Opinions? Comments? Suggestions?Questions?

Discussion in 'Hydroponic Growing' started by Bron‐Yr‐Aur Stomp, Oct 18, 2022.

  1. Aeroponic system in Veg, 30 plants, 3 systems of 10, water on 5 mins off 20 mins, 1000 watt Mh in cool hoods. Growing for medical cannabis patients so looking for opinions on best cost Efficiency. With this system i can produce about 30 pounds every 3 months give or take.

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  2. If you can afford it, upgrade lighting to high efficiency commercial LEDs depending on how much you pay for power could save you a good bit with a quick return on investment (1-3 years depending on how many hours a day you run the lights).

    From a 2017 paper by Dr. Bugbee and his direct experimentation with lights
    Plant Lighting Efficiency and Efficacy: μmols per joule - Greenhouse Product News

    "a double-ended 1,000-W HPS lamp with an electronic ballast has a PPE of around 1.7 μmol·J–¹. The value for LED products ranges considerably, and many new fixtures now exceed 2.0 μmol·J–¹. The higher the PPE value, the more effective it is at converting electricity into photosynthetic photons.

    The PPE of LEDs continues to increase and purchase costs are decreasing, so some growers are hesitant to invest. The theoretical maximum PPE for LEDs is 4.6 to 5.1 μmol·J–¹, depending on the composition of the LEDs used in an array. We are unlikely to achieve these values in our lifetimes, but an efficacy of 3.5 μmol·J–¹ is possible in the next decade."

    Gonna depend on your utility setup, power rates etc, but its the first thing I could think of if you are looking to increase margins. Very soon LED technology will be more than double the efficiency of older HPS or other styles. Right now they are about 2.4, 2.5 efficiency for the decent Samsung LM 301B diodes is now up to 220 lumens per joule per sec or roughly 2.2, compared to the average 1.7 of older style lights so close to a 30% savings on power. We supplement with solar as well, which drops total electric cost significantly, but at the same time makes more efficient lights less attractive (when 75% plus of your power is free, the return on lighting upgrades is smaller, so depending on your situation trying to get some free power may be more cost effective than making that power usage more efficient.)

    If I mis-read your lighting situation from the pics, apologies, but thats the first thing that came into my head, rest of the setup looks pretty impressive mate!
    PS you will hear people say that LEDs don't "penetrate" the canopy as well as HPS lights do, while I have not done any empirical testing to verify this, anecdotal experience has shown that this can be the case. For me, I mitigate it by scrogging the plants, so all the main buds are directly exposed to the lights.

    If you are concerned about the larf or popcorn quality, there are ways to get side lighting in place to tune those up too at a very cost efficient ratio (even though they are typically rated at like 4 feet of coverage, 1 side bar can easily fill a 6 foot length with 700-800 umol/sec, more than enough to make larf into something with bag appeal.

    At the size of your grow a lot of these techniques would require you or someone else to be spending a fair amount of time working the plants, which isn't for everyone, and of course time has a value in and of itself, plus maybe you also have a "day" job the precludes this level of involvement to consider in your cost-benefit analysis.

    Side lighting can be incorporated as a jury rig, a small setup, or larger ops like yours (see the light bars on rolling grids along the poles, ready to be moved into place when needed, or adjusted up and down with simple rope ratchets

    Anyway, hope this helps in any decisions you make! Best of luck mate!

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  3. Thanks for the Reply and Yea, im not convinced on the LEDs yet, I think the money you put for quality LEDs to compare to 1000w Hid is way to much, by the time you start seeing a return like you say 3 years from now those LED's will start to dim and some might even burn out. My buddy uses a high quality LED in a small 4x4 space and it just come any where near what my HID does. Maybe someday if the cost of LED ever comes down, because it takes care of electricity bill and you got no temp probs, I think in a small place where I can get away with one or two of them might be worth it, but I got 30 plants in veg 30 in flower, prob cost me a small fotrune.
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  4. I also lollitop, no popcorn buds or larf. I focus on the top 40% of the plant and scrog.
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  5. Yeah, I hear you man, thats why I tried to lay out some of the downsides too when it comes to commercial. I just grow for fun and research now, but I've got family who grows large scale out west and a lot of friends in the biology dept who have had some past (legal) involvement in 50+ plant grow ops for research.

    A lot of people don't realize that once you reach a certain size grow op, the sheer scope of doing a total light replacement, or an HVAC overhaul, may not return the investment in time, and as a result, certain decisions make sense at certain grow op sizes.

