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  #1  
Old 05-07-2017, 08:44 AM
Manu Manu is offline
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High CRI White LED vs CFL Male
Default High CRI White LED vs CFL

Hey everyone,

I've been trying to find an answer without creating a new post, but most information on LED is regarding the Blue Red type.

I currently grow under E27 CFL 5000k bulbs, not specialized bulbs, just regular Walmart 13W CFL Daylight bulbs. I'm getting great results so far with all plants growing and setting spikes in record times (compared to previous windowsill setup).

I'm setup on shelves, 8 bulbs 1 feet a part. Everything is painted white and shelves are glossy white to help reflect light. Bulbs are 6 to 12 inch from plant canopy, but that is fully adjustable. I attached a pick of the setup to help visualize things.

I want to switch to LED as I don't feel like having to switch CFLs every 6 months to a year for cost and environmental reasons. Electricity consumption is not a factor for me, as we have access to clean and dirt cheap electricity here in Quebec...

I purchased LED made for plants that have a combination of blue and red. I can't stand the light color, as my growing area is also our family living room... Anyway the plants look horrible under that light.

My question is simple, even though I know light is a very complex subject. Some will want to go into technical details which I'm not interested in to be quite honest.

Can I get similar results with white LED lights then what I'm currently getting with my cheap CFL lights?

I'm looking into purchasing high CRI (90+) 5000k 10W or more white LED light, to replace the CFL s.

My other concern is that CFL create heat, which helps increase the temps around the plants without increasing the room temperature too much, which for me, seems to be beneficial especially with cold winter months when the room temp is around 21 all day but plants would prefer a few extra degrees during the day and a slight drop at night, CFL provide me those temp differential economically.. I'm assuming LED won't provide any of that heat, at least nothing compared to the CFLs?

Thanks
Emmanuel
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Last edited by Manu; 05-07-2017 at 09:17 AM..
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2017, 09:46 AM
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Salixx Salixx is offline
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First, let me say, I love your set-up! Don't tell my boyfriend... but you've given me ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manu View Post
My question is simple, even though I know light is a very complex subject. Some will want to go into technical details which I'm not interested in to be quite honest.
You sound like me when I was looking into LED. I ended up just trying things and seeing how my plants responded. I went with regular LED bulbs starting about a year ago. CFLs are getting hard to find in my area and I didn't want to deal with all the things that come with them.

I use a lot of the daylight LED bulbs (5000k) 60 watt equivalent and have had pretty good success. I primarily grow Pleurothallids, but have bloomed several under these. My Schoenorchis fragrans, which is a higher light plant, has also bloomed under these.

So, a simple answer is that I have found that they work and they work quite well. I will say a few things.

First, I always remove the plastic bulb that comes with them. This is meant to redirect light all over a room (in the home) but reduces the amount of light my plants actually get.

Next, you will likley have to adjust distance from plant to bulb. I have found that light from LEDs is stronger (?), I guess. I have to keep lower light plants farther away then what my light meter reads or they turn completely purple (or yellow, for the Masdevallias). A lot of this will depend on the power of the LED you get. I only use 60 watt equivalents, but I use them in a socket adapter so I have three bulbs close together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manu View Post
My other concern is that CFL create heat, which helps increase the temps around the plants without increasing the room temperature too much, which for me, seems to be beneficial especially with cold winter months when the room temp is around 21 all day but plants would prefer a few extra degrees during the day and a slight drop at night, CFL provide me those temp differential economically.. I'm assuming LED won't provide any of that heat, at least nothing compared to the CFLs?
That is correct. They will not get nearly as hot (though the base will get hot enough to burn your fingers, so they still get hot!). I wouldn't count on them for heat differentials. However, if you wanted to go the LED route but that is a concern, you could look into seedling heat mats. Alternatively, you could potentially drop the temperature at night. I set my heater to 60F at night (~15.5) to get my temperature differences.
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  #3  
Old 05-07-2017, 07:51 PM
Manu Manu is offline
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Thanks for sharing your experience Salixx. :-) I won't tell your BF, but I think it would be hard to hide such a structure from him lol

Someone else replied before but removed his comment?? Didn't have time to read the entire thing but seemed to say was getting similar results with the white LEDs the CFLs as well.

That's great news I'll start shopping for new bulbs!

I also noticed that I can't give the plants the full suggested FC or they get a tan. My Phal Lindenii grew some really compact purple leaves but seems to like it, it's already growing a spike and finished blooming in March. It's getting about 400 FC.. My equestris is getting red pigmentation at about 400 FC as well. Cornu Cervu seems to be enjoying 1000 FC. My Draculas around 250 FC and blooming non stop... Anyway far from the suggested figures!

I can't add heatmats, well I could but don't want apparent wires... I'll drop nights temps but then I have some warm growing phals that might disagree with that.. bellinas Violacea cornucervi etc... That will be a problem for fall, for now I'll try to enjoy the upcoming warm months. I might keep a few CFLs for heat around to add heat for my warm growers...
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  #4  
Old 05-08-2017, 10:49 AM
marylandmike marylandmike is offline
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Beautiful display. How do you handle humidity?
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:58 AM
Manu Manu is offline
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Quote:
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Beautiful display. How do you handle humidity?
I shower with the door open LOL

That and spagnum moss helps with humidity

I'm able to maintain 50% minimum in winter with the heating. With no heating the growing zone is around 65%. Montreal air is generally pretty humid, year round, helps a lot.
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Old 05-09-2017, 08:22 AM
Optimist Optimist is offline
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It is an ultra cute set up, but I also noticed that the plants are low light plants any way. I bring my plants spring/summer/fall outside because they are the high light plants. I leave brachy paphs and phalenopsis inside for the most part.

