Welcome to OrchidsForum.com. We are a friendly online community for Orchid Growers all over the world. If you haven't joined yet we invite you to register and join our community. Hope to see you on our forums!

Fluorescent lighting question

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by Jon, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

    Messages:
    4,437
    Likes Received:
    107
    Location:
    Denver CO, USA
    Does anyone have experience growing with T5 or T8 fixtures and bulbs? If so, which would you recommend and why? About the only difference I can find via Google is that T8s are a little bit more efficient, and T5s are smaller (so one can fit mnore into an area).
     
  2. Tracey

    Tracey Interloper

    Messages:
    1,113
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Queensland, Australia
    Jon, I remember seeing a really detailed article about this somewhere. I'll try to remember where it was and email you the link if I find it
     
  3. Tom_in_PA

    Tom_in_PA I am not an addict

    Messages:
    1,951
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Shillington, PA
    I hope someone replies as I currently use the older T12 bulbs. I have great success but have been conteplating and trying to figure out if the increased cost would be worth it to use these in the new area I want to setup.

    It is tough to beat the cheat $8 shop light fixtures though ;)
     
  4. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Anglican Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Hmmm, yea, I think I have a couple of T8s. One can find those at the Home Depots and the Loweses. I've never seen a T5 at any local store or I'd probably have tried one. Ordering online seems annoying.

    I have no issues with the T8s but I'm not sure their benefits outweigh the benefits of T12s, i.e. their cheapness and availability. I actually think CFLs might be the best way to go in terms of useful light per watt and flexability. There are only so many ways you can arrange a 4' fixture whereas a snakelight or octopus light with CFLs can be infinitely readjusted as plants grow or they need to be moved, etc.

    If money, time, and space were no object, I'd have some o' them thar new fangled LED lights augmented with T5s and CFLs as well as sunlight and some halogens. Hope that confused things further. :D
     
  5. Ron-NY

    Ron-NY New Member

    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Saratoga Region, NY
    I just bought T5's with the thought in mind of building a "Pleuro Spa" but haven't started building yet. T5's have more light output than T8's. Also T8's are designed for the human eye with the thought of replacing the T 12's. T5's are more of a specialty item...ask any aquarium person...they are using the T5's for coral growth. IMHO, they are better for growing purposes
     
  6. Bob2741

    Bob2741 New Member

    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    4
    I have been using the sunleaves Comet 200 and the Pioneer Jr it has 4 t-5 tubes 2' long I use this over my young Orchids and the comets 200 over the mature plants. Only during the winter months. They give great light at a cheaper operating cost. I havent any complaints. You can see both at wormsway web site.
     
  7. Bob2741

    Bob2741 New Member

    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    4
    I found this

    Facts About Fluorescents

    Thanks to advances in horticultural lighting technology, fluorescents systems are no longer limited to propagation and can now be used to grow most plants to maturity. What’s changed? For the most part, newer, full-spectrum fluorescent systems offer a higher light intensity than their old-style counterparts.
    Light intensity is typically measured in lumens and, even though lumens are really just a measure of the yellow portion of the spectrum that humans can see (as opposed to the blue and red portions that plants “see” and use), evaluating lumen output is currently the best way for us to compare different types of tubes and lamps. For instance, a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb has a light output of about 840 lumens while an older-style fluorescent emits closer to 2,250 lumens. Compare these to today’s high-output fluorescent tubes that can emit more than 10,000 lumens and compact fluorescent bulbs that produce closer to 13,000 lumens, and it's no surprise that fluorescents are being used for more than seed starting.

    Some other factors to consider about fluorescents:

    Pros:
    Reduced heat output allows closer positioning to plants in addition to operation in enclosed spaces without the heat build-up associated with HID systems.


    Integrated systems are easier to use than multiple component HID systems.


    Fluorescent tubes maintain lumen output longer and generally cost less than HID lamps.


    Internally-ballasted fluorescent tube fixtures take up minimal space and can hang vertically or horizontally.


    Balanced, full-spectrum fluorescents can stimulate both vegetative growth AND fruiting and flowering.


    A linear light source has less shading than a single-point HID source.



