hps grow lights or led grow lights?

tflintonMay 11, 2008


I've been growing with fluoro's for a while and i've had some great success, most of my smaller pepper plants (habanero, jalapeno, banana), herbs and onions, lettuce have done fine under them however my tomatoes, larger peppers and cucumbers are starting to grow out of the area I have available for them.

I've decided to go the HPS/LED route and see if I can get these guys growing better under these new lights. I need about a 3x3' (9 sq. foot) area for the system and i've debated buying a 400 watt HPS system for about a 100 bucks.

I looked into recommendations on the LED's and found some great experiments on www.greenpipelane.com but the one that seemed to have success, the pryocon 1000 is 600 dollars and you don't get the system for another 3 months!

I like the idea of LED's because of the heat control and lower wattage but i'm concerned about two things

1. What reputable manufactures and products should I buy?

2. Can a comparable LED grow light to an HPS 400 watt system be found for at least under 200 bucks?

3. Are LED's really as good as grow lights as HPS (albeit the greenpinelane site seems to demonstrate their abilities quite well).

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P.s. could maybe five of these LED spot lights form HTG do the same as a 400watt HPS system?


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 5:55PM
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Hm, 600 bucks is a little steep for my taste. I think i'm going to get a Hortilux 400w Super HPS with an electronic ballast.

Anyone have any experience with these bulbs? I'm planning on growing fully off of this light, mostly vegetables from seeds.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 3:10PM
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If you are looking for a LED light and you want something that approximates a 400 or 600 watt HPS, you aren't gonna find a real system for less that the Procyon. Anything that you will find of the variety of the cheap led panels or the ufos have pretty much been shown to be useless cause their leds are too weak as any hydro store owner will tell you.

The state of the technology is such that there are really only two products out there that really work -- procyon 100 or the ti-smartlamp 600 and its stronger 1000 watt version the Smartbar.

If you take a look at greenpinelane.com you can see tests on all of them.

The thing to remember about leds is that while they cost much more than HPS initially they payback the difference quite quickly, in 1 to 3 years depending on how much you pay for power and whether you need to cool, which you will have to do if you use HPS. They have a lifespan of about 10 years so the cost savings overall of LED versus HPS can be quite important, usually somewhere between 40% to 100% when you factor in the power savings.

I switched to the Smartlamp myself for the powersavings once I was sure it could flower which it can since it is the only LED out there that i know of that has more than just red and blue leds.

Good luck in your choice.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 11:19PM
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I went on the greenpinelane.com site, and the pictures of their procyon grow of cherry tomatoes looks pretty scraggly. sure they grew tomatoes, but what about the yield? the plants look scragglly.
we have people growing on this forum using the Phillips ceramic metal halide lamp using the HPS ballast, and growing plants that look like they're in a fertile farmer's field.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 2:41PM
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Liz Margoshes

I at this point just fantasizing about an indoor pond with waterliles this winter. Also I now have a cool and warm flurorescent set-up in my bathroom (I think 48" long tubes) and my houseplants are NOT doing well under it so I'd like to replace those bulbs with something more powerful.

So, question: where do I get started reading about all these different types of bulbs? I already see that certain types require "ballast," whatever this is, and others don't.

Which system will come in 48" bulbs? Which can hang downward from a ceiling outlet over a pond? Which will not burn my house down if placed in an ordinary outlet? etc.

Any tips for beginner's reading material very much appreciated!!


anticipating a long, depressing New York City winter

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 10:00PM
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It was about $350-400 just for bare LEDs on my Lightblaze clone project. Although I'm not really cloning it as it will have more power ;)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 7:44PM
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Are you asking about lights for your pond for just for house plants? How much space do you need to cover?

Flurorescents will work fine if you put the plant within about 2" of the tubes. If you have a whole pannel of them you can have them further up too... HPS can give you a lot more power from a single bulb and will let you put it some distance (3'+) from your plants, but the plants don't look good while this thing runs (the light given off is yellow and don't show colours well). Your other options are either Metal Halide (bluish, and not as efficient) or Ceramic Metal Halide (white, more efficient, but hard to find; at least here, in Canada...).

All of the lights that I mentioned, including flourescent need a ballast to drive the bulb, but the flourescent ballast in built into your light fixture that you bought.

Also, a note about your foroscent lights. Are they the old magnetic type (you hear a hum when it's on) of are the the newer electronic ones? The old ones are not very bright. The newer T8's or T5's are brighter and use less energy. The older tubes also get less and less bright as it ages, and will need to be replaced about once a year to keep your plants healthy...

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 12:44PM
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Instead of 400w HPS, I recommend 400w Ceramic Metal Halide. CMH is a revolutionary breakthrough in full spectrum lighting.
It uses a 400w HPS magnetic ballast, or the Digital Maximum ballast (the only digital ballast that will work on CMH). you will see about a 50% gain over HPS.

LED to cover a comparable area would probably be prohibitively expensive.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 5:52PM
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I'm in the Sugar Land/Houston area and am worrying about the DEA now just because everyone has decided to move their servers to my house lol.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 8:06AM
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