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Dual Arc Bulbs

HabitualConcepts

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To save money and maximize efficiency, I'm thinking about getting one of the dual arc HPS/MH bulbs. Are these bulbs worth the money first of all with price tags around $180? Secondly, are they as efficient or near to as using the two separately in unison?
 

Couchlocked

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One of the things I would like to do this year is invest in a lightmeter and plot out the point where diminishing returns begins with cheap bulbs. I don't want to seem cheap, but damn, 200 bucks with tax or close to it is a lot for a single bulb. I can get 4 HPS and 4 MH for that price or pretty close to it. I am not saying it is out of the question, but I find it hard to believe with todays technology, I couldn't get more bang for the buck with 25 dollar bulbs. I could be wrong and am more than willing to listen to anyone who has some sort of measured proof the higher-price bulbs can be more cost-effective.
 

HabitualConcepts

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I here ya man. I started this thing with a buddy with just some dirt in a pot and a desk lamp. I thought it wouldn't get much more than that, but I guess the more I've been investing my time the more willing I am to invest more money. So far I've been keeping my desk lamp setup until I find a better alternative. I would love to have multiple MH/HPS lamps but with the reflector hood I think I can only fit the one in my closet. Idk, we'll see as my setup progresses. One thing I found really cool on youtube was
hXXp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxVPYB4_TH0

I actually made one a little while ago and it works great! It just so happens Lowe's has 6 pk 100w CFL packages on sale for $15! It was meant to be. Altogether the whole thing cost $20, not expensive at all when it comes to any 600w lighting system with bulbs. As a side note, you may want to reinforce the plugs for the y joints with electrical tape to make them more sturdy.

If you'd like to see some side by side comparisons of different lighting systems youtube has a lot of great experiments. My favorite in particular is

hXXp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVsqRcfQK5c

If you watch the whole video you will see MH, HPS, and LED lights compared in a professional setup. Of course there is no CFL in the comparison, but when it comes to light anyone knows that a brighter light is a more intense light (situational). I could be wrong, but I don't think CFL can compare with the lumen output of a MH or HPS. However, when screwing around at Lowe's I found a 300w CFL bulb! I would love to try that bad boy out and I just may.
 

pcduck

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I you want hard dense buds drop the cfl's and get a hps.

Those 6 one hundred watt cfl's are just telling you what they are equal to not the actual lumen out put. A 100 watt hps gives off a whole lot more lumens then a 100 equivalent cfl.

They frown on live outside links here, you need to kill those:aok:
 
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You need to tell us about your space and how much you have to spend. I understand being thrifty, but you are not going to be able to grow much of anything with 6 23W (?) CFLS.

Take everything you see on you tube with a grain of salt. I personally do not take much I see there for truth or fact. For example, it is probably not a good idea to put a whole bunch of lights sockets together like in the first video, especially if you have to tape them together. I believe that you are probably asking those sockets to carry too much of a load and it could certainly be a fire hazard. Before you do anything like that, you should be checking that this will all handle the wattage that you are sending through it---six bulbs, what is the wattage, what wattage is the tee that screws into the outlet rated for? Make sure this is not a fire danger. Sorry, I did not watch the second one--like I said, I don't put much stock in you tube stuff...

When talking about CFLs, you must use the actual wattage. not the equivalent wattage, which means nothing for growing purposes. What is the actual wattage of the bulbs and (more importantly) the spectrum and the lumens. And it is a misconception that the brighter light is necessarily the most intense (or right for growing). In addition, CFLs are the most expensive of all the lights we use for growing, costing almost twice in electrical costs compared to a HPS of like lumens. You are going to NEED 3000 lumens per sq ft for vegging and 5000 lumens per sq ft for flowering. And of course the 6 (23 watt?) cfls are not nearly the cost of a 600W--there is absolutely NO comparision--it is like comparing a Moped to a Harley. While your 6 CFLs will be okay for a few weeks, if you want to really get anything from your grows, you are going to have to set up a proper grow space with adequate lighting and ventilation. Remember that this is something that sells for $300 and up an oz. It is going to take a real investment of time, effort, and money.
 
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Roddy

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Keep in mind the stuff you're trying to grow, and the prices you pay to buy (likely) inferior product on the street. Sure, buying the right equipment hurts at first, but the rewards just keep coming and coming!! In the end, you save many times over...

