Tuesday, October 27, 2009
UFO LED grow lamp trial - first week's growth
The first week's vegetative growth rate using the UFO LED grow light and aeroponic system is pretty impressive. So much so, that I have ordered another UFO LED, and they will replace my compact fluorescent lights. The compact fluorescent lights will be relegated to supplemental lighting duty in the greenhouse. In addition to the energy savings there is a significant savings in bulb replacement, and using the compacts for supplemental lighting will greatly reduce bulb replacement costs.
The new 90 watt UFO light is a full spectrum light and will contain 10 warm white LEDs in addition to the red and blue LEDs. It was pleasing to find that the prices are considerably less than they were last year.
There are still conflicting opinions concerning LED lighting online, but I am now a firm believer. The following are simply presented for informational purposes:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Recent advancements in LEDs have allowed for the production of relatively cheap, bright and long lasting grow lights that emit only the colors of light required for plant growth. These lights are attractive to indoor growers since they do not consume as much power, do not require ballasts, and produce a fraction of the heat of HID lamps. The lamps consist of arrays of many wide-spectrum red and a few narrow-spectrum blue LEDs of specific wavelengths. The arrival of the most recent generation of High Power based LED grow lights makes the application of LED grow lights to a wide range of crop types possible. It should be pointed out that there is no peer reviewed scientific evidence supporting the claims of higher growth rate using LED grow lights versus HID lighting.
However, luminous efficiency is not applicable to plant growth since it is based on what wavelengths humans see best. A plant is, for example very sensitive to far-red, while humans can barely see that wavelength. Therefore, LEDs can be more efficient for plant growth, while their lumnious efficiency is lower compared to other solutions. 
The statement regarding lumnious efficiency caught my attention, as both the local hydro dealer and the the pot forums are comparing 400 and 600 watts to 90 watts, and saying "a watt of power is a watt of power and 90 watts does not produce like 400 watts." Yeah, a lot of the power going into HPS goes into generating heat, and more power must be used to dissipate the heat with ventilation equipment!
I have measured the foot candles at plant level and they are certainly acceptable. Just looking at the lettuce in the photo; you can see that the plants are not leggy at all, which is a sure sign of adequate lighting levels. The lights are so bright that you can not look directly at them, and that should convince anyone that they are not toys.
Using professional nutrients purchased from a greenhouse supply reduced my nutrient costs to less than twenty dollars for the entire summer season. Now, I am reducing my energy costs substantially. It does not get much better than this....