HID spot lights

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HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:38 pm

I have been experimenting with 70W metal halide spot lights for a couple of months. I have now 7 of them. They are like the ones you see in shops, on the track. Some of the lamps  are with 12 degrees reflectors and some with 24 degrees. Point with these lamps: They produce light levels comparable to real full sun, but on a very small area.

12 degrees reflector lamp produces about 50 000 lux one meter away. Lighted area is about 30 cm across. At about 70cm away light level is 100 000 lux, same as sun. Lighted area is about 20cm across. 100 000 lux is achieved only at the center of that area. I have not tried them this close, 1 meter away seems to be good enough (for ficus).

So far I think, that this is perfect light for smaller trees. One lamp could be dedicated to one mame or shohin size tree, bigger than that would need more. There is very little light pointing to ones eyes, light really goes to the plants.

My biggest ficus is about 70 cm wide and perhaps 60 cm high. It has now 3 lamps with 24 degrees reflectors. These produce 50 000 lux 60 cm away, where top of the tree is. Plant is growing very well, even that low branch that I usually prune maybe once a year. One light is pointed directly to that branch. Seems to me there is no need for even illumination. Whole plant will grow, when parts of the tree receive high light levels. Of course plant will direct most growth to where the light is, but still.

This is my best setup so far. Humidity is good, setup is in my bathroom  Cool.

My second best setup is with 4 cool white tubes on a closed environment. Third best Very Happy has 2 T5 grow lights. Fluorescents are only good for shohin sized trees, IMHO. I have measured light levels with 2 and 4 tube setup, and 4 tubes is much better.

Some disclaimers: I know Lux is not a good measurement for plants, PAR-watts are, or PUR. Lux do tell something about the light level though. I have tested LED-lights, but did get better growth with fluorescents. Humidity is almost as important as light.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  Dreamcast on Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:19 pm

Sounds very interesting, i can't remember what LUX levels i got from my different LED setups, have to check tomorrow. Smile

Any chance for some photos?

What LED lights have you tried?

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:10 pm

With plants lux or lumen values are not of too much use. Lumen and lux is measurement for human eye. It is not a measument for grow lights. Best light for plants is by definition low on lux, because 500-600 nm light is what human eye is most sentitive to, and this is what is emphasized when measuring lux, and plants want mostly less than 500 and over 600 nm light.

I used lux values only to compare light intensity to sun. If the spectrum is optimized for plants, it should have less lux but it could still be "brighter" for plants. That said, I, like many others over the years, have experimented with both cheap cool whites and grow lights (fluorescents), and would say there is no real difference in use. I have grown trees under fluorescents for over 20 years now.

Will take some pictures.

I am not interested in LEDs now Smile. Don't get me wrong, I know LEDs work too. I got very nice results with fluorescents and leds combined. Where there was more light from leds, leaves were smaller, thicker and internodes shorter. Solely with leds leaves did not look healthy and growth was not great. I had 440, 630 and 660 nm leds in several spot lights. But that light is truly awful to the eye. I can not put them in my bathroom! Closed cabinet or dedicated room, why not.

I believe there is more than one way to illuminate indoor bonsai.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  coh on Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:33 pm

Thanks for posting this! I was just commenting on another thread about wanting to possibly try LED spot lights but I think I'm going to look at halogens first. I recently acquired a somewhat large ficus. It's not really all that big but it's too large for my current indoor light area, and we don't get enough sun during the winter to keep it happy by a window. I assume that since you're in Finland, you must provide pretty much all of the lighting during the winter because of the short days. Our days aren't all that short but it tends to be cloudy a very large percentage of the time from November to March.

Chris

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:35 pm

Dreamcast wrote:Any chance for some photos?

Photos of my bathroom Rolling Eyes :





New guy on the left has one lamp, old gentleman on the front has two, and shy lady on the back has four. Even tho everything looks so perfect, I did not arrange anything!

I am letting things grow freely now, because I want to see how much trunk width trees can get with this setup. Under fluorescents it is 1-2 mm per year. Do I dare to tell, that the one on the right was a cutting about 20 years ago? You can not see it now, but it is growing on the rock. That skirt, or is it kilt, is to get ramification on the exposed roots. Works, by the way. It is shohin sized usually (without the rock).

