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How LED Grow Lights Have Changed and Can be Used by Today’s Grower

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Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, have been steadily gaining acceptance since their introduction within the horticultural community roughly ten years ago. Unlike other lighting technologies used in horticulture, LEDs are a solid state device which makes them extremely durable. LED fixtures usually consist of the panel of LEDs and a circuit board (generally housed within the lighting fixture). Many horticultural LEDs contain a heat sink and/or fan to help dissipate heat and increase the fixture’s life span.

The biggest advantages of LED technology are longevity and the ability to customize the light spectrum. Plants have a heightened response to particular light wavelengths and LED technology has the ability to provide higher amounts of the particular wavelengths plants desire. LEDs are the only technology that has the potential to manipulate the ratio of these wavelengths into the perfect ratio for photosynthesis.

The first few generations of horticultural LEDs were somewhat of a disappointment to the horticultural community because they lacked the intensity to compete with HID lighting fixtures. Many of the original LED fixtures contained only two wavelengths of light (red and blue) and utilized low wattage diodes.

LEDs have made great strides since the first generation and today’s horticultural LEDs have the ability to compete with HID lighting in many ways. Many of the new LED fixtures contain more advanced wavelength ratios along with higher wattage diodes which allow for a greater penetration into the plant canopy. When comparing this technology to HID lighting, coverage is still somewhat of an issue. LED fixtures, unless they contain a special lens, are generally light-directional and the light will not spread out and cover a large area like a HID light. However, LEDs’ higher energy efficiency combined with a lower heat signature has many indoor horticulturists, at the very least, giving LEDs serious consideration. There are also many greenhouse gardeners who have had success using LEDs for supplemental lighting.

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8 Important Things To Check When Buying LED Grow Lights

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There was a time when we had to rely only on sunlight before our crops can grow. But with more studies and research, it has been discovered that, LED grow lights can help the plants grow naturally. Today, many farmers and agricultural professionals have come to embrace this latest trend.

And there is a reason for it though; LED lights offer you the following:

  • Durability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Stimulated growth
  • Compactness
  • Adjustable wavelength

There are many LED grow lights that are on sale and not every one of them really works. You can easily get distracted by different models and end up choosing the wrong LED lights. Here are 8 things to look out for in LED Grow Lights

  1. Electricity capacity and consumption

If you have to run your LED grow light for up to 10 to 11 hours every day, make sure you choose a LED light within 300W to 500W with high output so that you get good result without having your electricity bill shooting up. 

  1. Durable materials and built

Good quality LED grow light can last up to 10 years. Preferably, US products have more durable grow lights than many other products.

  1. Low heat production

Too much heat can damage your plant and give the adverse effect. You want to protect your plant even as they are encouraged to grow. Therefore, choose a LED grow light with balanced heat output that uses less energy.

  1. Full spectrum

Some plants do better with the blue and red spectrum light present. Full spectrum also includes ultraviolet and infrared lights too. With these present, your plant will have what it requires to really grow.

  1. Take your plant into consideration

There are different lights for different plants. You must make sure that the LED grow light you are going for is suitable for the plant you intend growing. Flowers need lesser grow lights than tomatoes. You also need to find out if the light will serve you for the first cycle or the total growing cycle.

  1. Flexibility and ease of use

A good quality LED grow light is easy to use and yet, very efficient. You won’t need to spend the whole day trying to figure out how to best position it. Look for the one that its light intensity and wavelength can be adjusted.

  1. Warranty

LED grow lights are very durable when you get the good one. So, if yours if offering anything less than 10 years warranty, it could be an indication that the manufacturer is not sure of the quality of his product.

  1. Good semiconductor chip

Semiconductor chip in LED grow lights is what helps them convert electrical power to grow light and also determines the right wavelength. If the light’s chip is at least up to 3 watts, you can be sure that it will give your plants enough illumination.

