Kamel's CFL Guide

Discussion in 'First Time Marijuana Growers' started by KamelRedLight, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. #1 KamelRedLight, Nov 8, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2012
    This is for the first time growers, the financially challenged, or those who are afraid to use their card online, but too lazy to fill out a money order. Please also see this thread for further reading

    Why Use CFL's?
    Because not everyone has a big space to grow in and when space and heat are an issue, HID's become less practical as you are faced with either rigging a cooling system which could involve cutting holes in walls, ducting, and more power usage, and of course more $$$. Or, what if you're just growing a couple plants at a time to keep your own stash full (like me), and don't want to go through the trouble of HID lights? CFL's are everywhere, in all shapes and sizes, and are CHEAP. Most need no special fixture, and can be placed much closer. They are a great way to start out growing, keep a small crop going, or use with HID lights. With practice, your CFL grows can rival your neighbor's HID grows.

    Types: CFL's come in mainly two flavors; Soft White (color temperature 2700k) and Daylight (color temperature 6500k). For a complete grow, you should use both. Soft white mimics the spectrum of a HPS light, and is best suited for flowering. Daylight's color spectrum is like that of metal halide lights, and is excellent for the vegetative stage. This applies to tubes too; around 6500k for veg, 2700k for flower. There are also tubes labeled plant and aquarium. I haven't seen them in CFL form, but they have no real color temp, so I'm not sure on their efficiency. However, I have used them and it's rather slow growth for the watts.

    -Daylight: There is a large difference in vegetative growth when going from soft white to daylight. Therefore, I recommend you use daylight CFL's for vegging, even if you are flowering with a HPS light, because they do not stretch the plants. You don't need much light for good veg growth, especially when using 6500k CFL's. If power savings are a priority, 30w per plant can suffice to grow it to about a foot tall, but more is always better.

    -Soft White: Of course, use 2700k soft white for flowering. I have no results to back it up, but I like to use a single daylight bulb while flowering too, just to balance the spectrum. Whether it helps or not, it's more light nonetheless.

    -Others: See post #13 and #14 for spectrum charts. Anything between 2700k and 6500k will be less effective, to the point of being almost useless for plant growth. Try and stay away from these. Some 5500k bulbs are labeled daylight, and while they are ok they aren't as good as 6500k.

    -Size and Brands: I wouldn't recommend using any CFL under 20w, because it's just too damn small. (Remember, when talking CFL wattage, refer to the actual watts used, not the incandescent equivalent, i.e. 26w CFL = 100w Incan.) Lights of America is a cheap brand. GE and Phillips are big names, and make a more reliable and slightly more powerful product since they have a name to uphold. Oversized CFL's 65w and up work great too, either a self-ballasted screw-in type, or the type that needs a special fixture with the ballast built into it.

    Using CFL's: One of the advantages of CFL's is that they screw into any normal light socket. Therefore, mounting options are endless. Take into account the size, shape, and heat given off by CFL's when deciding how to place them.

    -Light comes from every square inch of the bulb, and to get the most out of them, try to have every inch facing as much plant matter as possible. More light comes off the side of the long 42w spirals than the front, for example. CFL's are not as intense as HID lights and do not have as great a range nor penetrate as deep, so distance is critical. Imagine an aura surrounding the bulb up to 6 inches away. Everything within this aura will grow, everything outside it needs more light (For those who've played Starcraft, here's a perfect analogy: Pylons are your lights, buildings are your buds.) You don't want your lights more than 4-6 inches away from your plants. With LST, you can put your CFL's literally inside the plant, between branches so that all the light is being used. Try to light all sides, not just the tops.

    -Reflecting light is important with CFL's to use every bit of light they give off. Use good reflectors, paint your walls flat bright white, or get mylar.

    -Remember, if your CFL is too close it may burn the leaves, so trimming or a fan may be needed (recommended anyway for stronger stems). Bigger bulbs obviously are hotter than smaller bulbs. Fluorescent tubes can touch the plant without burning it, but an average CFL will roast anything it comes in contact with; even 26w CFL's burn. You want to get close, but not too close. Try to stay about 1 inch away. Having a fan blow right through the plant over all the lights helps get them closer. And monitor your plants so they don't grow into the lights. If you're going away for a week, move the lights up in anticipation of your plants' vertical growth.