    Cons:
    Fluorescents do not penetrate the plant canopy as well as their HID counterparts.


    Initial investment is comparable to that of a small HID system.


    HID lamps often surpass fluorescents in efficiency of lumen-per-watt delivery.
     
  8. Kyle

    Kyle Member

    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Geographic center of Canada
    Jon,

    I grow all my pleuros under t5 lights. About 15-18 inches away from one t5 tube. I have found them to be a much higher and brighter quality of light then t8's. Although more expensive, I think it is well worth it.

    I grow about 100 species of masdevallia and have been able to bloom almost all of them with my current set up. Let me know if you want to see pictures.

    What do you want to use them for?

    Kyle
     
  9. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Northern California
    I want to see pictures please Kyle
     
  10. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

    Messages:
    4,437
    Likes Received:
    107
    Location:
    Denver CO, USA
    Thanks Bob.

    And thanks Kyle. I would like to see pics of your setup, please. I plan on creating a small C/I cabinet for pleurothallids mainly.
     
  11. T&J San Antonio

    T&J San Antonio New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    At a local orchid show last year I saw a vendor with an LED growing light system that looked very nice. The lites were set up on a small rail surrounding a platform large enough to supoort several plants. When I asked about it the vendor told me that they were very happy with the results. Also, the blueish light really set off the flower coloring. I would have bought one then and there accept they did not stock the units and that they were quite expensive like over $250. I checked out the web site for the manufacturer but kind of lost interest in the whole thing. Now there have been some significant advaces in LED lights like a light bulb that fits into a regular fixture and emmits 100 watts of light that sels for about $79.00 and is advertised to only cost $35 to burn over a ten year period. Here is a copy of the the description off thier website:


    I recently had the chance to test two state-of-the-art LED light bulbs from EarthLED. LED bulbs have many advantages over incandescents and compact fluorescent: they use very little power, they last 10 years or more, and they contain no hazardous substances. They are also tough: they can be dropped and turned off and on repeated without damage, they can operate in very cold or warm temperatures.

    LED bulbs can also save you money in the long term, because an incandescent bulb requires about $300 worth of electricity over ten years of use. The LED bulbs cost $49.99 (for the 60 watt equivalent Zetalux) and $79.99 (for the 100 watt equivalent Evolux), and their cost to run over ten years is about $38.


    Now with the available sunlight we have down here, I had neve given much thought to indoor growing, but this type of light might be worth checking into. That is if what this tester said is true.

    just tom
     
  12. emuehlbauer

    emuehlbauer New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Rego Park, Queens, NY
    It depends on what you want to grow....I keep mainly paphs in my light garden, and they do fine with the old fashioned cheap NO 4 ft bulbs....3 cool wite and one warm white per shelf. I leave them on 15 hours/day, from late sept until mid May (they go outdoors after that). Strap leafed types that need more light go higher...the leaves practically touch the bulbs...the barbata at the bottom....and it does fine for me. I replace the bulbs every year..in fact, they are due for a replacement now.
     
  13. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

    Messages:
    4,437
    Likes Received:
    107
    Location:
    Denver CO, USA
    Thanks Tom & Eric.

    I grew under T12 fluorescent lights for 3 years, and I really had good results. Now, though, I'm looking to use T5 or T8 bulbs & fixtures. I'm just curious which of those that people have experience with, and what the pros and cons are of each.
     
  14. Kyle

    Kyle Member

    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Geographic center of Canada
    I'll post pictures tonight.

    I used to know all the numbers and science stuff a year ago when I built my new stands and grow room, but have since forgotten. All I know is the qualitative observations I've made.

    • I can bloom pretty much everything I grow 15 inches away from 1 bulb. I used to use two 2 bulb T8 fixtures to accomplish the same results.
    • The bulbs produce less heat then then a 2 bulb T8 fixture. I grow lots of cool stuff, so this is important. however my phal species collection has been destroyed by cool temperatures this winter...
    • The qulaity of the light is more in line with the full spectrum T8 bulbs I was using. The CRI is lower and the 6400 K is higher then sunlight, but I'm still happy.
    • The bulbs/fixtures are a lot more expensive. A lot more. But for me, worth it.

