DIY led panel using led strip

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Hilema, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. Hi everyone,
    I'm new to the forum so let me introduce myself;
    I'm french,23y.o looking to a self sufficient lifestyle, I'm growing my veg through aquaponic and lately got my hand on some hydroponic gears. I'm not a smoker, even if I did for a while, but I do realize only you on this type of forum could pretend to be the most knowledgable about indoors growing.
    When I look into indoor veg gardening I'm either disappointed or laughing to death! There is not much good informations out there. From what I was able to gather, standard HPS bulb tend to be inefficient, I know many of you use 1K HPS and grow good stuff out of it but as i'm kind of concerned about energy consumption I do not want to go that way.
    LEDs seems to be much better in giving what the plants needs with a "minimum" of power (hear better par/w) but as I'm only experiencing for now and that I won't be growing very lucrative crops I cannot afford the price of the LED panels. Even second hand they are as, if not more, expensive in France that they are in the States new!
    SO! After this well polished up intro here is my question;
    Could I use simple LED strips from Ebay as a light source? I know they are not the usual blue/red LED light but they are rated 2800k and 6500k and emit the same type of warm and cold white as the CFL does.
    Would it work?
    The LED strips I found are the highest lumens output for the price. I know it's absolutely not about lumens, as lumens are based of visible light which is pretty much the opposite of PAR. But obviously high lumens versus low lumens in the same Kelvin/nm, there should be a difference in favor of the brightest, at least on light penetration.
    Here is the link for those who wants to check:
    I'm curious to read your suggestion.

  2. Hey!
    Thats pretty cool you came to a MJ forum to find out info for veggies :)
    What type of plants are you growing? Each type of plant requrires different amounts of light for optimal growth. This is known as DLI or daily light integral. This will tell you how much PAR lighting (read in micromoles, uMol) you need for your plants. Some plants, like cannabis, and tomatoes require very intense light for optimal production, where plants like herbs, lettuce and peppers can do with much less intensity. So depending on what crops you are growing will help you "plan out" your gardens lighting solution.
    For most sun loving plants like tomatoes and cannabis, LED strips will not give you enough intensity to really satisfy your needs and you would need led's with a much higher output and PAR uMol unless you plan on basically winding the strip lights around your plants. However, if you are growing things like wheat grasses, or herbs, then you may be able to get away with strip lighting.
    As far as your question regarding the color would be beneficial to mix the 2700k and the 6500k white lights for the best spectrum output. Typically red heavy (2700k) are better for flowering and fruiting plants, and 6500k or blue heavy are best for veg, but when you combine them together, you get very good results. You would want a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of red heavy:blue heavy for probably the best results as plants use red more efficiently to drive photosynthesis, but you want some blue because this drives other processes within the plant.
    I wouldn't recommend it, but you might be able to grow with them,  but I don't think it would be the best decision. I think you would have better results getting some CFL bulbs, or some newer LED style house bulbs. Or even picking up a cheaper LED grow light with at least 3w diodes.
  3. Thanks Icemud,
    To reply to your question I'm more planning to grow herbs, veggies, greens such as basil, kale, chard but I may try some peppers and tomatoes even thought they are not my primary focus for indoor growing.
    I see hydroponic (mainly fogponic and kratky in mind) as a great way to keep aromatics at hand in the kitchen. I also have a fridge which will soon be change and I may us it as a growbox for medicinal herbs, I mean legal ones here in France ;-), to get the most control over them and extract the best from the plants as I can.
    For the lighting system I don't have much to invest and even the crappiest LED I found on Ebay are still well over 100 bucks. Worst of all being made to flower cannabis they often are 8:1 or 7:2 at best.
    I wanted to buy two 5m (>16ft) reels, one cold and the other warm white to get a 1:1 ratio as seek more green mass than flowers. As they are only 1cm wide (0.4") and can be cut to whatever length, I planned to make a panel 50cm long (19.7") and 25cm wide (9.8") and alternate 50cm (19.7") cold, 50cm (19.7") warm white strip 20 times onto a reflector.
    Building my own allow me to get the materials for near nothing and add a dimmer to each spectrum to regulate as I wish 2700K/6500K. (LED with this type of feature are very convenient; like the Lumigrow 325 if I'm correct)
    I thought that even if the LED strips are not very powerful if I pack them all in one 50x25cm (19.7"x9.8") panel it would be sufficient. Would it?
    If you have some LED light in mind, or somewhere else than Ebay to search one let me know, but please keep in mind I will never amortize the cost of a 200 bucks light and the setup I came up with is only 20 bucks in parts.
    I you think I'd better go for 20 bucks of CFL or LED house light I'll give it a try.
  4. Hi!
    I finally order the parts to make my LED panel, I'll give it a try and if it's doesn't has the guts to grow, I'll still use it as lighting when I take pictures to sell stuff on internet ;)
    I'm thinking of comparing my futur light to some commercial light, I came upon a random Chinese manufacturer called Sunprou. Never heard of them and it seems no one ever did! They are making panels off 3w chips, pretending to sell them to others brands that adds their labels on top.
    They offer 120w panel (like my futur light for a fair comparison) at 130$, I probably can get it down to 100 bucks. Their light are mainly 8:1 ratio but can be custom fitted to the customer.
    Anyway here is a exemple of their spectrum on a 180w panel; <a>and</a>
    Let me know what you think of them...
    Have a good one!

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