Now the reason we're testing these bulbs is because they are supposedly possibly toppling the single ended, which is the standard 1000w HPS bulb were all familiar with as the best bulb for indoor growing. The reason why they say these bulbs are better, which we are going to test today, is that they're double ended design actually makes the bulbs more stable allowing the bulbs to actually have more intensity with the same amount of wattage and they say that the bulbs are designed to have a slightly broader spectrum than traditional 1000w HPS bulbs. So what we are going to do is put those claims to the test, one claim that we can't test today is that (although we might do it in the future) is that these double ended bulbs last longer and degrade less quickly than traditional 1000w HPS bulbs and they say after 10,000 hours they are supposed to still have 90% of the intensity of the bulb when it first starts out, ignited for the first time.
Here are the results of some of the test data. You can see the SpectralRadiometer readings for the Hortilux Super HPS 1000W bulb and the Philips MASTER GreenPower Plus 1000W Double Ended. You can see from the spectral graph below each bulb, measuring the relative intensities of the light in different spectras. You'll see that these two are fairly close to each other, but here in the double ended graph is actually a little bit wider. It actually has more of a broad spectrum, I would say that when it is said that the spectrum is different with the HPS bulbs, it is true, and it was even a little bit broader than what we consider the most traditional bulb on the market, the single ended Hortilux Super HPS 1000W bulb on a digital ballast.
Next we have the PAR readings (photosynthetically active radiation) for the Magnum XXXL Air Cooled 8 inch Reflector over a 4x4 footprint at 24", 30" and 36" above the canopy. In this Infographic you can see all the readings that we have taken from the center to 1x1 foot, 2x2 foot, 3x3 foot square, 4x4 square. We have these PAR readings for each light in this test available in the Infographic PDF, and also the raw data in an excel sheet. If you would like to look at the data closely you may download it from the links here.
Another interesting and informative test, more to come, if you have any tests or products you would like us to review and test please send us an email or comment here.
Keep tuned for more of the latest growing technology!
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Hello everyone, Nate from GrowersHouse (growershouse.com) here and today we want to show off our newest test that we've just completed.
Apache Tech AT600 LED Review. We are showing off a new light that's introduced to the indoor growing scene from Apache Tech LED Grow Light Company. Now this is the AT 600 unit which is much larger than the other units you've seen the AT120's available before and those were the one that were developed in conjunction with NASA about 3 years ago. This unit is now coming in called the AT600 LED Grow Light and we measured at the wall (with a Kill-A-Watt Meter) this guy is hovering close to around 700 watts of actual power.
We are going to do a spectral analysis of this light with our spectralradiometer and do a footprint analysis with our PAR meter over a 4x4 footprint. Because that is what this light is actually rated for a true 4 by 4 footprint to replace a 1000 watt light. The spectrum put in this light that was sent to us, is one that is optimized for the flowering phase although can also be used during the vegetative growth phase.
We're going to turn it on and were hoping the camera can resolve the colors in this light because it is extremely bright. As you can see here to the eye there are bands of white and red and that's how the light appears to us. You'll see in the spectral analysis is that there are actually more colors in the blues that are coming off that we can't see.
You can see that this is a pretty big light; we are thinking that is weighs at least 60 pounds and has built in fans on each side for eight fans total to make sure they cool the leds. it says it will heat the led to about 90 degrees Farenheight which is a very cool temperature for this light. This light is completely made in the USA, assembled in Apache Techs warehouse in California. The spectrum of this led is optimized to increase yields and the specific compounds by the plants its set up for, over that 4 by 4 footprint. This light is also UL approved which, by our knowledge, is the first LED grow light with a UL approval which is big step for essentially becoming a more legitimate light in the industry. Apache Tech LED AT600 also carries a limited lifetime warranty and operates from 100 all the way up to 277 volts. It comes with a 120/240v plug so out of the box you can just plug it in and it will auto recognize 120 or 240 and you can start growing.
Let's put this under our meters and show you some data.
Here is some of our test data. As you can see we measured the Apache Tech LED AT600 at a standard wall outlet at 120v. We measured the amperage coming out at about 6.4 Amps. And we also measured the wattage at 742 Watts at the wall. We have also included a ratio of the average amount of PAR over the 4x4 footprint read at the 33 points of measurement over the total amount of watt draw at the wall. To come to the calculation we added up the numbers for the 24" height and total amount of watt draw at the wall for a ratio of PAR/Watts of 31.27.
If we scroll down the infographic we can see the analysis of the spectralradiometer. Telling us what the spectrum of light is coming from this light source. You can see the relative intensity is much higher around the 660 nanometer range in the red spectrum you can also see on the left a smaller bump around the 440 nm range in the blue spectrum and you can see everything in between. This light really is a flowering dominant light although it does have those other spectra so that you can use this light from seed to harvest.
Moving down to the 4 X 4 footprint analysis we measured this light with our PAR meter at 3 different heights, at 18" above the footprint, 24" and 30". You can see for each height we measured the 33 different points of intensity and this should hopefully help you gauge how high you want this light above the canopy for a good distribution versus intensity.
