Compact Fluorescents Lights (CFL's)

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Compact Fluorescents Lights (CFL's)

Post by Weedguru Higher » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:41 pm


Why Use CFL's? (compact fluorescents)


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Because. Not everyone has a big space to grow in. When space and heat are an issue, HID's become less practical as you are faced with either rigging a cooling system which could involve cutting holes in walls, ducting, and more power usage, and of course more $$$. Or what if you're just growing a couple plants at a time to keep your own stash full (like me), and don't want to go through the trouble of HID lights? CFL's are everywhere, in all shapes and sizes, and are CHEAP. Most need no special fixture, and can be placed much closer. They are a great way to start out growing, keep a small crop going, or use with HID lights. With practice, your CFL grows can rival your neighbor's HID grows.

Types: CFL's come in mainly two flavors, Soft White (color temperature 2700k) and Daylight (color temperature 6500k). For a complete grow, you should use both. Soft white mimics the spectrum of a HPS light, and is best suited for flowering. Daylight's color spectrum is like that of metal halide lights, and is excellent for the vegetative stage. (This applies to tubes too. Around 6500k for veg, around 2700k for flower.) There are also tubes labeled plant and aquarium. I haven't seen them in CFL form, but they have no real color temp, so I'm not sure on their efficiency, but I've used them and it's rather slow growth for the watts.

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-There is a large difference in vegetative growth when going from soft white to daylight. Therefore I recommend you use daylight CFL's for vegging, even if you are flowering with a HPS light, because they do not stretch the plants. You don't need much light for good veg growth, especially when using 6500k CFL's. If power savings are a priority, 30w per plant can suffice to a decent size, but more is always better.

-Of course, use 2700k soft white for flowering. I have no results to back it up, but I like to use a single daylight bulb while flowering too, just to balance the spectrum. Whether it helps or not, it's more light nonetheless.

-I wouldn't recommend using any CFL under 20w, because it's just too damn small. (Remember, when talking CFL wattage, refer to the actual watts used, not the incandescent equivalent, i.e. 26w CFL = 100w Incan.) Lights of America is a cheap brand, and while they work, they don't last as long and fail prematurely more than other brands. GE and Phillips are big names, and make a more reliable and slightly more powerful product since they have a name to uphold. Monster CFL's 65w and up work great too, either a self-ballasted screw-in type, or the type that needs a special fixture with the ballast built into it. They can pump out lumens like a HID. Again, my Lights of America 65w Daylight burnt out in a week, but it was 11 bucks and easily replaced.

Using CFL's: One of the advantages of CFL's is that they screw into any normal light socket. Therefore, mounting options are endless. Take into account the size, shape, and heat given off by CFL's when deciding how to place them.

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-Light comes from every square inch of the bulb, and to get the most out of them, try to have every inch facing as much plant matter as possible. More light comes off the side of the long 42w spirals than the front, for example. CFL's are not as intense as HID lights, so distance is critical. You don't want your lights more than 4 inches away from your plants. With LST, you can put your CFL's literally inside the plant, between branches so that all the light is being used. Try to light all sides, not just the tops.
-Reflecting light is important with CFL's to use every bit of light they give off. Use good reflectors, paint your walls flat bright white, or get mylar.

-However, if your CFL is too close it may burn the leaves, so trimming or a fan may be needed (recommended anyway for stronger stems). Bigger bulbs obviously are hotter than smaller bulbs. Fluorescent tubes can touch the plant without burning it, but an average CFL will roast anything it comes in contact with. Even 26w CFL's burn. You want to get close, but not too close. Try to stay about 1 inch away. Having a fan blow right through the plant over all the lights helps get them closer. And monitor your plants so they don't grow into the lights. If you're going away for a week, move the lights up in anticipation of your plants' vertical growth.

How many watts should you get?

There's no real answer, just the rule that more is better. Try 100w for 1 plant, any more can usually share the light already there, so maybe 30-50 additional watts each, depending on your situation (remember, look at actual watts used, not incandescent equivalent). You can tell when you need more light, when parts of the plant are in shade and buds are barely coming in. Those areas need some direct light. Once all bud sites are well lit, you shouldn't be disappointed. You can add as many lights as you can fit, respecting power, heat, and space. But don't leave parts of the plant in shadow, get another 26w CFL and stick it in that hole.

Pros and cons of CFLs


Pros

Cheap - most regular size bulbs cost less than $9
Low heat per bulb - most bulbs can be touched while lit, and can be moved closer to plants
Maneuverable - plants can be literally surrounded by cfls
Available - can be bought in almost any large retailer and many supermarkets and drugstores
Simple - no exterior ballast needed, fits into most regular incandescent sockets

Cons

Medium amount of lumens and multiple bulbs are needed to equal output of HID lights
More heat per watt than HID, albeit possibly spread out more
Depending on the setup, possibly complex wiring issues
No standard color temperature language yet

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Re: Compact Fluorescents Lights (CFL's)

Post by (weedguru)scarf » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:40 am

thankyou higher
woah

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Re: Compact Fluorescents Lights (CFL's)

Post by blackxs » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:54 am

I was using these things, I had like 6 of them and was just screwing the last one in and it shattered. I just dropped it and left it and smoked a bowl and a week later I broke another bulb. It ends up these things have mercury in them so I got all sketched out man. Its not a lot of mercury but still, be careful :)

100W per plant is definitely good. I have a little over 20 plants under a 216 watt T5 fixture, four 54w 6500K bulbs each. Its over 4 foot by 2 foot, I am curious do you think this is enough light? The plants are showing pretty healthy growth, they are just a few inches from the bulbs with good reflectors, but broken down its like... not a lot of watts per plant. Does it not matter since they are so small? I plan on growing a plant up to a mother in here, taking clones and eventually getting a 400W HPS for another room I have to flower them. Will this 200W fixture be able to take a plant to a mother stage? It seems pretty good I am just not sure.

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Re: Compact Fluorescents Lights (CFL's)

Post by Weedguru Higher » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:19 pm

Well, I think you'd want to grow a bonsai mother plant..not a large one and you'll probably need some side lighting
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