Under fluorescents one must cut top parts all the time. Otherwise apical dominance will make low branches weak. Low branches grow like 20 times slower than top. That is why trunks develop so slowly.

Chris, don't try halogens, they will produce too much heat. They are not much better than incandescent. These are metal halides, or HID (high intensity discharge).

coh wrote:I recently acquired a somewhat large ficus. It's not really all that big but it's too large for my current indoor light area, and we don't get enough sun during the winter to keep it happy by a window. I assume that since you're in Finland, you must provide pretty much all of the lighting during the winter because of the short days. Our days aren't all that short but it tends to be cloudy a very large percentage of the time from November to March.

This is exactly the situation here. Short days is one thing, and sun hanging so low, but it is really the cloudiness that makes things tough for plants. There is perhaps hours of sunshine in month during autumn and winter.

I think there even is kind of consensus, that it does not make much sense taking trees outside in the summer, because winter is so long and two such big changes every year is bad. One must find answers to all the indoor growing problems before any consistent development can happen. I do not generally take my trees out at all. Outside period for ficus, night time temperatures above 15 degrees Celsius, is maybe 6-8 weeks or so. If you repot at the right time, and then do total defoliation in May, you might get one series of good quality summer growth before it is time to take trees inside again. If one has only fluorescents, this new growth is probably lost in a few months, and trees will sit and wait for the sun to come out again.

BUT, if one is ready to take certain steps, growing trees indoors is not that difficult. Outside trees are so much easier.


Last edited by JWT on Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:45 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  coh on Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:08 am

JWT wrote:

Chris, don't try halogens, they will produce too much heat. They are not much better than incandescent. These are metal halides, or HID (high intensity discharge).


Thanks for clarifying that! Second time today I've completely misread something on one of these forums.

Most metal halide type bulbs require some kind of ballast - do these have a ballast? Do they require a specific/specialized fixture?

Chris

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:44 am

Yes, those gray square boxes are ballasts.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  Dreamcast on Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:38 pm

JWT, i know the green/yellow part of the spectrum is considered almost useless for plant growth, but new research and study's have shown that green nm's acts as a booster if there are high levels of R&B nm's present, green also penetrates the canopy very well helping lower growth, i go over what i have read about this a little more in my LED thread.
I would never recommend anyone to grow anything with only R&B LEDs, if they are not growing algae.

I am getting great and very energy efficient results with my white and white dominant LED setups, far better watt to watt then any HID or CFL's i ever used before, and the quality of the light spectrum is like night and day, less heat is also very nice.
Stable, Fast and compact growth with only ~180watts of high quality LEDs over a 4x2 surface area, not bad at all IMO.

Right now i am building a LED light witch will let me experiment with different nm's to see how they affect growth. Very Happy

But i like your setup very much, MH will always have a very special place in my heart.

And as you said, there are more than one way to illuminate indoor bonsai, for a high tech freak like my self, using LEDs is a dream come true. Smile


Last edited by Dreamcast on Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:58 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:15 pm

Thank for your post, Dreamcast! I am new here, and hadn't seen your thread of leds, or all of it. Really impressive. Lights look good, and using those tents is great, because trees can not use lights if air dries. This is what happened with my open setup and 400W metal halides quite some time ago.

Those lamps of yours have a lot of white light, and lux meter does tell something about light intensity at different distances. I would love to see what kind of values you get, from bottom to top, lets say 10 cm intervals, and in the middle and near walls. To show what I have in mind, here is my measurements for fluorescents, 4 tubes and 2 tubes setups (cool whites).



Those values are luxes. Shelves are about 30 cm hight. Tree is from mr Excels collection! I made pot Very Happy ! With some help from mr. Excel.

It is not relevant here, but 4 tube setup is much better. in the middle light levels drop from 5cm/25000 lux to 15cm/20000 lux. This is only 20%. With 2 tube setup  values are 5cm/22000 lux, and 15cm/ 13200. This will make a difference, when you are trying to make ramification to the lower branches.

Now your fixtures have also reds and blues, so they will not be directly comparable. They should be better than lux values tell. It would be interesting nevertheless.



