I'm interested in building LED Grow Lights (or potentially other grow lights).
I don't plan on necessarily growing marijuana, but rather focusing on tomatoes, melons, and various crops in more of a Ron Swanson-esque self-sufficiency and getting off the grid sort of way.
My vague idea is a pattern of Red, Orange, and Blue lights in parallel, in front of a reflective fixture, hooked up to a power supply, and possibly using an old computer fan to keep from overheating. Part selection is what I need the most assistance on.
Also worth asking, for experienced indoor fruit growers:
Self-pollinating plants like tomatoes aren't necessarily an issue, but are there ways, without bees, to avoid rigorous hand-pollinating?
>why the different colored bulbs?
So, they wouldn't be bulbs, in this configuration, but LEDs, which emit different frequencies of light.
The reason why is because plants contain two different types of light-absorbing pigments, chlorophylls and carotenoids, which are specifically for absorbing different wavelengths of light. Chlorophylls are in the blue-green color and absorb red-orange light, and carotenoids are orange and absorb blue light.
So, using typical bulbs is actually wasting energy.
So you are buying light bulbs based on color temperature? LEDs come in bulbs or strips, so its possible to get them in that form. You can really use any computer fan for this, and as far as leds go they produce little to no heat, so i dont understand that overheating part.
A colour and a colour temperature are 2 different things. The annotations on the right give an example of the color temperature. You are not focusing on the object itself but the colour of light they give off, so that candle light would only give off a colour temp of 1800
>So you are buying light bulbs based on color temperature?
I'm really not sure I understand the utility of the color temperature scale, but this website www2.mcdaniel.edu/Biology/botf99/photo/p3igments.html has the chart which sums up the wavelengths. Most people don't need to cover them all.
Here's what it says:
Carotenoids absorb light maximally between 460 nm and 550 nm and appear red, orange, or yellow to us.
Chlorophyll b: This molecule has a structure similar to that of chlorophyll a. It absorbs light of 453nm and 642 nm maximally.
Chlorophyll a absorbs light with wavelengths of 430nm(blue) and 662nm(red)
>and as far as leds go they produce little to no heat, so i dont understand that overheating part.
Neither do I, but
Chlorophyl a & b both have two absorption peaks in the blue and red part of the spectrum.
For best conversion rates from electricity to light to photosynthesis, it is important to hit these peaks.
A blue LED around ~480nm hits the biggest absorption peak for chlorophyl b, at ~440nm chlorophyl a. A red one at ~680 works well for the second peak of both cholophyl a & b.
So combining these types (more blues than reds) will result in good plant growth.
Look at the spectrum of the LEDs you want to buy, compare them with the absorption spectrum and buy the best fit, but it also depends on what plant you want to grow and if you want fruit or only leaves. Fruiting requires higher proportion of red light.
There are also LEDs specificly developed as plant lights. Usually that makes them unreasonably more expensive, but you can be lucky to find a good supplier.
Carotenoids and other pigments are secondary, since they are just additional antenna pigments, also transmitting electrons to the reaction center, but by far not as effective.
Looking into them myself, i want to find the most efficient means of doing so, plan on making it off grid and likely DC powered. I want a 12 x 24 building that is for just food. Year round and completely sustainable (hate the hippy term but it needs to stand on its own and be reliable), maximizing food with vertical farming and hydroponics.
it also depends on what plant you want to grow and if you want fruit or only leaves. Fruiting requires higher proportion of red light.
Might it be a good idea to have a panel of lots of blues and reds, a switch, and a simple collection of logic gates that makes it so it has a dual vegetable and fruit mode? Like, grow the plant big, first, then flip it for fruit?
In which case, what are the ratios for each?
>There are also LEDs specificly developed as plant lights. Usually that makes them unreasonably more expensive, but you can be lucky to find a good supplier.
If we're only talking individuals to buy in bulkish (~50-100) and not premade panels, are they still expensive?
> plan on making it off grid and likely DC powered
someone doesn't live where weed is legal
they do produce heat, infact growers keep the lights about 12" from plants to keep from burning them.
If you go the diy route its important to have upfront capital, experience, and good fans and heatsinks.
The leds you want to use are CXB-7050's and 3590's or something. There is a CXA that should be cheaper, and other models cheaper as well.
The next thing to consider is how big a light you will need. The HLG controllers fit like 4 CXB's on them i think, and each cxb is near 50watts.
The leds and controllers are not cheap. To essentially replace a 1k hps light its around 800-900 dollars in part plus assembly. The good news is you save about 1k off buying retail and can tailor the light to your needs while reducing cooling needs/cost, and light needs cost, along with a much quieter noise and better light for your plants.
The bad news is that they cost so much and require so much diy work that peoples lights have melted on their ass, they still get hot. The other bad news is hps/mh/cfl significantly are cheaper, maybe not to run, but enough where there is a performance:cost.
Best source i have found for diy setups is rollitup forums. Marijuana cultivation has been a highly detailed with lots of information on indoor growing strategies and setups. You might not be growing weed, but these motherfuckers are meticulous in the details of what they grow.
>Might it be a good idea to have a panel of lots of blues and reds, a switch, and a simple collection of logic gates that makes it so it has a dual vegetable and fruit mode?
Yeah having good control over your lights is half the bet, get like 3 or 4 different colours, get all of one colour in a loop and connect them to a controller. Then adjust every light colour to the needs of your current crop.
