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Help with a new light set-up

This is a discussion on Help with a new light set-up within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Well, i just bought a light fixture. It holds two 4 foot 32W T8 bulbs. ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Help with a new light set-up

    Well, i just bought a light fixture. It holds two 4 foot 32W T8 bulbs. I just bought two flourescents. Now, this is merely a bit of supplemental light as my plants receive very bright direct Western sun for about 4 hours a day. I just wanted to lengthen the amount of time they're receiving light and possibly up the levels a bit. What do you experienced folks say? Since the lights are just an additive to the already strong afternoon light they receive, do you think one fixture will do? It will hang about 3 feet or so above the plants...I know I read things that say get it as close as possible but this is the length of chain it came with. Will it still give them an added boost that far away? I'm new to supplemental lighting so any advice is helpful. I'm not even sure I need it, but it couldn't hurt.
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    From that far away it will hardly make any difference IMO.

  3. #3
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    I know nothing about supplemental lighting. I am getting my first cfl bulb this week to grow my Den. spectabile under. I have been told to grow it about two feet away from the plant but I might start off nearer to it and see how it goes. As it will be a clamp lamp fixture I can move it as far away or as near to the Den. as is needed. If I see burning then I shall move as required. Good luck.

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    Susie, the distance of the light source from the plant depends a great deal on the kind of light source. Compact fluorescents (CFLs) produce much more light (lumens/watt) and heat as compared to standard T4 or T8 fluorescents, so they can be a bit further away from the plants. LEDS produce the most amount of light per watt of energy consumed and produce very little wasteful heat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Susie11 View Post
    I know nothing about supplemental lighting. I am getting my first cfl bulb this week to grow my Den. spectabile under. I have been told to grow it about two feet away from the plant but I might start off nearer to it and see how it goes. As it will be a clamp lamp fixture I can move it as far away or as near to the Den. as is needed. If I see burning then I shall move as required. Good luck.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Amey. I shall put it about three feet away from the plant then. It is only 11w 4000k so I am happy to hear that it produces heat as well. My den is a warm growing light loving type so I think I should be ok with that bulb then.

  6. #6
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    Susie I think 1.5 ft to 2 ft should be fine I think. I have not grown aerial plants with CFL only aquatics. At our lab. we grow plants using T8s because they produce much less heat compared to cfls and also distribute the light along the length of the growth chamber better compared to the CFL. But the plants are just 6-8 inches away from the light. We have small computer exhaust fans running to ensure good ventilation and avoid heat damage to the foliage.

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    I would recommend you start at 2-2.5 ft and slowly bring it closer to the plant, just until it doesn't burn your plant.

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    Thanks so much Amey. I am a novice so it is good to talk to someone who knows what they are doing. The plant should have arrived by now but I sent the money to the wrong Paypal address so I have just had to send it again -very embarrassing!!

  9. #9
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    Always happy to help

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    This question gave me a chance to play with my new toy--an el cheapo digital lux meter. I turned on one of my 2 bulb 4 ft T8 32 watt fixtures with a somewhat water spotted chrome reflector, after sundown with only a 40watt lamp on in another part of the room.

    At the bulbs (but not touching them) the foot candles were about 2400 to 2600.

    Between 6 and 8 inches down, the reading fell below 1000fc.

    At a distance of 3 feet, the reading was about 160 fc (not kidding)

    I would say hanging your new fixture on your deck at the end of its chain would be SO not worth the effort. To get any value out of your t8s outside you'd probably have to hang them so close it would block the natural light.

    Do you still have shade cloth up on your railing? I think there would be more useful light value gained by pulling that down, if it's still up. The sun should be at enough of an angle by now that it won't hit a single spot long enough to burn.

    Most of my orchids are getting around 7000 fc of direct sunlight for a few hours each morning with very little burning. Couple of the dens are getting full early afternoon sun also and they are getting a bit pale and spotty, but by golly the b@&+<>£€s are finally spiking. They must have gotten the message that they were toying with a destiny at the raffle table and/or as donations to the high school agronomy lab.

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