How to choose the correct LED
LED Lights for Growing Cannabis Indoors
The quality and quantity of cannabis plants’ production is determined by many factors, including the duration and type of lighting used. The following article covers all the basics involved with the latest facts on LEDs lights including pros and cons, price and quality, and common problems. You’ll also find information about today’s leading full spectrum app-controlled LED grow lights, as well as links to reputable cannabis seed bank i49 USA.
Why LED Lights?
LED lights emit powerful UV light while using less energy than the alternatives like HID lights, offering savings on energy costs, as well as often increasing photosynthetic efficiency.
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All growers would agree that the key to growing marijuana indoors is to perfect the lighting. When setting up an indoor grow operation, there are a wide range of lights from which to choose. LED lights have been rising in popularity among growers in recent years, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Technological advancements have helped LED lights carve out a substantial following of indoor horticulturists because of their efficiency and ease of use. However, before running to the store to purchase a new LED setup, there are a few things that are important to understand.
What is an LED Light?
LED stands for light-emitting diode. LED lights are a semiconductor light source that was first invented in 1907, far before it became the popular light source it is today. When these lights were first invented, LEDs were only available in red wavelengths.
In modern times, LEDs are available in a range of wavelengths, from infrared to ultraviolet. For example, the full spectrum app-controlled LED grow light from AIGrowLight (the PRISM EGX7 Plus) is the most recent development in LED grow light technology available today. Take a closer look at these lights by visiting https://aigrowlight.com/ref/ph9ma/.
How do LED Lights Work?
LEDs emit light by moving current through a semiconductor material. When the light passes through the material it fills “electron holes”, which exist when an atom is positively charged (lacks electrons). The number of electron holes that a semiconductor has can be controlled by adding other elements to it, creating two different kinds of semiconductors inside one crystal. This creates a boundary between the two different kinds called a p-n junction and these junctions make up an LED light.
LED lights get their color through an electronic action that occurs between the p-junction and the n-junction, with the light color being determined by the semiconductor material. To successfully grow marijuana plants indoors, growers need to have a white LED, which produces a full spectrum of light.
With green plants, chlorophyll is a green pigment in the leaves that absorbs red-light and blue-light wavelengths while it reflects green-light. When Robert Emerson discovered how to use LEDs to mimic the dual short and long-wavelengths required for efficient photosynthesis, he changed LED grow light technology forever by implementing what is now called The Emerson Effect. Used by the folks at AIGrowLight, The Emerson Effect involves an increase in the rate of photosynthesis when chlorophyll molecules absorb both deep red spectrum wavelengths (680 nm) and far red spectrum wavelengths (> 680 nm) simultaneously. The combination of the two wavelengths is a feature that causes an increase in photosynthesis efficiency—a benefit included in the full spectrum app-controlled LED grow lights from AIGrowLight. Check out these noise-free, waterproof lights at https://aigrowlight.com/ref/ph9ma/
Pros and Cons of LED Lights
Though it hasn’t happened yet, LED grow lights are set to outgrow traditional lighting systems soon. They have several significant advantages that have marijuana growers switching from HID lighting systems in droves. However, before making the switch, it is important to understand their disadvantages as well.
Lower Energy Costs
One of the biggest costs of growing marijuana indoors is the price of electricity. The cost of using MH, HPS, or T5 lighting far exceeds that of an LED light, which use as much as 60% less electricity to produce the same intensity of light. LED lights can decrease utility bills for indoor growers, making them an attractive option for long-term savings.
HID bulbs produce a lot of heat, which can put marijuana plants in danger of being burned. If used in small spaces, these lights can even be a fire hazard. LED lights run much cooler, which makes them safe to hang closer to the plants less dangerous to keep running continuously.
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Great for Small Areas
Not only are LED lights safer to use in small spaces, but they are much less bulky than more traditional lighting methods. This makes them a better fit for small grow rooms.
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The average lifespan of a fluorescent grow light is around 20,000 hours, but they will lose their effectiveness as a grow light before they reach that number. LED grow lights last up to 50,000 hours—the longest lifespan of the lighting options available today.
