Sunday, September 16, 2012

DIY LED Grow Lights

There are a number of problems associated with grow lights
  • Expensive to purchase
  • Require expensive ballasts
  • Expensive to operate
  • Short limited life spans
  • Hazardous materials
  • Fragile
  • Excessive heat
  • Limited K values
After quite a bit of investigation I have come to believe there are two types that stand out
  • Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH)
  • LED

Neither is cheap to purchase and at this time LED is very expensive, but I just found components to build your own LED light bar which exhibit none of the problems I've listed above!

A Standard LED Grow Light

The components to build and equivalent 400W 36000 lumen grow light at less than 1/2 the cost!

 To build the equivalent grow light would require one PCB and 40 LED Chips at a cost of about $100 plus some labor and a few items like Power supply, solder, wire and box.

This is just one of many LED K values that are available and a wider spectrum could be made by including other K valued LED Chips.

12V power supplies are very inexpensive thanks to the computer industry. 

Total cost about $200

While searching for your components you may find some bulbs are listed in 'mcd' rather than lumens.  Here is a converter calculator to help you design the grow light you wish to build. 

Coming Soon!  New LED technology


  1. Hey I'm planning to buy LED Grow Lights but now I'm having having second thoughts. After seeing this I want to try and build my own grow light and this post is really helpful. Thanks

    1. Please let me know how things work out for you. I'm still a bit leery of LED's. I posted another article about lights and spoke about Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH)which have been proven to work. The bulb gets very hot but the total heat wasted is low. The heat is concentrated whereas with LED is dispersed. I'm not saying LED waste as much heat, but the perception is different.
      The nice thing about CMH is that they do not have to be close to the plants and the spectrum is very wide.

  2. I'm a little confused about the BLULED products. They claim to have tested the female leaf using 24 different wavelengths and 13 different spectrum ratios. Are they developed specifically for marijuana? I see no mention of being able to select different plant groups.
    I also noticed they drive the LED at about 50%. That indicates to me they are building a quality product that will last a long time.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, I was hoping to find this. We've been looking for led grow lights. I can't wait to get them.

  4. I proposed this LED light system as a an idea, but never built it. Yesterday I was shopping for LEDs for my house, and found a variety of K values. 2700 - 5500. Be sure to get the ones you need. As I recall the 5500K range is best for vegetation, and 2700 is good for blooming. I don't understand some of what I've read, but I have heard that LED light does not penetrate well. If you have used LED for growing I'd like to hear about your results.
    I finally went with a 400W Ceramic Metal Halide because I only need it in the winter and the heat which is generally considered a loss is not wasted in my garden room because it helps to heat the room during the cold Winter months.

  5. Thanks for sharing this about the led grow lights. I think these are actually really cool! My sister has used them and she says that they are awesome!

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  10. Long time before I decided to grow plants in my garden so I had to learn more about plants as well as about setting up a grow room. But now I am dealing in led grow light bulbs and I love this profession so i am looking for new more ideas regarding this. I found interesting information in your post. Keep going.

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  12. I'm considering buying a Black Dog LED light, but they're so expensive.
    And that's even on sale. Does anyone have any experience with these? Are they really that much better that other LEDs? Is it worth it to shell out THAT much cash for one light?

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