Upper shelf has four cheapest cool white tubes (from Biltema), lower has two T5 55W Glo-Lux. Both work. There is even olive I bought from Lisbon 3 years ago, and it has not gone outside at all, and it is growing, slowly, but steadily. Second tree from the left, upper shelf.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  Dreamcast on Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:40 pm

Yeah, the HOMEbox tents are great for keeping good humidity up at all times, the bigger tent even have clear windows so one can check on the plants without letting moisture out, very clever design IMO.

Actually, only two of the lights i have uses R&B chips, the old M30 LED witch i use in one of the small tents, and the new light i am building now.
The other LEDs i test consist of white LED chips only, and the new M30 use a mix of white and red chips.
I had thought of doing those types of Lux reading for each LED light, hopefully i can also borrow a PAR meter soon to do even more accurate readings, will keep you updated.

Very nice setup with the CFL tubes, and nice little trees! Very Happy

Do you have any experience with Induction lights?

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:25 pm

No experience. New technologies keep coming. AC-leds sound very interesting. These are leds that are run directly from the mains, without much electronics. After a while those could be very affordable and energy efficient. Noticed when choosing metal halide spotlights: link

I dont believe in one superior technology. What suits one is not good for other. If you are  (I am) interested in small trees that thrive with relatively low light, fluorescents are good. T5 HO fluorescents are better, but not by much. I use aquarium/terrarium type external ballasts and best reflectors I can find, and they work.

Ficus retusa/microcarpa is one tree that works very well with fluorescents. In previous picture it is second from the right, upper self. Split hollow trunk creature forming. Still years to go, but I hope you can see, that it really likes it. There is consistent progress.

With Ficus benjamina it is a little different. This picture is from last spring:


It is that 20 years old, grown from the cutting. I am not overly proud with it, but have had it for so long I can not get rid of it. There is annoying persistent reverse taper, lowest branch is ugly etc., but if we forget that, and only look at the growth habit. I want it to be much much more dense. Last sping there was much new growth, but older little branches died about the same rate. 4 tubes just seems to be too little. Thats why I test MH again. This tree got about 36W of light under fluorescents, with one spotlight that was increased to 70W. After it made those foot long twigs I gave it second light.

I am told bigger trees will need a lot more wattages. You can provide those with leds and with MH. Now i think that spot lights are far better than flood lights.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  Dreamcast on Sun Oct 26, 2014 11:26 am

AC-LEDs look interesting indeed! will have to read up more on them.

I actually grow mostly Ficus.M my self, best species for indoor Bonsai if you ask me, Schefflera is also a big favorite even if the leaves are huge.. witch species have you successfully grown indoors all year long?

Even if not "perfect" i like your little 20 year old F.Benjamin, its special with trees that one really grown from the start.

This is one of my Scheffleras witch i grown from a small cutting, sure, only ~3 years old but already very dear to me. Smile It was grown under ~40watt CFL's on a windowsill for the first ~2 years and did "fine" around a year under LEDs only and its taken of like crazy.

A couple of months ago, dirty, wrong pot and angle, but nice roots if i can say so my self.. Very Happy

~2 years ago.


Off course the bigger the trees the more power is needed to properly illuminate them, sometimes even side lightning is needed, its all about using the right lights and for the right setup.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  M. Frary on Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:26 pm

Up here where people grow indoor herb gardens they use metal halide lamps in the 400 to 1000 watt range. The 1000 Watters light up an area around 6feet by 6 feet at the same intensity as the sun. In order for them to work their best they only hang them 1 foot above the plant. They put out heat. 1000 degrees at the center of the bulb. I met Jerry Meislik at a show last spring and he said he uses 7 of these I think. It could have been 17 for his inside tropical tree growing. His electric bill is crazy.
Are ficus that cool that people spend the money on indoor lights and dedicate bathrooms to them? I don't get it but then again maybe I'm just cheap. Grow weed inside. Grow trees outside. The weed pays for itself.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Sun Oct 26, 2014 2:29 pm

M. Frary, I couldn't agree with you more. Growing trees indoors does not make much sense. Part of the fun, really. With outdoor trees, there is nothing between me and world class masterpieces, except myself. Indoors, I find it hard to believe I could make those I see grown in the tropics even if I had the skill. I do it nevertheless. I also do outside trees. They do not compete.

