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  #1  
Old 07-31-2022, 03:17 PM
akhenenra akhenenra is offline
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Getting overwhelmed setting up an LED tent system...help! Female
Default Getting overwhelmed setting up an LED tent system...help!

I've posted about this before and appreciate the help...I'm somehow not any closer to figuring this out.

I have a 5x5 tent that I want to convert to being orchids only. right now this tent has a 600w HPS bulb in it. The orchids seem to love it, I've got good growth and spiking on all of them. However this bulb costs me around $100 a month to run, so I thought maybe it would be smart to switch to LEDs. I'm also a little concerned about the fire issues with HPS bulbs.

Here is the problem I keep running into:

I've spoken to the Botanical LEDs guy and he recommends a 48" bar of LEDs every 7" in the tent. This one:

48" Full Spectrum Plus "Spike Producers" (High Light Requiring Plants) - BotanicalLEDs

This would mean I need 7 bars, at $60 a pop which is a whole lot more than the HPS light cost. On top of that each bar says it uses 38 w, so I'm cutting my usage in half, but only if I spend $500 on the new lights. He also mentioned that I might need to run LED bars underneath some of the shelves as well as overhead to make sure all the plants get light. So maybe I would need even more than 7. I understand he needs to make money, but that seems like a lot of lights for a 5x5 tent. Using spacing and stacking, I am able to get all my orchids enough light with just the one HPS bulb right now.

An additional consideration is: my grow tent is in my unfinished basement. The HPS light is really really hot, so it takes care of any issues I have with temperatures for my orchids. My basement in summer is around 65 and winter maybe 55 or even 50. So right now with it being summer the HPS light means it's around 80 in there during the day, and 65 at night which seems to be perfect. So if I switch to LEDs do I need to get a heater also?

The whole point here was to try to save some money, but the more I look into it the more I wonder if I'm not better off just sticking with what is working, even if it is kind of a hit on my electric bill.

Any thoughts very appreciated! Getting kinda overwhelmed here haha. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 07-31-2022, 03:46 PM
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There are several questions wrapped in this.

The store owner may have recommended an equivalent replacement for the light output of your HPS fixture. But I suspect that is far, far brighter than necessary to flower most orchids. I await suggestions from others more experienced with lighting, but I suspect one bar LED fixture per foot would be adequate to flower orchids. Plants can be set on stands to move them closer.

If you calculate cost of fixtures plus electricity used for the next few years you will realize your long-term cost is lower, even with the number of fixtures the seller recommends. Do the math. I would guess your payoff would be 2-3 years. In other words, more money now but less monthly. I can't imagine elecricity becoming less expensive.

How much would it cost if the HPS burns down your house? I own one. I'll never use it again in my house because of the fire risk. Maybe in an aluminum shed. This issue would prevent me from using HPS.

If you want heat, use heaters inside your tent, rather than heating your entire basement.

Using LEDs and heating only the grow tent will lead to a rapid decline in expenditures. You need to find out how many fixtures you need. Other people here can advise you.
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Old 07-31-2022, 04:23 PM
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A picture of the setup for the plants would be helpful. Shelving inside the tent could be in several different arrangements.

I agree with ES that you probably don't need to replicate the exact output of the HPS with the LEDs. For one thing, the HPS is probably a good distance above even the most light-loving orchids, so moving the LEDs closer to the plants will let you reduce the number of LED fixtures needed (to some degree). Adding side lighting instead of additional overhead bars on the lower shelves may be more cost-effective for boosting light to lower areas.
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Old 07-31-2022, 07:29 PM
Steve83 Steve83 is offline
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My 4x4 is adequately lit with 120w LED. When I move to a 5x5, I anticipate being around 160w-180w.

I'd look for two 48" bars in the 100w range, or a COB system in the 200-250w.
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Old 08-01-2022, 08:39 AM
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Besides the electrical usage, one of the advantages of LEDs is the relative lack of heat.

Because of that, the better setup is to have them spaced vertically to provide the proper lighting for the various levels/shelves in the environment, and NOT to have all the light concentrated at the top. With your HPS bulb, you don’t have that option.

Also, don’t forget that LEDs DO generate heat. The “recovery room/incubator” I had in my cool basement in PA was assembled using 2” thick foam insulation board walls with unsealed, sliding glass door panels on one long side. Two Philips 34W lamps illuminated the 6’ x 3’ x 3’ chamber and heated it to the low 80’s.
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Old 08-01-2022, 01:16 PM
orchidman77 orchidman77 is offline
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This is really helpful info for all of us "tent growers" - and yes, no additional wisdom to add except that I also have LED lighting in my tent and the lights create enough heat that temps get up to low 80s while they're on.

David
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Old 08-01-2022, 08:28 PM
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I use an hlg 100w board and a homemade 100w cob fixture in my tent with the cobs over my ctsms and they flower no prob. I bet 2 of the hlgs would work just fine. The hlg is probably 24 inches from the top of the plants it covers, mainly catts, which flower just fine. The hlg was recommended by another forum member who uses them and I really like them.
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Old 08-04-2022, 10:11 PM
Steve83 Steve83 is offline
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Here's a current pic of my tent. (2x 100w HLG turned down to 60w each, 12hr day/night)

Aug2022.jpg - Google Drive
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Old 08-04-2022, 10:29 PM
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Beauty! I think I’ve asked you before but how do you water and how do you manage runoff? I’d like to start hanging stuff in my tent.
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Old 08-04-2022, 11:50 PM
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To water, I use a 1/2 gal pump sprayer with wand.

For runoff, I just siphon out excess water from the floor pan with a turkey baster every few weeks. With what evaporates daily, there isn't a great amount accumulating.
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