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Which Fluorescent Tubes Do You Use?

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by Tim C, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Tim C

    Tim C New Member

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    I posted a while ago asking which type of fluorescent fixtures would be best for growing orchids, and many had the consensus that T5's would be the best. Alas, money is very tight, and I chose to go with my old growing setup, 4x 40 watt T12 tubes.

    I am curious how many of you are using T12's or T8's, and specifically what tubes you're using in your setups, and what orchids you grow/flower regularly.

    The specs of my current tubes are:
    2x GE Daylight 40, 3050 lumens, 6500k color temp.
    2x GE Kitchen and Bath 40, 3400 lumens, 3000k color temp.

    I have no light meter, but will be getting one soon, as I'm curious what footcandles this setup puts out. If you happen to know the FC output of your setup, that would be very helpful as well.

    I've done a lot of research on this topic on the web, but I can't seem to find anyone who gives the details on what tubes they're using; only seem to find people saying generic information about what they grow/flower.

    Specifically, I'm curious if anyone out there grows using T12's or T8's as their primary source of light, and is able to flower any type of Catts (mini/dwarf or otherwise) using their setup.

    Thanks in advance for any input/advice.

    -Tim C.
     
  2. Tim C

    Tim C New Member

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    Just as a follow-up:

    I purchased a light meter today, and took some readings from my bulbs.

    At inches from lights, in approximate footcandles:
    15" = 1700 FC
    10" = 2500 FC
    5" = 3500 FC

    So it looks like if I put some catts within 5" of the bulbs or so, they'll do fine.

    -Tim C.

    Edit: I totally had my measurements wrong. Changed the FC readings with the correct measurements this time.
     
  3. Eddie729

    Eddie729 New Member

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    We used to use some cheapo disposables but we upgraded to a T-5 fixture for last winter.
     
  4. Bob2741

    Bob2741 New Member

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    I use these They are bright same as 500 watt and cheap to buy compared to t-5 fixtures and bulbs they are the correct temp and my light meter is awalys reading 3000 at 3' above plants You can get at home depot on on E-bay at good savings


    ProductsCompany InfoSupportLighting GuideContact UsPress Releases CFL | Ceiling Fixtures | Desk Lamps | Replacement Bulbs | Security Fixtures | Shop Lights | Under Cabinet | FLOOD LIGHT
    FLOOD LIGHT


    65 watt Fluorescent Area Light 500W Light Output - 80%* Lower Operating Costs -Bulbs lasts 13 Times Longer

    Model: 9266
    Options: Also Available White (Model: 9265).

    Product Description:

    Perfect for lighting outdoors - Lights up a large grilling area or 40'x40' yard. Dusk to dawn operation. Mounts on walls under eaves or as a landscape light. Electronic operation for sub-zero temperatures. 500W light output - 80% Lower operating costs. Bulb lasts 13 times longer than most incandescent bulbs. 65W BULB INCLUDED.

    Specifications

    Watts Replaces Lumens CRI
    Color Render Index Color
    Temperture Length Width Height Electrical
    Connector
    65 500 Watt Mercury Vapor Outdoor Fixture 6,825 NA 6500K 12" 3" 8" 2-Wire

    Power
    Requirements Coverage Origin UPC Replacement
    Bulb Life Options
    120V_50-60Hz 40'x40'
    Square Feet Assembled in USA 755277-926606 9166B 10,000
    Hours Also Available White (Model: 9265).




    What is Fluorex?
    The Fluorex fluorescent technology provides a brilliant white light that allows you to see colors and objects more clearly at night providing sharper night vision. Outdoor lighting security fixtures that use a high pressure sodium or mercury vapor bulb produce a harsh low quality light making it difficult for the eye to focus at night. Feel safer and see better with the Fluorex bulb! Great for recreational and security lighting.

    *Lawrence Berkley laboratories recently conducted a study that concludes: “Blue-rich light sources will improve vision and brightness perception for interior conditions. These same principles will also apply in external lighting conditions.”