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The 4 Types of Grow Lights

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Of all the hardware used in an indoor garden or greenhouse few compare in importance to horticultural lighting. For indoor gardens, horticultural lighting is the sole energy source for the plants. In greenhouses, artificial lighting supplements the sunlight and gives the plants enough light energy to perform up to the grower’s standards. Whether a gardener is looking for a primary or supplementary lighting source, he or she should take the time to examine the lighting technologies available for horticulture. When making a choice, gardeners need to take into consideration the space they wish to illuminate and the cost of operation and maintenance. Currently there are four technologies used by horticulturists: high intensity discharge (HID), light emitting diodes (LEDs), fluorescents, and induction lighting.

High Intensity Discharge (HID)

High intensity discharge lighting includes both metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS). HID lighting consists of three components: the ballast, the reflector or socket, and the bulb. Ballasts can be specific to the type of bulb (MH only or HPS only) or they can be switchable, or “smart” ballasts, which have the ability to operate either type of bulb. Most ballasts are specific to wattage; although some of the newer, digital ballasts can operate different wattage bulbs. The ballast connects to the power supply and acts as a power converter so the bulb receives the proper current. The reflector, or socket, is the component that connects the ballast to the bulb and the bulb itself is the component that actually emits the light. After receiving the proper current from the ballast, the bulb converts that energy into light. HID lighting is still the most popular choice for horticulturists for a few reasons. First, this technology has been around for a long time and is used in other industries. This means there are many manufacturers which helps lower the cost. Initial cost is not the only reason horticulturists continue to choose HID lighting. High wattage HID fixtures are very powerful and have the capability of penetrating a plant canopy along with covering a large area. For example, an indoor horticulturist who is using a 1000 watt HID light can adequately cover 25-50 square feet of garden space. Greenhouse growers looking for supplemental lighting can cover even more space with that same 1000 watt fixture. It is not uncommon for greenhouse gardeners to have a 1000 watt HID cover 100+ square feet for supplementary lighting purposes. Long story short, HID lighting has a low initial cost for a relatively large coverage area. This is the main reason HID lighting has remained so popular among horticulturists.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, have been steadily gaining acceptance since their introduction within the horticultural community roughly ten years ago. Unlike other lighting technologies used in horticulture, LEDs are a solid state device which makes them extremely durable. LED fixtures usually consist of the panel of LEDs and a circuit board (generally housed within the lighting fixture). Many horticultural LEDs contain a heat sink and/or fan to help dissipate heat and increase the fixture’s life span. The biggest advantages of LED technology are longevity and the ability to customize the light spectrum. Plants have a heightened response to particular light wavelengths and LED technology has the ability to provide higher amounts of the particular wavelengths plants desire. LEDs are the only technology that has the potential to manipulate the ratio of these wavelengths into the perfect ratio for photosynthesis. The first few generations of horticultural LEDs were somewhat of a disappointment to the horticultural community because they lacked the intensity to compete with HID lighting fixtures. Many of the original LED fixtures contained only two wavelengths of light (red and blue) and utilized low wattage diodes. LEDs have made great strides since the first generation and today’s horticultural LEDs have the ability to compete with HID lighting in many ways. Many of the new LED fixtures contain more advanced wavelength ratios along with higher wattage diodes which allow for a greater penetration into the plant canopy. When comparing this technology to HID lighting, coverage is still somewhat of an issue. LED fixtures, unless they contain a special lens, are generally light-directional and the light will not spread out and cover a large area like a HID light. However, LEDs’ higher energy efficiency combined with a lower heat signature has many indoor horticulturists, at the very least, giving LEDs serious consideration. There are also many greenhouse gardeners who have had success using LEDs for supplemental lighting.

