Most manufacturers will say that they cover a much larger area. Maybe they can cover the area claimed decently for veg...but if you want solid flowers, think directly under light...or use a light mover/spinner to leverage that high wattage fixture to provide you with coverage.
    bleuballz likes this.

    FranJan Well-Known Member

    Hey SB don't sticky this thread. Use this thread as a blueprint and a roundtable, then take what everyone deems important and start a new post with the info more organized. Anyway that's what I'd do. Here's some talking points, in no particular order, for your thread. This is mostly stuff I wish I knew before I got into LEDs. Hopefully others will add to this and you can build from it. Good Luck with this!

    • At this time, mostly due to the prohibition of marijuana, there is not a lot of concrete knowledge when it comes to growing cannabis with LEDs. One can argue about colors/nm's needed to grow or the best temps for LEDs for the foreseeable future. So before you decide to buy company X's latest and greatest, see what other growers are doing. Look for things you like, situations similar to yours and see what equipment these growers are using. This will help you figure out what panel to buy more than what some website or what some expert is pushing.

    • With LEDs you get what you pay for. No shortcuts. No freebies. Rule of thumb here is cheap LED panels/diodes mean higher electrical bills and less growing power than well designed panels using quality diodes. So while you may save out front, you will pay in the long run for using inefficient diodes. That guy in China does not make diodes that perform as well as Crees and if he does, he's not gonna charge that much less than Cree does. He's Chinese, not stupid.

    • The chances of you finding some company in China that makes "Brand X's" lights is so slim as to be impossible. Just because the panel you found looks like the one you want doesn't mean you found the factory out of the tens of thousands of LED companies in business in China today. And even if you manage to, that still doesn't mean you will be getting the same diodes or drivers.

    • If you must try the direct route, remember that your, (probably pro-rated), warranty is mostly useless. While most Chinese manufacturers will do their best to support their product ultimately you are the technician. Shipping to and from China is a killer and these companies will do everything to keep you from shipping that panel back. Plus while you may very well get the replacement part for free, you are probably going to pay some of the shipping or export fees. There ain't no BBB in China which is why sometimes having a middleman, like Blackstar for example, is a good thing.

    • Think of wattage as what it costs to run a LED light/panel and remember it has little to do with actual PAR output and growing potential, which is governed more by amperage and diode size/technology used. These are more complex light systems than HIDs and should not be treated as such. If you must have a wattage rating then use lumens per watts, which in the LED world usually indicates the performance of a light/panel and is an excellent way to compare one LED to another. Until the day a minimum level of performance, like a minimum PAR rating/level needed for growing cannabis with LEDs is discovered there is no concrete "how many watts per square foot do I need" like there is with HID. One can easily grow the same amount of weed with 50 watts of Cree diodes than one could with 200 watts of crappy LED diodes.

    • All white LEDs are not created equal. There are several ways of making white light with LEDs and some of those ways are better than others for growing. These ain't CFLs, (though some whites do use similar phosphors), and should also not be treated as such. With that in mind all white panels/diodes/lamps should carefully scrutinized and generally are better suited for vegging. Remember they make white diodes for seeing, not for growing plants. At least for now.

    • There is little if any regulations governing LED claims. Big companies lie. Little companies lie. These companies can easily manipulate modern charts, diagrams and formulas, (hey look everyone it's a 20,000K white LED :roll:), like a politician does with statistics to prove a point, so treat all claims with speculation and you'll at least have some defense against the greedy. New ratings are coming and will help weed out false claims but for now it's a relatively new and a bit unregulated industry.

    • LEDs work best in situations that traditional lighting does not. LEDs rock with smaller grows and suck balls trying to light up a 20x20x20 foot grow rooms. Do not try to replace your HID with LEDs as a strictly "drop-in" replacement for your HID. It can be done, but it is expensive and at this time ultimately makes no sense, economically speaking, to try to replace thousands of watts of HIDs with LEDs. Remember LEDs are goverened by Haitz's law and you are not going to be using your LEDs for those 50,000 hours you computed for, for the simple reason you'll want to upgrade your panel in a year or two to take advantage of better performance/efficacy, which will save you money. So in a way unless you know exactly what you want, think short term with LEDs.

