The 8-CFL adaptable light

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself' started by professorpoon, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. #1 professorpoon, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
    I've been messin around with CFL setups and came up with a light system that can get more wattage closer to the foliage for cheaper and less time than any I've seen before so I thought I'd share in case anyone's in the process of designing a CFL setup like I was a few months back.

    It also "surrounds" the top of the plant with light as opposed to shining only straight from above which can block light a lot of light from the leaves close to the bottom of the stem.

    If you can screw in a light bulb and tape a piece of paper after walking down one aisle in Home Depot then you can pull this off. It'll cost you:

    y-adapters 7x$2.50ea=$17.50
    lights 12 pack 23w=$17.97 (mine are all 2700K currently but the beauty of it is its adaptability. With this setup you can build a custom light spectrum for your plants based on their age)

    $35 and you'll have four extra bulbs to put wherever you'd like.

    So this light can be anywhere from a 8x19=152w to 8x42=336w with any combination of lights from 2700k to 6500k.

    The $35 setup with four extra bulbs mentioned above is 8x23w=192w and can come within an inch of the foliage no problem. Beat that. They claim the 23w lights put out 1600 lumens each so 12x1600=19,200lumens= 549 lumens per dollar for the whole setup. My HPS: 214 lumens per dollar.

    I've found that the most useful and available CFLs are 2700s, 3500s, 5000s and 6500s. unless you have a Home Depot nearby. I had a few 4100s but after looking at the graphs below it's clear that its not a great temperature to peak at so I took them out. Now I've got a nice combo of 2700k, 3500k, 5000k and 6500k which are orange white and blue color peaks.

    It's compact, I'm limited in the vertical dimension more than any other (the main reason many of us use CFLs, no space to keep an HID up high) so I wanted something that could be mounted very close to the ceiling of the space. This one is exactly 9" in total height with the $2 female plug pictured from Home Depot. Due to the shape of the light, the main stem can grow up toward the middle to within 4" of the ceiling. This is another strong point, this setup could be used in something as small as a rubbermaid grow bin.






    I'll post a flower picture when the lights come on to show you how well it works :)
  2. Some of your photobucket links are broken.

  3. thanks. Should be fixed now
  4. I dunno if I'd feel entirely comfortable with the paper hood. That many cfls has to be pretty hot
  5. I feel like the paper is a huge fire hazard...
  6. Not at all. The CFLs never even get within 150 degrees of paper's combustion temperature, 457F.

    Had it running well over 200watts for 20 hours and it still looks exactly the same.
  7. Yeah, CFLS don't even get hot enough to not be able to touch them (well, CFLs of this wattage, anyways). But I guess the electricity is a factor as well. I'd say spend a little more time on that awesome fixture's reflector, and you have a nice creation there. I use two powerstrips with the y-adapters and mogul-base plugs to plug into the sockets, but it's not as pretty or easy as this. Looks legit, good job.
  8. #8 professorpoon, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
    Yeah it would be a piece of cake to cut a few small pieces of thin plywood or card stock and paint them white to replace the paper, but that could involve tools that people don't have access to.

    EDIT: Actually luckily I do have access to wood and tools so I'l be making a more professional looking reflector, and I can add some pictures of it but I'll no longer be able to claim that the whole rig took me less than 30 minutes to make...

    You could leave them without reflectors like the first pic and lose some light upwards or just put another material that would make you more comfortable directly between the bulb and paper to give it some space from the paper.

    Honestly though I love the fact that it reflects practically no heat, is as flat white as flat white gets and doesn't block a whole lot of airflow in the space.
    Paper's the perfect reflector for small CFLs in my opinion.
  9. #9 professorpoon, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
    So I also created this light's little brother, the $25 6-CFL adaptable light which is pictured with my vegetative spectrum (46watts 6500k, 114watts 5000k).
    chain for $0.50 a foot $1
    light socket $2
    5x y-adapter $12.50
    6x CFL $9
    Optional: inline switch pictured is $2
    This one's a 114-252 watt setup with 19-42watt CFLs but of course you can go bigger with monster CFLs.


