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Vbkid

Getting There...
Joined
Sep 29, 2008
Messages
833
Location
Madison, WI USA
So as I've mentioned, I recently moved to Madison, and have quite a spacious apartment...but all the windows are absolutely abysmal for lighting. So I think I have to bite the bullet and finally purchase some good lighting for a grow rack.
I am planning on a pretty typical just 4 foot shelving unit that I can have plenty of room for expansion for.
I *think* just good old HO 4-ft Fluorescent lights will be best.
Can anyone give me any input on a good place to buy these, and any things I might need to keep in mind?
Mainly, I just want to make sure they won't be a fire hazard and will survive the test of time (I know I'll need to replace bulbs every once in a while :) )
But nay advice on what to buy/where to buy it, as well as any concerns or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. It's a pretty big purchase for me, so I want to make sure I do it right!
Happy growing,
Kyle
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
4,832
wide open question.... depends on budget and the performance level you hope to achieve...

But all things being equal, when it comes to comparing linear fluorescent lighting fixtures... remember these three things "reflector, reflector, reflector"

66% of the bulb is pointed in the wrong direction, good reflectors allow you to use this energy, bad ones allow you waste it....

A "good" reflector should be mirrored and focus the energy of each bulb down toward the plant. If you see bulb when standing to the side of the light... its wasting energy.

T12 vs. T8 vs. T5, the smaller the diameter the better and the more expensive typically.

4' T8's are a very decent entry level light and will grow plants well.... but if you want the most color you can get with fluorescent lighting, you need T5
 

uphwiz

jimmy
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
1,681
Location
ease of blueridge VIRGINIA
these are my favorite , i just hang them end to end if i need four foot , only down fall is they just have flat reflectors. they are mirrored though , they produce great lumen in a small area 10 000lumens. you can hang the fixture and cover (very well) 3' x2' area. you get two two foot double bulbs . i use one grow and one bloom bulb and most of my pings bloom regularly.
HTG also offers multi reflector systems but at a considerable price jump..
.
http://www.htgsupply.com/Product-HTG-Supply-2-Foot-2-Lamp-PL-55-Tek-Lamp.asp
 

Vbkid

Getting There...
Joined
Sep 29, 2008
Messages
833
Location
Madison, WI USA
Thanks for the input all! I think I will definitely go with T5s, so I'm just gonna spend some time price comparing at some different places the next few days, hopefully I'll get some picture up once I have a new rack going!
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
22
T5HOs are definitely the way to go, I would check your local hydroponics store, that's where I get all my grow equipment. Ive got 2 4' ballasts on my grow rack and they do quite well when paired with mylar 'Panda' sheeting. Colors all my plants up nicely.
 

Vbkid

Getting There...
Joined
Sep 29, 2008
Messages
833
Location
Madison, WI USA
A guy I work with mentioned he has one of these, new in package that he never got around to using for some orchids.
Sunleaves IV
http://www.sunleaves.com/detail.asp?sku=SPG104
Is this a good light, I can't really tell if it is high output? Any suggestions on what price I might offer for it? Also, will bulbs be easy to come by?
Thanks for all the help!
Kyle
 
Joined
May 20, 2011
Messages
836
Location
Salt Lake City, Utah. U.S.A.
I've sworn by T-12 lights for years (both for cheap price and good light output, and because Barry Rice recomends them on his FAQ page), unfortunately T-12 lights were recently decomissioned and they are just selling what's left on the shelves until product runs out. so whatever you do, don't go with T-12 because pretty soon you won't have bulbs to buy (I've stocked up on enough bubs for a few years when I heard this news).

I think T-5's are the best way to go long term if you have the money to invest. I've re-thought my approach to lighting and I myself would like to make the switch to T-5 lights when I get a chance/ enough money to splurge.

My own remaining questions is, given that T-5 lights and fixtures are so much more expensive, how long does it take to make your money back in energy savings if you're using your lights 12-16 hours a day? Has anyone done the math for that? If the return on that is fairly quick, that would make me more eager to get on the T-5 boat sooner ;) Maybe that info will help you out too Vbkid.
 
Joined
May 20, 2011
Messages
836
Location
Salt Lake City, Utah. U.S.A.
After reading some more info on Wikipedia, some things are clarified for me, but it brought up a couple more questions.

Lesson 1: High output t-5 uses MORE electricity (54w) than the 40w t-12 bulbs (didn't know that before...)

Questions: Do high output bulbs go with a high output fixture, or can the same fixture be used for both energy efficient and high output T-5 bulbs?.....Or is the difference between high output and energy efficent models just in the fixture (using the same bulbs)?

I'm so confused. Lol

T-5's are such a foreign territory to me. Someone please enlighten me! (Didn't orriginally intend a pun, but it worked out nice! lol)
 
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
Messages
757
Location
Calgary, AB
A guy I work with mentioned he has one of these, new in package that he never got around to using for some orchids.
Sunleaves IV
http://www.sunleaves.com/detail.asp?sku=SPG104
Is this a good light, I can't really tell if it is high output? Any suggestions on what price I might offer for it? Also, will bulbs be easy to come by?
Thanks for all the help!
Kyle

Kyle, it looks like that fixture takes 54W T5's which are the HO version on T5. If he has the one which comes with the bulbs your looking at $150 new plus taxes and possibly shipping. If it is really new in box then I would offer around $120 (~80%). I have never seen or heard of the brand before and with the little info provided its hard to say. The 5 year warranty is nice though.

I would go and take a look at it, and see what the reflector looks like. You want one that has individual curves for each bulb, and not just one big reflector for the entire fixture.
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
180
Location
Cupertino, CA
T5s are more efficient, but T8s are really better. There was something on this thread about how the improvement in efficiency from T8 to T5 was small compared to costs.
As for using HO bulbs in regular fixtures, you can't. The sockets are different, for one, plus you would have to replace the ballast.
 

Vbkid

Getting There...
Joined
Sep 29, 2008
Messages
833
Location
Madison, WI USA
So to avoid starting a new thread:
I got the Sunleaves IV setup, new w/ bulbs for $100 and he threw in the hangers for them setup.
Now I just need to find a 4-ft rack for it!
And suggestions on where to get one?
Just need a basic wire rack, 4 foot long, not sure how deep (reccommendations?) and probably 3 or 4 shelves.
Thanks,
Kyle
 
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