Keep tuned for more of the latest growing technology!
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Hello everyone, Nate from GrowersHouse (growershouse.com) here and today we want to show off our newest test that we've just completed. The 300-400 Watt Alternative Lighting Test. Now for this test we've actually got a new piece of equipment that's called a spectroradiometer (spectrometer with optics). So this is a three thousand dollar light meter that not only gives intensity but also gives the intensity of every color wavelength or the entire spectrum that a light source gives off. It is much better than a lumen meter and even better than a PAR meter at telling you a whole story about what is going on with the spectrum and intensity of a grow light or any light for that matter. (The data it provides is then equated into a spectral graph) You may be familiar with these types of graphs even if you haven't heard of a spectroradiometer because on the side of some HID bulb boxes, like an high pressure sodium (HPS) or a metal halide (MH), you'll see a graph that has different colors on it and that is actually the spectroradiometer reading that the company has done and published it on that box.
In addition to taking the spectroradiometer readings which give us that graph of the light spectrum we also took a 4 x 4 footprint and put the lights 24 inches above that footprint and made the footprint also have a 3 x 3, 2 x 2, and a 1 x 1 footprint within it and a center reading. And we measured within 33 points within that 4 x 4 to get a really good understanding what the intensity is of the light over that 4 x 4 and the points within it. And we have posted those for each individual light. A few notes for everyone: We hung the lights at 24 inches but some of these lights are really recommended for a smaller space like a 3 foot by 3 foot space. But we wanted to include the 4 x 4 because some people are doing that and we just wanted to see what the intensity would be like out there. For example the Black Dog LED they recommend hanging their light at 18 inches rather than 24 inches so you might get different readings by moving the light but we needed to hang all of the lights at the same height to compare apples to apples. Although, in the future, we might do a different style of testing with lights that are recommended for a certain size area such as a 3 x 3 and then test them as the manufacturer tells us the recommended heights for different coverage.
Along with that we also hooked up each light to a Kill-A-Watt Meter so we can read the wattage, amperage, voltage and hertz. This is coming from straight out of the wall because it is often a little bit different than what companies overtly state. We also with this information made our own ratio, we are calling the PAR/Watt Ratio, really what the Par/Watt ration is the sum of what the PAR was given with that 4 x 4 footprint divided by the watts the light is pulling from the wall. With that ratio you can see relatively how efficient a light can be. But again that doesn't tell the whole story that is just there as another way to digest this information.
Going over some quick analysis of this information, it looks like these lights are really good for different things. What we noticed was that the Black Dog LED had not so much intensity in the center were we have the graph average of PAR over 1 x 1 perimeter but it had really high PAR for the outer edges so what we noticed was it means that it was a little bit more consistent than some of the other lights.
You might see the Kind LED is the new LED to the market, and it was very intense over the center performed very well with the wattage it was putting out but didn't have quite the consistency of the coverage area. You'll see the 400W HPS with the way its reflector is made has a pretty good and consistent coverage area. And Then the Ceramic Metal Halide light also performs pretty well having the highest intensity with a fairly consistent coverage area (comes with a 3100k Ceramic MH bulb [flowering growth], but a 4200k Ceramic MH bulb is also available [vegetative growth]. Another note is, it looks like we took the average of all the PAR over the 4 x 4 footprint and that can just give you a basis of really just how much intensity that is putting out over that 4 x 4 area.
Other than that we really wanted to make this information available so that you can purchase the best light for needs because we realize if you are going in a 2 x 2 versus a 4 x 4 you might purchase a different light after getting this information. We think this can give a better, more informed decision for getting a new light for your setup. Also there is much more that can be done with this information we just put it in a few different ways that can make it easy to interpolate what going on but we also included the raw data in a spreadsheet that you can download and you can use this information any which way, post it online make more graphs for other people that you think may be relevant or maybe show the story of the graphs and the spectrum in a different way.
If there is anything else you guys would like to see us test please write us at staff @growershouse.com or give us a call. We could even include other lights on this test as an addendum. This is Nate from Growers House, have a good one.
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Hey everyone, Nate from GrowersHouse here. And today we have a new product from Allstate Garden Supply, the Ultragrow e-Ballast Mini 1000W Ballast. Who is a product manufacturer who also makes things such as the PlantMax bulbs. And a few other items such as fluorscents and ballasts and mini lighting equipment. And today they sent us their new ballast which is pretty unique looking, if you look at this guy, it is pretty tiny. We consider this under the genre of mini or nano ballasts. At Growers House we affectionately refer to this as the iPhone Ballast...I wonder why. The UltraGrow E-Ballast mini has two built in fans on one side where you plug in your power source, and one fan on the opposite side, a last fan for three fans total as opposed to most ballasts which only have one on each side. You'll notice that on the cord this ballast has a dual receptacle, not that you can plug in two ballasts but it has one plug for a standard style plug socket and one for Hydrofarm style cord socket. So no matter whether you have a Hydrofarm, Sunlight or standard style reflector cord you can plug it into this ballast.
This ballast also runs on 120V and 240V, it comes with a 120V cord, you can get a 240V cord separately. It will automatically recognize 120 or 240v power supply, as most ballasts do.
