aerogarden higher wattage bulbs?

Discussion in 'Aeroponics' started by bdub1msn, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. anyone know if it is possible to get higher wattage bulbs for a large aerogarden veggie setup with the three bulbs? or do i need to cut and rewire larger or different ballast for 100 watt bulbs? and are there any special nutrients that someone has had great luck with? i am new to this and going to try two seedlings in the aerogarden and two in soil pods. wish me luck and thank you in advance for any assistance.
  2. Ahh sorry bro but i dont even know what the hell an aerogarden veggie setup is. But I do know that this should prooobably be moved to the growing thread. Im just to baked to figure out how.
  3. thank you and i'll try that also the aerogarden is the hydro garden that sells on that sits on the counter and has the lights set to come on and off and circulates the water through a pump system. works great for tomatos so i am going to try a little green.
  4. Oh so its hydroponic. And as far as the bulbs go, it all depends on how much your circut is putting out. It wont hurt it if you put the higher wattage bulbs in it just means they wont be as bright and your bulbs wont be as efficent. You could try to put bigger ones in but if it gets dimmer you should go back with the originals. Also the bulbs they come with are probably special plant growing bulbs that put out a specific spectrum of light ideal for plants so unless you can get some more of those I would just leave it. Oh and Fox something are good nutes. Cant remember the name of them. They start with fox though I know that haha.

    Good luck to ya and maybe start a journal in the microgrow section for us to follow?
    Bye, CP :D
  5. thank you i am new to this i've actually got lots of information from the growing forums. i will post pics and info as i get more, right now i have two seeds that have sprouted and i am starting today. thank you for the help and the consideration, take care and stay happy !
  6. #6 Hank Alvarez, Oct 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2010
    I haven't had to and I certainly wouldn't risk ruining an expensive hood . Try placing three mirrors around it, one behind and one on each side of your A/G and prop them up at the height of the planting deck and at an angle that reflects the light back up on the lower portions of the plant. I've had great results and you'll likely get buds all the way down to the planting deck.

    I haven't even been able to find replacement bulbs for my A/G's anywhere else except through A/G. My complaint is that they're proprietary, expensive and I suspect that they should be able to last more than six months. I'm going to start testing them with a light meter to see how much luminosity they've lost in six months. If you know another source for their lamps please let us know.

    Talk to your hydroponics store about nutes. Discount Hydroponics in Riverside, California started me on Technaflora's "Recipe for Success," because I was new to hydro from dirt and I love it. A starter kit costs about $30 and I'm still using some of the original components that came with the kit. There's no guess work involved and I've had excellent results. So has everyone I know who used it.
  7. I had the 3808M bulbs (the aerogarden bulbs with the build in ballast) and I chopped them up and rewired them to use standard lightbulb sockets. I have two 60W daylight bulbs in each socket (total of 4 lights). I had two 100W bulbs in each one, but they broke so I just went with the slightly smaller 60W. either way using the 60W actually doubled the light output from the aerogarden.

    I took a bunch of pictures during the process, I'll write a how too if anyone's interested?

  8. A/G claims that their combined lighting is equivalent to only a 60 watt lamp.
  9. That explains why it's soo bright now hehe. it's funny because they're the same wattage as the 100W daylight bulbs you can pickup from a hardware store.

  10. Autojunkie: we're talking the amount of illumination you can get for the amount of electricity we use. The A/G's operational costs are very reasonable compared to other growing systems. After having grown with Aerogarden's CFL's for about five years now I've come to a couple of conclusions. First, the two round AG lamps that come with the stock hoods are fine for starting seeds or clones but when you have a couple of M/J plants vegging they're just not enough unless you want to limit your flowering to the very tops of the plants. That made me buy an upgrade kit with a taller arm/light stand that came with a bigger hood. The upgrade hood accommodates three flat higher intensity CFL's that seem to do the job well. The only change I've made with that is placing mirrors around the A/G at an angle to reflect the light back up to the lower portions of the plants and the result has been great. Now I'm doing that with Mylar glued to cut down florescent fixture lenses and they're a lot lighter and safer to handle.

    Last year I seriously looked for after market lamps that would fit and everyone told me the same thing, "They're proprietary." The bastards have them made them special in China and the base is unique to the A/G so nothing else works. If you find something that does fit without butchering the upgrade hoods I have, (three at $110 each), please let me know.
  11. Hank, honestly it depends on the type of bulbs you have, the ones i had, 3808m or whatever they were had ballasts built in, so there was just 120vac right at the light socket. I'm pretty sure the bigger hood has a balast built in, so if you wanted to run regular cfl's you'd have to rewire the hood. Just bypassing the ballast would get you 120vac, and then you just have to modify the light bulbs. I'm not home right now so i'll throw up a picture when i get home

  12. Just a heads up: Mirrors are the worst possible thing for actually reflecting the light spectrums you want. Try a surface that reflects but also scatters, sch as matte white, brushed or galvanized steel, mylar, etc.
  13. BillyO: I used the mirrors for a little over a year, (three crops), with great success. The only problem I encountered was the weight of the glass. I dropped one and vacuumed mirror shards for months. I'm still afraid to walk bare foot in my grow room because it's carpeted and I still pick up slivers of glass on the soles of my sandals.