My hobbies have been aquariums (with lots of light), ceramics (I have an electric kiln) and bonsai, including indoor. It is fair to say, that my hobby is really a big juicy electric bill. Means of getting that change over decades.

I once calculated how much it would cost to run Jerry Meislik's 9*1000W setup per year in Finland. It is about my two months salary. Not before I sell my business. But if I had the money, I would do it (or something like it) right away.

I have not dedicated my bathroom to bonsai, they take about 2 times 2 feet. Mind you, 1000W metal halide produces about 100 000 lumens, and if you illuminate one square meter (or little more than 3 times 3 feet) with it with no loss on reflectors, it equals sun.

Dreamcast, nice little thing forming there! Pot makes me wonder.. where did you get it from?

I have now F. microcarpa, benjamina, F.b. natasha, F.b.wiandi. Carmona. That's it. Plus that olive. It can't last forever, but so far its doing good.

I have had Ligustrum sinensis and Sageretia, among others. Those do well, but I have not got real progress with them - with fluorescents, that is. Serissa likes these condition too, but I always seem to lose them. I think they can't stand slightest recurring drying.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  Dreamcast on Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:13 pm

I question my sanity often regarding why i even bother with tropical trees.. well, for me its something to do when there is not much happening with my outdoor trees, and especially nice to have something to work with winter time, witch by the way is very long, dark and extremely cold up here....

The only way i can do this is on small scale and by the use of either some CFL lights, or LEDs, HID is to much heat to handle, and i don't want a potential fire hazard in my apartment, even if the chance of something like that happening is very small...

JWT, Thanks! this fine pot is made by a Swedish potter name Tomas Gramming, very talented in making both beautiful pots and wonderful Bonsai. Smile His blog:
http://gramming-pots.blogspot.se/


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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:21 pm

Dreamcast wrote: Tomas Gramming

I immediately recognized it! I love his pots, should order something some day. He is in my blog roll.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  Dreamcast on Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:23 pm

JWT wrote:
Dreamcast wrote: Tomas Gramming

I immediately recognized it! I love his pots, should order something some day. He is in my blog roll.

Very Happy

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  appalachianOwl on Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:26 am

See if you notice tighter/ more compact growth with the LED. This has been shown to be the case in the studies I have seen when a certain series of spectrum's is provided, and I was just wondering it's applications and results in the bonsai community. The idea is that the plant doesn't need to spread out in search of light, because it is absorbing just what it needs. I believe a bit more blue was the trick there, I will check that out and get back.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:50 am

AppalachianOwl, adding some coloured LEDs IMHO is the best way to use LEDs. One good way of doing this would be using two T5 tubes and strips of blue/red leds in between. Would be pretty good for mame sized trees. With shohin I would like to use 4 T5s.

Lets say we have 4x1 foot area for four about shohin-sized bonsai. In my experience 2 tubes is not quite enough, so we go with the 4 tube option. Even numbers.. ok I will not go into that Very Happy . T5s are 55W at this size => 220W. Add some leds, and we have 280 W for example. It just so happens, that this is exactly the same amount as four 70W metal halides. Except, that spot lights put the light where the plants are. You get like double amount of light at the plants for the same wattage. Dont know if the growth would be nice and compact though. Just one more option. Of course LED spot lights would have same effect.

I am pretty sure this is the case with any flood lights. Perhaps one could swap one 400W metal halide lamp to three 70W lamp and get equal light intensity. Or swap 1000W unit to three 150W spot lights. I am just fooling here, I should get some light distribution charts and see if this is the case. That is easy. I would love to get lux values for people using metal halides to compare.

Yesterday I emailed with a guy who actually builds LED grow lights in Finland. I asked him, what is the situation now. He said, that metal halides are still better grow lights. That is just one opinion, but coming from that kind of source makes one wonder. He grows chili, here you have his marvelous and informative  blog, in Finnish sorry. He has been into LED business for 15 years, and said nothing much has changed recent years. More lumens are produced, but that's it. It does not make lights better for plants.

About AC leds, he got all technical, what I understand was high voltage makes it harder to build safely and that there certainly has not been a break-through with those.