Taking a look at this it is very small, it is 5 inches by 2 inches, by just about 10 inches. So this is very small, even though it is small it is UL listed so it is very safe. Even if you are operating with this under industrial applications and speaking of industrial applications The e-Ballast Mini is also FlipBox compatible. Some ballasts are not able to be used with flipboxs without being shut off first about five minutes before the flip starts, and then turned on five minutes after the flip has begun so actually I would say the majority of ballasts are not flipbox ready. But this one is. Along with few other ballasts on the market. So this might be a feature worth noting with the e-Ballast Mini, not forgetting that it is pretty small. So if you are flipping multiple ballasts and have them all in a tight space, you have a nice small ballast hooked up to your flip box and you can flip between your rooms.
You can see here on the top face, is the small lighted interface button where you can dim the ballast from 100 percent to 75 percent to 50 percent and there is also a status button which will show you if the ballast is hooked up properly and is operating properly. Lets get a little bit closer and I can show you these.
Here is the ballast running at 100% percent with a green light at the 100% button, also the fan is running. Here on the interface button the Status section has a green light indicating it is functioning properly and with blink intermittently to reflect that everything is ok, if anything is going wrong it will blink in red to show a problem. Lets click the center button marked "dimming key" and dim the ballast down to 75%. Clicking once dims it down to 75%. Now click it again to switch down to 50%. Click again to cycle back up to 100%.
Another nice feature about the e-Ballast Mini is that it comes with a 3 Year Warranty. Included in the box with the ballast is the 120V power cord, some nice mounting hardware so you could easily mount this ballast in multiple orientations up out of the way and seeing as how small this ballast is it could be virtually non existant.
We think this ballast could have the right look and be the right size for some of our customers out there and we wanted to show it off. Maybe its the right ballast for your needs. If you would like more information about the new Allstate Garden Supply, e-Ballast Mini, visit the site or give us a call.
Hey everyone, Nate from GrowersHouse (growershouse.com) here. Today were showing off a new product to the hydroponics and indoor growing market this is the Vortex S-Line Ultra Quiet Powerfan [made by Atmosphere] and these fans just came out, I mean this is the first day we've had it. We might be one of the first people in the nation to have it. This fan is the 6 inch version , although there is an 8 inch version out as well. I heard there will be a 10 inch coming out I'm not sure about a 12 but we'll see as we keep our ear to the floor.
Why this inline fan is special well first off you see that it looks alot different than the traditional inline fan that's actually because first off this fan is very insulated this wall is actually pretty thick I would say about an inch. and this insulation keeps the fan extremely quiet, this fan is supposed to be 20 to 50 percent quieter than
traditional inline fans. and then also makes it so that the fan prevents itself
from building up condensation on the outside, which obviously happens to
many indoor grow rooms.
Another other very unique thing about this fan is was designed for very very low power consumption, I mean this six inch version which is about 350 CFM which I would say is a little on the lower side for a six inch fan but I plugged it in and it felt pretty powerful. This one is only 66 watts at 120 volts so were talking this thing is just about just over half an amp of power usage which is great when you're trying to keep that as low as possible. [CFM calculator]
A couple more unique things about this fan, you'll notice at the front it actually has a mixed flow impeller so there is actually impellers here on the outer edge which helps move air through the fan and a smaller one on the inside that helps cool the motor of the fan so the fan will last longer and the motor won't have to try as hard. That said it comes with a ten year warranty which is basically best in class in the industry, I think only Can-Fan and Vortex has a ten year warranty.
So now this is probably one of my most favorite features of the fan, you'll notice it looks completely flat in the back, that's because it has built in back draft dampers, that means when this fan is turned off it completely seals your environment.So when I turn this on you'll see these two red flaps move open to allow the air move through. and I'll show you that here in a second. I can't believe I've never thought of this, or another fan company, hasn't thought of building in backdraft dampers into a fan. Not only that but they made it so that its removable, so if you don't want that backdraft damper in, you can take it out. not only that this fan I mean it's obviously a 6 inch flange on each side, but you can take the fan out of the housing mounting bracket, which you can also install let's say on your wall like this, or from a ceiling, if I wanted to.
Let me show you really fast, [with the easy clipping system] I can take this fan out of the mounting housing for maintenance or if I wanted to set it up in a way that will make this fan take up the least amount of space possible. So I take this out of there and boom there's your fan, if you wanted to use it this way there is no reason why you can't and you'll notice here on the end the gaskets on the ends on both the flanges of the fan, and on the housing are on them. That rubber gasket it makes it so that the fan is vibration free like further bringing on what they are calling the quietest indoor fan. Which we will have to test to make sure that those statements are true.
What I would like to do is take this fan and plug it in next to the Active Air 6 inch Inline Fan which is 400 CFM, and that's a fan that we had a brief fan comparison to see which fan produced the least amount of decibels and that's the fan we felt like did the best as far as the ration of CFM and decibles, so were going to plug this in next to that fan to see how these fans sound next to each other, to find out if the Vortex really does produce 20 to 50 percent less noise. Ok so let's go ahead and do that.
