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HPS light systems and fluorescent lights

This is a discussion on HPS light systems and fluorescent lights within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I am thinking of adding supplemental lighting for my plants and hope some of you ...

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  1. #1
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    orchid_fan is offline Senior Member
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    Default HPS light systems and fluorescent lights

    I am thinking of adding supplemental lighting for my plants and hope some of you will jump in with some advice. I've read the old posts here regarding lighting, and from what I understand, HPS lighting costs more, emits more heat, and produces more light. Fluorescent lighting is less expensive, but requires plants to be placed very close to it for maximum effect. Am I on the right track? Can someone please give me some ideas of costs, both for the equipment and the electricity bill? How about pros and cons of either lighting systems? I'd also appreciate suggestions on where I can find/purchase the equipment. Is it as simple as making a trip to HD? Thanks!

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    LJA
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    Nancy, a good HPS light system can run into the hundreds of dollars. Fluorescents are a lot cheaper, but nowhere near as effective. Maybe Pete or someone else growing under lights can chime in with some exact figures and details....

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    hi, nancy.

    right now, im using fluorescent lighting to supplement the summer sun. its 2 tubes of 4' lights. my growing area is about 4'X1 1/4'. im planning on buying a 250 watt hps light with a son agro bulb (more blue in the spectrum) for the winter. not only will this increase the light (and make me not so worried to water my orchids) but it will also warm the air around them (we get some below zero weather here, and last winter i had a spike freeze ). heres some good info. the first link Principles of Indoor Garden Lighting has another link to how much it costs per month to run the lights.

    im planning on purchasing my lights here. they have free shipping on stuff over $250, and im planning on buying a ph meter to push the amount over that. shipping on this heavy equipment can really kill ya, and this is the best deal that ive found. some other places may offer the lighting at a better deal by 10 dollars or so, but shipping would be way more than that! hope this helps.

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    oh, yeah....

    the fluoros that i have now (theyre just 2 bulbs, not 4) were $25 at boxstore. its one with everything pre-wired. you can get cheaper ones there, but youd have to either hard-wire the lights into your room or add a plug yourself. im not that handy, so i went with the easy plug-in-and-go option. the increase in my power bill was nominal (i run the lights 16 hours a day). im looking at my checkbook now, and in the couple months before i had the lights, my power bill was approximately $45.50. in the couple months that ive had the lights, the bill is about $48. so about $2.50/month to run.

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    Hmmm, those are good prices but I wonder about the wattage....I'll have to hunt around there for the 400's when I am a little more awake...too early for science...*yawn*

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    Nancy and Heather,

    If you're growing your plants indoors in the winter with no natural light or very little winter sun, then don't even bother withfluor lights, go with HPS light systems with the SonAgro light bulbs (emits both red and blue needed for growth and flower production).

    I have been growing all my orchids for many years, mainly Paphs and Phrags under 430 watt HPS systems on light movers with no natural light and they are very very happy . If you have many plants and/or planning to expand your collection (Heather, you know you're already there ), the don't even waste your time with fluor. lights. I have tried it and my plants just sulked and did nothing but as soon I changed over to HPS and what a BIG difference they made! All the plants perked up almost immdeiately, leaves became sturdy and harderned, grew and even bloomed the following winter and spring! I would never go back to using fluor. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!!!

    Oh and another thing, don't even bother with the smaller puny 60-250 watt HPS systems, they are a waste! Get anything from 400 watt and higher, especially if you have a large collection and that collections grows over time! One more suggestion, get a light mover as well, your plants will thank you for that! They'll grow straight up instead of leaning towards the light and no burning points also!

    Hope this helps!

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    Well, I am not considering flourescents at all, but I am going to check the prices on their 400W. The prices on the lower wattage ones at that site are good but I bet the higher wattage will bump up the price.

    The smaller one they have is $255 (the pro-ultralite w/430W SunAgro), which isn't bad...and free shipping is nice to boot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heather
    Well, I am not considering flourescents at all, but I am going to check the prices on their 400W. The prices on the lower wattage ones at that site are good but I bet the higher wattage will bump up the price.

    The smaller one they have is $255 (the pro-ultralite w/430W SunAgro), which isn't bad...and free shipping is nice to boot.
    I haven't checked all of their prices yet but that 430 watt with Sonagro for $255 and free shipping sounds like a GREAT deal. I would jump on it right away because the price may go up as we get closer and closer to fall and winter. I think that is the cheapest price I have come across! They usually are around $290 and up with shipping. So, if I were you, I would get one right away before they raise the price come fall.

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    Default Don't laugh at me....stupid question


    I don't understand what a ballast is...can someone explain that to me *without* laughing please....took a lot of courage for me to ask this...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heather

    I don't understand what a ballast is...can someone explain that to me *without* laughing please....took a lot of courage for me to ask this...
    A ballast is the main unit and they are very heavy. So, make sure you get a remote ballast. That way you can just place the heavy ballast on the floor or something instead of hanging it from the ceiling. You then only hang or attach the very light weight reflector with the bulb to the ceiling or the light mover.

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