How to set-up a lighting system that is able to provide the necessary light for growth and flowering of the plant
Once having planted the cubes in soil it is time to start providing light to the plant. To do this we must set-up a lighting system that is able to provide the necessary light for growth and flowering of the plant which will simulate sun light.
An indoor lighting kit is composed of:
Ballast This is used to provide an electrical charge to light up the bulb. There are 2 types of ballast in commerce, the magnetic version and the electronic version. The electronic version has the following advantages:
- consumes less energy
- heats up less
- is more stable and therefor helps the life
- the wiring is easier as the mains are already wired
- some models have a watt dimmer, therefore they can control various watt bulbs
Bulb (or Lamp)which provides a specific light spectrum to simulate sun light.
There are various types of bulbs in commerce specific for indoor cultivation. The differences are in their technology and different colour spectrum. For the growth period a bluish spectrum is needed, an MH bulb. Instead for the flowering period and orange/reddish spectrum, a HPS bulb. The AGRO bulbs on the other hand can be used for both growth and flowering periods.
Choosing between Mh/Agro/HPS ; The Agro bulbs are the easier choice and more economical, compared to the MH and Hps choice, however they have the disadvantage of having a low yield in the growing stage, compared to the MH bulbs.
Lamp holder/ reflector Used to hold the lamp and spread the light evenly all over the cultivation area.
Also in this case , there are many types of reflectors with different models, shapes and uses. We can say though that 2 fundamental categories exist; standard reflectors and air-cooled reflector. The second type, air-cooled, has the advantage to have an air passage forced through by an extractor fan , which directly cools the heat produced by the bulb by removing the heat and therefore not allowing the excessive heat to inflict on the grow area.
CHOOSING THE SIZE OF YOUR LIGHTING KIT
The following table will help you decide the size, based on the available space you have and number of plants you wish to grow. We also added for commodity the grow box sizes to associate with the type of lighting system.
70 x 70 x 180
80 x 80 x 180
100 x 100 x 200
120 x 120 x 200
240 x 120 x 200
ATTENTION: Always remember that the ballast and bulb must have the same watts.
WIRING UP YOUR LIGHTING SYSTEM
- Connecting the ballast to the mains – there are various types of ballast in commerce. Some are easier than others to wire, for example the electronic ballasts, as they already have the mains wires ready wired, others like the magnetic models are more complex as they have to be wired manually.*
- Connecting the ballast to the reflector-The electrical current provided by the ballast must brought and supply to the lamp holder/reflector which will in turn light up the screwed in bulb. The lamp holder for this process has a standard attachment, commonly known as E40.
- Lamp holder/reflector – The reflector is used to diffuse the light in the grow area and is generally provided with the lamp holder. It is often supplied with a plastic film cover, and must be removed before putting in to function the lighting system.
- Screwing in the bulb- Once all is wired up screw in the bulb into the lamp holder till the end and clean the bulb delicately with a cloth before turning it on.
*Refer to the manuals and instructions provided by the manufacturer for the wiring plan.
LED GROW PANELS THE ALTERNATIVE INDOOR LIGHTING SYSTEM
The led grow panels can be used to keep cuttings, for growth and for flowering. The emission of both white and red light simulates the colour scale similar to orange and similar to an AGRO lamp.
The led still has higher costs compared to other lighting systems however it develops the following advantages:
- Energy saving – lower consumption costs
- No over heating
- All-in one , no ballast is needed or lamp holder and reflector.
- Easy to install and no wiring necessary.