LED grow lights are a new technology on the market today. LED lights are excellent choices for new growers and seasoned growers alike because they are more efficient, more flexible, last longer, and are generally more useful than other types of lights like High Pressure Sodium, Metal Halide, other HID systems, or T5 fluorescents. They have a number of great benefits that these other systems can’t compete with – they’re powerful, the initial investment pays off by their lifespan and by the lower cost of operation. Let’s take a look at some information about LED lighting.
What Is an LED Light?
A grow light is a type of light that emits energy as both heat and visible light that is optimized for plant growth, which plants use for photosynthesis. We use grow lights by hanging them above the canopy of our plant so that it simulates sunlight “pouring” down onto the leaves, stems, and flowers.
A good grow light will imitate the most useful parts of sunlight. This means light on the spectrum from Ultraviolet to far-red and infrared. We measure light wavelength in nanometers (nm), and these colors range in wavelength from about 350nm to 850nm.
There are multiple kinds of grow lights on the market: High Intensity Discharge (HID) including Metal Halide (MH), Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH), and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS); T5 Fluorescent; and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
LEDs differ from other kinds of grow lights by their technology. LEDs do not rely on external ballasts, bulbs, fixtures, or even reflectors. They do not put out as much heat as HID bulbs, yet they still produce as much if not more light than HID systems. They do not require much extra equipment, they are easier to maintain, and they last much longer without dimming over time.
How Does an LED Grow Light Work?
An LED grow light works by passing an electrical current through a semiconductor diode. These semiconductors are made of a crystalline lattice (usually of a combination of chemicals like silicone) that hold electrons. When the electrical charge changes, these electrons are forced out of the lattice and into another, breaking the bonds with the lattice in the process, which releases energy in the form of heat and electricity.
This heat and electricity are then expelled through the semiconductor and out through a small colored cover that surrounds it. Usually, these colors are cool and warm white, blue, UV-A, red, and far-red, giving the entire light a purple hue in full spectrum.
When light falls onto a leaf, the colors penetrate into the cells and stimulate photosynthesis, the complex process of combining and changing nutrients, water, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals into sugars, amino acids, and ultimately structural components.
Plants react differently to different colors of light. Red light tends to encourage elongation and flower growth. Blue light encourages thick, robust foliage. A plant will need more blue light in its initial vegetative stage of growth than it will in flowering and will need red light throughout the entire growth cycle, but blue light still helps reduce stretching and strange elongation that can affect plant health when plants are grown only under red light. LED grow lights are excellent for growing plants because they provide the full spectrum of light needed but also can be programmed to provide a specific coloration that would emphasize better growth for your plant.
What Are the Different Types of LED Lights Systems?
LED systems come in multiple forms. These forms may appear just aesthetic, but they have an impact on performance. We are marking four different specific types of LEDs that we think are notable for growers.
Panels: Panels are what have become standard for most LED growers. This panel has a medium wattage and are usually compact, they often feature dimming technology and have a computer chip built in that helps regulate operation, including dimming or spectrum. Newer models may have a mixture of different types of LEDs that are built into the board itself. Another added benefit is that these panels have fans that are built in, helping keep the system cool.
Boards: Boards are another compact type of LED grow light. These boards are usually thin, weighing around 5-15 lbs., and have a ballast attached to the top of the system. LED boards provide a great amount of power and have caught on as popular options for growers because of this. Boards can have a high-power LED built in, or they can have mid-level power or a Chip-on-Board, depending on the manufacturer. Boards offer a wide range of potentials and are becoming a popular option.
Bars: Bars are a unique type of lighting that is overlooked but can have extremely potent power level. Of course, the diode type will determine if the bars are going to be cost-effective or not, but they can produce very interesting results. High-end bars can bend to produce unique shapes, allowing for better and more specific coverage, they often have ballasts that clip on the exterior of the device, meaning that there is a better cooling effect, and they have specialized coverage areas where the width of the coverage area is usually smaller than the length, which actually is a benefit because it helps distribute light better.
Chip-On-Board: Chip-on-Board or commonly called COB identifies the diodes as a specific type of diode – one that is a bare LED chip in direct contact with the substrate (usually silicon carbide to produce LED lattices. COB LEDs have better lumen densities, may use less energy from the outlet and produces a great spectrum. They’re not perfect, but they are a major step in the right direction for better lighting.
What Are the Reasons the VIVOSUN VS2000 LED Grow Light Is a Good Option?
The VIVOSUN VS2000 is an excellent example of a great LED board. It is high efficiency at 2.9 µmol/J, meaning the amount of electricity it pulls from the wall is efficiently used, not lost on heat, and translated into usable light for your plants. The reason this is possible is that the VS2000 is made with Samsung LM301 diodes and these diodes can be dimmed to meet every situation that might come up. Further, the VS2000 has very good cover spread at multiple heights, from 2-feet to 4-feet above the canopy. It would make great coverage for a 3×3-foot to 4×4-foot tent.