Aeroponics and LEDs

ledaeroNovember 20, 2006

I have some experiments going with Aeroponics and LED lighting. I've managed to build a couple of real easy to maintain simple aeroponic machines from scratch. They are working great! The LED lights seem to be working fantastic. Real nice on the eyes, no heat and cheap Elec bill. These are a combination of scrounged/homemade lights. I threw some quick photos up at

I have found that real "LED Grow Lights" sold for this purpose are way too expensive. My lights I am using have the same ratings for much lower $$. I am baffled why "LED grow lights" are so expensive when the parts and bulbs, etc are available very reasonably.

The tomatoes and peppers were started from seed in the machine Oct 7th. I have about 8 little peppers now and plenty of tomato flowers. Is this a good grow rate?

The first box I built I put 8 pots in it. Way too many. Should have been 4 or 5 tops. Thus, I put up the second one and transplanted some from the first to the second. Had a lot of pruning to do as the crowded conditions did bad things. I'm hoping the transplant/pruning doesn't hurt them too much.

I feel good about the success I've had being this is the first time I've ever grown anything except in dirt and the designs and handicraft work are all mine.

I'm interested in your opinions and if anyone has done anything similiar and what results you've had both with homebuilt Aeroponics and LED lighting

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Hey, the pics are very cool, but how about some information on the lights. I am in the process of ordering a few hundred LEDs (red, blue and yellow), and would be interested in what you are doing, and how you are powering them. I agree on the price, but not everyone is handy with a soldering iron, and DC power supplies and voltage regulators. I want to develope a small prototype that is easly produced so others can do the same. LED lights would be great for a solar system, as they can be powered by batteries.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 9:28PM
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I too have made areopnic systems from scratch based on the designs I've seen and used.I would b interested also in your LED light project.I'd love to know where you got the material for them. I don't know how the yeild is for you peppers comares to others but if you are as handy with the hydro and led projects you should have no problem with a CO2 injection system. I have wiing scmatics and part # to build these systems if amyone is interested.The yeild increase makes it worth doing indoors over the winter....

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 10:20PM
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As I stated in my previous post, I recently (two days ago) purchased 50 red and 50 blue LEDs from for $20.00 - this comes to 20 cents per LED. I plan to created a light for growing cuttings. Personally I do not think that growing crops using LEDs is here yet. There just does not seem to be enough power output. Infact, I personally think it's a lot of hype. Perhaps with more research and higher output LEDs, this will work. I do think small intense LED lights are useful, but a far distance from a 1000W HID lamp. I have seen some of the prices for LED growing lights, and you have to be rich (and perhaps not so smart) to purchase them. $1500 for a few LEDS (perhaps 200) is a bit over the top.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 7:07PM
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I've added and will be adding more information to my website I've added quite a bit of information on the lights and where I found them as requested above.

Round Rock - I agree that the prices that sellers are asking for LED Grow Lights are way too high, however, I think that LEDs can be tuned in and it isn't necessary to pay the high prices. See my site for the added info. I will also be adding in some info/photos of things I am growing using LEDs. You are welcome to visit the site and make a judgement for yourself whether they work or not. That's all I'm trying to do...prove if they work or not

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 10:11PM
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i lol'd when i read that you want to make "solar powered grow lights"

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 10:22AM
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Why would solar powered lights be so bad?...I don't think he meant the light is outside! I think he meant the lights are inside and the solar panel is outside...

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 8:25PM
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THINK FIBER OPTICS- you can plumb light! It would have to be more efficient than solar power- but you couldn't still use it once the sun went down.

Your plants look very healthy under those LED's. Do you have any clue how many lumens of light per watt of power you are using? That would probably be the best indicator of how efficient they are (also- you are only hitting on 2 specific spectrums, red and blue- wouldn't white LED's with every spectrum in their white light be best?)

I have not messed with LED's, but in my experience the amount of lumens you can put on something is your limiting factor. I have used flourescent and HID Lights- HID Lights work better just because of sheer advantage in luminous output.

There is a 200 watt single LED being developed. It is VERY BRIGHT (and very expensive- not on the market yet, but costing millions in R&D). I think when we see large wattage LED's the entire lighting industry will change quickly!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 10:39AM
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Fiber Optics - The only experience I have with fiber is making, installing, using fiber optic cables for computer systems. The fiber optics I've seen are totally narrow banded. Have you seen something on this? If you have, drop a link in a response, I'd like to have a look.

I'd also like to have a 200Watt LED light.

White LEDs - very inefficient for plant growth. Also, you are really not getting 'full spectrum' light coverage as in Fluorescent, HPS, or MH. Usually White LEDs are a few bandwidths, (Red, Green, Blue) combined to give a white appearance.

The theory of using LED lighting (and it's a theory) is that plants only need a narrow Blue range approx 420-480 and a narrow red range 620-690 fro growth. So to try and get the irradience strong enough, all LEDs are focused at just the Red and blue that's hopefully needed.

The manufacturer of the Red Lights I have claims that each LED is 2500 MCD and the light has 420 of them, so 2500 MCD x 420 = 1050000 MCD. Using this link ( for an MCD to lumen converter it gives lm = 13198.5 But, I also found a page at one time (can't find it now on Google for some reason) that had listed a spec of 500,000 MCD for that model number light.

I have as much info as I know about them at on the lighting link in the site directory. The blue lights I don't have specs for at all except the manufacturer's wavelength = 470NM.

Usage Watts for each bulb = 15w Red, 2.75w Blue

I don't have any test or measuring equipment to verify any of this ( I wish I did), this is just what the manufacturer claims.

This is why the only way I can find out if they work is to grow plants with them and see. Check out my site and let me know what you think. I have a cucumber grow going that I plan on updating periodically (every few days or so) which will show the progress of their growth under LED only lighting.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 10:17PM
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I just found a nice explanation of how White LED light is made and copied and pasted it below:

ThereÂs two main ways to get white light from LEDs:
The first method is to combine light from red, green, and blue colored LEDs. If you get the right mix, the effect is white light. This is the same way your television worksÂa white object on the screen is really depicted using dots of red, green and blue lit up in proportions that form an impression of white. White formed this way can be "tuned" to look warm or cool by adjusting the amounts of colors in the mix.

The second method uses a blue LED with a phosphor coating. The coating emits a yellow light when the blue light from the LED shines on it. The mix of the yellow light with the blue light forms a white light. Inefficiency in the phosphor conversion is one reason that a white LED is less efficient overall than a colored LED. Some of the light energy is lost in the conversion to yellow.

Here is a link that might be useful: my website

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 11:21PM
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That makes great sense- I had just assumed for some reason that white light was a mix of all- not just a phosphor coating (fooling our eyes!). Testing equipment is expensive- I personally just have a Mil.... Lux meter to test when my bulbs are going dim- and even that was expensive.

Please keep posting pictures, your plants look amazingly healthy. Everything I've seen before under LED's looked sort of sickly, but your Cukes are doing awesome!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 9:27AM
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Thanks! I just doubled the blue lights and slightly increased the nutrients. They are even looking better now...

Here is a link that might be useful: my website

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 9:19PM
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anywhere i might be able to sneak a peek at these simple aeroponic machines?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:28PM
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I read that because LED's focus on the reds and blues only, LUX readings were not an accurate means to gage how well the bulbs were working. the article, however, did not offer any way to gage the success of LED grow lights.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 4:18PM
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Another interesting experiment, belated, from Purdue Agriculture

Here is a link that might be useful: Light Changing Experiment at Purdue

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 4:44AM
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