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.
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.
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"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."
After completing our 1000w Bulb Test Comparison Review with PAR Tests, we decided to use the reigning champion of the review, the 1000w Hortilux Enhanced HPS Lamp (digital ready), for this test. For a reflector we used the Manta Ray 6" Reflector (33" x 29" x 9"). We hung the reflector 24" above the 4' x 4' footprint and took 11 measurements in total including the center, the 2 foot square, and the 4 foot square. Before taking the measurements we let the bulb warm up for 30 minutes, and let it cool down for 20 minutes before each re-strike. The Hortilux bulb used in this test was new, but we ran it for 5 hours before starting our test. Hortilux mentioned that their bulb has a 100 hour "seasoning" period before it completely stabilizes, although it should be very similar when first lit to what it will give off around the 100 hour mark. We will repeat this test after we run the bulb for 100 hours because we want to see how the results differ, if at all. Of course, we'll post another infographic with those readings in the coming weeks.
The clear winner in this test was the Solis Tek 1000w Matrix Digital Ballast. That said, the difference in PAR readings was not drastic between all of the digital ballasts. The best digital ballast (Solis Tek) gave a 10% higher reading than the worst digital ballast (Lucius Maximus). The Solis Tek did have a good size lead on its competitors giving readings 4% higher than the next best digital ballast, being the Lumatek Air Cooled 1000w. What was most surprising for us was the difference between the magnetic hard core style ballast we tested versus all the digital ballasts. The Solis Tek put out PAR readings about 39% higher than the 1000w magnetic hard core ballast, and that is a very, very big difference.
One last note we'd like to make about PAR readings--PAR measures the spectrum between about 400 to 700 nanometers of light color wavelengths. This range encompasses reds and blues, which are the primary colors plants use to photosynthesize. Many plants also use a few spectrums outside of this range, such as UV spectrums. This meter does not measure those spectrums. You need a spectroradiometer to measure all the spectrums a light gives off, but one of those costs $4,000 dollars. Using a PAR meter is better than using a lumens or lux meter though, which only measures light intensity regardless of the spectrum put off.
Some of these ballasts have Super Lumens and Overboost features, but we did not use them in this test. Every ballast was switched onto the 1000w setting. Don't fret--we will conduct another test with just the ballasts that have 'overdrive' features and post those soon. As you can see, every variable has been held constant except for the ballast in this test.
To see the rest of the ballast PAR readings, click on the link in the video description that will also lead to our visual infographic of the digital 1000w ballasts tested. And of course, if there's anything you'd like us to test, please email us or write down your suggestions in the comments. We read all of them. That's it for today. Till our next test, this is Nate from Growers House.
Note: We did not use the Micromole ballast in this test because the manufacturer has stated they will be discontinuing them.
UPDATE: about a week after this test we received in the new E-Fusion 1000w Digital Dimmable Electronic ballast. We tested the E-Fusion under the same conditions as the other ballasts and it tied with the Lumatek Non Air Cooled ballast having a center measurement of 888--essentially tying for 3rd place. We were surprised by this because it is the least expensive ballast in this group (we sell it for about $169) and it's from a new company. We thought this information was worth sharing :) This has been added to the Infographic above.
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The new OG Vertical Reflector from Grow Lite piqued our interest when it first came out. The OG Reflector has a unique design in that the bulb hangs vertically and the inside is lined with a combination of pebbled and mirror-finished aluminum. As this reflector came out, it was said that this reflector concentrates light more intensely than traditional reflectors, making it the most efficient and effective reflector for a 4' x 4' grow area. We wanted to test these claims and compare it against one ouf our favorite reflectors, the 8" Raptor from Hydrofarm (this reflector won our Large Reflector Comparison Test).
Grow Lite mentioned that their OG Reflector with a 400 watt HID bulb is comparable to a traditional reflector with a 1000 watt bulb, so we decided to test the reflector with a 400 watt, 600 watt, and 1000 watt Maxlume HPS bulb. To our surprise, they were correct. This reflector has an amazing ability to concentrate light over a specific area, that being 3.5' x 3.5' or less. We did notice that as we worked out from the center of our footprint, beyond 3.5' x 3.5' the Raptor reflector was reflecting more light. So our conclusion is that if you want to intensely light a 3.5' x 3.5' or less, use the Grow Lite with a 400 watt or 600 watt HID bulb. This will save you money and you'll see results comparable to a 1000 watt bulb in a traditional fixture.
If you're growing footprint is 3.5' x 3.5' or larger, you may want to consider using the 8" Raptor reflector for a more even spread of light. If you use the OG Reflector over a larger area than 3.5' x 3.5' then you will notice the plants outide of 3.5' x 3.5' getting little to no light. Whatever your growspace, use this information to make sure you light up your footprint properly.
How did we run our test? -- We drew out a 5.5' x 5.5' square footprint, and collected Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) readings from 33 points inside our footprint. We used a Sun System PAR meter. To see the footprint at different heights we measured the reflectors at 18", 24", and 36" above the footprint. We used a PAR meter instead of a luxmeter because measuring lux or lumens only measures the light visible to the human eye. Lumen measurements are used for HID bulbs when they were used as street lamps (their original use), to translate the brightness to the human eye, not necessarily the brightness in the spectrum that plants use to photosynthesize. The PAR meter measures the intensity of light within the spectrum 400 nanometers to 700 nanometers, which encompasses the wavelengths--both red and blue--that plants use to photosynthesize.
The Growers House staff has had countless discussions (read: arguments) over what bulbs perform best. We decided to put our best guesses to rest by testing out a portion of the most popular bulbs in the market, concluding in one of the most interesting--and expensive--tests we've ever done. We decided to test the most popular grow light style, 1000w High Pressure Sodium bulbs.
