|| Cycle is too short for bad grow lights

 

Buyer Be Aware:
Does an LED grow light seem like a
“MAGIC SOLUTION” or “TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE” ?
. 

Grow light characteristics might seem like rocket science, but they are not!

To compare grow lights from different companies, you mostly need to understand and examine two most important metrics:.

Photosyntetic Photon Flux (PPF) and Photosyntetic Photo Efficacy (PPE).  

|| If the manufacturer does not list both metrics, especially PPE efficacy (in umol/J), stay away!  

They probably have good reasons not to disclose these values as lower values usually confirm poor quality LED chips.  These are frequently combined with low cost, low efficiency, hot-running power supplies.   A short 1 to 3-year warranty would typically confirm this.. 
.

To safeguard your investment, look only for a 

||  reputable manufacturer that offers a minimum of 5-year warranty*

 

 *5-year warranty is required by DLC as of 22. October 2018. 
 

PPF is photosynthetic photon flux in µmol/sec, or how much plant-vital energy radiates from the light fixture every second.  Similar to the measure of “lumens” used with white light fixtures.  

Efficacy in µmol/J is the metric that shows how much radiant energy (in µmol) gets out from the light fixture per wall-plug Watt or per Joule of energy consumed.  Efficacy is determined by the level of technology used to design a specific light fixture, with legacy LED efficiencies landing between 1.1 to 1.5µmol/J, and top current technologies exceeding 2.5µmol/J.  

The higher the PPE value, the more effective is the light fixture at converting electricity into photosynthetic photons and the less energy is consumed to achieve required PPFD values (light levels)    

 

|| To minimize their energy and cooling costs, professional growers always look for energy-efficient lights with system efficacy PPE value of 2.2 or higher  

 This is how they maximize the benefit of their investment in LED technology through energy savings.

 

For comparison:  

  • 400-W single-ended high-pressure sodium lamp (HPS) with a magnetic ballast has PPE value of approximately 0.9 μmol/J
  • Double-ended 1,000-W HPS lamp fixture with an electronic ballast has PPE of around 1.6 μmol/J
  • Leading edge 2019 design LED grow lights can exceed PPE efficacy of 2.2 μmol/J
    .
  • The all-important PPE Efficacy = photon flux (PPF) / input wattage (W)
    . 

|| Bluetech LED light engine test reports exceeded 2.86µmol/J and CRI>94, 

and have been independently verified to exceed these values.  Download test report here.

 .

.One more widely used metric: PPFD 

PPFD is photosynthetic photon flux density, measured in μmol/m²s. PPFD value is the amount of energy that actually arrives at the plant.  This value is dependent on numerous factors, however one of the most significant is the height of the fixture above the plant.  This means that smaller distances between the light fixture and measuring surface result in higher PPFD. 

 

Unless produced by NVLAP accredited independent testing laboratory…. 

|| ….. the PPFD metric or PPFD “maps” should not be used…. 

for a side-by-side comparison of lights from different manufacturers as they can be easily manipulated to misrepresent data to favor a specific brand. 

 

 

Don’t buy based off Internet hype

Many reviews and posts hyping a specific product on the internet are written by fake contributors, or customers who were bribed with discounts in exchange for a positive review.   However: 

|| In order to meet your business goals you need to make informed purchasing decisions 

based off of real metrics and specifications such as PPF light output and PPE efficacy rather than Interned hype.|

 

Conclusion

If a supplier does not provide the industry-standard   independently verified metrics used in horticultural lighting, specifically PPF and efficacy, their product should be held in great doubt.

. 

|| Test reports from certified and NVLAP accredited independent testing laboratories are the only way to guarantee…. 

…. the accuracy of product specifications…. 

 …. and at Bluetech we always publish our official results.. 

These results are important as they allow you (and us) to evaluate the efficacy and future costs of our solutions and others’, so we provide them as part of our mission to do business in an honest and transparent fashion.

|| Inherent risks of using imported consumer-grade LED grow lights: 

When you take apart consumer-quality grow lights, this is what you will find inside: 

  1. LED power supplies (drivers) are made in-house. Usually assembled with least amount of inexpensive Chinese “domestic market” quality components
  2. hand-soldered (!!) LED boards cut costs by avoiding use of expensive automated SMD soldering equipment
  3. non-descriptive  (understand: Cheapest) LEDs.
    .
  4. They talk about “3W LEDs”.  The truth is that  inside of a 3W package claimed to be a “powerful 3W LED”, there are six 0.5 watt LED chips clustered tightly together.  They are molded on a single tiny piece of crystal substrate. They directly heat each other up what leads to poor heat dissipation resulting in low reliability and short life!
    See pictures below.
    .

    Other major risks!

  5. non-existence of North American fire and safety compliance, evaluation and certification of components and/or complete light fixture by recognized agencies UL, ETL, CSA makes these products not only illegal for sale and use in the USA and Canada but it also creates
    RISK OF FIRE OR ELECTRIC SHOCK!

    YOUR PROPERTY AND YOUR LIFE COULD BE IN SERIOUS DANGER! 

 

|| Why are commercial growers disappointed with performance and longevity of these low quality imported lights?  See the difference of what is inside!

A word about COB (Chip-On-Board) technology

A COB (short for Chip-on-Board) describes mounting multiple LED chips directly onto a small copper plate to form a single light source. COB is another type of technology that is massively touted on the Internet due to the fact that finished COB grow light can be built really inexpensively, but sold for a premium price when hyped well enouhg. 

COB advantages

Low cost! Inexpensive solution for D.I.Y. hobbyists who use few lights in a grow tent.  They get what they pay for:  low system efficacy, short life of the LED and high energy consumption. A 100W COB light can last only few thousand hours and it be purchased on ebay for less than $20.  It doesn’t even need a driver.
.

|| Following are valid reasons why none of the commercial lighting manufacturers use COB technology in their products:

COB disadvantages 

Minuscule LED chips are packed very tightly touching each other. This blocks some of the light output of the individual LED chip reducing the efficacy by 15-20% when compared with individual SMD LEDs mounted on a PC board.

COBs use strings of several LEDs in series. This can lead to a real problem when some of the LEDs begin to fail and start acting more like a low value resistor than a typical LED.

The biggest disadvantage of large COB LEDs is that from such a compact footprint heat cannot be removed fast enough.  Some COB LEDs are now available constructed of 3W diodes, but they can only be run at a third of their rated power and tend to burn out after just a few weeks due to excess heat..

 

For your reference, below is an easy-to-understand PPE photon efficacy comparison of 25 most popular LED grow lights …. 

|| Watch all the way to the end and …. You will be surprised!