Ok so here we are with the two fans next to each other now I'm hooking these up without any ducting, and granted with ducting both of these fans would be quieter but um I think this is going to be the best way to just show them off next to each other and the sound. and like I said earlier, the Active Air fan over here in the green, is about 50 CFM greater than the vortex fan so I would expect it to be louder since the physics of air movement would actually make it push more air, with that said lets plug these in and see what they're like, because eventually were going to have to get a lot of fans together and do a decibel test so let's start off with this though.
Okay, so pretty standard six inch fan noise. Now let's try the Vortex. Its definitely a different kind of noise but it might be hard to tell over the camera because of the kind of audio it has, but I can tell that this is much
quieter than the active air. I give my seal of approval for definitely a quieter fan. How much quieter? I can't say, I'm not a decibel meter were going to have to test it. Lastly, here is the part of the fan I really wanted to show off that back damper in action, so I'm going to swing around to the back and plug this guy in and we can see the back damper end up opening up as I plug the fan in.
So that's it for our unboxing review of the Vortex S-line Inline fan and I think this fan is introducing lots of cool things to the market that we'll see come out in other fans here in the future. It's very cool seeing some of this technology come out in the indoor growing marketplace because I think it's gonna be making growers lives easier, other than that this is Nate from Growers House. Have a good one.
"Hey everyone, Nate from Growers House (growershouse.com) here, and today we're showing off a really, really expensive LED light. This light (Radiant L4A) resells for $7,500 MSRP, and that's because this is a research LED light made by Heliospectra, which is a Swedish company. Their [Heliospectra] making a light for the more average user, which is going to be quite a bit less--they're shooting for 1/3 to 1/4 of the price of this light--to introduce to the indoor growing market.
We got this LED from them, which is a 600w unit, and covers about a 4' x 4' area. And one of the coolest things about this light is that it can actually be connected via an ethernet cable or wirelessly to your computer where you can actually manipulate the software of the lamp that controls the LEDs including the time that they're on, the spectrum, and their intensities.
So this unit, as you can see here, does have four distinct panels along with built-in fans and some venting on each side. Now this LED light is what I'd call the flagship model from Heliospectra/Radiant. A lot of the technology in this light including all the software is going to be used in the light they're going to make for the indoor growing market, which they're in beta test right now, and they plan to have out around the beginning of 2014.
I wanted to show you a lot of the cool technology in this light, which will end up coming into the new model that Heliospectra will be making under the brand name Radiant LED, which you can see here. So why don't we jump into me turning this light on, messing around with some of the software, and showing you some cool tricks.
Now here's the Radiant logo, and here are some pictures of the unit including the side, the front, the back, which has the ethernet cord and power cord. Here's a closer picture of it, the panels and the fans. These are some small axial fans, and here's a close up of one of the boards including the chips. And this information we also have on our website which is the umoles and light spectrum.
So let's jump into using the software for this light. I'll open the application, which I easily downloaded to my computer. And what I do with this application is scan for what lamps are available on my network, which this light is hooked up dynamically right now so it will automatically locate it. Boom--I open up the software. Now it shows me the schedule, which is running, that means the light is hooked up and ready to go.
You see how I just clicked the description--each little section of the software, you can hit show or hide description and it will show you essentially what each parameter will be doing, and if it needs any further explanation, which you can show and hide.
There's some cool stuff, like temperature of each one of the panels here, and showing you know the description of the panels. And here's the status of all the LEDs, and you can see the different nanometers, which stands for color wavelengths that are built into the light. This light has seven and they're all at intensity of zero. That intensity of zero is out of 1000, which would be full intensity.
Now if I show you the description of the tags this really shows you that you can tag each light, say you hook up multiple lights via the software, to be whether it's your Veg light or Flower light. You can also associate a value with it so that you can end up controlling your light via a name and/or value.
So here's the coolest part, where you control the intensities. Now you can use these quick buttons down here and set all intensities to zero or 1000. Add them to schedule, and I'm hitting "real time" where I can actually turn the light on in real time with this "real time update" button. And I'll be playing around with some of these spectrums here, like right now I'm in the 400 nanometers range, so we're talking about more of the blues.
I'm just entering the value of 1000 so you can see each one of these spectrums at full intensity. I'll work my way through each one so you can see what they all look like. You may also notice that some of these color-wavelengths have more LEDs associated with them, and that's usually because they are a more important LED as Heliospectra has designed this light so that essentially the spectrum is put out with the most intensity in the spectrums that make your plant grow fastest and most productively.
Another cool thing I want to show you are these little arrows above. If you hit the middle one you'll go up by 10, the top one up by 100, the one at the very bottom and you'll go up by 1. So we're talking you can adjust this light on the fly very quickly and you can be very, very precise with each one of these spectrums. One other cool think I really want to show you, and you know, I can mess around with these spectrums here in real time, and if I hit "lock ratio" and I start moving them around it actually keeps the ratio's that I had set. You'll notice that this is more red dominant, higher in the wavelength to the right than the left, and I locked the ration and brought it down.