Fluorescents

Fluorescent lighting has been used in horticulture for many years. Thanks to some of the newer fluorescents that are much more efficient than the shop lights from your dad’s basement, fluorescents still have a solid place in horticulture. High efficiency fluorescents, like the T5 style, are still very popular among indoor horticulturists for vegetative lighting or for seedlings and clones. Fluorescent tubes, like the T5, automatically disperse light evenly throughout the entire length of the bulb. This is ideal for keeping young plants even in growth. Young plants grown under HID lighting (or any light source that is emitted from a single focal point) need to be continuously rotated to remain uniform. Unfortunately, as with the early generations of horticultural LEDs, fluorescents generally lack the punch needed to penetrate deep into a plant canopy for fruiting or flowering plants. Although some gardeners have had success fruiting under fluorescent lighting, HID lighting is a far more popular choice for fruiting plants. The light coverage of fluorescents is also limited to pretty much directly under the fixture which makes them less desirable for larger areas. Fluorescents can be a solid choice for supplementary lighting purposes in a greenhouse, especially when the grower is trying to limit heat in the greenhouse. When raised high enough above the plants, fluorescents can give adequate coverage in a greenhouse for supplementary purposes. However, if the garden requires more than four hours per day of supplementary lighting (like in a year round greenhouse) HID lighting may be a better fit.

Induction Lighting

Induction lighting is a technology that has recently been making headway in the indoor gardening industry. Induction lighting is unique in that it utilizes a sealed bulb design. This differs from HID and standard fluorescents because these technologies rely on electrodes which bring electricity into the bulb. Induction lighting utilizes microwave or radio frequencies to pass through the sealed bulb and excite the metals and gases sealed within. There are two types of induction lighting currently used in horticulture: induction fluorescents and sulfur plasma.

Induction Fluorescents

Induction fluorescents have all of the advantages of standard fluorescents but will not degrade as quickly. This allows them to retain a high CRI (color rendition index) and high amount of PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) for a long time. What this equates to is more uniform growth in the garden and much less maintenance. The initial cost of these fixtures is high but the gardener will not have to pay for bulb replacement throughout the entire life span of the fixture (usually 10-15 years). Like the T5 fluorescents, induction fluorescents are a great choice for vegetative growth or clones and seedlings. Induction fluorescents also have a coverage limited to almost directly under the light source. To combat this problem, some indoor horticulturists will place multiple fixtures close together to get adequate coverage.

Sulfur Plasma

Sulfur plasma is an induction technology that emits all its light from a small quartz sphere. The most promising thing about sulfur plasma is that it has the intensity of HID lighting with a more suitable light spectrum for plant growth. In fact, sulfur plasma lighting has the closest spectral light output to that of the sun than any other artificial light source. As with HID lighting, coverage and plant canopy penetration are not issues for sulfur plasma. Sulfur plasma is the newest lighting technology to be introduced to the horticultural industry and is currently very expensive. As more manufacturers produce sulfur plasma lighting, there will be a reduction in cost and, hopefully, a continued increase in efficiency. Sulfur plasma lighting could be the ideal lighting source for both indoor gardens and greenhouses in the future. Another advantage of sulfur plasma is longevity. As with induction fluorescents and LEDs, sulfur plasma lighting can last up to 10 years and will lose very little PAR and CRI over the course of the fixture’s life span.

When purchasing a horticultural lighting system and facing all the choices, gardeners have their work cut out for them. As the old saying goes “there is more than one way to skin a cat”. This could not be more true when it comes to horticultural lighting. All of the previously discussed technologies work well to grow plants. Some are more efficient with a higher initial cost while others are inexpensive and lose more energy to heat. Personal preference, an individual’s budget, and the specific use for the fixture are all things that a grower must weigh heavily before making his or her final decision about a lighting system. Some gardeners want to experiment with the latest and greatest in horticultural lighting technologies. Some gardeners want a reliable lighting system that will not break their budgets. In the end, it is ultimately up to the gardener which lighting fixture is the best fit for his or her garden.