    • Due to the directional nature of LEDs, LED growing is a slightly different way of growing where canopy control is paramount and growing trees can be extremely difficult as well as costly from a coverage angle. In other words it's time to brush up on your Super-Cropping/LST/Fimming/Main-Lining techniques. Or get lots of panels to surround your trees with.

    • For now and the foreseeable future there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to LEDs. Anyone looking into LED growing needs to do a little reading about the science behind this disruptive technology. Otherwise, once again, you will be at the mercy of those who want to take your money. Learn to read LED spectral data and learn why the junction temperature is important, things like that. What do the straights say? "Knowledge is Power"!

    • Don't get hung up on brand names and fancy marketing with LED manufacturers. Just because a panel uses the latest and greatest LEDs doesn't mean it performs better than a panel made with older diodes or diodes from the #2 diode maker. More times it's the sum of a panel's parts that make it great for growing. Engineering and mathematics are useful tools and all, but nothing beats building then testing a LED panel to see how it truly behaves.

    NewtoMJ Well-Known Member

    After many long weeks researching different lights ( black dog, pro-grow, the penetrators) I think im gonna go with a CLW solar flare. BD and progrow i read have some warranty issues. the penetrators are expensive. I really just want 1 or 2 oz, and i think this light can do that
    Cannabis.Queen likes this.

    PetFlora Well-Known Member

    ^^If all you want is 1-2 ozs, hell buy a vanity fixture and some 3000K + 5000K household screw bulbs

    See my thread to see this in action

    FYI, I disagree with FranJan on not using whites from seed to bowl and on necessity of green. It is important. Plenty of studies to verify. That said, if your overall power is low, it won't won't help.

    Current whites are much better than early offerings. Induction lamps use 5300K and do a very nice job. See Splifferous thread. That said, he recently bought an led outrigger pontoon which increased yields, but is very expensiv
    bleuballz likes this.

    PSUAGRO. Well-Known Member

    The 400w CLW Solarflare should flower well in a 3x3 and can EASILY get your weights and triple+ them with training and good strain selection........good panel choice IMO
    Turboneonvince and JimmyIndica like this.

    FranJan Well-Known Member

    Who's gonna add some words of wisdom to this project? I gotta feeling PSU is too drunk to help this weekend but anyone else?

    dolamic Well-Known Member

    I would but I'm too drunk too. Maybe I'll remember this on my hangover Tuesday morning....

    Hosebomber Active Member

    Could you link to those studies? I hear this quite often but have yet to see anyone post a link to any article that states this other than: Green Light Drives Leaf Photosynthesis More Efficiently than Red Light in Strong White Light: Revisiting the Enigmatic Question of Why Leaves are Green. That study does not say that green light is good... simply that when you over saturate a plant with white light that green light becomes effective in deep cell tissue. I can link at least 5 other article that rebuke this article and give reasoning why not to use green lighting such as: [h=1][FONT=&quot]Green Light Induces Shade Avoidance Symptoms[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT][/h]

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member

    Brother Hosebomber ......

    I'll leave the studies ,from us ignorant humans ,aside for now .....

    I'll just state some hard facts to you ....

    -Natural sunlight ,at sea level ..Most of it's power at "Green" ..(500-599 nm ... ) ...
    Plants probably absorb less ,( but utilise more efficiently _RQE_ certain wls ) abundant in energy (photons) wavelengths ....

    -Shade Avoidance Syndrome photomorphogenic alterations ,are indeed induced when Green wls ,almost dominate over all the rest wls.....
    (And along with plenty of FR/NIR presence ...)

    -HPS ....Good ,proven HID tech "flowering" bulbs ....Spectral Emission ,mostly at greens ...(yellows )

    And a nice pic that " says " more than 1000 words ,about the whole matter ...
    All the tech of NASA's (amongst others ) NIR vegetation satellite imaging is based on that particular fact ....
    Plants do absorb and use green light ....

    Simply ,less than other wls ,probably because plants evolved to do so ....
    That being the hard fact that green/yellow light is ~10% more reflected/transmitted (at ~20% of total incident sunlight ..) ,
    than the rest wls ..(blue & red ,reflected /transmitted ~10% of total incident sunlight...) ....
    As opposed to 100% reflection of infra red light ....