White light "includes" the red/blue spectrums. It also has wavelengths that are unnecessary to plants. Remember that in light wave physics, white is the addition of all colors, while only in painting black is the addition of all colors. I think many people "mix" white with blue/red to get less of a purple color. LEDs do not produce heat. I love them for that.
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  #7  
Old 05-09-2017, 09:09 AM
Manu Manu is offline
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Thanks yes you are correct most plants are low light, but I am trying a few catasetums and so far are growing very nicely. My FDK after dark is growing a few inches away from the lights and seems to love it.. Also have a vanilla Planifolia growing crazy roots since I hang him on the wall just 2 in below the lights. I'm measuring over 3000 FC just below the light so I think that's more then enough for almost any Orchid.

I also have a huge bay window 12 feet from the wall, which when measuring with my light meter provides close to nothing at shelves level but I'm sure it still helps.
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Old 07-06-2017, 02:43 PM
DesignerofBeauty DesignerofBeauty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salixx View Post
First, let me say, I love your set-up! Don't tell my boyfriend... but you've given me ideas
Same here! Could you tell us how you set this up? I'm interested to see how you powered the individual lights, and how you hid the main power cords (if that makes sense).
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:58 PM
Manu Manu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesignerofBeauty View Post
Same here! Could you tell us how you set this up? I'm interested to see how you powered the individual lights, and how you hid the main power cords (if that makes sense).
I'm glad this inspired some of you!! If I'd knew, I would of picture documented the whole process. I probably have a few pics I can dig up of the process..

That wall intially had two wall light fixtures, therefore I already had a live wire coming from the electrical panel as well as a light switch. Next to that light switch there was a second switch that controlled the electrical outlets in that room to allow connecting table lamps or any other lamp and controlling them with a switch.

I connected the wires in the box to give continuous live power to the electrical outlets, basically like any regular outlet that is not controlled with a switch. I disconnected the wire going towards the 2 wall lights, removed the light fixtures, filled the holes, plastered, etc. That basically freed the electrical box of any switch. Those steps here are particular to the setup I previously had.

You could do this on an empty wall but would need to bring a live wire to an electrical box. Please consult an electrician if you don't know what you are doing :-)

I fished (pass inside the wall) 2 new wires from that now empty box up to the beginning of my gas metal piping structure. Those 2 wires are then connected to 2 switches in that box. One switch is a light timer switch made by Honeywell. Allows you to program turn on and off time etc all on a LCD screen. Second switch is standard dimer switch.

I built mine with 2 circuits. One for ambiance lighting as I had no more source of light in my living room, one circuit for the grow lamps.

You could do the same setup with only grow lamps, you would then only need one circuit and fishing only one wire.

You absolutely need to ground the metal piping structure. I can't stress this point enough. You could cause a fire if you skip this step. To ground the metal piping you simply use the ground wire from one of the 2 wires bring it out a screw hole of the flanges and screw it in place. Once again, if you're not sure what you're doing, consult an electrician!

So at this point, you have the light switches connected to 2 wires that go up in the wall and exit from the hole where your structure will start. Those 2 wires will feed the electricity to to the lights in the structure.

For the metal structure, I suggest you build it and only once you are satisfied and it's finished you pass the wires inside that will power the bulbs. To do so, you'll need to undo your structure and pass the wire from light to light making your connections with electrical marrettes. You can then connect the wire from your metal structure to the wires from the light switch.

The last step is then to connect the light socket to the wire coming out for every light. In my case, I used pendant cord silicon e26 sockets sold from eBay. Was the cheapest option and I liked the look.

I can try to make a small guide with images if anyone wants to build one, just let me know!

The metal piping structure can be quite heavy, you need at least 2 people to install it as one person needs to hold it while the other connects the wires coming from the switches to the wires coming out of the metal piping.

Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be glad to help.

On a side note, I was at my Ikea this past week and found some par30 10W e26 LED full spectrum grow lights "Vaxer" series. Those lights are amazing!! I measured over 3000 FC at 12 inches from the light. They do have some red LEDs but lots of white and I'd say the light looks very white, barellly see the red tint. I'm testing 2 right now above my Catasetinaes and Oncidum and will probably switch out all my lights down the road. Only 13$ CAD a piece! My Catasetinaes were growing nicely under the CFLs but I was struggling to give them enough light. The CFL loses lots of output quickly, while that bulb speards light very well. Even under the leaves shade I read 500 600 700 FC, under CFL it would drop to 100-200. So far really impressed! I think this opens the door to catleya and other high light plants.
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:17 PM
Manu Manu is offline
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Found a few pictures on my phone that might help understand some of what I explained...

First image you can see the "dry run" where I built and tested the structure on the wall.

Second is after I fished the wires (you can see them exiting the hole top left). Still have the old switches on that picture.

3rd you can see the metal structure is all wired up. You'll notice the 2 circuits (one with white wire, other is in black).

4th is once all electricity work is done.

5th is with one circuit on.

6th both circuits on.

Hope this helps!
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Last edited by Manu; 07-06-2017 at 10:40 PM..
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