    None of my fixtures us reflectors. they never came with them and I was to lazy to rig something up.

    Here is a link to the bulbs/fixtures I use: They come in 24,36 and 48.

    Sun Blaster Lighting

    Kyle
     
  15. T&J San Antonio

    T&J San Antonio New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    The info on LED lights got me to thinking so I requested so info about the lights used in an orchid growing conditions. There were a number of different options they offered but this one sparked my interest so I thought I would see what the rest of you thought of it. A little pricey I admit but considering all the factors (long life, cool lighting, and power consumption) I am almost tempted to give them a try on some seedling plants. I'm interested in what the rest of you think.

    just tom

    NEW! EarthLED GrowLED GrowCube Pro
    EarthLED GrowCube Pro
    Introducing the GrowCube a new line of high power LED Grow Lights utilizing a square format to maximize coverage area and energy distribution.

    GrowCubes offer high output 14 or 45 watt LED arrays and solid construction. Step up to the next level of LED grow light performance and efficiency today.

    Professional Power, Professional Results.
    45 Watts of Power, Large Footprint Growing System.

    Installation Specifications:
    Hang 6 to 18 Inches above plants GrowCube Pro Illuminates 5 Square Feet of growing Area.

    Run Time:
    During Flowering State: 10-12 Hours per day
    During Vegetative State: 14-16 Hours per day
    For Indoor Use Only!

    Specifications and Dimensions:
    Power Consumption: 45 Watts
    Light Engine: 112 LEDs (72 Red, 40 Blue)
    Wavelengths: Red – 620-630 nm, Blue – 460-470 nm
    Input Voltage: 120 V AC
    Lifespan: > 50,000 Hours (MTBF)
    Physical Dimensions: Overall Length – 12.25 in x 12.25 in x 1.2 in Weight – 2 lbs
    Cost to run for one year – $13.00*
    Calculated assuming 8 Hours a day operation, 365 Days a Year with $.10 KWh Electricity Cost

    EarthLED GrowLED GrowCube Pro for $ 137.99
     
  16. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,836
    Likes Received:
    3,628
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Any updates on LED lighting?

    I've recently seen a 3 ft tube light at a friends house and am interested to hear some real world experience. Has anyone tried any of the LED lights. If so, what do you think of them. Thanks,
     
  17. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,854
    Likes Received:
    617
    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    Tom,

    I spent a while on that EarthLED website, and nowhere can I find info on the output intensity, and it would seem to me that's a pretty important factor. It's also interesting that they recommend anywhere from 10- to 16 hours/day of use, but calculate costs at 8 hrs/day.

    For a comparison, I recently got a 4 x 2' T5 fixture with high output bulbs for a neighbor (growing AV's) that draws 89 watts, meaning that for the same calculation, it is costing her $26 per year to operate, and I guarantee you it puts out a lot more light than will the LED panel.
     
  18. Binky

    Binky Fries anyone?

    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    1
    I just got a 65w CFL that is supposed to be equivalent to a 300w incandesent. 3400 lumin output. It's big so I need to work up a better reflector for it. I think it has some uses for growing. For $15, I figured it is worth trying.
     
  19. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Anglican Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    It is my understanding that the advantage with LEDs is not so much the 'quantity' of light they emit, but the quality. They don't waste energy making frequencies that the plants can't use. I'm still using fl. lights however. The low cost and availability are hard to beat for now anyway.
     
  20. Magnus A

    Magnus A Ph.D.

    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden, Europe, Earth
    Jon,

    It interesting that most of the answer are not on the question you ask!

    For the different between T5 and T8 Kyle posted some good observation.

    T5 is "the next" generation after T8 and the generation before T8 was T12. More or less

    T5 gives more lumen per watt energy consumed. Ther are more efficient then T8 and T12.
    T5 has a smaller diameter and therefore takes less space, you can use more tubes, gives you more light.

    One important thing is to equip the tubes with good refectors. You will gain a lot of light otherwise wasted!

    And yes, I have used T5 for 4 years with good result.

    /Magnus