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Pollicino 09-04-2021 07:45 AM

Choosing grow lights
Hi guys!
I'd appreciate it if somebody could help me choose a new set of grow lights for next autumn and winter.
I'm growing Phalaenopsis hybrids, nothing special, but I want to do things right now and supplement with artificial light during the next months.
In a year or so I'll be moving and I plan to build a proper orchid cabinet with LED strip lights. However, for the time being, I'd prefer a less expensive and especially more space-saving solution.
So here is my question(s). Is it a good idea to use a LED bulb, I mean an E27 or E26 bulb, mounted on a standard Ikea desk lamp?

If so...
  1. How to choose the correct wattage? I don't want to fry my poor plants.
  2. And what about the spectrum? There are plenty of cheap LED grow lights on Amazon, but I'm afraid they are a waste of money...
  3. How many Phalaenopsis (9-12 cm pots) can I fit under a single lamp?
  4. What about using the front phone camera to measure the light flux? Has anyone used one of these apps and a light meter to check the calibration?

Any other idea or suggestion is more than welcome!
Thank you so much,

Leafmite 09-04-2021 07:13 PM

Technical Data - SunBlaster Lighting

I have mostly fluorescent lights (bought before LED's were dependable) and I bought one of these when I needed a new light. My plants do well under it. One day, I hope to replace all the fluorescent lights with LED's and plan to buy these.

Be careful what you buy. Some of the cheaper brands might not be safe and could cause a fire. When you see something you like, do a little research.

If you have a hydroponics store nearby, they can often recommend a good grow light.

Good luck!

---------- Post added at 06:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:00 PM ----------

How to choose the correct wattage? I don't want to fry my poor plants.
Full Spectrum is best for any plant. The Sunblaster will give you a good idea what to look for in a light...that is why I gave an example. You might find something you like better that is comparable. I haven't used other LED lights so I cannot really recommend another type.
Some plants will survive for a time in unsuitable conditions with energy already stored but they will eventually show signs of suffering if they are not getting the proper light. I grew both Phals and scented geraniums under my Sunblaster and they were all happy. Fluorescent lights take more care as they get warmer.
And what about the spectrum? There are plenty of cheap LED grow lights on Amazon, but I'm afraid they are a waste of money...
That is true. Some of the cheap ones can also be a fire hazard. And you cannot always depend on the reviews to be accurate. It is best to do research for that reason.
How many Phalaenopsis (9-12 cm pots) can I fit under a single lamp?
It depends on the type of lamp how many Phals you can fit under it and if there is supplemental light.
What about using the front phone camera to measure the light flux? Has anyone used one of these apps and a light meter to check the calibration?
I have not tried these. Hopefully someone else can advise you. :)

Shadeflower 09-04-2021 08:08 PM

I am highly dubious of some of the safety checks on products sold on Amazon but at least surprisingly I haven't heard of someone burning their house down because of a defective amazon product. If someone has heard of such a product or such an incidence I would genuinely be interested.

Shouldn't one be able to sue Amazon if it happened? Maybe it would be too hard to prove and obviously it isn't worth finding out but touch wood even though I have heard of their products causing short circuits I'd hope modern breakers are safe enough to prevent an electrical fire but I do understand the concern entirely so top of the range which has a good fire safety would be this:

Orchid Grow Lights - Orchibias

For €65 and €18 postage for a very decent 10 watt light bar.

the next fire safe alternative is this one Ardacia AJD09 Jungle Dawn Lampe, 9 watt : Amazon.de: Beleuchtung

€40 for a 9 watt light

Then lastly the chinese knock off if anyone is interested:

UEETEK Aquarium Beleuchtung Fisch Tank LED Leuchte Lampe Aufsetzleuchte 5W E27 energiesparend (Weiss) : Amazon.de: Haustier

5 watt

UEETEK 7W E27 LED Energiesparlampe fur alle Fisch Pod und Fisch Box Aquarien (weiss) : Amazon.de: Haustier

or 7 watt

Like leafmite I would avoid other lights not because I think they are a fire hazard but because they are not very good most of the times.

I have bought 6 different led lights on amazon over the past 2 years.

Some have been ok, others I sent straight back again but if you don't know what to look for in a lamp it is hard to know if it is good or not. So hopefully me pointing out my favorites helps.

For phalaenopsis anything between 5watts to 10watts is good, if it is a bit too strong it can be hung further away or closer if one needs more light.