    Me just screwing around recreationally I have time to do things that would never be profitable at scale, so its always nice when someone comes in looking for thoughts on cost effectiveness vs just growing the dankest buds.

    I own a couple of non-cannabis small businesses, and obviously I like cannabis being on this site, so its always interesting to me to see how people are making it work, and what I may or may not do if I ever entered the market as a legit business.

    I usually keep every last piece of larf or trim, just from the amount of bums around these parts, to get them off my back between grows (imagine this but throwing buds in the bowl instead of cash)
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  6. lol, Yea I got some broke ass friends I sell trim to, what i have left from making Hash and oil. I got a legal grow op for Medical users, but the price of weed has dropped so much since legalization its really put a wrench in the gears. Now I dont bother with small buds or larf at all, just transfer that to the top buds. I had a convo with a buddy of mine and he was saying I should dop a bunch of small 1ft plants in a table system rather then 10 4 foot plants per system but I honestly dont see how its better, he says faster turn time maybe in veg save a couple weeks, but those plants there are only week 4 so dont know how much time id save with smaller plants but he keeps telling me im doing it wrong, I dont know, what do you think? I mean i average a pound per plant on some plants, but always over half a pound.
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  7. To be fair, how the table setup goes (to me) depends a good bit on the medium, and I don't really have any hands on experience with aeroponics, so this may or may not apply to varying degrees.

    I liken it to a comparison between growing autos vs photos when you are limited by law to the number of plants you are growing.

    I've seen people get more bud out of 4 crops of autos per year than folks with 2-3 photo crops (indoor growing, at least, summer sun makes outdoor photos usually the better choice), but they also have correspondingly more trim days, transplants, germ or cloning problems, etc as they rotate a greater volume of quicker, light plants.

    Just getting in 2-3 crops of photos though (depends on if your state or permit counts veg plants or not, or if there are "hemp" loopholes) they tend to have less issues overall just because you are running less plants per year, and most of that extra time is spent in longer late veg and portions of flower, when the plants are pretty robust and you have time to correct a pest or disease problem without culling any (though maybe some harsh pruning).

    I guess if I had to give a verdict, I'd say that from the people I know, folks who run more plants quicker do produce more overall buds and more overall $$, but that the people who focus in on being "the top shelf place" or "the weed newbie friendly place" and actually back these claims up with commensurate service or product, finish pretty profitable too in most cases.

    I'd like to think that because I like to grow less plants but bigger plants, I make up for the inefficiencies by working slightly harder when I'm working the way I want to, but its probably just something I say to make myself feel better.

    You could always try out small plants for a run or two, provided you can cover a small loss if they turn out to not produce as expected, when money is involved though, I tend to stick with what I know works from direct experience, if your friend can produce quantities of bud that are comparable or in excess of your methods, then I'd consider giving it a try.

    I've been burned before on "taking someone's" word for it with respect to grow setups, so I'd always ask for some kind of verification if someone thinks they can improve (IE my first linked article about direct efficiency coefficients, for led diodes.) Likewise, I'm not asking anyone to take my random word for it without some supporting evidence either. Or at least if I'm guessing at something I'll present it as a theory and not a fact.
  8. I too have gone back to HIDs they keep my rooms at the right temp
    sure I can use a 1KwH led but then I have to use a 1KwH heater, that adds to more cost

    lesson leant
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  9. Yeah didn't think of that either its a good point, most of my growing is done in a subterranean lair where the temp is more or less a constant 72F / 22C, after passing through the geothermal and heat pumps.

    The few degrees of heat the LEDs add are typically enough to move the temp into a comfortable range for the plants at any time of year, but yeah you can't have 20 plants in an insulated shed in freezing temps heated just by LED lights like you could sometimes do with enough HPS wattage and tight building envelope.
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  10. Your comparing 1960's lighting technology to modern day technology when lighting is one of the fastest changing technologies on the face of the earth ?

    The savings in energy alone more then pays for the expense of buying quality led lighting many times over.
    Even 2 to 4year old LED technology if a person studied the color spectrums needed in Cannabis horticulture a home grower can buy far red and photo red LEDs.
    HPS and MH has better light penetration over LED's.

    LED lighting with the right CFL for IR and UV waves do everything HPS'HID/MH lighting except emit all that heat .
  11. That is the only reason MH and HID are on during the winter time is because they produce allot of heat.
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