    Photos of some buds engulfed in the 6-CFL light (veg spectrum). Every top bud gets within an inch of a bulb without touching. This light also has a small enough profile from above that it can be hung right under an HPS (obviously not on in the pictures) for side lighting like I had it without blocking much light at all.



    Also, pictures of the buds under the 8-CFL light as promised


  10. idont like the hood either,,,,

    ..seems as though it could be made out of some better reflective metal material?????

    i mounted my lights under a cut flat piece of a road sign,,, works perfect,,,pay attention how much a road sign reflects when your headlights hit one,

    By chickenhawk435 at 2011-11-24
  11. #11 professorpoon, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
    That's a very good light reflector but it also reflects a good bit of heat. It also requires a felony and using tools most people don't have.
  12. #12 professorpoon, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
    For those of you who still don't believe that paper doesn't burst into flames easily...

    I put my hottest CFLs (2x42w) directly against the paper right where it was taped (far more likely to melt and combust than the paper) for 12 hours and re-checked. Still there, still cool to the touch on top.

    I realize the skepticism you guys have, largely due to the fact that we're all well aware of the scorching heat our HID lights produce but these are a world apart and will not burn paper.

    EDIT: If ANY of you can even BOIL WATER (212F) with a CFL bulb less than 42w, I'll eat my paper hood. It would probably be pretty easy to test, suspend the bulb above the cup and fill the cup enough to keep the ballast dry.

    I can shoot a laser thermometer at my 42 watt if it would make you guys feel better :)
  13. perhaps a hard cardboard would be better than paper,???

    ..hell i could take the top of a metal trash can and beat that fukker with a hammer and get the desired shape, i needed,,,

    and with a hacksaw,,,, cut me some angles to make it a '' hood''

    and after cutting it,,, beat that fukker some more with the hammer,,,,,

    but using paper for a hood,,,,,,i question that,,,,,,,:confused:
  14. #14 professorpoon, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
    (457 F) - (200 F) > (250 F)

    what's to question? I'm not saying this is the best material and design if you have some materials and ability, I'm saying it's the best material and design if you don't.

    Wood painted white would be best and that's what I'll be making. Pictures this week.
  15. i understand your do it yourself,,, thinking,,,,

    but some materials just have to be certain things,,,,a hood above a light just has to be made out of something besides paper,,,,

    your temperature numbers are not equating to common sense,

  16. then show me an equation with "common sense" factored in
  17. nuff said<-----------

  18. ok man, i am going to add my 2 cents into this discussion. as a licensed electrician in my state i can tell you that the paper hood will not burn due to the heat from the lamps themselves. one thing i am concerned with is your jankety wiring arcing, catching your paper hood on fire and your house burning down.. i have been in the electrical industry for several years now, and i can tell you that there are numerous electrical items that have some sort of pulped paper in it, hell look inside of a magnetic HID ballast and i promise you, that you will see a dense paper with a light wax coating either around the coil itself, or in between bits of the coil itself. my suggestion to you if you want a good reflector that will not reflect the heat. go to wally world, get you an IR windshield protector *silver things you see in car windshields on a hot day* and a pair of scissors.. this material will be 100x more reflective than your paper hood, help disperse heat better then pulp paper, and it will also reduce the fire hazard in your grow space, your home..

  19. Haha my wiring is a bit amateur at the moment, forgot to get the right size shrink tubing so it's obviously just tape. Lots of it though so it definitely won't arc on me. But yes, it will be fixed soon and sealed properly.

    Aren't those windshield protectors also meant to keep out heat though?

  20. Here's a little test, proof that these lights stay under 200. This is a 27W 5000K, one of my hottest lights, with the bulb sitting in water after 2 hours. There are a few tiny bubbles on the glass surfaces from my faucet sticking them to the cup but clearly no boiling.

    And yes, I put it all up against a piece of PAPER :)


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