Again, don't get me wrong, obviously leds work too. In some cases they may well be better.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  Dreamcast on Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:57 pm

JWT wrote:Yesterday I emailed with a guy who actually builds LED grow lights in Finland. I asked him, what is the situation now. He said, that metal halides are still better grow lights. That is just one opinion, but coming from that kind of source makes one wonder. He grows chili, here you have his marvelous and informative  blog, in Finnish sorry. He has been into LED business for 15 years, and said nothing much has changed recent years. More lumens are produced, but that's it. It does not make lights better for plants.

Would be very interesting to see what kind of LED units he have build, and what components he have used, like Drivers, heatsinks, LED brands, bins, nanometers and so on, maybe you can ask him if he want to share some of his experiences a little more in detail.
The only thing i can find regarding LEDs when searching his blog is this..
http://chilitunari.blogspot.se/2013/02/hieman-valoa-vesiviljelyyn.html
And those look to be simple circuit board with a bunch of low power LED chips, looks similar to the ones Jerry tested and found quite useless..
http://www.bonsaihunk.us/info/LEDvsFluoresclll.html

Those types of low powered LEDs are nothing even remotely close to the types of high powered ones i am testing,

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  Dreamcast on Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:08 pm

Here is how powerful some of these "new" LED lights are, this is a quick video review of one light i also use, he is showing the red and white version, i have the all white one.
From what i understand white LED chips draw slightly more then monochrome ones, so the power draw of my unit is slightly higher, but i run mine at 220V so it should draw around the same as the one in the review i think.

Worth mentioning is that this review was done in late 2011, the new version (AT200) of this particular light is suppose to be around 90% more efficient, don't know the exact power draw, but would guess its around ~200watt.

Then there is the price....................  pale

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:33 pm

Didn't mean to imply anything about the ways he grows chili. Natural conclusion, I admit. He uses leds only for seedlings, and it does not really matter what light source is in use for that. Perhaps he is even wise enough not to grow with much artificial light. He knows leds and led business by profession. He has been involved with making quite successful Finnish grow light. I don't know any details at all. I am not much into leds now, and I don't have strong opinions of them :/ . I am currently testing metal halide spot lights. I wouldn't be doing that, if I thought metal halides are somehow obsolete.

I linked to his blog just to offer anyone a way to contact him. With a topic this warm I can not just say I emailed with someone. I need to back it up.

I asked him if it is ok to refer to him, because I thought it might be problematic. He said its ok, this info is available for anyone on the internet. I don't think it is that simple. Info is there on the specs sheets, but one needs to have certain knowledge to form an opinion.

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  Dreamcast on Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:12 pm

Have been looking on his blog all day almost, the man can grow chili that's for sure, and his different setups are really cool! its almost a little crazy scientist style at times... Very Happy

This is another guy from Finland whom just LOVE Chili's as well Very Happy his Bonchi's are very nice to! ... or is it the same guy who's blog you liked to maybe??
http://www.fatalii.net/Bonsai_Chiles_Bonchi

Like i mentioned before, i love MH lights! i just cant use them cause of the heat they generate, and after getting a serious burn when accidentally touching a bulb i decided to never use those lights again, so i had to find something else, first it was all types of CFL fixtures, and now its LEDs, who knows in a couple of years i may be using something totally different...
We use what fits our needs and setups, i think its very good that we can share experiences, thoughts and also show our own results with all possible light fixtures, this so others can make informed decisions when choosing there own lights.

Smile

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Re: HID spot lights

Post  JWT on Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:53 pm

Dreamcast wrote:a quick video review

Well, that was interesting, got some figures to grab. At 12 inches, 180 watts unit produced same amount of light as 600W HID at 24 inches. That would mean, at 12 inches HID would produce 4 times more light than LEDs, with about 3.3 times the electricity. Hardly a better result. And that was from marketing material. What would impartial tests say. BUT, that difference is not so big. Both lamps certainly work. Like I said earlier, these light sources are all pretty close to each other. Other factors and preferences are also important.

Fatalii is one dedicated man alright. His chili products are now sold in common grocery shops nationwide. He started growing chili on the windowsill, i think.

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