To test the effectiveness of these bulbs we kept all variables constant except the bulb, which we tested nine. We used the Phantom 1000w 120/240v digital ballast and the OG Vertical reflector hung 24 inches above a footprint with a marked off grid where we measured 7 different points. Each bulb was given 20 minutes after firing to warm up to operating temperature and intensity. We then used a Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) Meter to measure the intensity of light in the spectrum that plants use to photosynthesize.
We used this meter instead of a luxmeter because measuring lux or lumens only measures the light visible to the human eye. Lumen measurements are used for HID bulbs when they were used as street lamps (their original use), to translate the brightness to the human eye, not necessarily the brightness in the spectrum that plants use to photosynthesize. The PAR meter measures the intensity of light within the spectrum 400 nanometers to 700 nanometers, which encompasses the wavelengths--both red and blue--that plants use to photosynthesize.
Notes--This test was very illuminating, no pun intended :) Before reading into the numbers, we have some things you should keep in mind. Bulb manufacturers admit that there could be up to a 5% variance +/- in bulb output, even though they are made by the same factory under relatively similar conditions. That said, the majority of the bulbs were within 0.01% of each other in terms of their PAR reading in the center of the grid. That's extremely close and leads us to believe that they are made very similarly. The bulbs that stood out were Digilux, Ushio, and Hortilux. Another important note is that the farther away from the center, the more the PAR measurements fluctuated. The measurements off from the center also sometimes didn't correlate with how well the bulb did in the center reading. We aren't exactly sure why this is, but we have a guess: because reflectors use pebbled aluminum (including the OG vertical Reflector) we believe that the pebbled finish reflects the light in ways that could cause the irregularities that we saw in our test.
Conclusion-- Eye Hortilux Enhanced 1000 watt HPS came out the undisputed winner in this test being almost 10% better than the next best bulb. The Ushio and Digixlux, came in next very close to each other, and about another 10% above the rest of the pack. The next five bulbs were similar in readings, yet the Maxlume bulb is quite a bit less expensive than all of them, leading us to conclude that it's the best value bulb. What was somewhat surprising was the reading we got from the Dual Arc. Since Dual Arc's are made up of a 600w HPS and a 400w MH, we expected the output to be lower because MH bulbs are less efficient at converting wattage into intensity, but we thought that the more full spectrum of a Dual Arc may counter the decreased efficiency of the MH bulb. We were wrong and it seems that the HPS bulbs still produce more intensity in the spectrum plants use to photosynthesize than Dual Arc bulbs.
What we did to test these lights against each other was put them over a grow area. That grow area was 3' x 3.' Within that 3' x 3' area, we put a 2' x 2' square, a 1' x 1' square, and a point in the middle. What we really wanted to do was test out what kind of PAR readings or Photosynthetically Active Radiation readings these lights were giving out at different heights above this 3' x 3' footprint. We measured them at 12", 18", and 24" above the footprint.
When we took our readings, we took them at the center, and then these different point on every single square. That ended up giving us quite a few readings that you can see in the infographic pasted below in the comments section. Many people may ask why we didn't test the lumens for these LEDs. That's because lumens are for measuring the intensity of light as visible to the human eye. What we really wanted to measure was the spectrum that plants use to photosynthesize. So that's what the PAR meter did versus measuring something that could be outside of the spectrum that plants use to photosynthesize. So let us jump into the video so you can see how we ran the test with some of these lights.
Okay, now taking a look at this infographic, which you can find a link to below, it seems like the light that came out best was California Light Works SolarFlare 200w Full Cycle unit giving us some of the highest PAR readings out of all of these lights. It also covered a pretty good area, although we did see that once you get up higher that the ProSource and the Haight Solid State did make up a little bit of ground on the California Light Works unit when you're talking about 18" up or 24" up and in those 2' and 3' squares. Another surprise was the Kessil because it's quite a bit lower in wattage than these units, it actually did perform pretty well. So on a watt-per-watt basis, we think the Kessil is also a very strong unit.
All this data is readily available to you in the infographic. Do what you will with these numbers. We realize that some people may be looking for a smaller footprint with their LED versus some people just want the largest footprint with the most coverage. We just want to make this information available so that you can make an informed purchasing decision. This is Nate with Growers House, have a good one."
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At Growers House we wanted to know how well reflectors emit light in comparison to each other. So this is what we did: We chose three of the most popular large reflectors on the market, drew out a 5.5' x 5.5' square footprint, and collected Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) readings from 13 points inside our footprint.
How did we run our test? - We ran it using a Sun System PAR meter. We used this meter instead of a luxmeter because measuring lux or lumens only measures the light visible to the human eye. Lumen measurements are used for HID bulbs when they were used as street lamps (their original use), to translate the brightness to the human eye, not necessarily the brightness in the spectrum that plants use to photosynthesize. The PAR meter measures the intensity of light within the spectrum 400 nanometers to 700 nanometers, which encompasses the wavelengths--both red and blue--that plants use to photosynthesize.
We hung each of these reflectors over our 5.5' x 5.5' area and took PAR readings at designated points. We measured each of these lights at three different heights: 24", 36", and 48." We used a 1000w Agrosun HPS bulb with 146,000 initial lumens. We used this bulb on a Quantum 1000w digital ballast. Before measuring each reflector, we let the bulb warm up for 30 minutes to reach its normal operating intensity.
Final Notes - We attached athe raw data collected to this test below, and although we have added some meaning to those numbers, we realize that much more can be done with them. If you feel so inclined, please make more meaning of the numbers below by whatever creative means you think up. The more knowledge we have for indoor growing, the better growers we'll all be.