    To get away from the heavy glass problem I got some ceiling florescent fixture lenses from the Home Depot, the waffle ones, because they're stiffer. I cut them down to size and glued 2mm Mylar to them and we'll see how well this crop flowers. With the mirrors at about a 120 degree angle they flowered all the way down to the planting deck.

    I'm probably doing some unorthodox things but as long as they work for me that's okay. Another contributor suggested the Mylar and it seems to be doing the same thing but I don't see the light intensity that I had with the mirrors. I see that Aerogarden is now selling Mylar skirts for the same reason but I see that they're shorter. If I try something with my Aerogardens and it works I'll clue you guys in and if you have a problem with it I'd appreciate hearing about it. I try to go by what Cervantes and a couple of other reliable sources suggest. I attend hydroponics school pretty regularly but all this is generally offered to those who grow on a larger scale. That's the beef I have with this web site as opposed to one that gives us a corner to commiserate in. I just grow for me with my little Aerogardens but it's kept me off prescription codeine for my arthritis pain, bad back, neck and artificial joints for the last couple of years so I see that as a win win.
  14. Autojunkie: I was told, I think by A/G, that the A/G lamps have internal ballasts in the lamps. I think that was their excuse for them being so damned expensive. I've never taken a standard or an upgrade hood apart or an A/G lamp base, but I tend to believe A/G on this. I can't imagine a ballast in the hood lasting five years with all the use mine get. The ballast in the GE lamp stick I mounted over my computer station gets only a tenth of the use my A/G lamps do and it dies in about two years.

    Another point to consider is that with their 'flat' CFL's you can get them a lot closer to your plants without having to worry about burning your buds. I just wish we could get them from another source where they weren't so damned expensive.
  15. #15 Hank Alvarez, Dec 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2010
    Auto junkie: I talked to A/G again about the hoods and found out that the three lamp hoods do have the ballast in the hood. They also changed the two round lamps with built in ballasts to flat CFL's like the others and did away with the ballasts in the lamps. They put them in the hoods on those models as well. They don't recommend taking the hood apart and changing the ballast they want you to replace the whole hood assembly. I don't know as I agree but that's what they said.
  16. BillieO, the post about the mirrors is correct in stating the light is absorbed by the mirror. Flat white paint or panda film or mylar would all be better reflectors. For the cost of these tiny lights, you could get a real light fixture that works. T-5 or HID setups are no more expensive than these toys. If you are not in a MMJ state you will go to jail just as long for a 2oz grow as a 2# grow.
  17. Pointswest: I'm sure there are a lot of ways of getting the most out of your lights and the mirrors were just a brain fart I had that came from a physics class I took in the early seventies and I'll be damned if it didn't work. I've been doing it for a couple of years now and the result is buds right down to the planting deck instead of just on top. I think the angle is critical as the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection and it lights the lower parts of the plants that normally go without. This fall I glued 2mm Mylar on plastic florescent fixture lenses I cut down to size and it appears to be doing the same thing as the mirrors and they're not nearly as heavy.
  18. I would like to see how you rigged the bulbs.
  19. Bigwad2:
    That's the beauty of it, I did nothing to the lights themselves. I'm still using my upgraded three lamps hoods with the higher intensity flat CFL's from A/G. My research last spring led me to believe that there are no other bulbs that will fit and work in my A/G hood sockets.
    Some of my friends have extra lights all around their A/G's to add supplemental lighting to the lower portions of their plants. One friend's grow looks like a a cross between a Christmas tree and it's an electrician's nightmare. I asked another to photograph his and put it on a couple of the forums because I thought it was pretty ingenious and he told me to go f--k myself.
    A/G has come up with some interesting adapters you can use to install their lamps in regular screw in sockets and he has mounted four extra bulbs. one on each side of his A/G. He mounted them on a plywood panel a little bigger than his A/G and it lights up the four sides of the base of his A/G garden. It's really kind of a neat set up but I can't say he's getting any more effect than I am with my reflectors.
    Since I couldn't find any bulbs that would fit in my hoods, and I wasn't necessarily looking for higher wattage bulbs but cheaper ones. With three gardens, changing them twice a year gets pretty expensive. I saw some lamps at a home improvement store that were very similar and half the price but the bases weren't the same. That's what started my search last spring. The guys at the places that specialize in fluorescent lamps said that I wasn't the first one looking to find a cheaper workable replacement. They said the A/G's lamp's base design was proprietary and that unless I wanted to make some drastic changes in their hood and sockets design I was stuck with using their lamps,
    I'd been using the mirrors for the last couple of years and I'd been happy with the results until I broke one and that was a colossal mess.
    This year I glued 2mm Mylar to some fixture lenses I bought from the Home Depot for recessed lighting and I cut them down to the size of my gardens. I've got them on a table against a wall so I can lean the reflectors back against the wall until it reflects the available light back up to the lower portions of my plants where I want it. This isn't rocket science and it does work. Give it a try.
    The only down side is that once a week when I take our the reservoirs to change my nutes I have to take down the reflectors first but that's no big deal.

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