Keep your eye on the prize, put the money into what is needed and you'll be very happy!!
 

Hushpuppy

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Those 6 CFLs would be good for putting over a cloning station but not for much beyond that. Don't bother with the Dual arc bulbs either. They put out half the lumens as the regular bulbs. Get an electronic ballast and a MH bulb to match for vegging, and an hps bulb to match wattage for flowering. I like to use both the MH bulb and the T5HO bulbs to give me a wider spectrum for vegging, then switch my bulbs(the electronic ballast will run either MH or hps without changing anything but the bulbs) when switching to flower :)
 
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Roddy

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While Hush likes both MH and T5's for vegging, many here use just the T5's with great results...me being one! Not saying either way is bad or wrong, just that there's options to fit your needs.
 

Growdude

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HabitualConcepts said:
To save money and maximize efficiency, I'm thinking about getting one of the dual arc HPS/MH bulbs. Are these bulbs worth the money first of all with price tags around $180? Secondly, are they as efficient or near to as using the two separately in unison?
For that same money you can buy a complete budget 1000 watt HPS system with remote ballast, reflector and bulb.

You dont need the more expensive digital ballast, magentics work fine if not more reliable then electronic. They also come switchable to run either MH or HPS. But you can use HPS or MH all thru your grow, If after you get to harvest you can invest in lots of things to improve it.
 

HabitualConcepts

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They are the 23w bulb @ 2700K w/ a 1600 lumen output. The lumen output is actually one of the highest I've seen for the CFL's...at least at my local hardware store.

Y'all are right about the circuit overload for the diy grow light. I've taken a few EE classes, and after looking at the schematic I drew up for the regular PVC type fittings I decided to not get those. They actually make a heavy duty type that is black with a rubber outer coating. They are the same kind of connector pieces just made for more rugged use. These seem to be able to carry the load that will be put across them. Again, this is just some fun stuff I thought I'd try to play with. I'm just waiting for more advice so I can hone in on the lighting system right for me. I'm actually still just using the single CFL at the moment.

Y'all really opened my eyes after reading y'alls comments. The yield is a direct representation of your total investment. I honestly hadn't had any real thoughts of selling anything, but just merely as something fun at least at this point. Though, one good crop could theoretically pay for my whole setup. I may as well go all in and try to stop cutting corners at this point. Still, I don't plan to really get much bigger than my planned 5 gallon bucket setup. At least not until I see if I can rent the house that has the shed in the backyard :)

Ok so I'm done screwing around. Y'all got me in the right direction. I have a space I will be putting it in about 3x3x6. I'm thinking the one 5 gal bucket with 4xT-5's on each side vertically along the walls and a dual bulb ballast switching the bulbs for the right growth period. The question I now have is the wattage I need for the dual ballast for the size space I have keeping in mind the 4xT-5's along the side. I know the T-5 idea may not be normal, but I just really want to try it and think it will look pretty boss at the least.
 
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Roddy

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Make sure heat won't be a factor in the set-up! Someone with better light knowledge can suggest wattage better, but seems a 600w would be the least I'd use. I'm guessing that's more than adequate for the size, too!
 
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I would go with EITHER the T5s for vegging OR the dual ballast--you do not need both. In a space that size, I do not believe that I would put T5s on the walls. You would be far better off with a 600W and forgetting the vertical lighting. It is not a new or novel idea and in some instances may be a good idea (my own opinion is that vertical lighting has very little benefit). However with your 3 x 3 x 6' space I believe that it would actually be detrimental--you will lose much needed growing space--probably a third of your growing space. In addition an investment of 4 4' 4 tube T5s would be around $600. While it may look "boss", you really would be giving up far more than you would be gaining. Start with the basics--3000 lumens/sq ft of blue light for vegging, 5000 lumens/sq ft or red light for flowering, adequate ventilation, good soil mixture, nutes formulated for mj, etc, etc. and get a few grows under your belt.

I personally own a couple of MH lights that I do not use at all anymore, preferring the T5s for vegging. However if you purchase a dual or digital ballast, you will only need the one fixture and 2 bulbs. The T5 is an entirely different setup. Also, not all T5s are the same. Look for the HO fixture and tubes--4' 54W 5000 lumens per tube.