Leafmite 09-04-2021 09:01 PM

One of our friends is a firefighter and they put out a fire from someone growing orchids in a cabinet with lights. The lights had started the fire. He told us because he knows I grow plants under lights. Poorly made electrical gadgets of any type can cause a short but lights are on for long periods of time, often when we are not at home (on timers) so it is important to buy decent quality lights.

I also have mine plugged into a power strip with an internal circuit breaker that should trip if there is a short. This was recommended to me. I have no idea how much better that is, though.

K-Sci 09-04-2021 10:35 PM


Originally Posted by Leafmite (Post 966637)
One of our friends is a firefighter and they put out a fire from someone growing orchids ... it is important to buy decent quality lights.

The lights are not the only potential source of fire. Be sure not overload the timer, extension cords, or any other devices. I had a plug nearly catch fire because of poor contact with the power trip conductors. The point of contact has high resistance and heated up.

Orchid lights, and related equipment is no more likely to start a fire than anything else in your home, but it can be if you don't take stock of equipment ratings. And don't enclose or block the vents of electrical equipment that generates noteworthy amounts of heat.


Leafmite 09-04-2021 11:46 PM

LED lights are usually safer on the who than the fluorescent and halogen lights as they draw much less power and give off less heat. So that is a plus. As long as they are of good quality and are not faulty, it is a very good option. Some of the cheaper ones, though, can easily short/get very hot.

estación seca 09-05-2021 05:14 AM

I would also recommend a heavy-duty appliance timer, one rated to handle far more amperage than your lights. The simple plug-in ones with digital displays don't last long. Get one with a mechanical clock.

Pollicino 09-05-2021 05:23 AM

Thank you, guys! I was already half-convinced not to buy anything from Amazon, but now...
I couldn't go out every morning leaving those lights on... after reading of houses catching fire. No no. Besides, many grow lights emit in the NIR (right?). So, even if they're LED lights, that's heat. And I've also heard of cheap lamps emitting UV light... no no.

Going back to my questions are your answers (thank you!)...
Unfortunately, I can't fit light bars in a nice way. The only space left for orchids is on top of a shelf in my living room. Any lighting has to be somehow aesthetically pleasant.

I may have come up with a solution. Have you heard of GEMMA lights? They are not cheap, however.

I've narrowed it down to 9W and 18W E27 light bulbs. But I can't decide between these two. What is it best? One larger light or two smaller ones? Maybe two because it is easier to direct two light sources than one?

I would mount them in a desk lamp. Is that a good idea? Or more ventilation is needed?

Shadeflower 09-05-2021 08:07 AM

way to make me feel a bit concious about a fire Leafmite.

Although I did once burn a hole into my laminate flooring with an LED light.

If anyone thinks they don't produce heat.... do not place a 50 watt led diode directly on the floor and turn it on.

That started smoking within seconds and left a charred spot!

So as I found out LED's do produce a lot of heat which is why they need to be kept with plenty of air flow.

Most people think LED's don't produce heat anymore, they do, it just gets transfered to the air via a heat plate.

I'm not an expert but I was amazed at the heat generated - was like a laser beam

But they do produce less heat than any other light source.

Anyway back on topic.

The last question has been the 18 watt or the 9 watt.

First question is can you buy the 18 watt? I know I couldn't.

So that should be criteria nr 1.

Second how many phals are you trying to light? This will determine how much space you need to light and how much light you will need.

I think K-sci has given the best answer in terms of safety. I think the price difference is shocking personally and I use the cheaper lights.

If just buying one light then getting the safest one is worth it - they last 10 years but like K-sci I believe it comes down to how you use it more.

An led light that is strong enough can be a bit of a hazard. like if you place a blanket over it.

Anway, that 9 watt bulb should be enough for roughly 6 phalaenopsis plants.

2 x 9 watt would be enough for 12.

You will like those arcadia bulbs, they are definetely a wise investment as if they last 10 years they work out as €4 per year.

That is one thin I cannot comment on yet - how long the cheaper lights will run for.

Like I tried the secret jardin led lights and they only last 2 years!

Leafmite 09-05-2021 06:24 PM

I didn't mean to make you feel any awkwardness, Shadeflower. Our local news don't even cover house fires anymore...we see a house burned down but nothing is said about it. We would not have known if our friend had not warned us after the fire.

My ballast that holds the LED's does get quite warm but as long as the plants don't touch the ballast, they don't get cooked...unlike the fluorescent lights...the first year I killed a bunch of orchids because the lights were too close. Another lesson that was learned the hard way....
Most of the little trees get brown upper leaves from growing too close to the lights, too. This is one of the reasons I want to eventually switch to LED's.

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