SE vs. DE
Single Ended(SE) bulbs have been the norm for a few decades now and while they are a tried and true method for big yields and large flowers, we have seen an increase in the usage and demand for Double Ended(DE) fixtures as well. Some of these now DE fixtures generate more heat then a SE fixture, but the benefit is worth it, says the growers who use them. The leader in this DE revolution has been Gavita, specifically their “Pro, e-series” line which can accommodate their Gavita Master Controller, which can control dozen of other lights. The feature the Gavita Master Controller include are “Dawn/Dusk” dimming feature as well as a “Max Temp” set point which lowers the wattage of the lamp in 150W increments all the way from 1150W – 600W.
These lights are said to cover a much larger area than the traditional non air cooled HID(high intensity discharge) fixtures, but in addition to this extra light they also bring heat with them. Growers have claimed needing anywhere from 1,000 – 2,000BTU’s extra in order to cool each DE fixture. That being said, the production has been reported to “out-do” the standard 1000W HPS fixtures, and the PAR(photo active radiation) levels definitely confirm it is a brighter light.
DE vs. LEC
Double Ended(DE) fixture have become all the rage with gardeners who are used to using multiple 1000W fixtures in an area/room, however what about the guys who use just one 400W-600W light in a small area and doesn’t have the time or the space to keep up with a larger garden. The LEC(light emitting ceramic) or cMH(ceramic metal halide) maybe the answer for those looking for the intensity of an HID but want the low energy cost and cooling needs of an LED or fluorescent fixture. While these units generate about as much heat as a typical LED, they most certainly out preform their HID equivalent of a 400W – 600W MH/HPS. The only downside to this increase in efficiency and lower heat, is a small boost in initial cost. These units typically double what a standard HID setup would cost, but their may be a “light at the end of the tunnel,” as it were. These LED and DE fixtures have brought with them not only higher PAR ratings than ever before seen on HID equipment, they bring with them a level of the spectrum which we can’t see but which the plants respond to, UV. This increase in intensity and penetrating power has been noted to not only off a better dual spectrum option, but a more fully developed mature plant as well.
The LEC was what we called the “LED KILLER” for a while as the number of LEC’s sold in one year compared to the number of LED’s we sold was almost quadrupel(4x). All of these customers are still happy and have all reported back with higher yields and lower temperatures. Untill we learned about “Build My LED” or “Fluence Bioengineering” we were all but convinced LED’s were finally put to rest.
HID vs. LED
So now that we have looked at HID lights, both SE and DE, and LEC lights, we come to LED’s. (Enough acronyms for ya!?) In the indoor gardening/hydropoinics industry LED’s have been trying to make themselves a place in the lighting field for a little over a decade now. Initially, there was the UFO LED, total junk, but it was the first of it’s kind and the bright pink light was like what i assume a bug staring at a “bug light” looks like right before he gets zapped! They just didn’t preform as promised and sold for a price which implied they worked just fine. After that our customers and our selves took a break from LED’s and looks more into the ever growing air cooled movement that was happening and was producing an ever bigger and bigger reflector. By the time the “Raptor” or the “XXXL Magnum” reflectors came out we had picked up a couple more, namely the Kessil LED and the Xtreme LED. Well as most of you know, the Xtreme LED came from R&M Supply, who would shortly leave the industry and be bought by Hydrofarm. Since, then Xtreme LED no longer exists and now the Solar Flare has a unit which looks very similar to the square, daisy-chainable unit once sold by R&M Supply. Once again, we felt we had been fooled by the would be, LED companies, for promising the world and delivering quite short of it. These small units seemed to lead to a much larger unit, the Stealth Grow, eventually knocked off by, Grow Stealth, were units were much larger, even more expensive than the UFO, Kessill or Solar Flare ever were. Unfortunately Stealth Grow fell to the same fate as the other units before it and eventually became merely a website online with a disconnected phone number.
While you can still find namely the Kessil, companies like Hydrofarm have entertained several controversial unit over the years, however Sunlight Supply, NGW, was a distributor of the Stealth Grow for a little while too, but quickly dropped them as they saw the repairs and damaged units roll right back through their doors. This burned Sunlight Supply, NGW, and since then they have not carried.
Cut to a few years ago, Hydrofarm has picked up the Solar Flare, and independently, KIND LED has started to make a name for them selves as well. This is about the time every one started hearing about Illumitex LED, specifically the NS Neo Sol initially and the DS would come later. These units were initially sold by Hydrofarm, but as of now are only available through a vendor of Illumitex or directly from their website(recommended). These lights were the first we saw that had multiple strips as a feature, as well as the lens feature, both of these aspects were supposed to make for a larger fixture covering more area and a brighter diode with out having to consume more power. These units were one of a kind when they were first released and we have probably sold a dozen of them over the last 3 years.
Fortunately, as many leading companies do, they hire smart people, well one of those people who worked at Illumitex had a difference of opinion and left the company with aspirations of making his own LED. This is were BML(build my led) comes from and begin to slowly produce units, by demand, for the open market of LED consumers in the indoor gardening and hydroponics world. Now that they have been out for a couple years, they have re-branded themselves as a bio-engineering company with a focus on LED lighting. We are very proud to have them as our exclusive LED dealer and we offer their units at the same cost directly listed on their website. We have been known to talk down about LED’s in the past and that is why i wrote out this explanation which gives several examples as to why a store such as ourselves might have a bit of skepticism when an LED company promises “1000W like” results.
Well, the look is over for now, Fluence Bioengineering has two units, the SPYDRx and the SPYDRx PLUS, these units cost between $900 and $1500 and pull roughly 300W-500W of power at the wall (that’s about $10-20/month). All of our customers have not only been satisfied with the color and intensity of these LED lights but the results and the customer service speak for themselves.
“The dedication of Fluence and their staff has made this purchase that much easier.”
“The satisfaction and well being of my customers speaks volumes to us when this kind of new technology comes out every few years.”
-Store Owner Review