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We've gotten so many requests for a footprint review of the California Lightworks Solar Storm 800w LED grow lights that we just had to test it. Plus, from what kind of growth and yield we saw out of plants in our retail store under this light, we had to see the numbers this light put out for ourselves. Check out our unboxing review of the Solar Storm 800w unit if you're unfamiliar with it.
If you're not familiar with the way we do footprint and PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) test here at Growers House, then read this paragraph--if you've already know what we're talking about, skip this paragraph. We use a Sun System Handheld PAR meter over a 4' x 4' footprint drawn out with a 3' x 3', 2' x 2', 1' x 1', and center point within it. 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. By measuring 33 different points within the 4' x 4' grow area footprint with the PAR meter, we feel as though we're able to gather an understanding of what the intensity of a light is within the spectrum that plants use to photosynthesize.
What can we say about this test? So far this is the most intense LED we've ever tested. It puts out intensity equal to that of a 1000w HPS (high pressure sodium) grow light in a Raptor 8" Reflector in the center at 24" above the grow area, which just happens to be the reflector that won our Large Reflector Shootout Test. Considering you can get this LED closer to your plants than a 1000w HID that creates abut 40% more heat, you can easily see how this LED will be able to sufficiently light a 4' x 4' area and give plants the spectrum and intensity they need.
From our test we believe that the best height for this light above your canopy is either 18" or 24", with more intensity yet less coverage at 18", and vice versa at 24". Once you get outside of 24", no matter the height, you're going to see a good drop off in intensity. For this reason we believe the true footprint of this light is 4' x 4', but not necessarily large unless you run multiple units next to each other. This unit does come with two 20w UVB bulbs built in with switch on the unit to turn them on and off separately. The UVB bulbs are between 285-315 nanometers in terms of spectrum, which makes their output outside of the PAR range of our meter (400-700nm). We did have the UVB bulbs on during the test, and we also had the unit turned to the Bloom setting as opposed to the Veg setting that the unit also has.
Please write in and let us know if there are any other test of lights you'd like us to run.
Other LED Footprint PAR Tests:
Stealth Grow SG 1250 High Output LED Grow Light
Hydro Grow LED Penetrator 336x-PRO LED Grow Light
Small LED Shootout: California Lightworks v. Kessil v. Haight Solid State v. Prosource>