Saturday, October 17, 2009

LED UFO Grow Lamp and Aeroponic Garden

As I never got around to testing either the UFO LED grow lamp, or the Aeroponic unit I designed, I decided to "kill two birds with one stone" and combine the trials.

The above photo shows the UFO LED lamp suspended over the unit, which has been planted with lettuce.

As I have this unit running unattended in a room with carpeting, clamps have been added to the cover to ensure that it does not leak. The photoperiod will be 14 hours, with feeding cycles of one hour on and two hours off.

This will be my first attempt to grow plants to completion using only LED lighting, and I have no idea of how it will turn out. There is a lot being written on the web, both pro and con, concerning LED grow lamps. The local hydro dealer said they may be acceptable for supplemental lighting, but he felt the lumen output was not sufficient to grow plants to completion. That is understandable, as he makes a major portion of his living selling HPS lighting.

My lamp is about a foot above the plants, and I was surprised at how bright it is. At plant level I measured just under 3,000 foot candles, which is a lot more than I measure in the greenhouse on a cloudy bright day! And, theoretically, all the light is concentrated within the most optimum spectrum for plant growth. I can't imagine that it is not bright enough to grow lettuce. The color of the light though is disconcerting, as if you work under it for any length of time, everything appears green when you return to normal light, at least to me anyway.

Listed below are the specifications for the lamp:

1. LED Sources: 90 x 1W LED
2. Size: 270mm (diameter) x 60mm (height)
3. Lighting Area: 25 square meters
4. Optional colors:
4.1 Red (620 - 630nm) or (660nm)
4.2 Blue(430 - 470nm)
Red/Blue/White 7:1:1
5. Input Voltage: 110 - 230V AC
6. Power consumption: 90W
7. Lumen output: 3,800 lumens
8. Height Above Plant: 2.5 and 3.5 meters
9. Lighting time per day: 10 - 16 hours
10. Average lifetime: 50,000 hours
11. No ballasts or reflectors needed!
12. Use only exact spectrum required for plant photosynthesis


1. Hydroponics
2. Horticulture
3. Greenhouse
4. Seeding
5. Seedling
6. Farm
7. Flower Exhibition
8. Garden
9. Bonsai

Additional benefits are: very little heat is given off by the lamp, and the lamp has a cooling fan that is providing a slight amount of additional air circulation directly above the plants, .

At the very least, this should prove interesting. NASA, are you paying attention?

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