While a 400W will do a 3 x 3 space, I would go with a 600W in an air cooled hood or cool tube. You can get digital ballasts that are adjustable. I have a 600W that I can run at 360W, 400W, 600W or super lumens (whatever that is). Right now I am running the 600W in a smaller space (about 2 x 3) and running it 24/7 at 400W. When I go to flowering, I will turn it up to 600W. Do your homework and buy smart. Most of us that have been growing any amount of years have a "storeroom" of unused equipment, some of it simply not well thought out.

You are also going to need ventilation--a good quality centrifuge type fan to exchange air and keep your space cool. You may also need a carbon filter for odor control.

Unless you plant is sexed, I would highly recommend sprouting several more seeds--at least 4 more. You are going to hate it if you baby this plant for 6-8 weeks only to find out it is male. In addition, if these are bagseed, keep a sharp eye out for hermies when you get into flowering.
 
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Roddy

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Most of us that have been growing any amount of years have a "storeroom" of unused equipment, some of it simply not well thought out.

Guilty...
 

HabitualConcepts

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Heat hopefully won't play too big a role b/c I have it setup in a good size room with 3 fans blowing. I'm not too worried about the smell either. While I do hope I get a pungent beauty, it would have to be quite fierce and travel quite a ways to raise any eyebrows around where I'm at.

I'm working on picking some seeds out now. If you want to check out my medijuana post it will explain my struggles. I'm basically looking for an easy to moderate grow with a high THC content.

I'm thinking about going the 400w HPS with a cooling tube. You mentioned you're using it on a 2x3 space, and I'm sure your setup is more professional than mine will ever be. I figure this may be a good place to start. Also, I was checking out those sweet diy 150 cool tubes you posted. Would you recommend using this, and is it 150w per bulb or the whole setup? I'm still not 100% on my decision yet, but getting there thanks to all y'all's help.

You mentioned that many growers have store rooms of equipment they don't use. Does this site have a buy and sell or trading section? I haven't come across one yet, but I figure it's something that could benefit everyone...if we're allowed to.
 
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Roddy

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Right now I am running the 600W in a smaller space (about 2 x 3) and running it 24/7 at 400W. When I go to flowering, I will turn it up to 600W.

I personally wouldn't buy a 400w, go 600w...you'll appreciate it!
 

HabitualConcepts

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Yeah, and with just a few more minutes of research I realize there really isn't much of a price difference. I know I said I wasn't worried about heat, but has anybody ever placed a thermometer in front of one of these things to see what kind of heat it gives off? I know it is pretty significant, I'm just trying to get a better bearing on it.
 
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I don't quite understand what you are planning--are you going to have a 3 x 3 x 6' space set up in a larger room somewhere? Also 3 fans just blowing air around is not going to do it. You need actual air exchange--out with the old, in with the new. Look for a 6" centrifuge fan like a Vortex, Can, Eclipse. Ventilation is for more than keeping your space cool. Your plants need a continual supply of fresh air all the time the light is on for proper photosynthesis. And yes, a 600W HPS is going to get hot (but not nearly as hot as 50 CFLS bulbs). If you ever have company, you may find you need a filter.
 

Hushpuppy

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The radient heat that the HPS lights give off is significant. You want to maintain a safe distance from the plants so that they don't get burnt. The best rule of thumb is to place your hand over the tallest plant with palm facing down. Hold your hand there for a minute to see if it gets too hot to be comfortable. If your hand gets too hot then you need to raise the light until it doesn't. With the light in a cooltube it will not get as hot so it can be a little closer. if you are limited on verticle space to be able to maintain space between the plants and lights then you may want to go with a 400w setting unless and until you can get better at maintaining the needed distance. Here is a HPS light distance chart to help you. It shows the minimum and maximum distances for each wattage light. I would say it is not precise as there are changes in equipment that change the variables but it is close enough to be valuable. :)

lite distance chart.JPG
 

HabitualConcepts

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I'm home for a little while and have a temporary room I can use, but when I go back to school I'm going to have a closet I can use. I'm basically configuring my grow space to those specs, especially since I'm just screwing around right now at home.

That light chart is BA HP! Definetly going to be using that. I'm going to get one of the adjustable ballasts so I can change the output.
 

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