Marijuana plants require blue light during their vegetative stage to promote healthy stalk and leaf growth. During the flowering stage, these plants no longer require much blue light, but require red light to promote flowering. Many growers using traditional lighting systems have to switch their lights out when the plants switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage. LED lights provide a full spectrum of light, capable of supporting marijuana plants at all stages of growth.
HID lights require reflectors to direct the light towards a specific area in the grow room. This can increase the cost of the lighting system and is just another accessory to complicate the lighting process. LED lights do not require external reflectors, as they can focus their light onto a small area with an internal lens.
Sensitive to Heat
While LED lights produce little heat, they are sensitive to high temperatures. The diodes fail more frequently when exposed to prolonged high temperatures and the quality of their light may be reduced.
Higher Upfront Cost
High-quality LED lighting systems have a higher upfront cost than fluorescent or HID lights do. While it is possible to find cheaper options, they are typically not as good as better models and would not provide marijuana plants with the necessary lighting. However, growers stand to save money long term by increasing their yield and lowering their utility costs.
Discoloration with Age
While LED lights have a long lifespan, they tend to change color as they age. This can leave plants without the proper spectrum of light to support each growth stage. High-quality LED systems experience this much less often, so it is worth it to invest in them at the beginning.
Can Cause Eye Damage
Plants do well in the spectrum of light that LEDs provide, but the human eye does not. LED lights produce light with bright blue wavelengths, which has been known to cause retinal damage and even blindness.
No Manufacturer Standards
HID and fluorescent lights have standard specifications that all manufacturers adhere to in production. LED lights do not have the same manufacturer standards. This means growers need to do a little more homework when purchasing their LED lighting system to ensure they have the right quality of parts and that their accessories are compatible. Fortunately, as LED lights become more popular, this should be less of a problem.
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LED Grow Light Price and Quality
Now that the importance of having quality LED lighting systems is established, growers should know what they are looking at when they buy one. It is important that growers don’t just shop by the price tag, as the lowest-priced items are usually substandard. Below is a summary of what to expect from LED grow lights in each price category.
Low Price Range
LED lights in the low-price range rarely provide a broad enough spectrum to support healthy plant growth. These lights may be branded as full spectrum lights, but growers can tell they are not by the cheap materials used and the large red and blue lights on them. Without a full spectrum of light, these cheap LEDs will inhibit the plant’s growth and reduce the yield.
Middle Price Range
The lights in the middle price range will be an obviously higher quality than those in the low-price range. The materials used in their production will be stronger, they will probably include an internal fan for temperature regulation, and they will produce a larger spectrum of light. While they may also advertise a full spectrum, it is likely that there will be gaps that are not covered, which can limit a marijuana plant’s growth potential. Additionally, lights in this category may degrade faster than those in the higher price range.
High Price Range
Lights in the high price range will provide the best results, increasing both plant growth and overall yield. They will be made of the best materials, which increases their durability and lifespan. They do not require a cooling fan and provide full-spectrum lighting for optimal plant health.
Common LED Grow Light Problems
When growers switch to an LED lighting system, they may notice changes in their plants that may alarm them. Below is a summary of the most common problems with LED grow lights.
Change in Plant Appearance
Occasionally LED lights can cause changes in the color of the plant’s leaves, making growers question whether their plants are suffering from nutrient deficiencies. If the leaves are discolored, but they are otherwise healthy and not falling off the plant, then it is more likely that the LED light is the cause and the change is harmless.
Lower Yield than HPS Lights
HPS lights will often get a higher yield than LED lights because HPS lights have a higher light intensity, though the difference in yield is not overwhelming. LED lights produce a higher quality than HPS lights do, and it will not be long before LED technology is advanced enough to meet or even surpass HPS lights in both yield and quality.
Hanging Distance Can Be Inconsistent
Since LED lights are not standardized, different lights may need to be hung at varying heights to ensure the plants receive the right intensity of light. Growers will need to check the manufacturer’s instructions on each light as the bulb size and lens type determine the light’s required distance from the plant. Accuracy is paramount because placing lights too close to the plants can give them light burn.
The Bottom Line
LED lights have been gaining ground in popularity compared to other lighting types, and they are likely to surpass them as time goes on. While they may not be the cheapest option upfront, their ease of use and increased efficiency will save growers money and simplify the process of growing marijuana indoors.
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