>If we're only talking individuals to buy in bulkish (~50-100) and not premade panels, are they still expensive?
sure bulk and full DIY is cheapest and you should be able to find someone giving you a good wholesale offer.
see also >>882516
I'd also say that those of the potheads that are motivated enough to grow their shit themselves are at the cutting edge of LED growing.
Get on a forum and read reports for a week or two.
Concerning the sustainable part: you will need a really good source for electricity. LED uses less than tranditional grow lights, but any grow that is supposed to get any noteworthy yield on your table will consume a shitload of electricity.
I'd look for a place with a decent stream and install a small hydro plant. ~10-20kw should already power a decent opperation. Making it bigger gives you the possibilty to scale up later and also power other projects.
SO LONG STORY LONG
My wife's cat has started pissing and shitting where he wants in the basement because he is old and she spent 500$ on vet bills instead of 60$ on the long sleep shot.
The worst part is the smell and cleanup.
NOW, if I made a sizeable indoor garden, so he can just piss and shit in there, how would that work out?
How do your basement grow ops go? Expensive? Inefficient? Time consuming? Not cat friendly?
Didn't bother reading all of this, but here goes.
A town a bit south of here is famous for their greenhouses, in which they grow tomatoes.
A few years ago, they did an experiment. Well, rather a calculation, that they would save massive amounts of money if they'd switch from their regular growing lights to energy efficient LED lights, but it had the complete opposite effect.
Since the LED lights produce a fraction of the heat, and normal lights produce a decent amount of heat, they had to spend a shitton of money to heat the greenhouses, which in turn made it more expensive. The harvests were also of much worse quality, because of the LED lights, than when the plants were grown under regular conditions.
>better use regular lights, unless you live in a very temperate zone
>A town a bit south of here
Also, I figured if I were doing in an already heated house, it would make no difference, since I'm not buying a greenhouse, but I could be wrong.
>Since the LED lights produce a fraction of the heat, and normal lights produce a decent amount of heat, they had to spend a shitton of money to heat the greenhouses, which in turn made it more expensive.
This sounds extremely implausible.
Electrical heat is WAAAAAAAY more expensive than heat from natural gas.
I haven't used leds but a long time ago, i grew tomatoes (lol) under lights. I used the flourescent type tubes intended for growing purposes, which were very blue. I also used a standard incandescant flood light simultaneously for the red and it's (wanted) inefficiency provided the heat required.
>and it's (wanted) inefficiency provided the heat required.
But that's just so...
If you're doing it in a house that already heated, the natural gas heat is something like 6 times cheaper than electrical heat.
>I don't plan on necessarily growing marijuana
...but if marijuana just sorta ACCIDENTALLY happens to start growing, and takes over all the tomato space, and you tell the melons to go to hell, then hey that's what happens sometimes, right?
>...but if marijuana just sorta ACCIDENTALLY happens to start growing, and takes over all the tomato space, and you tell the melons to go to hell, then hey that's what happens sometimes, right?
It's that I have no objections to growing it. I plan on doing this mainly for fruits and vegetables, but, if I'm in need of cash or going through a phase, I'm alright with getting some seeds for herb.
Related to OP.
Is it possible to build a sunlight simulating light? I get depressed during the winter. I'd like to put an artificial sun in my shop, on the cheap. I can solder, wire, and build enclosures. Are there LED's available in the right spectrum for this task?
Look up info on the lux requirement.
I'm sure it's possible to build your own, but you'd have to figure out what kind of bulbs or semiconductor devices are in it.
So now that we can all be off-grid and pinkfarm our food . . .
What is the most vitamin and mineral rich plant to grow? I'll grow it and make it into a soup with spices so that it tastes good
Kind of a bread-and-water mentality - a hermit, eating only a single root soup, and surfing the interwebs
>What is the most vitamin and mineral rich plant to grow?
So, I've been eating a lot of these for a while.
Purslane is your best bet. It tastes like spinach with a hint of lemon, but has an okra-like succulence. The reason it's your best bet is because it will spread VERY fast. Do the following: remove some from near a sidewalk and place it in a large potted plant. Let it go to see. Next spring, spread the soil from the pot in a patch or dirt, even conserably larger than the pot. It will take over. You will have more of the stuff than you could ever need, but avoid having more than a cup a day, because the oxalic acid content will give you kidney stones.
Lamb's quarter is a bit harder, and I'm working on it, but it is REALLY tasty. Saute it and it's better than the best spinach you've ever had.
>and as far as leds go they produce little to no heat, so i dont understand that overheating part.
>The light bit doesn't produce much heat, but the circuit it's on does produce heat.
High power LEDs produce a lot of heat - they need adequate heat sinking to prevent failure and extend life.
When growing plants indoors, you need airflow via intake and outtake fans anyway - most people put the outtake fan near the lights.
Take in2 consideration how much space u want to grow in. A good led light... full spectrum, is going to do a 3x3 space n will be a 600 watt equivelent to a high preasure sodium set up. & cost like 300 - 500 for the light. Dont make it yerself... thats insane. I think maybe u should try out some t5s..
Or cfls with decent reflectors at first. Especially if veggies is what u want to do.
& fyi.... pot is easy to grow, but a real bitch to master.
>Dont make it yerself... thats insane
I don't see how it could be.
A circuit that lights high watt LEDs is about as simple of a circuit as has any practical application. Obtaining good LEDs (right wattage and wavelength) is the hardest part. Making the fixture is harder than designing the circuit. The markup on the parts for a finished product is simply absurd.
>wants to live off the grid
>electricity to power LED lights