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Troubleshooting the Magnetic HID Light System

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This information can only be applied to “conventional” magnetic ballasts. Digital/electronic ballasts, which are becoming more common all the time, have some important differences regarding internal inspection, replacing parts, and matching bulb type to ballast. If your magnetic HID light system is giving you problems you can follow a few basic steps to identify the problem.

Step One

Isolate the problem by checking on a few things. Is the ballast receiving electricity? If you plug the lamp in and hear humming noise then it is a good bet that the ballast is working. If you do not hear humming noises check the plug and the outlet for a good connection. The next step is to check the transformer for burns; it is the large, dark steel box. If the transformer I burnt then it must be replaced.

For HPS units you can also check the starter and the capacitor which look like an oblong tin can. The sealed lip around each end of the can should be completely smooth and have no wrinkles. If the ends are pinched out then the capacitor, the starter or both are burnt out and will need to be replaced.

Step Two

If you have verified the ballast is working then the problem is probably with the bulb or the wiring. Check to ensure that the bulb is correctly and firmly screwed into the socket. This sounds simple but it by far the most common reason for bulb failure. With the bulb in place check all the connections for heat and firm contact. Make absolutely sure the ballast is unplugged before touching any bare wires or connections. Inspect thee arc tube inside the bulb. If it is dark, or if the bulb is over two years old, then it could be burnt out.

Step Three

If a fuse or breaker switch is thrown when you turn on the light then the circuit is being overloaded. For safety reasons you never use more than 80 percent of the amps available on a circuit. The amp rating should be printed on the breaker fuse.

Step Four

Do not worry if the lamp is flickering or pulsating. It takes approximately 100 hours of operation for the lamp halogens in the arc tube to stabilize and pulsate less. Color changes are also normal and do not affect the life or lumens of the bulb.

Step Five

Handle the bulbs gently and wipe off any fingerprints. Allow the bulb to cool for 15 minutes before restarting the lamp.

Facts about High Intensity Discharge Bulbs

  • It is common for small pieces of glass or metal to be inside an HID bulb
  • The HID lamp must run with a ballast of the corresponding and type of bulb. For example you should use a 1,000 watt Metal Halide ballast when you are using a 1,000 watt Metal Halide bulb.
  • The light from the lamp will oscillate during the first few hours of use and decrease in intensity during the life of the lamp.
  • The HID lamp takes approximately 3 minutes to warm up and reach 80% brightness. If the lamp is shut off after reaching full intensity it will take 10 – 20 minutes before it can restart.
  • It is normal for the lamp to shift color during the first few hundred hours of use.
  • HID lamps should be replaced after 12-18 months of use. The life span of the bulbs is dependent on how many times the lamp is turned on and off and frequent on-off cycles will shorten the life of the lamp.

Safety Information

  • Do not look directly into the bulb during start up or operation.
  • Turn the unit off immediately if the exterior glass of the light bulb cracks, punctures or breaks. Ultraviolet radiation from the HID lamp can cause serious skin burn or eye inflammation. They may still work but it should never be used in that condition.
  • Inspect your bulb periodically for scratches and discard the bulb if scratches exist. Scratching the bulb or subjecting it to undue pressure could cause it to shatter.
  • Use caution when watering foliage beneath lighting units and do not foliage when the lights are on or have just been turned off. Functioning or recently functioning bulbs are hot and may shatter or crack if contacted by water.
  • Never remove or insert the bulb while the power is on
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Most New Lighting Technologies Still Struggle to Compete with Yields Produced by HPS & HIDs

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Revolutionizing the 1000w Fixture: The HSE NXT2

Although there is no shortage of new lighting technologies being introduced, high intensity discharge, or HID, lighting systems are still the staple for indoor horticulture. Most of the new lighting technologies are still unable to compete with the growth rates and yields produced by high pressure sodiums and metal halides. While many manufacturers are concentrating their efforts on reinventing the wheel, other companies are putting their efforts toward improving the efficiency of HID fixtures. This is exactly what P.L. Light Systems has done with their revolutionary HSE NXT2 1000w fixture. In fact, the HSE NXT2 could very well be the pinnacle of 1000w horticultural fixture designs.

