INDOOR LIGHTING SYSTEMS
H.I.D. (High Intensity Discharge)
The right lighting system is one of the most important aspects of successful indoor growing. Not enough or the wrong kind of light and plants will ‘stretch’ and become spindly and tall. To produce large yields of flower and fruit the correct light has to be applied.
There are three types of H.I.D. lighting commonly used by indoor growers today.
Metal Halide (M.H.)
The Metal Halide is and excellent source of light from the White/blue/green end of the spectrum, it actually mimics the midsummer sunlight. Metal Halide light promotes strong vegative growth, enlarges stem thickness and encourages more branching and overall size in plants. Metal Halides are an excellent light for 18 hour vegative growth, propagation of seedlings and clones/cuttings and also for keeping a Mother Plant in a vegative state.
Metal Halides come in clear of phosphor coated versions Phosphor coated lamps have slightly less ultraviolet light but a little more light from the red end of the spectrum. Metal Halides will sometimes have a strobing affect and a typical life of approx 20,000 hours.
High Pressure Sodium (H.P.S.)
High Pressure Sodium lamps are an efficient and long lasting lamp. The emit light from the red end of the spectrum which stimulates floral hormones within a plant inducing flowering. High Pressure Sodium Lamps produce more budding (flowering) points and will increase yield by at least 20% compared to other lamps of the same wattage. The type of light given off by this kind of lamp is often referred to as the late summer or harvest sun.
High Pressure Sodium ‘Enhanced’
Enhanced H.P.S. lamps are an H.P.S. lamp but with a more balanced spectrum of light usually
70%/30% or 60%/40% in favor of Red light – respectively. They usually contain at least 30% more light in the Blue/Green/White end of the spectrum which provides the correct light for plants in the vegative growth stage. The also have at least 60% of the other end of the spectrum (red/yellow) which is imperative in the flowering stage of a plants cycle.
Enhanced H.P.S. lamps are considered a complete lighting source for the vegative and flowering stage and have a typical life of approximately 27,000 hours.
Ballast, Transformer or Control Box
All High Intensity Discharge lights require a ballast to operate each individual lamp, whether it be a 250 watt H.P.S./M.H. – 400 watt H.P.S./M.H. – 600 watt H.P.S. or the big 1000 watt H.P.S./M.H all require their own special ballast.
Warning: Do not mix and match ballast’s, this could result in damage, injury or worse.
Always purchase from a reputable dealer who offers back up service and warranty on equipment.
Up until High Intensity Discharge lighting was developed fluorescent tubes were widely used as a complete light source. Their light is very similar to that of the sun but lacks the intensity to grow ‘high light crops. To get close to the intensity which is given off by one 400 watt H.I.D. lights at least ten 40 watt tubes per square meter would be needed. They still have a big place in growing though, being and excellent light source for seed/clone operations that encourage strong healthy root growth.
Radiating only a small amount of heat they are also useful for side lighting when dark unproductive areas need to be illuminated temporarily or boosted. Full spectrum grow tubes are also available being ideal for this type of application.
L.E.D. (Light Emitting Diode)
L.E.D. lighting is the next generation of lighting. Extremely efficient with a long life and high performance these lights are not commonly used at the moment mainly due to high cost and low intensity but like any new technology price will come down which will see these type of lights dominate indoor gardens.