cheap t8's

thepodpiperFebruary 25, 2007

The lowes store in my area has off brand t8's for very cheap will I get the same out of these as I would the cheap t12's. I understand that it is all in the lumens maintenance hours and so on but i am already using the cheapest t12's I can find and my seedlings are doing great so if i can use a 1.00 t8 vs a 2.00 t12 and get the same results I would be happy. Thanks, Dale

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Most likely they will work and give out more or less the same light as the T12s.

But:
- make sure the T8s will go in your fittings (look at the pins at the end)
- there is a small risk they won't light (probably will be OK if the pins are compatible)
- and you're wasting money/light buying the cheapest tubes ($1 tubes get dimmer after a thousand hours or so, $3 tubes run at full brightness for 20,000 hours)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 1:39PM
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thepodpiper

shrubs_n_bulbs, what # on a package of bulbs determines how fast the bulb will lose its brightness. dale

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 3:27PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Dale, this information is often not shown, or not shown prominently. It may be listed as lumen depreciation but usually not since that doesn't "sound good". You will find a note on the better tubes to the effect that they lose less than 10% or less than 5% of their brightness. You will commonly find a term called "mean lumens" in tube specs, this is the output at 40% (I think) of lamp life. You want a number that is as close to the "initial lumens" as possible. It is fairly easy to find mean lumens at 95% of initial lumens in a T8 fluorescent tubes. A very long life, which is always listed, is a good sign. Look for something quoting higher than 20,000 hours and you will almost certainly have very good lumen maintenance.

All this often ignored because even a 30% drop in brightness is hardly noticeable to our adaptable eyes, but it is very significant to a plant. Fluorecent plant lights have traditionally been discarded once they lose, say 20% of their light. In practice they were just swapped out every six months or a year. Using a tube that maintains 95% of full light output right until it fails means you just run the tube until it fails which might be 5 years or more.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 7:12AM
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