Moving onto the next, I'm going to get rid of some of these here. This is your scheduling for the light. This is going to tell your light when to go on, and at what intensities. This system runs off a 24 hour clock, so 21 really means 9pm in the US. What I want to do is, say at 1am I want to turn all lights onto full intensity. So I just did that. And now I added that to the schedule below in green. The black part is where I can start setting my schedule and then adding it.
So let's say I'm running a flower schedule, and around noon I want the lights to slowly decrease in intensity, so I put them at 800--add that to the schedule. Let's say at around 1pm I wanted to decrease to about 400 or 40% intensity. And then, let's say at 14, which would be 2pm I'll have them go down to 200 or 20% intensity. At 15 which will be 3pm I'll bring everything to zero. So maybe this will better recreate the Sun going down at night versus just having your lights go on or off. And of course, if I wanted to I could just adjust the spectrum on each one of these different nanometers or color wavelength spectrums.
So let me go over to the configuration tab here and show you what else we have. You can set the time of your clock in case it's not right, that's pretty standard. For some of you a little more knowledgeable about computers there's some info about custom or default NTP's. For the Master/Slave, this is cool because although right now it's independent, you can have a master, which would be one light to control them all, or a slave that can be following the master or you can have them all be independent.
Let's jump over to some other things really fast, like in this....one thing I want to show you is the information tab that can show you everything that's going on in your lights. Let me mess around....I'll just do a couple random things. This spectrum won't be that intense, so maybe a veg spectrum for something like clones.
So if you come over here you can see what he panels are at in celcius. And then you can see that the nanometers are gone and just the intensity of the other spectrums. So, that's about it. That's the whole software. It's pretty awesome--you can control the light really well with this.
Keep your eyes peeled for this lamp coming out. We're going to be constantly updating our website with information about it, the development of it, how it's going to be setup, the spectrums that are going to be available. If you're interested in this, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like us on Facebook and check out our website and our blog where we post videos like this. This is Nate from Growers House. Have a good one."
"Hey everyone, Nate from Growers House here, and today we're showing off the Bubble Magic Shaker Extraction machine. Now this can be used to extract plant material such as lavender or other herbs, more easily than almost all other alternatives. Now, the Bubble Magic Shaker kit comes with two components. First off it comes with the Shaker bag, which is a neoprene waterproof bag that is sticky on the inside, soft on the outside, and it comes with some nice handles. You then fit onto the plastic Bubble can. The neoprene shaker bag comes with a micron screen on the bottom, with different micron sizes that you'll buy it in.
They make the Bubble Shaker bag available in three available micron sizes: 73 micron, 120 micron, and 190 micron. Though it only comes with one of these, you can buy them separately, so if you wanted all micron sizes, you could easily get them. What makes the Bubble Magic unique is that it's the only shaker we know in the market that has a plastic can that helps shield you from the very, very cold temperatures of the dry ice. The neoprene is the second layer that helps shield you from the extreme temperatures that the dry ice will create inside of the can. These shaker handles also make it very easy to hold the can without directly touching it.
To use the Bubble Magic Shaker, all you have to do is put in your dry plant material in the can along with some dry ice. I don't have some dry material, but this will work fine. For dry ice, we recommend using approximately 6-10 pieces of dry ice the size of your standard refrigerator ice cubes. And we recommend having about an inch of plant material inside the can. If you can easily crush your dry ice into smaller pieces, you will increase the amount of frozen surface area increasing the speed of the extraction process.
Now finally you take your shaker bag, and put it over the shaker can, which you then zip the zipper up in the back. Turn the can away from you, flip it, and you simply grab the handles and shake it like this. Make sure you do it over a hard, large, flat area, and that's where the material will come out. We recommend an area that's about 3' x 3' or larger. Other than that, we really want to make sure you stay very careful with dry ice because it can be very dangerous if not handled properly. This is Nate from Growers House, have a great day and happy extracting."
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We're going to review mini split air conditioning units because they tend to be one of the best AC options for growers because they are extremely good at converting wattage energy into cooling power. We will review some of the best mini split air conditioners in the hydroponics indoor growing market, as well as go over features you should look for, and compare different mini split air conditioner options. So lets get started.
Mini split AC's are mainly so efficient because they avoid energy losses associated with duct work of central forced air systems, like the ones you see in residential houses. Duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for space air conditioning. Mini split air conditioners also separate the portion of the air conditioner that creates heat, and keeps it external to the area you're trying to cool.
So for grow rooms, arguably the greatest benefit of mini split AC's is the ability to keep your indoor garden a completely sealed environment. A sealed environment allows you to keep consistent levels in your temperature, humidity, and CO2. A common misconception about grow rooms is that you need fresh air exchange. This misconception is based on the need to bring fresh air in with CO2 into your grow room, which is definitely very important, but if you're supplementing with Exhale Bags, a CO2 Tank, or a CO2 Generator, and keeping your CO2 parts per million (PPM) between 300 and 1500, then your plants will grow healthily assuming all other variables are kept in check.