    ...If they were to absorb mostly ,the most abundant wls(in power terms ) of sunlight ,that being greens/yellows ,
    PS systems would probably have been oversaturated by 09:00 am every day (morning ...)....

    But since us humans do not see the massively reflected from plants ,infra red light ..
    We see the "tad" / "bit " of green that is reflected more than other wls ...
    (less absorbed by individual leaves ,but generally absorbed by canopy in it's total ...Green Window ...
    While massively absorbed reds ,for example ,are indeed absorbed from top layer of canopy at general ..
    But not from " deep interior" or " deep low down " parts of canopy ...
    Add to that ,the " in situ " local action of certain major phytohormones ..
    I.e Auxin on apical meristem of new growth /shoots ,usually on top canopy layer ,where red wls are abundant .......

    And a last fact ....

    Look At Ganja's grows ,or at any plant grown under the Astir cheapo panels with plenty of CW/NW & WW ....
    Nothing to be jealous of other plants grown under weird ,alien to PS systems , purple light ("poor" )combos ......
    On the contrary ...The last have to be jealous of "white led " grown plants ...
    Ganja on previous grow ,reached 1.6 gpw ....

    Just some -hard- facts ,there ...
    No pdfs ,this time ....

    EDIT: Caution : I'm not suggesting on using Green/Yellow wls ,as dominant wls ...

    All I'm supporting is the fact that for plant's if they lack those photons(green & yellows ) ,
    for sure is not a " healthy " situation for them ...
    As neither is ,when those green/yellow photons overpower the rest (violet,blue,amber,red,far red ..)...
    And furthermore ...
    Total light power ,plays a crucial role in all these ....
    Another thing growing under 200 umol/sec and another under 1200umol/sec...
    1200umol/sec of red & blue will probably "fry " everything underneath .....
    As also 200 umol/sec of light rich in green/yellow wls ,will grow leafy and strechy plants ...

    SnotBoogie Active Member

    I will be adding/ consolidating shit to this thread on tuesday, deadlines/st paddys day are looming :P

    I also fired off some PM to a couple mods about a sticky... The only one to reply rejected it out of hand. I lost my temper and flamed him. I am clearly not the diplomat we need to get this stickied! :cuss:

    If one of you hombres has a mod friend...or a silver tongue....feel free to send off some PMs so this doesnt become a bump-a-thon.

    PetFlora Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but I did not bookmark them. If you drudge through the first 20 pages ~ LED Without LEDs My First T5 Grow (on RIU) you will find them


    GSCookies Member


    multipass Active Member

    I've been researching and preparing to get some LEDs for the past few months and am still looking for the perfect fit... Looking at basically all possible choices.
    I am stuck between trying high quality led (like blackdog/rhino/a51/etc), household fixtures with easily replaceable screw in LEDs, and cheaper ebay fixture.

    But this is a very small grow of 1-3 plants, and could easily be done with CFLs--but I want to try LEDs.

    What is the biggest issue/concern everyone would see with a BonsaiHero hans LED, or getting one of these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-140W-LE...915?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35c3ba0d53 -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ijWUCQcs6gQ

    Is it light quality? warranty? chance of failure? power?

    FranJan Well-Known Member

    ^^I think PSU can answer any BonsaiHero questions best but I would think the thing with Han's panel is if the plant gets too big, you'll have to bring in some secondary lighting. I think that's one of the reasons Han likes to sell you two.

    And that Ebay panel is a loser most likely. The seller is just some guy selling a motley collection of goods, so right off the bat your radar should be up. Where's his expertise with this device? That video, (from what I watched), wasn't very confidence inspiring IMO. And at that price it just can't be that good. That's where your head should be attitude wise when you buy a panel. Look for the BS and then challenge that seller to prove to you that panel is worth your time and money. See if he can get you info on the LEDs. Check out the warranty details. Ask him if you can get some recommendations by other buyers, and not some Ebay review either. Things like that will get you closer to the truth.
    salmonetin and Tazbud like this.
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