The Design

When designing the HSE NXT2, P.L. Light Systems took everything they learned from developing past models and set out to develop the most technically advanced fixture available to the horticultural market. The HSE NXT2 has an electronic driver which allows for quiet and efficient operation. The HSE NXT2 also utilizes an all-new custom aluminum ballast compartment with built-in heat fins which reduce the electronic driver’s operating temperature by 6%. The reduction of operation temperature increases both the efficiency and longevity of the unit. Another change to the ballast itself is a hinged compartment which makes servicing super simple. P.L. Light Systems also incorporated a breathable membrane in the HSE NXT2 which keeps dust and dirt out but still allows for excellent ventilation. This ventilation around the ballast equates to even cooler operation and increased longevity. P.L. Light Systems redesigned the lamp holder assembly as well. The new single-part casting with lock sockets makes bulb changes much quicker and easier.

Double Ended Lamp

The HSE NXT2 utilizes a HPS 1000w double ended lamp which has increased light levels by up to 20%. Double ended bulb technology has actually been used in other sectors for years but only recently has been introduced to the horticultural industry. There are many benefits to double ended (DE) technology. The most significant benefit to horticulturists is extended lamp life. In fact, DE bulbs degrade about half as fast as standard mogul-based bulbs which means they can be used for horticultural purposes twice as long. The other huge advantage of DE bulbs is an increased light output level.

Reflector Options

To best meet the demanding needs of indoor horticulturists, the HSE NXT2 has two distinct reflector options: the Alpha or the Beta. The Alpha reflector is designed for uniformity and the most even dispersion of light levels possible. The Beta is designed to produce a more focused output for increased light levels.

There are many light technologies for horticulturists to choose from. High intensity discharge lamps, especially double ended bulb fixtures, are sure to remain the industry standard for some time. The HSE NXT2 may very well be the best lighting option currently available to horticulturists. If you are going to grow, you might as well grow with the best. Check out the HSE NXT2 today!

For more information about the HSE NXT2 and other P.L. Light Systems products, please visit: Urban-Gro.com.

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Cleaning and Maintaining a P.L. Light System Reflector

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The light energy emitted from a horticultural lighting system is the driving force behind every indoor garden. This is why indoor horticulturists spend a lot of time and money to ensure the lighting system is operating properly. P.L. Light Systems offers some of the best reflectors and these reflectors are designed specifically for high performance indoor gardens. Countless hours of research and development have produced some of the most comprehensive light systems for horticulturists. In order to maintain the highest level of performance, it is recommended that the horticulturist clean the reflector and bulb periodically. It is estimated that light output can be reduced by as much as 15% due to dirt, dust, and other residues that build up on a reflector. Even in gardens where the environment is seemingly clean, reflectors have a tendency to collect dust and dirt over time and should be cleaned.

In order to clean the bulb and reflector, the horticulturist should first make sure the fixture is unplugged (or power is disabled) and the bulb has been given sufficient time to cool. Next, the gardener should carefully remove the bulb with gloved hands or a cloth and set it aside for cleaning. With the bulb removed, the horticulturist can follow P.L. Light System’s reflector cleaning instructions.

P.L. Light System’s Reflector Cleaning Instructions

1.  Carefully remove the reflector from the fixture. Flush the reflector with water both inside and out to remove residues or environmental contamination. Spraying the reflector with a low powered hose works great for this step. This initial step removes the majority of the dust and dirt found on the reflector.

2.  Fill a large basin with vinegar and water at a ratio of 1:100 (1 part vinegar to 100 parts water). Submerge the reflector and clean with a very soft brush. This step removes the grime and residues that could be the result of foliar sprays, pesticides, and condensation.