Some other benefits of mini splits are that they can be hung from the wall high up so they don't take up much needed floor space that your plants will need. Now these units are called mini splits because they consist of two units: the indoor air handler and the outdoor condenser. These two components are connected via tubing that allows the necessary refrigerant to move through the two units. There's also a condensation line for built up condensation to be exited from the air handler to an exterior location be it outside or another room. You generally need only about a 3 inch hole in your wall to connect this condenser to the air handler.
Let's touch on the SEER rating, which stands for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The SEER ratings are how efficient a unit is at converting wattage energy into cooling power or BTU's. It's calculated by taking the BTU's divided by the energy usage in watt hours. Now a quick note, BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. If you've ever heard of a 1 Ton, 2 Ton, or etc... in cooling power 12,000 BTU's is essentially equal to 1 Ton of cooling power, 24,000 BTU's is 2 Tons, and so on and so forth.
There are min splits for use in home or residential environments, and then there are companies that specialize in units made for indoor gardens. The units made for indoor gardens are much more robust and usually made of higher quality components because they go through more stress than units used for cooling living spaces. Mini splits in grow rooms can be on for 20 plus hours a day in humid environments and have to constantly be cooling heat sources, those being your lights.
Some of the most popular mini split units for grow rooms are Kozy Kool, Ideal Air, and Aura Systems. At Growers House we try to carry only high-quality units with warranties and ample information as far as installation and care from reputable companies.
Some things to look for when buying a unit. One first option that can be on some units is that they come with Quick Connect with pre-charged lines. Ideal Air and Aura Systems offer this option. What this option allows you to do is install your unit by yourself, instead of having a HVAC or AC service professional come and do it for you.
In non-Quick Connect units without pre-charged lines a HVAC professional must come out with a vacuum that purges the lines, which can then be connected to the two units, and the unit can be turned on. In Quick Connect units, these lines are filled up with refrigerant and the unit can be turned on after the lines are connected and the necessary installation procedure is followed. Units with the Quick Connect ability are usually more expensive and have slightly shorter warranties than their non-Quick Connect counterparts.
Non-Quick Connect units are offered by Kozy Kool and Aura Systems--all the Ideal Air mini splits are Quick Connect with Pre-Charged lines. So the Kozy Kool and Aura Systems will need a HVAC professional to install, although Aura Systems also has a line of Quick Connect units as well as non-Quick Connect units. If you'd like to install the unit yourself, you can learn how to operate the vacuum so that you can essentially purge the lines yourself, although some systems do void the warranty if an HVAC professional does not install it--so make sure you look out for whether that is necessary. If you're going to have a HVAC professional come over, it usually costs approximately $200 to have them do this, although costs may vary.
Another feature you should be aware of, is that some units come with DC Inverters that allow a compressor to operate at different speeds instead of being 100% on or completely off. Units with DC Inverters tend to have higher SEER ratings because they operate more efficiently, which helps them last longer and save on electricity. Kozy Kools in their 16 and 19 SEER rating have this feature. Aura Systems and Ideal Air do not (correction: Ideal Air 15 SEER does have DC Inverter).
Another option to decide whether it's important to you or not is an Auto-Restart function. Auto-Restart functions allow the power to go out of the unit, and when the power is restored, it will automatically turn on back at the setting you had previously configured. So without this feature, the unit will not turn on, or will turn on at its default settings if say there was a power outage. So the Kozy Kool 16 SEER+ and Aura Systems have the Auto-Restart functioning capability.
With this information, this should help you make an informed decision when shopping for a mini split air conditioner. If you have any more questions, leave them in the comments below, email, or call. This is Nate from Growers House. Take care."
In our retail store, we've had the HydroHut Tent hanging up for quite a while, and we're pretty happy with it, and it's known as one of the most rugged grow tents in the hydroponics industry before Gorilla Grow Tent came out. We though, why not run a comparison on the two so we can see the differences and highlight them, and really see what features Gorilla Grow Tents are bringing to the market that haven't already been here, and how unique their tent really is. Let's start off going over some of those features now.
First off, Gorilla Grow Tent says their tent can hold up to 300 lbs from the ceiling. Most grow tents say they can hold between 60-165 lbs. The HydroHut for example says they can hold 120 lbs from the ceiling. We actually tested this out--I myself am about 145-150 lbs and if I hang from the ceiling, the tent seems to hold up pretty well. Now let's try this in the Gorilla Grow Tent.
So both tents seem to hold me pretty well, and I think they'll be able to hold any normal grow gear including reflectors, carbon filters, etc... that you can put in them, although I think when pushed to the limit the Gorilla Grow Tent is actually going to be able to hold more weight because I noticed that it felt a little bit sturdier and their steel poles are thicker.
One of the most prominent and noticeable features of the Gorilla Grow Tent is that you can actually increase the height of it. It comes standard at 7', and we sell it with a free height extension, which we have added here to make this tent about 8' tall. Now you can add one or even two more extensions on top of this to make your Gorilla Grow Tent 9' or even 10' tall. So this tent can be at any height in 1' increments between 7' and 10'.