    Annual Impact (save 793.88 kWh/yr) 500 Watt incandescent 65 Watt fluorescent
    Energy Use @ 5 hrs/day 912.5kWh 118.63kWh
    Related CO2 emissions 1304.88lbs 92.95lbs
    Energy cost @ $ 0.1kWh $ 91.25 $ 11.86

    ProductsCompany InfoSupportLighting GuideContact UsPress Releases
    © 2009 Lights of America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
     
  5. DukeBoxer

    DukeBoxer Active Member

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    Tim, for the best bang for your buck, I would agree with bob and buy some CFL lights. They are a lot cheaper to replace than any tubes and you don't need to go crazy to buy fixtures for them since they screw into normal incandescent fixtures. I use 100 watt (23 watt) equivalent lights set up in a straight row over plants on shelves and at 5" I'm getting reading well over 5000 fc's. I can grow and flower plueros and paphs at well over a foot and a half distance from the lights. A lot of people that grow under tubes would be amazed at the quality of light and the inexpensive price for startup and replacements. I alternate between 1 soft white cfl (red) and one full spectrum cfl (blue) made by sylvania...here is a picture of my setup.

    ai199.photobucket.com_albums_aa69_joshlep1302_grow.jpg
     
  6. Tim C

    Tim C New Member

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    Bob - I actually had that exact same fixture when I had my big orchidarium - it was enough to light the entire thing, and I flowered all kinds of orchids. The problem now is I'm very limited to the space I can grow in, and the way I have my growing area setup, the light would get too close to the orchids and fry them. But I'll keep it in mind for a time when I have more space.

    Duke - I like those numbers on the FC readings. I just nabbed an orchid today (Lc. Secret Love x Enc. cordigera), and the light from the tubes is still reading nice numbers. I think I might look for some cheapo light sockets and throw a row of CFLs in between my two banks of standard tubes for extra lighting. Then I'd really be able to grow most anything.

    Thanks for all the input.

    -Tim
     
  7. Tim C

    Tim C New Member

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    Something I just thought of for Duke - How much heat do those lights put out? I noticed you have them quite close to your plants. I've found a way to get a 6 light fixture made for vanity mirrors above my plants, but I'm wondering if the CFLs will put out too much heat. I noticed you and I have about the same height distance on our shelving setup, so I'm just curious about the heat output.

    Thanks.

    -Tim
     
  8. Tracey

    Tracey Interloper

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    I know nothing about lights Tim C, but just wanted to say that is one of the greatest avatars I have ever seen :D
     
  9. Tim C

    Tim C New Member

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    LOL, thanks Tracey. It's one of my favorite pics, and I use it as my avatar almost everywhere I go.

    -Tim
     
  10. Mary Jane

    Mary Jane New Member

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    I agree. That avatar is great.
     
  11. DukeBoxer

    DukeBoxer Active Member

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    The lights don't put out very much heat. Where I have my plants, in the bathroom, i don't put any heat on. It gets down to about 58 degrees at night during the winter and the lights bring up the temperature about 10 - 12 degrees during the day. I have leaves that are an inch from the lights and they get yellow or red, depending on the plant, from all the light but don't burn. The leaves need to touch the lights for them to burn. It's happened before, but if you juggle them around you'll be able to keep them just far enough from the lights. And remember, if you're getting that much light you'll want to layer the plants, letting the sun loving catts shade the paphs and pleuros below (as an example)
     
  12. Seattle Steve

    Seattle Steve Member

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    I know this was posted sometime ago, but I am curious if you are still using this and is it located indoors? When you say "3000", I am assuming this means foot candles. Any idea what part of the spectrum is being emitted? How hot does it get?
     
  13. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    That comparative analysis is invalid.

    The 65W cfl in a Fluorex fixture is stated as a "500W Equivalent" to incandescent (but it's really not): Using initial intensity values typical for the types of bulbs, the incandescents would put out 500W @ 20 lm/W = 10,000 lumens output, versus 65W @ 70 lm/W = 4550 lumens output for the CFL.

    I will add, however, that plants CAN BE grown under almost any light source - when I first started, I used 50/50 wattage wise, 100W incandescent bulbs and cold-white fluorescent shop lights (the only phosphors available at the time). It's just a matter of how good of an environment you want to provide.