3.  Fill a second large basin with clear water. Rinse the reflector in the clear water to remove the cleaning solution.

4.  Lastly, fill a third basin with distilled water. Rinse the reflector in the distilled water to   remove any hard water residues. Skipping this step could result in hard water spots remaining on the reflector’s surface. If there are any remaining residues after this step repeat steps 1-4.

The Fixture

The electronics within the fixture are extremely sensitive to dust and other outside influences. This is why all of P.L. Light System’s fixtures include a special membrane that prevents dust from entering while still ensuring excellent ventilation. The membrane also protects the electronic components from moisture. The protective membrane means a long, problem-free life for the electronics and is one of the reasons why P.L. Light System fixtures outperform and outlast other light systems on the market.

Cleaning the HID Bulb

After cleaning the reflector and placing it back in the fixture, the horticulturist can clean or replace the HID bulb. In order to clean a HID bulb, the horticulturist can use isopropyl alcohol and a clean, soft cloth. Be careful not to touch the bulb after it has been cleaned because the oils from your fingers can cause a “hotspot” on the bulb which could lead to bulb failure or worse. Using gloves or a cloth, place the bulb back into the reflector.

Mark the Calendar

Reflector and bulb maintenance should be performed at least once a year. For many indoor horticulturists bulb and reflector maintenance is part of their cyclical maintenance. In other words, the horticulturist will perform these tasks after every garden cycle. This way, the horticulturist is sure to continuously provide his or her garden with the highest light output levels possible.

For more information about P.L. Light Systems be sure to visit Urban-Gro.com

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HID Lighting Has a Low Initial Cost for a Relatively Large Coverage Area

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High intensity discharge lighting includes both metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS). HID lighting consists of three components: the ballast, the reflector or socket, and the bulb. Ballasts can be specific to the type of bulb (MH only or HPS only) or they can be switchable, or “smart” ballasts, which have the ability to operate either type of bulb. Most ballasts are specific to wattage; although some of the newer, digital ballasts can operate different wattage bulbs.

The ballast connects to the power supply and acts as a power converter so the bulb receives the proper current. The reflector, or socket, is the component that connects the ballast to the bulb and the bulb itself is the component that actually emits the light. After receiving the proper current from the ballast, the bulb converts that energy into light.

HID lighting is still the most popular choice for horticulturists for a few reasons. First, this technology has been around for a long time and is used in other industries. This means there are many manufacturers which helps lower the cost. Initial cost is not the only reason horticulturists continue to choose HID lighting. High wattage HID fixtures are very powerful and have the capability of penetrating a plant canopy along with covering a large area. For example, an indoor horticulturist who is using a 1000 watt HID light can adequately cover 25-50 square feet of garden space. Greenhouse growers looking for supplemental lighting can cover even more space with that same 1000 watt fixture. It is not uncommon for greenhouse gardeners to have a 1000 watt HID cover 100+ square feet for supplementary lighting purposes. Long story short, HID lighting has a low initial cost for a relatively large coverage area. This is the main reason HID lighting has remained so popular among horticulturists.

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Premium Lighting Systems for Indoor Horticulture

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Of all the components that make up a successful indoor garden none are as important as the horticultural lighting. Although it is a combination of many variables that ultimately determines the success of a horticulturist, the single component responsible for providing the energy for growth comes from the horticultural lighting. One of the most important parts of a lighting system is the reflector. It was not long ago that indoor horticulturists hung bare bulbs in a large room and let things grow wild. As more advanced light reflection technologies were developed, indoor horticulturists started to pay closer attention to the light energy and how to maximize its use in the grow room. Although the first few generations of reflectors would be considered inefficient by today’s standards, they were a big step forward from hanging bare bulbs. Reflectors, like other hardware used by indoor horticulturists, have evolved rapidly, especially in the last 10 years or so. One company that stands out in terms of research and development is P.L. Light Systems.