Whereas most other grow tents are between 6' and 7', such as the HydroHut here. What does that extra height add? It's great for letting the heat rise. If you can let the heat rise that your light fixture is causing, then it can be really great for the health of your plants because lets face it, we're always battling heat inside grow rooms, especially within closed ones such as tents.
The Gorilla Grow Tent also has another feature that is unique, which is the IR Blocker that's built into the roof. The IR Blocker is the Infra-Red blocker, that's what the IR stands for, and that actually dissipates any heat signatures that would be seen viewing the tent from the sky level.
Let's go over some of the smaller features in detail and bring the camera over here. Looking at the HydroHut lining, you can actually see there is a double lining. That means there is one lining that can be inside the tent and another lining that can be outside the tent. as well. These ports can cinch down from 8" to nothing--you can close them completely. And if we're talking about ports, the HydroHut comes with 7 ports. Even though we're looking at the 3' x 3', the 5' x 5' HydroHut in comparison to the Gorilla Grow Tent has the exact same amount of ports. And then there are 4 ports for cords.
Alternatively with the Gorilla Grow Tent there's actually fewer ports--there're 6, but their port holes are actually 10" and can cinch down to 0", so it's a little bit better having access to larger ports although there are fewer of them. We will note that there are two port holes for cord sets.
Looking in the bottom of the Gorilla Grow Tent there are three small mesh windows, which can help prevent bugs and other unexpected pests into your garden including actually mold. The HydroHut seems like its mesh is not as fine as the Gorilla Grow Tent ones. So we think the ports are larger in the Gorilla Grow Tent, which is nice, but there are actually more of them in the HydroHut. As for the mesh windows screens, I think they're nicer in the Gorilla Grow Tent. Let's move onto the next features.
Touching on the actual fabric these tents are made of. The HydroHut is a 600D, which refers to the thickness of the canvas--and it does feel pretty thick--and the reflective material does feel pretty good--it's actually a diffuse reflective material. And the one over here in the Gorilla Grow Tent is 1600D being almost three times as thick, and you can actually feel it with your hands. The reflective material they call the diamond reflective material, is as well a diffuser. It's really tough to say which one has a better reflective material without actually putting some light against it and measuring it with a light meter.
Now lets touch on accessibility. You can actually use Gorilla Grow Tents windows, which are pretty handy to see your plants without opening your tent. The front doors open as well as being able to have the walls unzipped, so you can actually access your tent from 360 degrees. And there's a window in the back that's pretty large so you can access the back without unzipping the entire lining of the tent.
Now here for the HydroHut there is a door in the front without a window. And then there are two small windows on the side you can open up. Now these windows are definitely handy, but they are pretty small--it is pretty tough to tend to your plants having windows that small.
Now let's touch on light proofness. One thing we'll note about the HydroHut is that you can see there's a flap inside here that blocks the light from coming through the zipper, which is nice, but I will say that sometimes this flap gets pushed back a little bit and you can see a little bit of light creeping through the zipper. We don't like that too much, but it doesn't happen all the time. And this velcro is here to prevent that, but it doesn't always work 100%.
Now moving over to the Gorilla Grow Tent, they've actually solved this in a pretty smart way--they have a flap on the inside as well as one on the outside that velcro's down, and we've noticed when turning light on inside here, no light escapes. So I would say the Gorilla Grow Tent is a little more light proof than most of the other grow tents out there unless they have a double flap, then they'd be equal.
Okay, so let's talk about zippers. The zipper on the HydroHut does work pretty well, which we can show you here. It's a plastic zipper, it's not metal. Going around corners sometimes you get a little caught, but it does work pretty well. We haven't had any breaks on these HydroHut zippers.
So here's the Gorilla Grow Tent zipper. This is plastic as well, but it does feel a little bit sturdier. Going around corners, we noticed, it glides a little bit easier. As far as the zippers go, although they're similar, we're going to give the smoothness to the Gorilla Grow Tent.
Next we wanted to test how water proof the floor liners are, so we poured some water inside of them--here's the HydroHut. We noticed that the HydroHut was completely waterproof. The way they put their seam in makes it so that the water would have to go over about the 4" that the liner stands tall to actually have it spill onto the floor of your tent. We were pretty happy with the HydroHut. Moving onto the Gorilla Grow Tent liner, it is made the exact same way. And it was completely waterproof as well. For both of these floor liners, if you have a problem with your system going wrong, then you can expect to have quite a bit of water in your liner without it spilling out onto the floor of your tent, and to the area your tent is actually sitting in.
Now you've seen our review and all the features between the HydroHut and the Gorilla Grow Tent, and you can see what traditional grow tents in the market, and you can see what traditional tents in the market are like in comparison to these new lines of Gorilla Grow Tents.
Us at GrowersHouse.com, we've played around, reviewed, compared, and actually sell at least five different companies of grow tents, and we all unanimously here think that Gorilla Grow Tent has probably the best quality and the most features out of any other Grow Tent on the market. So if we were going to consider this review a comparison, Growers House has decided to give this one to the Gorilla Grow Tent being the best grow tent in the market.
If you have any questions, put them in the comments below, this is Nate from Growers House--have a good one.
The Gorilla Grow Tent Review and Comparison blog was written by Nate Lipton.
