A Better Approach to CFL Lighting

Discussion in 'Growing Marijuana Indoors' started by SlickStigmas, May 6, 2011.

  1. #1 SlickStigmas, May 6, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2011
    As an experienced electrician, I have seen haphazardly-made lighting setups that truly scare me. It scares me to the point where I would push hard for legalization of Cannabis, just to prevent the possibility of house fires! The most common CFL homemade hood I have seen involves power strips with these light bulb sockets that plug directly into the strip. DANGEROUS! Also, they don't stay put very well, allowing the possibility of an electrical fire.

    A better way to setup your own lighting system is to purchase individual light sockets, such as lamps socket replacements. If one does not understand the basic fundamentals of electricity, it can easily be learned in under an hour, the Internet is not only a wonderful source of beautiful ladies, but some fantastic information! These light sockets will run from next to nothing to $3 a piece. Start with 8 sockets, 12 if you are daring, and 28 if you are ready to grow! You will need electrical cords (12-2 or 10-2, or a similar cord is recommended, if you don't know what this is, stop right here, and look up electricity before you get shocked!). Next, chop some wood (1x4 is great, and 2.5ft x 2.5ft perimiter is a decent frame for the lighting). So get about 13ft of 1x4. Cut to length, and layout your lighting frame, how you want your lights arranged. Square pattern is best.

    For example, take 4 pieces of wood and nail or screw them together, wide side down, into a square shape (will come out slightly rectangular). Then take a fifth piece of wood to place across the center. With this basic setup (about 2.5ft x 2.5ft), one can place 4 bulbs on 3 strips of wood (12) and also mount lighting to the sides all around the perimeter of the frame (4 on the outside edges, so 16 more), if space allows and if needed. Ultimately, that little frame could hold 12 to 28 light sockets! The sockets should be spliced at a max of 4 per cord, any more can pose an electrical hazard without shrink tubing and electrical knowledge. One side of each of the 4 sockets should all be connected together to one end of an electrical cord (recommending no less than 12-2 gauge), and the other 4 sides should be connected to the other wire of the power cord. The circuit will be formed in parallel. One wire side of each lamp socket on one stripped end of the cord, the other wire sides connected in unison on the other stripped tip. Connecting the wires should be done with electrical knowledge, however, the average person can figure it out easily. Personally, I will connect the wires together to the electrical cord (10-2) and put a wire nut large enough to snugly fit them (do an individual pull test to ensure they are snug and won't pull put), then electrical tape the hell out of it! Two wire nuts per cord per 4 sockets, then tape it!

    Series hookup: Hooking the sockets in series (chaining one side with the next socket to the next socket, etc. back to the electrical cord) will cause the load (bulbs) to draw up available energy, and pass what little remaining energy it can to the next bulb, so it is impossible to do more than 2 sockets in series without including more components into the circuit (more parts, money, and a further understanding of electricity).

    Make sure to leave adequate wire on the bulbs so they can be spaced apart from each other on the frame, or add wire if necessary. To secure the Sokets to the frame, there are many ways, the best is to find plastic brackets with nails already in them, or pieces of wood nailed onto the frame and strong electrical tape can also make do.

    Now, with all this said and done, you can add a 'Y Splitter', which has a normal screw-in on one end, and spurs into two sockets. This can double the amount of bulbs, but not all those bulbs will be of use, and may not be enough room to do but a few. Concluding this, you may find your energy usage to exceed 500watts, maybe even 800W! CFL's DURING FLOWERING is not really cost efficient, nor is it efficient in plant growth or flowering. HPS really is the way to go, there may be less energy consumed and is PRODUCTIVE! Heat can be reduced, look into refrigeration if one must! Any questions or help, let us know!
  2. 1) As an electrician, what do you think of these type of LED's
    2) also about using mirrors as a reflector for these types of lights ?


    Power Supply AC110V 12W Output Voltage 36V Frequency 50-60Hz LED Qty 168pcs Color Red and Blue LED Bulbs Power 0.06w x 168 LEDs (10w in total) Lumen(Red/Blue) Red: 6.6Lux x 138 LEDs
    Blue: 1.8Lux x 30 LEDs Wavelength Red: 660nm
    Blue: 450nm LEDs Diameter 5mm Working Temperature -30-60 degree Celsius Working Humidity Less than 95% Each Light Size 5" diameter x 5" deep Lighting Coverage 0.66 Ft - 6.6 Ft Recommended Height 1Ft - 4Ft Recommended Coverage One light per 5.4 square feet Specific Distance and Lighting Coverage: Distance to Plants Lighting Coverage 20inch 2-4/5 square feet 40inch 4 square feet 60inch 5-3/5 square feet 80inch 7 square feet
  3. The LED lights look good, I would double check their nanometer wavelength to see if they are ideal for cannabis growing. I think the red is a little to high frequency,i can't remember.

    Mirrors actually absorb a lot of light, not ideal. Best reflective surface for the money is aluminum, I would suggest either lining in aluminum blankets or a textured aluminum. Even painting your walls flat white works just as well. Good luck, let us know how your LED grow goes!
  4. Man I am not an electrician, but know enough that yes I have been very surprised with the ghetto engineering some people use to make light racks. No wonder so many people burn their houses down. You should make this a step-by step tutorial with pics for all the idiots out there. Thanks man.
  5. I, too, would love to see a small setup with pics from one of the many people that have knowledge about the electrical safety aspects. Perhaps a closet-type setup with pics would help the majority of us "getto rigged" growers be more safe. I personally thank you for sharing your knowledge for the greater good and safety of us all.
  6. Or if you know of a link with the pics, that would be appreciated too. I'll keep looking also.
  7. GREAT info here. I, too, would love to see pictures and/or diagrams. Thanks!
  8. That does sound like a better way of doing cfl lighting. I was never a "power strip" cfl kind of guy, but I've seen it done in the worst of ways. Post some pictures bc it sounds like an inexpensive way to prevent safety hazards.
  9. 1.) Max of 4 per cord; is that only for larger watt bulbs, say 60w, or what about for 26w bulbs? Seeing as in this example there will be two bulbs per socket with the splitter. 2.) You say that little frame could hold up to 28 light sockets... is that all going to one power outlet strip? I'm having trouble finding out how much wattage or amperage my power strip can handle safely. I've done the P=IV triangle calculation i learned in high school, but i also plan to use only 26 watt bulbs, and about 16 total. (micro grow) would one strip be enough for 28 of the 26w bulbs, or even the 60w bulbs, or higher? I know most people use larger bulbs than me. I appreciate your electrical knowledge and you sharing it with all of us. Thank you, slickstigma. Also, thank you for urging us to find out what 10-2, 12-3, etc... means. That was great knowledge to learn.
  10. I never used powerstrips for my CFL's, I used to use the vanity lights and some Y-splitters for my veg light. I think I have a picture of it somewhere...

    Yup. From my 2nd indoor grow ever:

  11. are powerstrip cfl setups really that dangerous? Mine are mounted horizontal instead of vertical and i've never had an issue with my lights being loose at all. Each strip only has like 50ish watts being used on it and ive read the max load for them is over 1000watts. all in all its plugged into another power strip that bears the load of about 200w.

    My computer has a 1000w power supply and is plugged into a powerstrip with two big high def monitors and a bunch of other stuff and i dont see how 200w of lights on a powerstrip is dangerous. but then again i dont know a lot about electricity even though i earned that merit badge when i was a scout lol. could you explain why its dangerous to us non electric folk?
  12. Daisy chaining electronics like power strips can increase your risk of electrical fires. Always better to err on the side of caution especially if you are doing something on the south side of legality
  13. Saved so I do it right!!

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