    How many watts or bulbs should you get? How many watts or bulbs should you get? There's no real answer, just the rule that more is better. A good starting point is 100 watts per plant. Any more can usually share the light already there, so maybe 30-50 additional watts each, depending on your situation (remember, look at actual watts used, not incandescent equivalent.) You can tell when you need more light, when parts of the plant are in shade and buds are barely coming in. Those areas need some direct light. Once all bud sites are well lit, you shouldn't be disappointed. You can add as many lights as you can fit, respecting power, heat, and space. But don't leave parts of the plant in the shadows; get another 26w CFL and stick it in that hole.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 10
  2. Here are my 2 CFL powered plants (I used LED, but at 5.3w it was more supplimental). About 160w. 17g for my first ever, and 50g for my second. Quality is better than the bud the seeds came from in both cases.

    You can tell I LST'd both these plants. LST, low stress training, is the best way to get the most out of fluorescent lighting. It is simply tying the branches down into a bush. I highly recommend doing this to your plant. Check the Absolute Beginners forum for a sticky on the subject.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 4
  3. I think this will help a lot of you out there. If there's something I got wrong or missed, let me know.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. nice grow im using one flourescent. a 125watt eco light. the bulb is about a foot and a half long and just a bit wider than my shoe. my 4 plants r doing well. its my first grow indoors and im chuffed. ill be watching for more of your posts. well done
  5. im currently using 8 - 30w (2700k) in my second week of flowering

    Organic soil(coconut fiber, worm castings, perilite)

    using the GH FloraGro and FloraBloom for nutes. They are gonna get fresh nutes tonight when the lights kick on.

    just thought i would share because my grow setup and size is similar to yours.

    the only thing ive noticed about growing under CFLs vs. HIDs is that they take a little bit longer to grow.
  6. ive done a few outdoor grows in canada but im now in the uk. cant see it being possible to grow out side here. my hobby is fast becoming an obsession. one of my bitches has been in flowering for 10 days and still no signs of being a female yet. im just growing for personal use and if i can get a few ounces each harvest ill be happy.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. i just harvesred under CFL's...(sorry, no camera).....3.8 ounces dry!!!!:D :smoking:

    it is important to add side lighting with cfl's because the light losses power and wont do well with undergrowth (anything under main cola's. also, if the plant keeps getting bigger....add more lights!!!!! The same lights it was a seedling with wont do as well once its a big 4 footer!
  8. how many plant did u harvest to get that weight
  9. Hi Kamel. Just a note to say thanks for sharing this highly informative posting on the use of CFL's. Well done, lets see more like this in Grasscity forums.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Nice harvest gb420! I like to focus on side lighting, because the side lights often light the tops of my plants. 4 feet tall would be tough for CFL's, at that point I'd probly have tubes lighting the side. I think LST is an important part of CFL growing to make the most use out of each bulb.

    xamountofpills yeah it'll take a little longer to get the same size in veg as say a MH light, but the flowering time won't change vs HPS, just size of buds. But again, that all depends on how you use your light.

    Glad my ideas are helpful, I see a lot of questions about fluoro growing so I tried to answer as many as possible.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. *BUMP*

    Good guide Kamel :)
  12. Thought I'd add some spectrum charts so you can get an idea of what color temperature means. Y-axis is relative energy % (how much of your watts are being emitted in that wavelength).

    1. 2100k (HPS)
    2. 3500k
    3. 4200k
    4. 4500k
    5. 5500k

    Attached Files:

  13. The best lights peak in the blue and/or red, at around 450nm and 650nm respectively. Broader spectrums are ok, but the focused peaks are better.

    1. 6500k (daylight)
    2. Chart I stole from 1000bulbs.com

    Attached Files:

  14. Very nice indeed - no time wasted on this at all! Very useful, +rep
  15. How many plants and how many lights? Man, you guys might be changing my mind about floro grows. I got heat problems...
  16. Then you should definitely read my link on Lamp Spectra.
  17. That's an interesting thread, fly. Thanks. I've heard people claim that floros can produce results, its just that all the results I've seen have been unimpressive, stringy looking plants. I might have to try it.
  18. I can't believe how long it took for me to notice this thread.

    Excellent thread Kamel! I'd +rep you again if I could but I cannot so maybe someone else can +rep you for me:hello:
    There's little a fluro-grower like me would add.
    And you know I'm a happy flurogrower!:hippie:
    Keep growing!

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