P.L. Light Systems develops and manufactures innovative fixtures, lamps and reflectors designed to optimize light distribution. P.L. Light Systems realizes that different crops have different lighting needs and so they have developed multiple reflectors for varying crops and applications. All of P.L. Light System’s reflectors are high performance reflectors and are a product of extensive research and development. Each reflector has its own associated applications and specific properties. When examining a P.L. Light reflector it doesn’t take a light scientist to see that these reflectors would outperform the boxy reflectors commonly sold within the industry. Remember, a reflector with corners means a reflector with dead spots. This equates to less light reaching the plant canopy.

As our knowledge of plant physiology has increased, the way we measure and calculate light energy relative to plants has changed. Until fairly recently the indoor horticulture community viewed lumens per area or watts per square meter as a valid way to calculate light intensity. It has now become almost common knowledge that plants do not see light in the same way humans do. There are particular wavelengths of light that affect photosynthesis and those don’t necessarily correspond to the light that the human eye is sensitive to. In other words, we have learned that lumens are for humans and that photo synthetic active radiation (PAR) is what horticulturists should be concerned with. For indoor horticulturists, one of the most accurate representations of light energy is expressing the amount of micromoles (µmoles) per meter squared.

Unfortunately, providing cutting-edge light calculations is not common practice for most lighting manufacturers. Few companies understand the need for high quality equipment and comprehensive lighting advice. Many indoor horticulture companies sell products that are generic and not tailored to any specific purpose. Companies that sell the same outdated technologies make companies like urban-gro stand out even more. Not only is urban-gro a licensed distributor of P.L. Light Systems but they also provide custom light plans to help their customers achieve the optimal light levels for their indoor gardens. The detailed light plan can be developed for a specific crop and a given space  New indoor gardeners looking to set up their garden or experienced growers looking to retrofit their growing facility should visit Urban-gro.com to take a closer look at P.L. Light Systems. Urban-gro will provide a scientific light calculation which includes a light uniformity percentage and average micromoles at a given distance from the light source. In other words, a grower will know exactly how much usable light will be reaching the plant canopy.

The more information a grower can gather about a light fixture’s light energy output, the more efficiently the garden can be set up. Comprehensive light plans, like those offered by urban-gro, help growers maximize return and fully understand the variables that go into optimizing an indoor horticultural lighting system. After all, Isn’t it a functioning lighting system that drives the production of any indoor garden? Growers who set up their horticultural lighting in the most efficient way possible are sure to receive abundant yields and the highest return on their investments.

Do your homework. If you have questions feel free to contact urban-gro. Don’t your plants deserve the best?

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Why High Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights Remain Popular

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High intensity discharge lighting includes both metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS). HID lighting consists of three components: the ballast, the reflector or socket, and the bulb. Ballasts can be specific to the type of bulb (MH only or HPS only) or they can be switchable, or “smart” ballasts, which have the ability to operate either type of bulb. Most ballasts are specific to wattage; although some of the newer, digital ballasts can operate different wattage bulbs. The ballast connects to the power supply and acts as a power converter so the bulb receives the proper current.

The reflector, or socket, is the component that connects the ballast to the bulb and the bulb itself is the component that actually emits the light. After receiving the proper current from the ballast, the bulb converts that energy into light. HID lighting is still the most popular choice for horticulturists for a few reasons. First, this technology has been around for a long time and is used in other industries. This means there are many manufacturers which helps lower the cost. Initial cost is not the only reason horticulturists continue to choose HID lighting.

High wattage HID fixtures are very powerful and have the capability of penetrating a plant canopy along with covering a large area. For example, an indoor horticulturist who is using a 1000 watt HID light can adequately cover 25-50 square feet of garden space. Greenhouse growers looking for supplemental lighting can cover even more space with that same 1000 watt fixture. It is not uncommon for greenhouse gardeners to have a 1000 watt HID cover 100+ square feet for supplementary lighting purposes. Long story short, HID lighting has a low initial cost for a relatively large coverage area. This is the main reason HID lighting has remained so popular among horticulturists.

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