What are led grow lights and who invented them?
LED's (Light Emitting Diodes) have been around for a very long time and are a well-established source of light for applications that are looking for a compact footprint and a low energy high output product. Unlike normal light sources the colours of led's can be tailored to the specific wavelength that is required for the application.
Now there are many poor deluded souls out there that are convinced they have invented the led grow light but in reality led's were first used for horticultural applications by NASA who investigated using led's for plant growth to produce food whilst in space using a minimal amount of energy. Now until recently led's were not advanced enough to grow larger or denser crops and that is when it all started to change for us growers.
The cluster type design we use for our Budmaster led grow lights is nothing new and similar style lights have been used by the military and entertainment industry for decades, for example the popular TV show 'Top Gear' in the UK use 'Halogen Grid Lights' to light their set and if you look you will see that they are a 3x3 cluster mould in a square case much like our Budmaster xx-9 range.
So to sum it all up no one really invented led grow lights as they are today, rather they have evolved alongside industrial lighting fixtures and more powerful modern led's to make them what they are today.
Why are led's better for plant growth?
Led's are better for plant growth in all stages for many reasons, but lets start with what the main problems are with traditional lighting.
With a traditional HID / HPS type of lighting fixture your plants are not making use of most of light output, this is of course highly inefficient and undesirable. Add this to the fact that you are generally consuming 600w of energy (considerably more if you have an old ballast) and only using 60w - 90w of that energy for your plants and it all starts to seem a bit insane.
Now with led's we can tailor the colour and bandwidth of each led to ensure that all the chlorophyll absorption peaks are being targeted efficiently thus promoting healthier growth whilst using less energy and with zero waste.
And of course as our led grow lights are not emitting huge amounts of heat it also makes it much easier to control the environment in your grow room to ensure healthier, higher yielding plants. As a general rule of thumb it is always easier to warm something than to cool something and this includes your grow room.
Is there any change to the way I grow using led's?
We get asked this question a lot from people all over the world and in short the answer is 'Yes' and 'No', it is all very dependent on how you have your environment at the moment.
For example if you are growing with HPS and have a perfectly dialled in room using controller units to distribute and disperse heat and air then you will have to make no change at all.
But if you are growing in your garage or in your roof space there may be considerable changes you have to make to allow you to control the environment more effectively and efficiently.
For example if growing in a garage with HPS there will be a build-up of the excess heat generated from the light into the surrounding building and substrates. This additional heat will then come in very useful when your plants enter their dark period so that they are not thrown into immediate temperature variations but rather move slowly down to their night time temperature. When growing with led you do not have this excess heat build up to be used later on so an obvious change to combat this is to ensure your plants night period is during our daytime so they have additional warmth.
Remember you plants night time temperature should ideally not go below 3 - 5 degrees that of their daytime temperature to provide optimum results and less inter-nodal stretching. For more tips on how to grow with leds please visit our help section here.
Is the end product and yield of the same quality and size?
This is of course the most important question we get asked about growing with our led grow lights.
First the yield, yes we can proudly and confidently say that yields under our Budmasters regularly exceed that of HPS with most customers exceeding the 1gpw target, some of our expert growers have had yields of 1.7 - 2.2 gpw using our new G.O.D range. This is possible as our spectrum and lens give extreme penetration through to the lower canopy and ensures that every single leaf is providing the plant with energy, you rarely see a dead leaf on the bottom of a plant grown with our lights. Also the flowers and fruits produced are significantly denser than normal hps grown.
Now the taste and the aroma is that any different, no not at all is exactly the same as you would normally get using traditional hps, now there may be some people that would argue led produce tastes better but lets face it we would have to test one huge amount of produce to make that claim.
What about the oil production? After 3 years of refining what we like to think of as the perfect ratio with the available technology today we can shout out loud that yes our lights do encourage considerably more oil production, see some of our online diaries and prepare to be amazed.