***COUPONS MAY NOT BE APPLICABLE WITH OTHER DISCOUNTS.
"Hey everyone, it's Nate from Growers House, and today we got a new LED grow light in stock. Growers House is now carrying Black Dog LEDs, so we have Black Dog's complete line on our website. We decided we'd bring in their biggest unit, the Platinum XL-U LED Grow Light [Universal Series], which is actually their 750w LED unit. And that 750w is not what the diodes are times the wattage of the diodes. It's actually the draw from the wall. This unit [Black Dog Platinum XL-U] actually has 300 distinct 5w diodes, so if you thought about it that way (diodes  times wattage of diodes [5w]) maybe you'd call it a 1500w LED, but really out of the wall this one will be pulling 750w.
The Platinum XL-U is a pretty big LED. You'll notice that this is about 20 inches square, and if I bend it down this way, you'll see that it's about 5 inches high. So this 5 inch depth is pretty large you'll notice. Black Dog really wanted to have a really large housing so they could fit large heat sinks and fans to have amazing cooling capabilities. So this unit stays very cool as compared to some of the other LEDs on the market. That is a great feature for those growers looking to keep their environment cool switching away from HID lights or any other light source that generates a lot of heat.
Another interesting thing about Black Dog LED is that they use 16 different unique colors in their LEDs. Black Dog keeps it a secret exactly which nanometers or color wavelengths they use because they've spent a lot of time honing it in to match the photosynthetic curve you see on PAR (photosythetically active radiation) charts, where plants really use light most in specific colors.
Another unique thing about this LED light is that Black Dog actually has UVA and infrared (IR) LED diodes to help your plant out in the late flowering phase, which I don't know of any other LED light that has them in the diodes. For example, California Light Works has the UVB bulbs on the side, but this LED is the one that has the actual diodes where when you turn them on, it will look like the diodes aren't on. There will just be a very faint light. It almost looks like the diodes are out, but that's not true. It's just that IR and UVA are basically out of the visible spectrum of human eye sight. So if you get this unit, your diodes are probably not out, it's just those specific diodes focusing on those spectrums.
Other than that, the Black Dog Platinum is pretty heft. I mean, we're talking about 47 lbs. So still light enough to be held by every grow tent on the market, but with the construction the way it is, this is all metal. It feels really tough--pretty heavy duty. It has nice carabiners on the top so that it can hold its weight.
What I also want to do is turn it on very quickly so you can see what this LED panel looks like. You'll see Black Dog designed it to be this large so that the unit can really have a lot of coverage. Rather than have a lot of the diodes focused on a small area, they were attempting to have more uniform coverage over a larger area. For example, this light can do about 4.5' x 4.5' for flowering or about 7' x 7' for veg, maximum.
Let me turn this Black Dog Platinum XL-U on so we can take a look at some of these diodes here. Turn on the switch here. Now that is very bright. Hopefully the camera can focus in on this for a second. I'll also turn it sideways a little bit to bend the light down. You can see that the spectral makeup is very different throughout the unit. This LED has reds, blues, whites, basically everything you'd expect out of an LED and want. If I move this down a little bit you can see how it changes.
Another thing I want to mention is that this unit comes with a 3 year warranty. Black Dog is based out of Colorado. Their LEDs also have a limited lifetime warranty, and that limited lifetime warranty is after 3 years if any parts need to be changed out on this, all you need to do is pay for the replacement part and Black Dog will install it for free. That leaves you with a company that's based in the US that will stand by their unit for the life of them. They've been around for quite a long time. Going on 5 years now. They're one of the oldest companies in the indoor LED growing market.
Black Dog just came out in October of 2012 with their new Universal Series LED lights, which this is one of them. They moved all of their old units from 3w diodes to 5w diodes. So all Black Dog LED units as of 4 months ago (October 2012) are now using 5w diodes and a more enhanced spectrum. If you're going to get a Black Dog, look for the Universal Series lights. Black Dog has them going from the BD-Micro [135w LED] being the smallest unit, all the way through quite a few product ranges including:
Now that we've gone over this unit, we want to hang it over a 4' x 4' area and take some PAR readings and see what kind of numbers we get out of this here. One quick note that I will make before our test is that some of the diodes are focused on spectrums out side of the range that PAR measures. So we're interested to see what sort of PAR readings this gives off, but realize our PAR meter isn't measuring specific spectral ranges that some of these diodes are giving off. We have to take that into account. And I want to make sure you're all aware of that when you see the PAR charts we end up doing here in a second.
Here are the spectral readings for the Black Dog Platinum XL Universal Series 750w LED hung above a 4' x 4' growing area. We measured it at 12" above the 4' x 4', 18", and finally 24" above the area. And then we measured each square working out from the center, so 1' square, 2' square, 3' square, and 4' square and then took PAR readings at multiple different spaces making up 31 readings per footprint.
If you'd like to see these readings and more, click on the link in the description below and that will take you to our blog where you can click on these readings, enlarge them, view the infographic and see how this LED did in comparison to others in the market. That's it for today, this is Nate from Growers House. Take care."